Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Vanna White ain't got nothing on me

When I see something in a store I'm one of those BUY IT NOW FOR LATER kinda peeps. I just know I'll think of a use for it somehow and I have a fear of regret that I may never see it again. Like the toffee laces and - well, Alphabet pretzels!

Are they the cutest ever? I saw them at a local diner and kept staring at them throughout my meal. I was thinking of all the uses for them. Maybe the kids could use them for learning, maybe I could put them in a dip or...

...use them as cupcake toppers! OH YES. Imagine the possibilities! Typical because they were pretzels some of them were broken and some of the letters were few and far between - Can I get an 'N' up in this mutha? Damn. No 'N's makes things hard.

So there I am standing in my kitchen trying desperately to spell out words in pretzels. Further proving that if I had my own reality show, people would be RIVETED. After a good 10 minutes I finally I got both the kids names spelled out in pretzels. Did I just write that sentence? Good lord my life is pathetic. In any case 10 minutes of pretzel hunting is a long ass time. I should have named them something short like 'AL', dammit. I also got a friend's baby's name (who I was taking the cupcakes to) and the words "HELLO" and "LOVE", always useful.

I put them atop a Chocolate Dulce de Leche cupcake, the idea being the salty would compliment the sweet. They came out pretty fun - now my ideas are endless. Must search out more boxes of Pretzel Letters. Looks like my to-do list is filled up.

Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cupcakes recipe

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gotta eat and run

My short stint in San Francisco consisted of seeing as many people as possible and eating as much as possible. Mission accomplished. Since I was there for such a short time I felt like I was running everywhere, it didn't help that my short 45 min flight was delayed 2-1/2 hours. Grr - fog.
First stop was the offices of Foodbuzz, who held an Open House luncheon on Friday. In a weird coincidence, on my way there I found out that I was named the winner of the Foodbuzz Festival logo contest! They are such a nice group of people, I really wish I could attend the event in November because it looks AMAZING. I mean, a three day festival of just eating?! Too awesome.

I stopped by the Glen Park area to visit Perch, a home and gift store who has carried my stationery in the past. Wow, what a fantastic store. They have such a great selection of items! Since my friend's kid was with us, we stopped by a bakery for a snack. As we sat there munching on cookies, the store closed. As we got up to leave they told us we could TAKE ALL THE BAKED GOOD WE COULD CARRY. Uh, have you ever wondered what you would do in that situation? Knowing I was going back to a hotel I held back. But my friend who is pregnant and hungry took. it. all. And what the heck, they were going to dump it all anyway. We're talking cinnamon rolls, muffins, pecan rolls, croissants, LOAVES OF BREAD. It was amazing.

Before I even knew Elizabeth Falkner was going to be at the conference, I had made a reservation at Citizen Cake - and I'm glad I did. The food was fantastic, just really flavorful and perfectly cooked. The flank steak with horseradish ice cream worked really well together, who knew? But of course the pastries. OH the pastries. She is talented and you could taste it in every bite. I need to get her book Demolition Desserts, now.

And finally, my last indulgence, Bi-Rite ice cream. I have to say, I know my ice cream and this has to be some of the best I've EVER tasted. It was just perfectly proportioned as far as taste and texture and it just left you feeling...good! My friend had the strawberry-kiwi sorbet and I had the Malted Vanilla with Peanut Brittle. It was amazing, I'll have to try and recreate that - sans the peanuts, of course.

The trip was so short I didn't even get to visit a bunch of other people OR go stroll the Ferry Building, which is the absolute BEST place for foodies. Not only that, I arrived at Miette one minute past closing! Not that I needed to eat any more, but still. Disappointment. ~sigh~ Maybe next time.

More SF pictures, here.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

blogHER Food 2009

I just got back from San Francisco for blogHER FOOD '09 and it's been a whirlwind couple of days! I was only in the city for less than 48 hours - and let me tell you, every second was jam packed. Aside from the conference I saw a lot of Bay area friends and ate a lot of food. A LOT of food. Wow.

I'd never attended a blogHER conference before and then they decided to do one solely focused on food, how could I resist? The schedule was filled with  really informative lectures like photography, how to take your blog to the next level and even copyright protection. All the seminars were really helpful, I wish I could have attended all of them.

It was neat to see the faces of bloggers behind the blogs that you read everyday. Not just the well known bloggers who were speakers, but all the attendees too! WHO KNEW there were so many food bloggers? I may be the only person in the world who doesn't ever show their face, so it was funny to run into people who do read my blog or have seen my cupcakes.

I got to hang out with Cookie Madness, who I felt like I already knew from reading her blog and her twitter. The same goes for Nicole of Baking Bites, notMartha and Joy the Baker and all the other people who I've read for so long. Of course my old pal the Food Librarian, she and I tore up the town outside of the conference but that's another story for another day.

For a food conference of course there were cooking demos! We watched as Ryan of Top Chef fame made a really tasty frittata then placed it on crusty sourdough to make a sandwich. I was excited to see Elizabeth Falker, owner of Citizen Cake. She made an impressive box out of solid chocolate sheets, a trick which I must recreate for a party. Coincidentally I had made a reservation at her restaurant this weekend and the food was AMAZING. She is a great chef and the pastries were to die for. It's no wonder she was on Top Chef Masters.

One of the more strange events at the conference was a lunch hosted by Rocco DiSpirito who was there to talk about pre-packaged pasta dinners, which they served us for lunch. I thought that was an odd choice for a conference full of bloggers who normally cook from scratch. I would have preferred a meal cooked focusing on local ingredients, but it was an interesting time nonetheless.
Getting back to the good stuff, a definite highlight was seeing a panel that included Ree Drummond of Pioneer Woman, David Lebovitz and Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes. It was a great mix of speakers who talked about their inspiration and how they got their blogs to where they are today.

Overall it was a great time. I got to see and talk to a lot of my favorite bloggers and also picked up a lot of tips. I can't wait to see if they start doing these in different cities, the future of food blogging is taking off!

Tomorrow - the city. And what I ate. And ate. And...ate.

More blogHER FOOD '09 pictures, here.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

So hot in herre

It is SO HOT here. I stumbled into 7-11 dying of thirst only to be greeted by...DOMO Slurpees. Oh dear lord. You know I love DOMO so much I even made DOMO cupcakes!!

There were 4 different cups and straws but I only bought one. Coke flavor. That is the only kind I drink. Kinda looked like melted DOMO...

more DOMO slurpee pics, here.

DOMO cupcakes, here.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

I would do anything for love...

Jenn: "Who were you talking to on the phone?"
O.G.
"My friend. We were guessing who was going to die next."

Jenn
: "Always a fun game."


Considering all of O.G.'s friends are dying off, it is rather amazing that she is still around considering her personal dietary restrictions involve eating ONE bag of greazy potato chips, not two.

O.G. will only eat things that were once living and had four legs. Poor, poor animals. You're what's for dinner. Looking back, this is probably why I didn't eat meat for all those years.

And so I give you a classic O.G. recipe. Something bad wrapped in something worse. Yes sir, Bacon wrapped Meatloaf it is. It sounds crazy, but it is quite tasty.

The fact that I have a super secret meatloaf pan that gets rid of extra greaze is what makes me feel more comfortable in making this recipe, I have to say. But hey - if it was going to kill you - well, it's not doing it's job since O.G. is 88 years old and doesn't look to be kickin' off anytime soon.

O.G.'s Bacon wrapped Meatloaf recipe

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Do or do not...there is no try.

When Kindergarten started, the teacher talked about how one kid would excel and be picked to be the Star Student. I listened to the speech but didn't think anything of it. Guess who got picked to be the first one after just two weeks of school? That's right. The Kid! Ha. I laughed because I should have seen it coming. That boy is just a GOOD kid. He listens, and just loves school work. So yay, him.

He had a bio to fill out and when it asked where his favorite place was (Disneyland) and what he wanted to be when he grew up (an artist) it gave me pause because those are the EXACT things I wrote down when I was his age. Yikes.

As far as his school lunch there have been no new incidents of complaint regarding the menu, thank god. I've got enough problems without more complaints. DONE WITH COMPLAINTS everyone, thanks. So I've been trying to change it up, seeing what works and what comes home a soggy mess. Ew. Nothing like old warm food remnants. Blech.

I've been taking pictures of his lunch to amuse myself, only because the Yoda on the lunch pail looks super serious about his meal. It cracks me up. Here's Yoda and his balls. His MEAT balls.

These were leftovers from dinner and worked out well for lunch too. The Kid liked them so add one to the WIN column for me and Yoda.

The Kid has really taken to Kindergarten and loves studying - makes me wonder what he'll grow up to be. Hopefully not an unemployed designer-mother of two. Then again - that's...not...possible. Hm.

Brown Sugar Meatballs recipe, here.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

For the Love of Liz


Perhaps you've heard of a blog called Matt, Liz and Madeline. It's a blog started by Matt Logelin that was a way to journal his life with his wife and their new baby. Only...his wife didn't make it. She died shortly after childbirth and Matt was left to gather himself and raise his daughter all on his own.

It's a sad story, but a loving story. And his blog chronicles all the fantastic ways he's showing his daughter how wonderful life can be.

Recently they held a gala to benefit the Liz Logelin Foundation. A charity that helps support families who've lost a loved one. I've never met Matt. I've only read his blog and never commented, much like people do here. But I felt the need to be a part of it, so I donated an assortment of stationery. It's small compared to the more amazing things up for auction, but I wanted to do something. Feel free to bid on it, or any of the other fantastic things for sale. It goes to a good cause. It's amazing how blogging can develop an emotional support system. I think we can all use some of that now and again.

(My auction ends on the 27th.)
Liz Logelin Foundation auction
justJENN designs stationery assortment
All auction items

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sweet surrender, is all that I have to give

Cupcakes. The gift that keeps on giving.

I was walking through IKEA the other day for the first time in years, and I was inspired to make cupcakes. In the shape of a desk or a Sweeeedish lamp? No - I was in the food section and I saw these 'toffee laces'. I've never seen those before I've only seen licorice laces, I thought they'd make awesome bows to top a cupcake.

I sketched up some ideas and thought that since they were bows - the cupcakes looked like presents - therefore...I should fill them. Yum. So I hollowed out the cupcakes and filled them with delectable Dulce de Leche, topped them with fluffy vanilla buttercream frosting and a little edible toffee bow. And there you have it, the sweetest present ever.

I brought them to a friend who gave her stamp of approval as my 'best cupcakes to date'. Well. Fill anything with sweet delicious creamy caramelized sugar and I'm sure it's a win. But I'll take any compliment I can get.

I think these would be cute for a birthday - Oh! Or Christmas! Hm...

Dulce de Leche cupcakes recipe, here.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Used to be a sweet boy

As a supporter of pop/modern art, I am a big fan Wayne Thiebaud - he is most well known for drawing pies and cakes and sweets - a man after my own heart. When I heard the Norton Simon Museum was having a Thiebaud exhibit, I couldn't wait to go. But wait. Pasadena - in the middle of this summer heat wave? Forget it.

But they won me over by the fact that they were having a 'family day' that celebrated and discussed the art of Thiebaud. The premise was that the kids were to make their own 'sweet confections', paper cakes as it were using die cuts, glue and paper. Sold!

We got there only to find out that the exhibit was SMALL, just one room - which was really disappointing, also disappointing was the fact that the craft set up was outside and despite the shade, the soaring 90 degree temps quickly did me in. Not the kids though, they got really into it.

The always super-anal organized Kid made perfectly balanced boxes of cake, with sides of equal and complimentary colors. The Baby was more free form in thought and his design concept revolved around...whatever was within reach. Both cakes, two different approaches, came out stunning. Lovely little paper cakes.

Perhaps it's being in a new class or maybe that he's going to turn 4, but the Baby has really started loving art - maybe seeing the Kid and I draw together everyday finally hit home. He seems to have found his voice artistically so it was nice that now he loves doing these art projects with me just as much as the Kid.
Despite the heat, I think it was a great craft that tied in perfectly with the art exhibit - and it's something that we can continue at home on our own. The Thiebaud exhibit is small, but the Norton Simon has gorgeous grounds, I recommend it if you are looking for a good museum to go to on the weekend.

More Norton Simon - Thiebaud kids day pics, here.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Big head

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?

I've created a monster. The Kid is a mini me in every way. He loves art, he gets terribly distressed about things and most of all, he is a foodie. For someone with so many dietary restrictions/pickiness, it's hard to believe.

That first week of kindergarten I was just too harried (screw in my popcorn, anyone?) to realize I'd have to make his lunch everyday, so I packed up a crappy sandwich quick-like. He came home that day and said "Can't you put together something else for lunch, say...fruit? Maybe some chicken salad with a little mayo?" You've GOT to be kidding. Suddenly it's Top Chef: Lunch Bag edition up in here. Good lord.

I am not going to be a mom who goes nuts making crazy fancy lunches for my kids. I am not. Oh who am I kidding, I'm sure it will happen down the road, but luckily I'm too busy right now.

So I've been trying out recipes at dinner to see what he likes and doesn't and what will work in a lunchbox. So I threw together a chicken salad PER HIS HIGHNESS'S REQUEST. I added apples for crunch and bacon, for well - bacon, and the kids ate it up! Great. Who knows what the world's smallest food critic will request next. Now I guess THIS is how I'll have to drive him to school. Gotta bust out the silver spoon and linen napkins for the Clone Wars lunchbag...

Chicken Apple Salad with bacon on croissant recipe, here.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Well, it's just a simple fact.
When I want something,
I don't want to pay for it.

So, since we've reached another Thursday benchmark, let's check in. Has anyone gone to the hospital? No...! Has anyone taken a header in the middle of traffic? Uh, nope! Great! Ok, let's call the week a win and...hold up. What now?

Yeah so this week was fairly uneventful unless you count the fact that my credit card number got stolen. ARGH. Can I get a break up in here? It's like why steal from the one mofo who has no money? (That'd be me.) People who steal, are jerks. Whether it's stealing internet content, stealing a pack of gum, stealing cars, you are an a-hole.

Until this is resolved I have no credit card and since it is now cut up, I can't buy my kids shoes - and they JUST grew out of the ones I just bought! I'm glad they are growing, but man - I can't keep up. However you know what I can afford? $500 at a Nokia store in the midwest and $900 at a Babies R Us - 'cause that is what was charged to my credit card - and went through. Now I have to fight this crap to get my money back. Ugh.

What did I do since I was so stressed? Bake of course. I hung up with the credit card company and went straight into the kitchen. I made stew. I made cupcakes. And I made itty bitty cornbread muffins. So tiny a few of them fit into the palm of your hand. You know how long that takes? A LONG TIME. All that work relieved my stress, for sure - but I'm still broke. And some jerk in middle america is using a $500 cellphone and/or stroller courtesy of me. Phooey.

Tune in next week to see if my life gets better or worse. Until then, I'll be making cornbread like a maniac.

Sweet Cornbread Muffins recipe, here.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Orange you glad I didn't say banana?

You know I hate bananas. I really really do. Just looking at them sitting on my counter annoys me. But my kids LOVE them and in an effort to come up with as many recipes as possible for the Kid without chocolate or nuts, I knew I'd have to reach out to the banana and become friends. Or frenemies, who knows.

After many tries I came up with a cupcake recipe that I think I can stand. That doesn't sound very convincing, but let's just say I can eat these and enjoy them and everyone else in the universe that has tried them who LIKE bananas said they were divine. So there.

Recently these came along with us on another playdate, of course. And since I am the owner of a box of 100 cocktail monkeys and I don't drink (I know, I'm crazy) - they made it onto the cupcakes as little toppers.

This hasn't fully coverted me to being a banana-eater, I still give my bananas on the counter the stink eye as I walk past...

Banana Cupcakes recipe, here.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

She's crafty and she's just my type

Once a month Target sponsors Free Family Saturdays at the JANM-Japanese American National Museum. This event featured their new Kokeshi Doll exhibit which is so amazing, you just have to see it. I think I like these new exhibits because they teach you about the history, show you artifacts and then the end of the exhibit features modern artists versions, it's fabulous. The art exhibit from Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park was also just opened, I have been really wanting to see that but it features some 'explicit material'. No go for the kids, I'll just go with O.G. later, heh.

If you remember the last time we went to one of these it was Superhero themed - this one was 'crafts' which I thought was pretty cool. They made kokeshi dolls, aprons, bookmarks, journals, drums, WHEW. To top it all off they also had a 'cooking' make and take and made fruit roll up pouches. Huh. Didn't sound appealing to me but the kids ate it up.

It's amazing what kids can come up with when you just let them run free and create. It's an inspirational way of looking at art. I got some good ideas for a new project, just by watching the Kid draw, thanks Kid!

I love that all of this was FREE. There was a lot for the kids to do. So much that we had to stop, eat lunch, then go back in for more. They were WORN out, but we couldn't leave downtown without getting mochi of course. I noticed that the mochi store now carries...wait for it...Mochi filled with GELATO. A new take on mochi ice cream. YUM. We'll be back for that next time.

More museum day pics, here.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

You buggin'

The Kid is LOVING Kindergarten, and even asked to go on the weekend, which I find weird. But I'm not complaining, it's better than hanging on my leg and crying. Which is PLAYED OUT, thanks. I hope this love of school keeps up.

It figures, the school is a 'sugar-free zone' which means no cupcake making for me. BOO. Oh well, I just have to pass these things out in other places. The kids have been having a lot of playdates recently, which is really good for making new friendships - I think it is helping them get along in school.
For a recent playdate, all boys - I took the idea of the pretty flower pot cupcakes I made for the shower and I...uglied them up! When I bought the sugar flower, I also picked up a bunch of hideous bugs. I knew the boys would get a kick out of them because they were so gross. After I frosted the cupcakes, the kids sat down and helped me put the sugary bugs on top.

Even though they were supposed to be gross, they still turned out kinda cute. When you line them all up in a cupcake tray, they look like you've just pulled them in from the garden! These are GREAT for taking to a play date and having the kids help out. However, be warned that once those kids eat all those sugary bugs - they will be bouncing off the walls more than usual. Don't say I didn't warn you.

With all these playdates in our future, you'll probably be seeing A LOT more cupcakes around here... Our social calendar is filling up. Please call and make an appointment. We'll bring the cupcakes.

Bug Cupcake how-to, here.


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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Summer Promo

Two more days of the summer promo!!:
From now through September 15th get a free mini pack of 'Thanks, cupcake ' cards with any stationery pack/custom stationery purchase!

Also brand new 'Thanks for the monkeys' cards - now availiable!

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

To all who come to this happy place, welcome.

It's no secret, I'm a big Disney fan. So when they announced D23 - an expo just for fans, well I bought my ticket first thing. I chose to only go yesterday (the first day), to avoid the crowds. On the weekend they are showing some amazing things - Toy Story 1 & 2 in 3D, Tron, all kinds of sneak previews. But...I'm not much of a fan of the movies or the characters, as much as I love the parks. Vintage 1955 - beginnings of Disneyland - Walt Disney's dream - that kind of stuff.
What made this con so good was that it was all super fans. Not in a horrible way, but in an appreciative way. Also, the organization. Wow. I understand that it's a big corporation so it's much easier - but as opposed to all the griping at Comic-Con this year, D23 was really organized well. Mostly because the people they had queueing us up and seating us were ALL Disney ride operators! No wonder they knew what they were doing, they do it everyday!

First I went to the opening ceremonies where they showed a whole 1/3 of the new movie Princess and the Frog. I have to admit I wasn't planning on seeing this movie, girlie flicks aren't my thing - but wow, the animation on this. It's Disney's return to old skool hand drawn 2D and man, what a difference. You have to see this movie.

My first panel on my agenda was all about Disney Toys. Despite people's hatred of Disney as a 'greed machine' I have to disagree, especially after seeing this panel. It was so nice to hear the designers talk about their inspiration and the love of toys and see their sketches translate into actual objects. I have to say, there is some cool stuff coming out for Christmas. Those Santa lists are going to be long.

The next panel, I was dying to get into - Vintage Disneyland. This was a one hour panel showcased lost footage of Disneyland being built. I could watch that stuff for hours. That panel along with the Disney Imagineering Legends panel was so inspiring. They had six original Imagineers up there, who designed and built all the rides that we now know and love. I love that they took a concept and just built it. If it wasn't done before, they'd just invent it. It was an old skool way of doing things, very craftsman - paving the way for the future.

As far as the rest of the convention, the floor was a little sparse. This being the first year of the convention I can see it being 1. more crowded this weekend and 2. really turning into something big in a few years. Honestly, if the shopping area was bigger I think they'd make bank. Just sayin'.The thing about Disney is most of these fans have memories of watching Disney on tv, having their families take them to Disneyland - it's a real emotional link for a lot of people. You could feel that at the convention. My mom went to Disneyland the first year it opened. I have home movies of me on Main Street. Maybe when my kids grow up they will tell their kids that I worked for Disney and remember all the times that I took them as well.

D23 runs from now through Sunday. If you go on the other days, let me know how it is. I had a great time, I can't wait til next year, I'm sure it will be even better.

LOTS more D23 pictures, here.

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I've fallen and I can't get up!

Hm. Could I possibly get through one week accident free? Nope. Not a chance. I feel bad about this one though. I forced O.G. to leave the house 'cause she seemed depressed. I told her we could just go out for ten minutes and I'd take her to get donuts. OF COURSE the freakin' donut place was closed, however she didn't want to go home. So I just kept driving her wherever she wanted to go, the post office. Target. The bank. Until FOUR HOURS LATER, we found ourselves at the mall.

We got out of the car and we were walking across a mall traffic lane, when I heard a *BOOM* and turned around only to see her LYING FACE DOWN IN THE STREET. Holy crap - I screamed, I swear. She'd decided to 'run' because a car was coming. (Uh - it was a good 40 feet away, going 2 miles an hour, but ANYWAY...) She'd tripped over a speed bump and fell face first into the pavement. Good god.

Now, she is 88 years old see, and I thought she was dead. She looked it. Cars were coming, but I couldn't lift her. I dunno, I am a weak ass, and she only weighs 100 pounds but I guess since it was all dead weight it was impossible for me to move her. So this guy jumped out of his car and dragged her to the side of the road. We sat there for a good 30 minutes, until she felt ok. She refused to let me take her to Emergency.

She went to the doctor the next day and the doctor said she was very, very lucky. This all sounds awful, but believe it or not she came out of it mostly unscathed, just slightly bloodied and a little sad. Now I'll never get her out of the house, I'm sure. All of this leads to one thing: Gary Sinise, of course.

~later in the day, after her fall~
O.G.: "Let me reenact my fall for you."
Jenn
: "NO THANKS. It's like a goddam C.S.I. episode."

O.G.
: "OH! My
favorite actor is in that!
Jenn
: "What! Who?"

O.G.
: "You know. The guy who was in Of Mice and Men."

Jenn
: "Lon Chaney!?!"

O.G.
: "No, no, the recent version with John Malkovich."

(looking on my iPhone)

Jenn
: "imdb tells me you mean...GARY SINISE."

O.G.
: "YES! He is my FAVORITE actor!"

Jenn
: "What? Since when. What else has he been in that you've even seen? imdb says here...REINDEER GAMES."

O.G
.: "No! There's been more. He is a brilliant actor!!"

Jenn
: "Oh...Forrest Gump."

O.G
. (nearly yelling) "YES! FORREST GUMP! WASN'T HE BRILLIANT IN THAT?!"

Jenn
: "Yes I truly believed he had no legs. Maybe he shouldn't have had legs in Reindeer Games either."

O.G.
: "He is my favorite actor!!!"

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Flowers in the dirt

When I plan a party I sketch out everything. I mean everything. I draw pictures of the food setup, the tables, the favors - all of it, for whatever the theme may be. For this past shower I had about ten theme ideas fully sketched out, but I went with flowers.

I had visions of these little flower pots on the tables that were edible favors. I knew I wanted the cupcakes to look like 'dirt' - so chocolate was in order. Giada has a good recipe for chocolate chip mascarpone cupcakes which even she made with her tiny T-Rex arms. But I changed it a bit to make it work with what I had in the pantry. They are light and flavorful and the ganache makes for some perfect fake dirt.

Now, I was considering hand piping all the flowers, but I'm not THAT crazy. (Sometimes.) So I went to Gloria's cake and candy in Culver City to see what they had. Turns out they had an amazing array of sugared edible flowers, so many that I knew I would be able to get the cupcake garden I was envisioning, with half the work. They even had 'wafer' leaves - not that tasty, but you can eat them if you want.

A few of them bunched together would make a great centerpiece. I wonder if I can convince the boys to have a flower birthday party instead of a Batman one. Probably not.

Chocolate Chip Mascarpone Cupcakes
Cupcake Flower Pot how-to

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Monday, September 07, 2009

Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers, that grow so incredibly high

My SIL's baby shower was this weekend, and since I've done so many other parties, I'm now an expert and I was ready and set up...three hours...early. What. So we just sat and rested. I guess it's better than a mad rush to the finish.

I set up the food table with sandwiches and snacks - Baby Cupcakes of course, can't have a baby shower without baby cupcakes, am I right? And this time around I did something different - in the past I've done a cereal bar, a snack-chips bar, but this time I thought it'd be cute to do a Milk and Cookies bar.

I don't know why I didn't think of it before, it's perfect for people who want to go up and just grab a little something throughout the party. Also if you don't want to bake 180 mini cookies from scratch like I did, (because I am crazy) just go buy pre-packaged cookies from the store and do the same set up. It's still cute, either way.

It was crazy hot in the house - beach houses don't have air conditioning you see, it's only hot about one month a year, anyway - so the drinks went pretty quickly. I set up Pomegranate Limeade, and ice water. But I infused the ice water with flava by cutting up thick slices of ripe pineapple and adding it to the water. (A trick I saw at a local restaurant.) It gives the water a nice crisp taste without being overpowering, PERFECT on a blazing hot day.

For favors I made Buzz Notes notepads (see the flower theme, here?) and then I made Chocolate Chip Mascarpone Cupcakes, and decorated them with little sugared flowers. I bought a bunch of different kinds so it'd really look like a garden - then I put them in little flower pots, which REALLY made them look real. It was a cute party favor that people seemed happy to take home. And it was edible. Always a plus.

The mom2be got SO MANY presents (I knew she would) so I did a little game called "Baby Bingo". Basically your fill in the squares on the card with what you think she is going to receive and then as she opens it, you mark off your card - just like BINGO. It was fun and kept people from being bored. I mean how many onesies can you ooh and ahh over? (A lot, apparently.)

I did just one more game and that was "The Price is Right". I got ten baby items from Target, and the guests had to guess the price without going over. Closest to the actual price, got a point. It was a lot tougher than you'd think. For instance the 9oz baby bottle cost the SAME as the 5oz baby bottle, 99 cents! What's up with that?

The party was quick, and a lot of fun. Hopefully my SIL will be prepared once the baby comes, she should...look at all this loot!!

More shower pictures, here.

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