Sunday, July 7, 2013

Italy-themed bridal shower

My cousin and I threw her sister an Italy-themed bridal shower a few months ago because that's where the lucky girl got engaged (I wouldn't trade my mother-in-law's-house-engagement-complete-with-scrapbook-from-the-hubby for anything, but the seven-year-old in me longed for an exotic engagement).

We scoured pinterest for ideas and here's what we came up with. We really didn't want anything too cartoon-y (thinking spaghetti scene from Lady & the Tramp) and we wanted it as authentic as possible without having it look like a Christmas party. Italy's flag colors are red, white and green, so that was a bit of a challenge.

We purchased tulle from the local craft store. It's super-cheap at a couple of bucks a yard. We ended up having to double it up so that it wasn't totally see-through. We used it as a swag across my aunt's window and as a backdrop for the triangle thing. We cut out the letters using a font from as inspiration, and then we glued it onto scrapbook paper and strung them up with thread. "Sposami" is "Marry me" in Italian...

For the tables, we used frames I already had and printed off cities in Italy that the bride-to-be had visited  and glued them onto scrapbook paper.

I also made the Martha Stewart puffballs you see everywhere in red, white and green. We suspended them from the ceiling with tacks and fishing line.

For the table where the B2B sat, we bought lemons (probably the most expensive purchase at 50 cents a pop) and sprinkled fresh basil leaves over the top and arranged it all in punch bowls we bought from the thrift store.

We also cut out the letters "A-D-O-R-E" and mod podged them onto mason jars and filled them with alstromeria and the white fluffy flowers.

The menu included bruschetta, a variety of olives, salad, pasta dishes, fruit, prosciutto, and lemon and strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

 Games included the toilet paper dress game, where you divide into teams and make wedding dresses in 5 mins or less and the bride selects the winning team. We also had the typical surveys about the bride and groom, word search and word scramble.


 As a favor for the bride, we bought knock-off Jenga and had guests write their names and wedding advice on the blocks.

And I leave you with the shower gift that was a huge hit: Wedding cake a la towels complete with his/hers rubber ducky cake toppers.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How to Freeze Homemade Baby Food the Non-Boring, Economical Way

Last month, I found an excellent blog with recipes for all kinds of homemade pureed baby food. I whipped up a heaping batch of pear oatmeal, tossed it in the freezer, thawed it out a few days later and...Hayseed hated it. So now I'm stuck with about 8 2-oz. cups of pear oatmeal to eat (wah wah) because I can't bring myself to throw it away (Danjou pears canNOT be thrown down the drain).

Enter baby-puree-money-saving idea. I don't want to be stuck with a gajillion cups of the same baby food for Hayseed to eat - the point of baby food isn't to feed baby - it's to introduce him to new flavors and textures. So I'm starting to make base foods that I freeze and then figure out spices and combinations of spices to add to the thawed bases.

The lovely beige ones are all of my oatmeal pear :(

Here is what I have so far for inexpensive bases and spices I have in my cupboard.

1) Sweet Potato - I make about a dozen cups using 2-3 sweet potatoes that I chop into 1 in. pieces, steam and puree. Divide into containers, freeze, and when ready - thaw and mix with one or more of the following:
Sweet: cinnamon, allspice, vanilla extract, vanilla yogurt, cloves, ginger, nutmeg
Savory: paprika, rosemary, carrot puree

2) Peas
Savory: chili powder, dillweed, marjoram, sage, rosemary

3) Carrots - Make sure you don't mix the carrots with their steam-water!
Sweet: allspice, cinnamon, cloves
Savory: basil, dillweed, marjoram, sage, rosemary

4) Green beans
Savory: basil, chili powder, cumin, dillweed, marjoram, sage, rosemary

If you're looking for more combinations, this website has a great breakdown of which spices pair well with different foods...