I’m a 13-Year Old Girl (Or This Adolescent is Planning Another Baby Shower)

I love free food. (We’ve established this.) Yesterday I was choking down my chana masala, not really in the mood for it, when one of my coworkers mentioned there was leftover food in the kitchen. Obviously I ran down the hall to investigate. When I entered the room, I discovered brown paper boxes lining the counter. I grabbed the box labeled “Spicy Italian Sandwich” and returned to my desk with my salami swag.

Upon opening the box I discovered an entire lunch had been packed inside. “There are chips in here!” I exclaimed gleefully. I was happily unpacking the other contents of the box when my coworker asked, “Anika, is your father still around?”

“He is.”

“You must bring him endless joy… because there is a part of you that will always be a 13-year old girl.”

“That’s probably why he has so many shotguns,” I replied, picking the tomato slices off of my sandwich. I wasn’t really sure where he was going with this train of thought, but my first reaction is usually to make a joke if I can.

“Well, I don’t know about that, but the way you got so excited about the chips… it was adorable. Tell him the dad in the office said so. He’ll know what I mean.” At this point I was about fifteen shades of crimson, because I’m a WASP and genuine, heartfelt statements like this make me blush. But it was sweet. And I have to admit he wasn’t wrong. I will probably always be a bit of a kid inside.

That’s why it’s hard for me to take down my Christmas decorations every year. I hate the idea of shoving all of that pretty, sparkly stuff into some dark closet. I absolutely had to force myself to do it last weekend. I mean, I think I died a little inside when I had to take the Cynthia Rowley sweater off of my vodka bottle.

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He was so cute and toasty in his sweater.

Now he’s naked. And Ordinary.

And my polar bear bearing candy?

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So generous. And regal.

He’s back in a closet. Crying ‘cuz he’s not handing out licorice in my living room.

But it’s time to move on. I get that.

I know I can’t hang on to the season that has past or I might miss what the new season has in store. I honestly don’t know what this spring will bring because absolutely everything in my life is up in the air, but I do know I’m planning a baby shower for one of my best friends. And that’s pretty awesome.

It involves elephants. For real.

See?

invitation

Photo courtesy of Paperless Post

I’m trying so hard not to do this to the dessert table.

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Photo courtesy of Martha. Obviously.

We’ll see if restraint preveals, ‘cuz this is all kinds of cute, right? (Plus it brings back polar bears.)

If you want to see what else is percolating in my party planning brain, you can check out this pinterest board.

Soon we’ll discuss my bedroom situation because I decided arson wasn’t the answer.

Peter Pan Party Wrap Up (Or Here’s Everything in One Place)

OK, this is it. The final Peter Pan Party post. The everything-in-one-place post. The you-never-have-to-hear-about-it-again post.

These Peter Pan Partygoers are eager to wrap this ish up.

See, I’m saving you from digging around my blog to piece together a Peter Pan Party the way I used to rummage through piles of black capris and halter tops on my floor in college just to find two matching Steve Madden platforms. (Note: I do NOT wear Maddens anymore. This is because I no longer think it’s acceptable to be hobbled by cheap footwear.)

Invitations
I used Paperless Post because I’m into saving the planet by saving some trees. And also because their designs are like the perfect storm of affordable and attractive.

Photo Courtesy of Paperless Post.

If you’re not into this design, here are a few more pirate-y options.

By the way, PP now offers a charity stamp option. They donate $0.05 to Amensty International, Red, or the ASPCA if you choose the charity stamp instead of the default option. Naturally, I went with the ASPCA puppy stamp. Since we had 142 people on our guest list, we bought a little bit of kibble for homeless pets just by inviting people to drink with us at our party.

Flowers
Here’s the work in progress post, complete with ordering info on the vases and sprinkles.
And this is the reveal.

Neverland Map
I explain how to age paper for a treasure map or Neverland map here.

Other Assorted Decorations
This is the decoration wrap up, complete with product ordering information.

Appetizers
Spicy Eggplant Dip
Truffle Popcorn

Taco Bar Main Course
Cola Carnitas
Slow Cooker Chicken (Note: I didn’t handle this part of the party, but if I had, I probably would have tried this recipe.)
Salsa
Salsa Verde

Dessert Bar
Sprinkles Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Mascarpone Frosting
Banana Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting
Glazed Lime Cake
Chocolate Stout Cake
Skull and Crossbones Sugar Cookies

And now… bacon wrapped meatloaf, because everything is better when it’s wrapped in bacon. Truth.

Peter Pan Party Aftermath Post 3 (Or How to Make Strawberry Cupcakes)

You must make these cupcakes. I speak the truth.

There are few things on earth I love more than cilantro and strawberries. Not necessarily together, mind you, though that might be worth trying….

As a kid, I ate strawberries right out of our garden – even when they were slightly green. (I was weird. Still am.) When given a choice of ice cream flavors, I’d pass up chocolate every time and pick strawberry. I still do.

OK, you get it. I dig strawberries. So, for my totally out of control birthday dessert bar (err, round table — there was an incident), obviously I had to make strawberry cupcakes.

I need to get photoshop so I can fix my food photos — Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition style.

To make sure I actually got to eat one at my party, I carried that sweet little confection around for an hour until I was ready to eat it. It went everywhere with me as I table-hopped like that stupid garden gnome in Amelie.

So, here’s how you make these round bits of heaven:

The strawberry cupcake recipe can be found on Martha Stewart’s site here. (I recommend following the instructions precisely — especially when it comes to sifting the flour and using eggs and butter at room temperature. It makes a big difference.)

The recipe is actually from Sprinkles, the famous Beverly Hills bakery that Barbra Streisand frequents. (True story.) Since I don’t necessarily care for the sweet butter cream frostings they often use (or any butter cream for that matter), I invented my own strawberry mascarpone frosting.

The recipe is below.

Strawberry Mascarpone Frosting

1/3 C strawberries, finely chopped
1/3 C powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
pinch of kosher salt

4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 C butter, room temperature
1 1/4 C powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
4 oz mascarpone

Blend strawberries, 1/3 C powdered sugar, salt, and lemon juice in food processer. Allow the mixture to sit for ten minutes.

Meanwhile, blend the cream cheese and butter with the paddle attachment of your mixer. Add 1 1/4 C of powdered sugar and blend completely. (Sifting the sugar prevents large clumps from forming in your frosting. It’s worth the extra effort.) Add vanilla and the strawberry puree. Mix to blend. Add the mascarpone and blend on low speed. (You have to be careful not to beat the mascarpone too much because it curdles if you do.)

Place the frosting in the refrigerator until it is the proper consistency for spreading. (About 15-20 minutes.)

Note: Because the recipe calls for strawberry puree, the frosting cannot sit out too long or it will lose some of its firmness. It’s best to frost the cupcakes shortly before serving or keep them covered and refrigerated.

Tomorrow I’ll hook you up with the banana cupcake recipe — and my salsa verde recipe — so you can see my love of cilantro in action.

And now back to my thank you notes because this spoiled birthday brat got lots of loot.

Drills, booze, flowers, and aprons. People get me.