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Party Central {Part 2} – The Spread

10 May

As a self-proclaimed foodie, the menu for my birthday brunch was a huge decision.  And since it was brunch, the possibilities were endless.  Sweet or savory?  Breakfast or lunch?  Hot or cold?

It was exhausting.  And, honestly, the menu changed.  A lot.

Knowing we wanted a dessert table, we decided to focus the main table on savory dishes.  And, since brunch is the best meal of any day, we offered both breakfast and lunch options.  Everyone would be happy.

The original plan was to make all the food ourselves.  Seemed easy enough.  After some thought and timing calculations, however, I came up with another plan.  Enter Dangerously Delicious Pies, a local bakery that offers various quiche and savory pies.  The place has received rave reviews and great publicity (and our neighbor happens to be friends with the owner, so really keeping it local!).  

Best.  Decision. Ever.

First, the amount of time it saved us in the end was worth the drive to DC ten times over.  Second, they were delicious.  Third, we were able to get a vegan pie (and while only one of my guests was vegan and the intended consumer, the savory Tofu Curry was a huge hit).

As for the rest of the main dishes?  Yes, we did in fact make it all.  We baked, we roasted, we grilled.  We tasted, we added, we tossed.   

Final main menu:

Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche 
Bacon and Gruyere Quiche
Tofu Curry Vegan Savory Pie
Walnut Tarragon Chicken Salad
Old Bay Shrimp Salad
Strawberry and Pecorino Spinach Salad
Roasted Asparagus
Cheese Platter
Crudites Platter with Lemon Hummus 
Fruit Platter
Cinnamon Rolls
Maple Oatmeal Scones
Granola Bar

As for the dessert table, well, I felt some pressure.  I knew sugar cookies were a must.  And cupcakes too.  But what flavor?  I decided to go with some of my favorites – which all happened to work well with the brunch theme (phew!).  

But I thought we needed more.  So s’mores pops were added.  Then Oreo truffle balls.  And then mini macaroons.  Mom made me stop here.

Final dessert menu:

Vanilla Orange Mini Cupcakes
Chocolate Hazelnut Mini Cupcakes
Triple Coconut Mini Cupcakes
Vanilla Latte Chocolate Mini Cupcakes
S’Mores Pops
Oreo Cake Balls
Mini Chocolate Dipped Macaroons
Almond Sugar Cookies

And, just in case you are wondering, yes, everything was freshly baked by me.  With love.

* I have linked some of the food back to the original recipes… but stayed tuned!  I’ll be posting my tweaked versions in the coming weeks.  Yum!

Party Central {Part 1} – You are Cordially Invited

5 May

I promised birthday brunch details.  And I don’t like to disappoint.  So here you go.

Shall we start from the beginning?  For me, that was the color palate.  

Mom and I knew we wanted the party to feel classic and feminine with a modern twist.  After a little bit of discussion and a lot of internet browsing we settled on light pink (feminine), white (classic) and grey (modern twist), with accents of peacock (another modern twist).  

From here, we moved on to the invites.  We happen to have a really great printer, so I suggested we look on Etsy and print them ourselves.  Highly recommend.  

After looking at a bunch (okay, nearly all) of the invites on Etsy, we settled on a design from KMThomasDesigns.  I can not say enough positive things about Krysta, owner and designer of KMThomasDesigns.  She was amazing to work with – responsive, helpful, patient.  I could go on and on.  And trust me, I know I can be a bit of a challenge!  

So why is this route so great?  Well besides the obvious – direct contact with the designer – the Etsy route is very cost effective, even more so since I work at Paper Source and got a discount on the paper (full disclosure here!).  You can also print the exact quantity you want, which is a huge bonus when you realize you forgot to invite Great-Aunt Matilda (you know what I mean).

Additionally, it allows you to customize the invites.  The invite Krysta designed was primarily pink, which I loved, but I wanted a neutral to make the overall feel a bit more sophisticated and mature.  We achieved this by backing it with grey card stock.  Then we embossed a similar flower on the envelope in a couple of places.  All this was easy, easy, easy and inexpensive.  It’s all about the details!

Another great part of using a designer from Etsy is that you can have other pieces designed using the same colors and theme – which saved me aggravation and time.  For the invites, Krysta designed return address labels for us that matched the invite.  She also designed food tags and tent cards with the same theme (more on that later).

The invitations really set the tone for the birthday brunch.  Plus, we received tons of “oohs” and “aahs” about the invites, which is just nice to hear.  And a few people even noticed the details like the embossed flower.  Phew!

Next up?  Decorations… stay tuned!

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