We finally got around to getting the baby baptized. I know. He's a year and a half old already! I actually attended a baptism seminar last year, but one thing led to another and then I decided to go ahead and do my confirmation first, and well, here we are. But it's done now, and that is good.
Of course, you have to have a party for these sorts of things. It occurred to me that in the five years we've lived here, we've never had a party beyond having a person or two over for dinner. I guess I always just thought it was way to small in here to have a party, which is sort of absurd when you think that a lot of people in New York City live in apartments smaller than mine and I'm sure they have parties all the time. At least, I like to think they do.
So, we had a small party. Just our oldest friends, some food, and the banner I made with his name from his birthday hung above the window. I turned our table around, moved all the chairs into the living room, and cooked. It turned out well. I know that normally you have the party after the actual baptism, but since it was going to be at 6:00 in the evening at a church twenty minutes from home, I thought it would be better to do it before. This way, everyone could come and join us to celebrate, then those who wanted to go to mass could and everyone else could go home since not all our friends are Catholic. By the time mass was over and we said our goodbyes, everyone would be home in time for the finale of Lost!
I apologize for the bad photos. I didn't want to open the shades all the way because it gets warm in there due to that big window.
Roughly from left to right - The dessert tower starring the Best Chocolate Cupcakes EVER
with Salted Caramel Frosting
and some fresh fruit for those who are more health conscious than I. The frosting was amazing but way too soft. Part of me thinks I could just add more powdered sugar to stiffen it up next time, but the addition of the caramel (which I burned the first time I tried to make it, never made caramel before) makes this frosting ridiculously sweet. The salt helps to offset that a bit, and it is good, but I could only eat one of these.
I printed off a sheet of Bubba's monogram on some white cardstock the night before the party. I used my Epic Six, and a circle die to cut them out. Then I took some colored cardstock cut that I cut with a scalloped die and layered them together with a toothpick sandwiched between. This made simple cupcake toppers. It probably took 15 minutes to throw those together and I thought it was a nice detail.
Bubba's godfather brought over some homemade smoked Polish sausage so he sliced that up and put it out on the table. It was really good. There is also a tray of tiny carrot maki rolls. I think these are so cute, but it's kind of tedious to have to explain over and over again that YES, it's REAL sushi, and NO, sushi does NOT mean raw fish, it just means vinegared rice. Bubba's godmother came over the night before and I showed her how to roll those while I worked on the cupcakes and frosting.
I bought the little maki mold
at a festival a few years ago. I make my own sushi vinegar seasoning. The stuff they sell pre-made just isn't as good, if you ask me. I did find that the seasoning lost a bit of flavor after sitting in the refrigerator overnight.
Next up - Shrimp in Sweet Chili Sauce. I think this was one of the more popular things that I made, and of course, it was the thing that was embarrassingly easy to make. You just saute your shrimp in a little olive oil and butter, adding salt, pepper, and garlic powder, then letting it brown a little bit. When it's got a nice bit of color, you pour in a little Mae Ploy sauce
stir it around, and let it simmer for a minute. Then you dump it into a pretty dish and serve with a bunch of toothpicks nearby. It has a slight kick, but nothing over the top. I don't even like salsa, if that gives you any clue how mild it is.
The main event - my big ass salad. If I ever make a salad for a party again, I'm so doing it this way. There were so many things in this salad that if I were to have tossed it all in a big bowl, a lot of it would have gotten lost at the bottom. Not only that, but it wouldn't have looked nearly as pretty. I laid out everything on a large platter in neat rows instead, so that you could just scoop across a section and be sure to have a little bit of everything on your plate. Genius!
The salad consisted of mixed baby greens, cubed roast chicken, white shoepeg corn, pepitas
(a mix of raw and salted/roasted), dried cranberries, cooked plain pasta in tricolored zoo animal shapes (found at Cost Plus, so cute!), and a six cheese blend that I bought pre-shredded because I didn't want to spend a fortune on six different cheeses AND have to sit and grate them all. I served a raspberry vinaigrette and something called Cowgirl Ranch
alongside. Since I don't eat salad dressing (I hate goopy food) I can't tell you what that was all about. You would be correct if you guessed that a few leftovers made their way into this. Can't be wasting food, y'all.
Finally, there was a quiche. I've never made quiche before, which is kind of silly. I guess the notion of an egg pie was not really appealing to me. I totally cheated on the crust because I had a pie crust in the freezer from some other project and it seemed a good way to use that up. I knew that I wanted to serve this on my cake stand, but I didn't want to have a pie plate balancing up there because it seemed a recipe for disaster. I ended up putting the crust in a springform pan
and just smooshing it up the sides.
I didn't follow an exact recipe. I just tossed caramelized onions left over from dinner the night before
, some spinach I picked out of the salad, some cheese leftover from the salad, and a little gruyere that I found in the fridge. Then, after consulting the internet and my Mark Bittman cookbook
for the proper egg to cream ratio for the filling, I beat four eggs (the recipes all say three, but mine were smallish) with a cup of cream and a little salt. After I poured that over the the goodies in the crust, I took my fingers and kind of smooshed the pie crust down a bit until it was just above the level of the filling. This made it nice and even all the way around.
After it baked and cooled, it was just a matter of pulling the sides off the pan and sliding the quiche off the pan and onto the cake stand. It was pretty dang tasty and not too shabby for my first time.
For drinks, we bought a bunch of different Jones sodas as well as some retro sodas at World Market. I didn't want to serve alcohol since we were going to church right afterwards. It seems like it would be wrong to show up to church with a buzz, you know? Since we weren't serving beer it only seemed logical to step up the soft drink selection from cans of Coke and Dr. Pepper to something with a little bit more style.
We opted to just use our regular dishes for serving instead of buying paper plates and making a ton of waste. Along those lines, we also used cloth napkins. I'm sure a lot of people are thinking I'm sort of insane right now, but it's no big deal if you have a dishwasher. As for the napkins, you just toss them in the wash with your other kitchen towels, no biggie. We did have to buy plastic utensils though, because somehow I've gone from having eight place settings of two sizes of forks to just having four. I'm missing a lot of spoons and a butter knife too, so I guess we need to look into getting more sometime soon.
I still love the pattern
I picked out ten years ago so I'll just get more of those. It seriously took me almost a year to decide on freaking forks that I liked, but obviously I made a good, timeless choice. It's funny too, because my friend's parents actually have the exact same ones from when he was growing up. It just goes to show you can't beat a classic!
Since I was already on the computer the night before making the cupcake toppers, I thought it might be fun to make personalized water bottle labels as well:
The boy helped, which was actually really cool. I set all the bottles on the table in front of him and let him watch me peel off one of the labels. He took it from there!
I used to make personalized bottles for sales presentations at the hotel all the time. I used to print them on sheets of label paper, but these I just printed on regular printer paper and then used my ATG gun
to stick the labels in place. It was another quick, easy project.
After everyone ate and we all hung out for a bit, it was time to head to church. There was one other family having a baptism today with us and they were already there. They had a huge party, filling five or six pews. The baby was about a month old, and he was in a sweet little christening gown and bonnet that were obviously vintage. He didn't make a peep the whole time they were taking pictures before mass with their nice Canon dslr, and he was quiet through the entire mass and ceremony.
Of course, we roll in and we fill all of two pews, because we rock. It's all about quality, not quantity, right? We snapped a couple of photos with my pink point and shoot camera, but then had to give up because unfortunately, mass was going to coincide with naptime. We decided not to get a special outfit for the boy because it seemed a waste of money for something that would never be used again. The only white dress shirt we could find was at Nordstrom and was thirty bucks, but I was not in the mood to bargain hunt at the last minute. I was just happy to have a dang shirt!
Well wouldn't you know it, when we were buying groceries for the party at Target on Saturday afternoon, we found a white button down that came with a red cardigan and bow tie on clearance for six bucks. When we got to the checkout, it actually scanned for $3.12. How's that for kick butt? The Nordstrom one is going BACK!
We put him in light khaki shorts, and because they were the only shoes he had that went with that outfit, khaki flip flops. That's right, I not only took my child to church in flip flops, I had him baptized in them. We're so tacky, I know, but the thought of him in that light colored outfit wearing bright green Chuck Taylors, or worse, black high top ones, just sat poorly with me.
The boy was NOT in the mood to sit through church. We walked in with the priest, the deacon and the altar servers and he did not want to be carried. He was thrashing around in our arms and doing that back arching thing so we would put him down. I even got the back of my own head slammed into a wall in the process! Finally, I just put him down and let him walk down the aisle, which he enjoyed. Of course, once we got up front and had to pick him up he started to get all squirrelly again.
Everyone in the congregation got to watch my child make a complete spectacle of himself. I know that this is normal toddler behavior, especially when said toddler was missing his nap, but dang. I was mortified. We ended up having to send him out to the courtyard and then I just sent a text message to my husband when the homily started so they could come back in for the actual baptism. That's right, I was texting in church too. *sigh*
We ended up having to feed the child a steady stream of jelly beans to keep him calm through the ceremony and communion. Even that barely was working after a while, but it was better than the alternative. By the time mass was over, he was COVERED in multicolored drool spots, all over that white shirt. We were so thankful to have found that three dollar white shirt at Target!
After mass we went out in the courtyard, and the boy was pretty dang jacked up on sugar at that point. He was laughing, making faces, being silly and chattering a mile a minute. He also managed to get his dad's diaper bag to swing around front enough that he could use it as a step and climb a bit higher up.
Check the grubby shirt and the nice oily hair. They don't mess around when they anoint you with that stuff! Bubba smelled like someone's grandma all the way home, and even now, after having had a bath. And that was our baptism day adventure!
Labels: Bubba, cooking, friends, how-to, husband, photos, shopping