Sunday, November 21, 2010

Owen Turns 1 - part one

One week ago Sunday was Owen's First Birthday. We arrived back from Florida Friday night at 9pm and his party was Sunday at noon, leaving us one day to scramble to get everything ready. It was totally worth the sleeplessness we experienced because everything went off exactly the way we planned. 

The party was inspired by two plush robots of Owens. My sister knit a blue robot when I was expecting Owen so he was our main inspiration. Here are the party invites.
We had Owen's baby friends over for a play date party in his playroom downstairs first. This is where we had several Everyday Food appetizers out. 

First were the Crunchy Paprika Chickpeas. These turned out great and are a lot like the roasted salted edamame I'm hooked on. It's a great munching snack which I enjoy more than opening a bag of chips. Second was Sweet & Spicy Almonds which were a party fav. These were quicker and easier than the chickpeas but just as delicious. Next up were the Spicy Cheese Crisps. These are, in a way, a savoury shortbread. Minimal ingredients but very tender and melting with a nice kick. All three of these are dead-easy and I'll surely make these in the future for party snacks. 

Then there were a couple more substantial appetizers we put out. This Hot Spinach Dip took a lot of spinach. Two large containers (2lbs) of fresh spinach were mixed with 6 oz of cream cheese, which in relation was very dense with spinach. Everything went off perfectly with this dip and just as the party started the top layer of toasty mozzarella was perfectly golden. Then I did something regretable - I layed tin foil over the top to prevent it from drying out. Once I removed the foil the top mozzarella layer came right off with it. No biggie really, only I didn't snag a photo when it was beautiful. I didn't bother to shred more cheese on top to fix it, I was simply too busy.

The final appetizer were these Pot Stickers. I've made dumplings in the past and they are very labour intensive, but these are so quick and easy. I made them the week before Florida and froze them, that way when we got back they thawed in the fridge and were fried just before serving. I didn't get a chance to taste them but Nuno said he heard many people saying they enjoyed them. 

All the above appetizers are complete make-again's. I was really pleased with their simplicity and flavour. If I could make 4 of these along with cupcakes and decorate a birthday cake in one day you've gotta know they were quick and easy.
Two desserts I made from scratch which are also Martha Stewart recipes were the Cog Cookies and Vanilla Cupcakes. They aren't part of the Everyday Food book but I thought I'd link to the recipes anyways.

These cog cookies are simple Sugar Cookies with blue food colouring added. I chose to do this because I didn't think I'd have time to ice them. We created the shape by using a pumpkin puree can to cut out the circumference of the cog and a shot glass to remove the centre. The notches were created by using the stem portion of a maple leaf cookie cutter.

The Vanilla Cupcakes were very basic. I used my King Arthur flour with these because I wanted to guarantee a great texture. The frosting was Sub's Plus vanilla buttercream they set aside for us on our cake order. Since Owen's birthday cake was to be finished with fondant with only a thin buttercream crumb coat, we had lots of frosting leftover. I used a pastry bag with a star tip and piled the frosting high. The robot paperliners and toothpick illustrations were purchased from Williams & Sonoma. Worth every penny spent!

Next entry will be all about the party!

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