Sunday, November 22, 2009

Carol's baby shower - It's a girlie girl!!

Our friend Carol wanted to get together a few of her close friends for a brunch celebrating her baby girl's upcoming arrival.  The color scheme was pink and brown, and I think we did a good job combining the pastel colors with some pop of fuchsia resulting in a serene, but also vibrant; casual, but also fancy; and most of all, a very "girlie" baby shower brunch :-) 
For the prep work for this shower, head over here.
The buffet is on! I was thinking about getting a bigger dinner table, and hosting the baby shower just gave me the extra motivation (and excuse!) to finally purchase one.  I found this great wood table at CB2, and it extends from 6 seats to 8 and then to 10 seats.  Perfect!
Even the cupcakes were dressed up in the party theme colors. Our friend Renata made these moist, delicious and nutritious carrot and walnut cupcakes.
I wasn't sure this 2-tier pastry stand from Target was going to look too bold for the delicate table décor, but I think it worked beautifully!
My vintage teapot makes its début
Sugar in every form and taste!
Greek yogurt and granola is one of my favorite breakfast combos.  The pastry stands were embellished with pink and brown polka dot ribbons and the wood trays covered with scrapbook paper cut to fit.  I liked using different patterns (stripes, dots) in the same color combination.  I think it gave a more whimsical and less formal look to the table.
My homemade orange-poppy seed mini muffins fresh from the oven. Since Thanksgiving was just around the corner, I decided to stuff some of them with the familiar flavors of this holiday: roasted turkey and cranberry jam.
I loved how our friend (and member of the "party commission") Patricia used muffin molds to shape the mini quiches.  I placed the scrapbook paper printed with the party colors under a clear textured glass plate to "break" the coldness of the metal/glass and add color to the table.
I also tried a new recipe for rosemary-roasted garlic cornbread madeleines that turned out to be divine!  The recipe is from the great chef Patrick O'Connell, from the "Inn at Little Washington."
My pregnant lady cake topper makes her second or third appearance at a baby shower
The beverage table

Photo taken by Clarissa, Carol’s multi-talented cousin
As I mentioned on the previous post, I placed a plastic pink pacifier inside each of the stemless champagne flutes.  Then I inserted pink and brown napkins to add some "drama" :-) The tray was lined with pink and white polka dot paper as well.
We asked the ladies to each bring a photo of themselves as a baby, and then place it on this tray I had by the entrance.  A note inside a picture frame served as a "friendly reminder".  Later, as the showered momma was getting ready to open the presents, we told her she would have to first guess who was in the picture, and only then she would be "allowed" to get into the paper ripping activities.  Another idea is to ask guests to attach their own baby picture to their present, and have the mom-to-be guess who's the gift giver.  Just make sure she doesn't peek at the gift "drop box" as guests arrive. Better yet, make the whole "game" a total surprise to her!

The bibs ready to be decorated by the guests
Another great shot from Clarissa...

...who also brought these charming little hand soaps set in a straw nest to hand out as party favors.
Although the shower favors were taken care of by Carol's cousin,  I wanted to send the guests home with another keepsake from the party.  So I made some extra of my homemade granola and packed individual portions into clear bags tied with the pink and brown polka dot ribbons. I have been making this recipe for years, and usually change it up a bit every time I make it (as an experiment, or simply because I lack ingredients and have to improvise and substitute).  If you want to try making it at home, here's the original recipe I got from a magazine called "Organic Style" (now extinct):

(clique aqui para a versão em português)
1 cup sunflower seeds (I also add pumpkin seeds)
¾ cup canola oil (I just can't get myself to use canola oil. Ever. It’s highly processed and not as natural as one might think.  My oil of choice in this recipe is grapeseed)
½ cup golden raisins (preferably organic, since conventional ones are heavily sprayed with pesticides)

Preheat the oven to 325°F.
In large bowl, combine the oats, coconut, brown sugar, almonds, and sunflower seeds. Stir well to combine. In a small bowl, whisk the oil with the water and vanilla, and pour over the dry ingredients. Stir until well coated.
Spread the mixture over the bottom of a large rimmed baking sheet or a roasting pan and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown.Remove from the oven and cool.
Transfer the granola to a large bowl and stir in the cherries, cranberries, and raisins.Store in an airtight container.

Bom Apetite!!

Para uma versão em português da festa, clique aqui e aqui.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Carol's baby shower - Prep Time...

As soon as I found out a good friend of ours was expecting, I knew I wanted to throw her a baby shower.  So I got together with a couple of close friends (plus the parents-to-be) and started exchanging ideas and planning it.  We decided on a brunch for the girls only, and I offered to host it at my house (that meant shooing the hubby to the basement.  Not to worry, I gave the man some beer and the TV remote and he was fine.) My friend told us her cousin was in charge of the party favors, which were going to be wrapped in a pink and brown paper/box.  With that in mind, I started looking for materials (ribbons, paper) in different patterns of this color combination: stripes, damask, polka dots… I was surprised I couldn’t find much at my local craft store, as I regard this combination as a classic – and beautiful – one.  So I turned to the internet, and found what I was looking for (and more!) on image banks and the like. 
I thought the mix of patterns looked cute and added visual interest to the color scheme.  I set to work on the names of the foods and beverages we would be serving at the brunch, and “dressed” a couple of cake stands with polka dot ribbons.

I found these pink plastic pacifiers and thought I could do the same I did for our baby shower back in 2007. This time, instead of martini glasses, I would put them inside champagne flutes and let guests choose their drink – a traditional orange mimosa or a cranberry mimosa.
The beverage dispenser is from Pottery Barn and I got it especially for the occasion :-)
I found this “decorate-a-bib” shower game at Michael’s.  Basically, it’s just white bibs with color markers to write messages/draw/decorate however you like.  This way, not only we could have a light and fun activity during the shower, but my friend would remember this special day and each one of us as her baby would go through dirty bibs, one after another… (may I say “redecorating” it, with puréed foods?)
I got some fabric flowers in different shades of pink at Ikea, just in case I didn’t have time to go to the store to get fresh flowers on the day of the brunch. The antique teapot was a recent purchase from Etsy, and I was excited to finally be able to use it!

You can se the baby shower post here!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mr. B big 4-0!!

The invitation was inspired by an idea my sister Katia had for our dad's 60th birthday party a couple of years before - big faces on little bodies :-)  She helped me "build" Mr. B's figurines, since I am less than a novice with any photo editing software...  It was really fun to make - and even more fun to have my husband pose for the shots!

Let the party begin... with a cheese plate, some grapes and crackers
Shrimp with Catupiry Cheese & Cachaça ready to go in the oven
Chicken Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce
Falafel with Tahini Sauce
Mini Chicken Tacos with Salsa Verde
Wine, wine, wine... in all shapes and forms
Parmesan-Black Pepper Biscotti with Moutarde à l'Ancienne
Salmon-Chive Mousse Cups
Homemade Hummus & Pita Chips. Corn and Lentil Nuts in the back
Palmiers - Anchovy Cream, Basil Pesto & Sundried Tomato Pesto
Silver confetti sprinkled on the black tablecloth
The "Salad Bar": Mixed Greens with Roasted Pears, Gorgonzola & Candied Walnuts, Curried Chicken with Raisins & Cashews, and Orzo, Spinach, Sundried Tomato & Pignoli Salads
Thai Chicken Salad served on a tasting spoon
I personalized some cigar labels with the husband's picture and the saying "Rolled in 1969".  Again, my big sis Katia was the one who helped me create the design for the labels

The cigars were a gift from my dad, and came directly from Brasil
I forgot to take a picture, but on the beverage table, next to the cigars, there was a bowl full of breath mints that read "Fabulous 40" and one with Engov, the Brazilian magic solution for hangovers :-)
Take-out boxes to fill with yummy leftovers...

Pictures of the birthday "boy" at different ages were hung throughout the house...
...using metal clips and rod (for hanging curtains) from Ikea
...and displayed as a centerpiece for the table
And last, but not least... birthday candles in Roman numerals spelling "40", and not "extra large"... the running joke of the night :-)

Para uma versão em português da festa, clique aqui.
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