*Vegan Alert* Hello from the future… or maybe the past? I dunno. Anyway, just here to warn my vegan fans that this is an old post with an old, non-vegan recipe. You can easily veganize the cupcake recipe, but you’re on your own for my mom’s quiche recipe. OK thanks bye!
This past week end my mom and I set out to prove something to the world: baby showers do not have to suck. Now, my baby shower was attended by members of Sweet Cobra and one of my gifts was a breast pump wrapped in a Budweiser box, but that’s not really the kind of gal my sister Nina is – and anyway, as much as I hate to admit it, baby showers should be less mosh parts and more cute.
But there’s cute-cute and then there’s lame-cute. We were determined to avoid the latter. We started with a general theme based on the way Nina is decorating the baby’s room – pink and brown and birds. I did a quick Etsy scan and found a shop called Paper & Pigtails that offered up adorable customizable, printable invites, thank you cards and other favors. A few email exchanges later and we had our stationery needs taken care of, along with cupcake decorations, favor details and custom-designed water bottle labels. Shop co-owner Kori was super accommodating to our requests and had designs in our hands within days. I credit custom-made invites and favors with at least 60% of why this shower was so successful. Stay tuned til the end of the post to find out how you can win customized printable invites and party circles for your party from Paper & Pigtails!
My mom obsessively hunted down pink and brown polka dot balloons, plates and napkins while I zeroed in on the snack situation. We had about 20 guests coming so we decided to make a few quiches and salads – and to ask my aunt Cindy to make her apple salad that I go gaga over at every family function. As far as cupcakes were concerned, my sister mentioned she’d been craving fruit through her whole pregnancy. So we put our heads together and decided on lime, strawberry lemonade and chocolate raspberry cupcakes. Our friend Tara carved a watermelon baby carriage and filled it with fruit – that kicked up the food table cute factor at least 20%. (Do you like all these percentages I’m pulling out of my ass? More to come.)
We decided Jordan almonds are the grossness, but wanted to send guests away with something little, cute and sweet. So my mom found these great little 2″ square favor boxes that would each perfectly house one macaron. The night before the shower I was building boxes, gently placing a macaron from Fritz Pastry inside and topping it with a party circle from Paper & Pigtails while my mom tied each one with brown and white baker’s twine from Bake It Pretty. (Also stay tuned to the end of the post for a great deal on cute stuff from Bake It Pretty!)
My mom worked on the party playlist (Foo Fighters, Green Day, No Doubt and other stuff she and my sister jam out to) and we scoured the Earth for non-lame shower games. Nina is a fan of the candy bar poopy diaper game so that was a must. If you’re unfamiliar, you get a variety of chocolate candy bars and melt one of each into a clean disposable diaper. Pass them around at the party and watch with delight as your guests sniff – and even taste- the “poop” to guess what candy bar it is. I swept the contest at my sister’s first shower by being the only fatso to identify a melted SKOR bar. After choosing a handful of other games we settled on bubble bars from Lush and SIGG water bottles as prizes. Every time a guest won a prize, my sister won a prize as well. (I gave her the matching thank you cards as one of the prizes, along with a book of stamps.)
The planning part was relatively easy – so the day before the shower I went to my mom’s and got started on execution. There were buttercreams to make, cupcake toppers to assemble, water bottles to label – lots to do. I’m pretty anti-bottled water, but it’s tough to round up 20+ reusable bottles and glasses to serve your guests on a hot day. So I spent about 45 minutes pulling the labels off bottles, sticking our custom labels on and then tying each one with pink or brown ribbon. At one point my little brother watched what I was doing and gave me the “ooooooh kaaaaay” look only a little brother can give you when you’re doing something stupid. Truth be told, those water bottles were the talk of the party. People seriously thought those were so cool and they were so simple to do. Well, I should say they were one of the wow factors – the other two were the quiche and the lime cupcakes.
My Mom’s Perfect Quiche
- 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded gruyere cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
- 1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust
- 3 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 cup light cream
- 1/4 cup dijon mustard
Sprinkle cheese and green onions evenly on bottom of pie crust. Whisk together eggs, cream and mustard in small bowl. Pour evenly over cheese mixture. Bake at 375°F for 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted in filling comes out clean.
We did a few variations – one with spinach, a plain and one with bacon. And yes, you could make a crust but we made five of these things in about an hour and people raved about them so… why bother?
The lime cupcakes took me by surprise because I’ve never made them before and I really didn’t think it would be the flavor people went for of the three I made. But it was!
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup self-rising flour
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel
- green food coloring (optional)
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350 and line your pan with cupcake papers. Whisk both flours in medium bowl. Beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar; beat to blend. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then next 3 ingredients (the batter will look curdled). Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions. Spoon into pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until tops spring back when touched lightly with finger. Cool in pan 10 minutes, remove from pan and cool completely. I topped mine with lime vanilla buttercream – which is just a simple vanilla buttercream with lime zest and fresh lime juice.
My sister loves the way cupcakes look when you “rim” them in colored sugar. So each cupcake got a roll through pink sanding sugar from Bake It Pretty.
My mom made a giant noodle salad and stuck it in the fridge to get delicious overnight and we ordered a spinach and garlic deep dish to celebrate an honest day’s work. I’m turning into a Golden Girl, so I was in bed by about 9:30pm and up again at 6am Sunday to get started on the real, actual fun stuff.
In the morning my dad blew up balloons – I should mention that he mowed the lawn for SEVEN HOURS on Saturday – and my mom and I cut lilacs and arranged them in mason jars for the tables. The yard came together pretty quickly – aside from the SEVEN HOURS my dad spent on the grass – we threw the table cloths on, strung two clothes lines, set up the chairs and rolled out the drink cart. My mom has been buying baby clothes since my sister announced the pregnancy, so we strung about 25 outfits from one line, including some hand-embroidered onesies she made and some hats she knitted. The bottom line was for the bibs. We put a few buckets on each table containing fabric paints, bibs and clothes pins. While Nina opened gifts we asked the guests to decorate a bib for Quinn.
About an hour before people were supposed to start showing up we threw the quiches together and stuck them in the oven. My dad made sangria and my parents argued about whether or not they should have bought a beverage dispenser for the occasion. I personally think it would go perfectly with the chocolate fountain they bought for my wedding reception and the helium tank they now own, but what do I know?
Guests started rolling in and it’s all really a blur from that point forward. We made bibs, played games, ate a lot of food and did a lot of talking about lesbians as soon-to-be-married family friends Jen and Lauren were in attendance. Once I posted the pictures and started hearing from people “I’m stealing that idea” and “those water bottles are adorbs!” I realized how much impact those little details really had – so I’m glad my mom and I are both OCD enough to have cared about them.
And now, because you managed to survive an entire post about a baby shower and not kill yourself, I have a little something for you. Kori at Paper & Pigtails is offering a set of customizable printable invitations and matching printable circle designs (for cupcake toppers, gift tags, etc) to one of my readers! Expect to increase the fanciness of your party by at least 75% if you win. To enter, leave a comment with one piece of advice for soon-to-be-born Quinn. Instead of leaving it up to Random.org I’m going to pick my favorite comment as the winner so put some thought into it! I’ll choose a winner on 5/26.
If you must get your hands on some colorful sprinkles, baker’s twine, brown baking cups or any of the other sweet little baking details we used for the shower you can find them at Bake It Pretty. And between now and 5/25 you can take 20% off your order of $20 or more when you enter MAYDAY20 at check out.
Bye bye, baby!