I have a small group of girlfriends from school who all live around the Twin Cities with their wonderful husbands and significant others. We all have busy lives, so we don’t see as much of each other as we could before we all grew up and joined the workforce, but we manage to keep in touch by making sure every big event in each of our lives is celebrated. There are 5 of us in total which means we all get a chance to host small group celebrations every time someone gets engaged, married or has a baby, or in the lulls between those milestones, someone hosts a brunch or a game night. In early September, I hosted a baby shower for Betsy, who was expecting a baby girl. This is the chevron shower invite that I created at ontobaby.com, a great website that I happened upon that allows you to customize colors and content and create many neat things for free, and then print them, or send them out via email as a PDF. Since the shower, teeny little Vivian Kiyoko arrived, and she is beautiful and I am so thrilled for Betsy and her husband, Sam that they are parents of this perfect little person.
Like most easygoing and enjoyable parties, this one started with advanced preparation. I made a full recipe of Martha Stewart’s Corn and Zucchini Orzo Salad. The salad was lemony with juice of 3 lemons and zest, kicky from the jalapenos from our garden, tasty and light, but the recipe, which reports to yield 6 servings yields something closer to 16 servings. I guess the pound of orzo pasta, 6 medium zucchini and 6 ears of corn should have been a tip-off. Everyone loved the salad and it made for some good leftovers the next week for lunch. I served the crumbled feta in a separate bowl so each person could add their own. Somewhere along the line while preparing for the shower I read an article about all the things pregnant and nursing moms aren’t supposed to eat, so anything that could vaguely be construed to be unpasteurized or uncured was served separately, even though most of my groceries probably satisfied both of these pregnant-person dietary requirements. I’m a vegetarian in a mostly meat-eating world, so I am (over)sensitive to this sort of thing. I am so glad that Tea Sandwiches and Deviled Eggs are back in vogue. I like both of these baby shower classic snacks, so I made both. Tea Sandwiches are perfect baby shower bites–they are small, cute and girly. I made cucumber tea sandwiches with cream cheese and chives, and smoked salmon tea sandwiches with the same spread. Both the sandwiches and classic deviled eggs were yummy. Decorations are one of the things that make a gathering into a party, so even though this is a small shower with a group of girls who gather with some regularity and don’t rely on pretense, I had to decorate. Betsy was expecting a girl, I took that as license to go pink. I cut dots out of pink felt and strung them into a garland on embroidery floss. Each felt dot is secured to the embroidery thread with two hand-stitched french knots. [Try saying that five times fast.] I stuck these around the patio with pink striped washi tape. I also hung pink tissue paper balls from the house and our patio lights with washi tape. I bought little pots of pink mums; hearty ones, like the moms and moms-to-be at the shower. I wrapped the pots in poufy pink tissue paper, shiny clear wrapping paper and secured the paper to each pot with a wide pink ribbon, tied in a bow. The hearty mums decorated the table and served as a little favor for each person to take home. I marked every person’s place at the table with a plant stake topped with a pink polka-dot name card that I made with a strip of card stock, further embellished with washi tape that I stuck into the pot of mums at each place. To round out our lunch I served antipasto skewers which consist of golden cherry tomatoes, marinated artichoke heart quarters, salami, fresh mozzarella, marinated mushrooms, peppers and seasoned olives from the grocery store olive bar threaded on to short bamboo skewers, dressed lightly with balsamic vinaigrette and garnished with fresh flat-leaf parsley from our garden. I set up a buffet table on the patio so that we could help ourselves to food and drink while we relaxed and talked. I set out pink tumblers and reusable striped straws as well as champagne glasses out so everyone could pour their own pink lemon-aid Arnie Palmers from drink dispensers and San Pelligrino sparkling water from the bottle which was sitting on ice. I also set out bottles of fruity Joaia and Izzy’s soda, and of course, we popped a bottle of champagne. I served mixed nuts, mints and bridge mix in a cut glass candy dish, another nod to classic baby shower fare that I am happy to revive. Desert was simple and totally a highlight. I whipped cream and stirred in sugar and vanilla, and sliced strawberries and blueberries which macerated in sugar in the fridge. The whipped cream and fruit were a delicious topping to a white cake made in a bundt pan, served with coffee. Betsy took home a nice assortment of cute baby gear, books, clothes and other essentials, and this cute Locally Grown Clothing Co Minnesota onesie. Nice pick, Alison. September was a busy month! Having to buy a new car and getting a new roof for our house and a few trips out of town took the time I’d normally devote to blogging, but I’m back and planning to share a few “catch up” posts about the fun we’ve been having, stop back!