Clay and I got married almost two months ago. As everyone warned, the weekend indeed flew by in the blink of an eye. We spent our very long flight to our honeymoon the next day trying to remember every detail together. So when we got our photos and videos back, we had so much fun re-living the wedding and seeing every detail we missed.
There were times during the wedding planning process when I just wanted to elope. To start with, I’m not one for wedding traditions– there were so many things that people insisted I had to have but I didn’t understand why. Add the stresses of planning a huge party and I was so over the wedding before it even began. But, the weekend of our wedding ended up being truly incredible. Someone once said to me, this is the only time all of your family and friends you care most about will be together in celebration. And that alone was worth everything– the weekend was filled with so much love, tons of laughter and a few tears (okay, maybe a lot of tears).
When we first embarked on the wedding planning process, we knew we wanted to make our day unique and reflect our personalities in a special way. We did away with certain wedding traditions (like wedding parties and a wedding cake– see below for more on our “wedding cake”). More importantly, we wanted to ensure our guests ate and drank beyond their expectations and walked away with a memorable “Clay and Karen” experience. Of course, food and drinks were a high priority item for us and Miho Catering Co. made every foodie dream come true, everything from a raw bar to a wood-smoked cocktail. After all, everyone came from all over the country to be with us for the weekend on our special day, we wanted to them to have fun! We chose a venue, a private estate called La Chureya, in Palm Springs and Celebrations of Joy, our wedding planner, made it everything go off without a hitch. On Friday night, we welcomed everyone with a Tiki & Tacos welcome party (scroll down to the end of the post for snaps from our welcome party) complete with some of LA’s best tacos, East Side Tacos, mai tais and frozen paletas!
So without further ado, I’m so excited to share with you a full rundown of our wedding weekend. The gorgeous photos in this post are by Luke and Mallory and our super fun video by The Quail & The Dove (Check out the piñata video below). At the bottom of the post, you’ll find all our vendors, who we loved working with– they really made our day come together!
Everyone loves rotisserie chicken. But no one eats it as much as we do in our family. Well, except for maybe Evan and Sarah Rich of Rich Table. After all, their newly opened spinoff was inspired by their family’s favorite weeknight meal. RT Rotisserie is the product of the duo’s evolving lifestyle and practical desire for casual fare – but with the same thoughtful and inspired approach as their acclaimed Hayes Valley restaurant. Erica and I had the chance to taste the menu recently and honestly, it was amazing. Rotisserie chicken, pork and cauliflower are all prepared the same way before serving: with a signature brine of buttermilk, umami powder, garlic, and Douglas Fir, and brushed with a smoked, roasted garlic oil and finished with fresh herbs like dill, shiso, parsley and mint. The standouts, besides the chicken, are the cauliflower and the dipping sauces. An entire head of cauliflower is roasted to tenderness and served over beet hummus – it’s so flavorful, I could easily devour it as a main course. The dipping sauces, which include a Douglas Fir sour cream and an herbaceous chimichurri make you wanna dunk everything in them. They’re that good. We can’t wait to return with our own families!
Alas, the final installment of my Sri Lankan adventure! After we left Sri Lanka’s tea country, we headed north to an area called the Cultural Triangle to see some of the country’s most popular ancient sites. We explored ancient royal palaces, Buddhist temples and the countryside. On this leg of the trip we also stopped in Minneriya Park, where we saw over 120 Sri Lankan elephants! We felt so lucky to have spent a few weeks in Sri Lanka, we easily could’ve stayed there for months. And while we were able to enjoy the beauty of its culture, the friendliness of the people and its ancient sites, Sri Lanka endured a devastating flood in the southern region killing over 200 people and displacing thousands while we were there and recently, a dengue outbreak as a result of the receding floods. We made a small contribution to support aid in the wake of these issues and if any of my posts about Sri Lanka have inspired or moved you, I encourage you to make a donation to the Red Cross. We completely fell in love with this country and I hope I’ve inspired you to go to Sri Lanka too!
Anyone who has traveled to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico has probably had cochinita pibil. It is one of the most famous dishes of this region and is one of my favorite Mexican dishes. Cochinita pibil is achiote-marinated pork that has been roasted in banana leaves. The marinade is made of lots of citrus, garlic and achiote paste, which is made of the anatto seed and various spices. Anatto seed is a deep red spice that is used mostly for dyeing and has a very mild flavor despite its vivid color. It is typically served with red pickled onions and fiery orange habanero salsa. From its spicy and tangy flavors to its festive pink and orange colors, this is the perfect summer party dinner for a big crowd!
Raise your hand if lemon bars are your WEAKNESS . . . you are not alone my friend, I repeat, you are not alone. I remember having a magically transformative moment biting into my first lemon bar as a child. There was something unexpected about that tart, lemony zing possessing such a rich, silky texture. Not to mention how it sat ever so delicately atop that buttery shortbread crust; I’d never tasted anything like it. It was game changing! And that’s exactly what I’m shooting for with these lemon bar popsicles.
I took my favorite lemon curd recipe, and made the texture a bit more popsicle friendly by adding whole milk. And of course, no lemon bar (even in popsicle form) would be complete without the buttery crust, so I’ve included that recipe as well. Just crumble and dip to your heart’s desire! This is definitely a new family favorite. Ten popsicles didn’t stand a chance in our house . . . popsicles are like currency to a toddler hand model!
A huge thank you to Billy from Wit & Vinegar (also considers popsicles currency) for taking summer seriously, and making Popsicle Week a reality!! And don’t forget to peruse #popsicleweek on social for more fabulous frozen fun!!
Lemon Bar Popsicles with Shortbread Crumble
A true lemon bar in popsicle form, these creamy lemon curd popsicles dipped in a buttery shortbread crumble are sure to become your next favorite frozen treat!!
Whisk eggs and egg yolks together in medium bowl and set aside.
Mix lemon juice, sugar, and salt together in a small heavy saucepan and heat over medium heat until sugar is dissolved but not yet boiling, stirring frequently. SLOWLY drizzle this into the whisked eggs, whisking constantly until combined.
Pour back into the saucepan and return to medium heat. Stir constantly until the mixture has thickened, about 3-5 minutes.
Turn off the heat and gently whisk in butter until melted, then whisk in the milk. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and let cool to room temperature.
Pour into your popsicle molds of choice and freeze. Meanwhile prepare the shortbread cookie crumble.
Take popsicles out of the freezer when frozen, and remove from the molds. Let sit to soften just for a minute before coating with the shortbread crumbs. Eat and enjoy!
Preheat the oven to 350° F and prepare an 8X8 inch square pan by greasing it with butter.
Sift confectioners’ sugar and flour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed for a few seconds to mix together. Add the butter and return to low speed until the dough comes together smoothly, scraping sides of the bowl as necessary.
Pour out dough into your prepared pan and press with hands or the flat side of a cup until the dough covers the bottom, about 1/4 inch thick. Prick several times with a fork.
Bake for 20-25 minutes in the oven until golden brown. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack.
Break the shortbread up and smash into crumbs with a rolling pin or flat side of a cup.
Today, I’m sharing Part 2 of our Sri Lankan adventure in Yala National Park, Ella and Hatton (check out Part 1 if you missed it!). After we left the beaches and colonial town of Galle, we made our way east to Yala National Park, which is home to the largest population of leopards and lots of Sri Lankan elephants! Then, we went north into Sri Lanka’s lush and green countryside. The vistas in Ella and Hatton of the mountains and tea plantations were some of the most beautiful we had ever seen. We couldn’t believe that within 3 hours we went from seeing elephants and leopards on safari in the dry bushes of Yala to the expansive wet green mountains and valleys of Sri Lanka’s tea country.