As I may have mentioned, I am one of about a dozen friends and family members that are pregnant. (No, really. I’m not exaggerating.) My favorite part of that is that both of my sisters-in-law (who I call my sister wives) are pregnant as well. I had the privilege to assist with throwing a shower for one of them and it was so much fun.
After cooking for another friend a while back, it was mentioned that I try it on a bigger scale and see if it’s something I enjoy because I could maybe make some cash in a small-scale catering biz. So obviously, I did the only natural thing: I started envisioning what my life would like as a full time party-planner/caterer. (Y’all know me. I have an entrepreneurial spirit and take on way more than I should at all times…. Bear warns me every time, let it be said.)
So, I volunteered to handle all of the food for this shower. (I was picturing a small gathering of ladies in the afternoon.) I quickly learned that’s not what this was. It was a couples shower. At 7 pm. With 60 people on the invite list. Gulp. So, I pulled on my big girl pants and got to work…
Obviously, I wouldn’t be able to do all of this myself so I had to have help, something I’m loathe to ask for.) Luckily, all of the ladies that were helping out gladly lent a hand. I was thrilled to be working on a project with so many generous women.
Unfortunately for the ladies, I think I was really, umm, bossy. I had put together this wonderful menu and once I realized I wouldn’t be able to do all of it, I wouldn’t let go of the menu itself. So when people asked what they could bring I informed them of the the dishes (and recipes) that I wanted… as delicately as possible. Another thing I am loathe to do is tell anyone I don’t know well what to do. (If I know ya, all bets are off.)
- pork sliders
- cilantro chicken salad sammies on croissants
- veggie tray
- pesto pasta salad
- caprese skewers
- grilled cheese sammies
- tomato soup cups
- cucumber cups with hummus
- cucumber tea sammies
- chocolate mousse
- cake pops
My brother-in-law made wonderful pulled pork that was absolutely killer, which was really great because I wanted the guys to have a variety of things to choose from because most of my menu was dainty shower stuff. (Seriously, y’all, this pork was wonderful! People thought it was catered!)
Cilantro Chicken Salad Sandwiches on Croissants
This was a recipe from Skinny Taste, per my usual. I adjusted a bit, but if you would like the original, here it is.
This chicken salad is SO good because of the cilantro. Lots of people asked where I ordered it from and I was thrilled to say “I made it!” It really was delicious. Aside from the cilantro, it’s super awesome because it’s shredded chicken, not just slapped in a food processor to mush. It takes longer to make when you’re hand-shredding chicken, but I think it tastes so much better!
Pesto Pasta Salad
This is the ONLY pesto pasta salad I make, so when the girl who volunteered to make this dish asked if I had a specific recipe in mind, I sheepishly said “Actually, yes I do.” (What can I say? I have a lot of preferences and opinions and only Ina Garten’s would do!)
Here’s the recipe. This is actually the only recipe Goose ever makes too, so to me, it’s like “Mom’s Pasta Salad!”
I know, I know. I always make these. Here’s why: people LOVE them. They are refreshing, delicious, and the easiest things ever! Another girl volunteered to do these and they turned out just fab! For my directions, here you go!
Ultimate Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup
Yup, I have made this before too. You may have seen this recipe in my As Seen In section. It was featured in Honey & Nonno. Check it out here.
While I had made these before, I never had in bulk. I got them put together ahead of time but grilled them at my sister wife’s house right before the shower. After the grilled cheeses were done, I sliced them into individual mini-sammies and rested them on cups that were filled with tomato soup. (This didn’t last very long because I put the remaining grilled cheeses on a cake stand next to the display and they got gobbled up very quickly.
With the soup, I’ll say this: Unless it’s gazpacho, the individually prepared cups aren’t really practical. Read: They didn’t stay hot. I was continuously refilling cups from the crockpot in the kitchen once I realized they were getting cold. However impractical, it did look pretty good though!
Cucumber Cups with Hummus
This is really about presentation. Scores big points. I bought bunch of cukes and peeled stripes in them. (Warning: It requires a reasonably steady hand.) Once they were striped completely, I sliced them into 1-1 1/2 inch pieces. From there, I took a melonballer and hollowed out the inside, leaving a little bit of cuke on the bottom. (See what I’m saying here? You are basically making cups.) Then just add dollops of hummus (your choice of flavor) into each one.
Here’s the big trick. The cucumbers get watery. The trick is to do all the peeling, cutting hollowing, and let them sit on papertowels for a little while before filling them. I let mine sit for about an hour with paper towels on the bottom and resting on top before I popped them back in fridge. I didn’t put the hummus in until the party. (i.e. the next day.) This keeps them from becoming a watery mess.
Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
I love these so much and I’ve never actually made them before. Guess what? They are so easy! Basically you chop up fresh dill and stir it into creamcheese. Then you slice up cucumbers thinly to be layered into the sammies. I took a few loaves of White Mountain bread from Publix and cut it into pretty circles with the top of a mason jar. (I didn’t have any circular cookie cutters.. Imagine that!) Then you smear a little of your cream cheese mix onto each side of the sammie, place a few cucumbers, and you’re all set!
The cake pops were brought by another friend and they were both delicious and adorable! They were little babies and they were soooo yummy! Apparently, they were made by a local dad who works out of his own kitchen. I’ll get the details on this and update later. (Pregnancy brain!)
Chocolate Mousse Cake
I have a great, easy recipes for chocolate mousse that involved cookie crumbs and rather than making one big cake in a spring form, I let the cake sit over night in baby food jars that I picked up at the store. To give them the country mason jar look, I took muffin papers and turned them upside-down and tied them with a piece of twine. I didn’t have to make many of them because of the delicious cake pops, so they went pretty quickly.
One guy popped in to ask about the crumbs and when I told him they were crumbled cookies and not graham crackers he called me a genius. Then, when he was leaving the room after raving for a while, he stuck just his hand back in the room so I could see a big “thumbs up!” It was awesome.
I wish I could take credit for that fabulous diaper cake, but alas, that is one thing I have never known how to make. Maybe one day, I’ll master it! It did make a wonderful addition to the decor though. Unfortunately, or fortunately (depending on how you look at it), I didn’t pay attention to the subsequent emails that followed after the menu was decided. Thus I showed up with about 10 blue mason jars and white flowers to place around the house for added ambiance. It wasn’t until later I realized that flowers had actually already been tasked to someone, so I hope I didn’t step on any toes… On the plus side: She also brought blue mason jars with white flowers with little chalk signs with baby-related stuff drawn on them. So… it looked so GOOD!