Follow Me on Pinterest

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ava's First Birthday Party!

After weeks of planning and collecting all the ideas from Pinterest and hunting out the actual supplies and decor items on the web, everything came together perfectly for Ava's first birthday party. I knew I wanted something soft and pretty for her, a cute little brunch. Originally the plan was the make majority of the items which I also found from Pinterest, but as I got closer to the party date, I had to improvise and search for items that didn't require too much work but would fit into her brunch. 

Store bought lemon curd from Trader Joe's and fig jam from the local supermarket went perfectly with simple scones I made that morning.

Tossed the berries in a little bit of sugar, except the strawberries
Decided to get prints of photos of Ava since birth to put as the background.
 Anything with a vintage and french flair I found through the website Save-On-Craft. The website has every kind of supplies you would need to decorate a wedding, baby shower, birthday, and/or any occasion. The mini milk bottles I got was much cheaper than other places I've seen. The paper straws was ordered from Etsy.com through a store that allowed you to select the styles you wanted for a set price.
The mini bottles were a hit with the different style paper straws
 Originally from my previous post, I did a test run on the pink ombre cake that I originally was going to make for her birthday, however due to time restraints, I ended up purchasing a cake from my favorite dessert restaurant in San Diego called Extraordinary Desserts. I got Ava the Shangri-La which is AMAZINGLY delicious. The cake contains white chocolate mousse, guava mousse, fresh strawberries and whipped cream are layered between vanilla cakes moistened with kirsch. I also love how the outside has off white and pink!

I ordered washi tapes from Etsy.com and made a little banner to put on her cake.

Costco mixed cookies in a jar!
Here is the final set up with the drinks in as well! I love it! Majority of the food I found at Costco, and surprisingly Trader Joe's carry a lot of miniature sized appetizers!

I was able to also make the pressed Italian sandwiches from the previous night using torta buns, salami, provolone cheese, pesto, and mayo all from Costco. The morning of the party, I cut each torta to make three small mini sandwiches and I wrapped it with parchment paper and pink/white baker's twine. Also since the food theme was more of a brunch, I decided to make a quick potato hash that I sauteed with onions, green bell peppers, and salt/pepper. I put a little in the mini cupcake liners I found at Michaels.

The two kinds of meatballs were also found at Costco that my friend sauteed and warmed up the morning of the party.  To cut time, I bought raspberry lemonade and guava juice I found at the market for refreshment.

The hardest item to find for her party was the cake stand. I saw so many beautiful white cake stands but with them costing $40+ just for one , it would of been extremely expensive to have multiple. I eventually came across this beautiful teal/blue 3 tier cake stand from Kohl's!! It was already on sale, plus an additional 30% off and free shipping, it was too good to pass up. In the end it gave the brunch table a nice pop of color and I was able to coordinate that to the strings for the balloons.

The strings attached to the ballons are just strips of plastic table clothes I found at PartyCity. This idea I also found on Pinterest!

Birthday girl enjoying her cake.

Ava playing with friends :)
Overall it was a perfect first birthday party for Ava, the party I had envisioned with the help of Pinterest came through and everyone had a wonderful time. Food was great and all the kids had a lot of fun. Now with two kids, I will have to start earlier planning for each of them since every birthday is special. Pin It Now!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Ava's first Thanksgiving!

Little Pilgrim!
First Thanksgiving that we are spending together with the four of us. Lots to be thankful for, like the picture above, Joseph being the great big brother he is. Always willing to give Ava a hand without asking. Ava is very lucky to have Joseph and let's hope she doesn't boss him around too much when she is older!

Each year now for Thanksgiving we like to keep the meal planning as simple as possible. Last two years instead of getting a whole raw turkey or raw turkey breast to bake, we buy it the morning of Thanksgiving from the deli section at the local market. Meat is cooked in their oven and it is always tasty and fresh. Last year we only got the dark meat and this year we decided on turkey breasts. This helps to free up the oven space to do other baking like the sweet potato and warming of other dishes.

Very flavorful and yummy!
Always got to have the green beans no matter what. And we do prefer the french green beans over the fatty ones. I usually blanch the green beans first before a quick sauteed with onions and mushrooms with some salt and pepper. That is all you need to keep it fresh and light.
We always prefer sauteed green beans with cremini mushrooms and onions.
Mashed potato is the most basic, this year I roasted a whole head of garlic to give it that sweet garlic tasty but without the garlic bite.

Roasted garlic mashed potatoes
 The #1 most requested item on Joseph's Thanksgiving meal. The one and only sweet potato and marshmallows. However, since we had a butternut squash sitting around, I added some to the mix and added some butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I even went above and beyond by placing each marshmallow standing up!

Sweet potato and butternut squash with marshmallows
 Since this is Ava's first Thanksgiving and just in time to start eating human food, I plated her little Thanksgiving dinner for her. She has a little pile of mashed potato with the turkey gravy, diced turkey breast, diced green beans, some sweet potato/butternut squash with marshmallows, and a piece of crescent roll for the gold! She ate that all up and loved every bite of it!!
Ava's first Thanksgiving! Her modified baby plate of her food.
 Here is the adult version of Ava's dish. Soon enough she will be eating like us all!

Mommy's adult version.
And what's a Thanksgiving without some good ol' Julian pies? Since Joseph finished the pumpkin pie from Costco earlier in the week, I decided to get Julian pumpkin and apple pie. We ate them nice and warm with french vanilla ice cream. However my mom preferred it with her Haagen Dazs green tea ice cream.

Super Asian style here with the green tea ice cream!!

Pin It Now!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Snapshots from the iPhone- Cute edition

Recent pictures from my iPhone...summer to now. With lots of pictures of Ava and some food and Joseph and his Angry Bird obsession. Life is good and life is happy.
Pin It Now!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ombre cake! Ava's birthday cake test run

When I first saw an ombre cake on Pinterest, I knew immediately that I wanted a cake like that for Ava's first birthday. I've baked lots of cakes before but I didn't just want any boxed cake with pre-made buttercream. Since it was her first, I wanted something light and less sugary so she can have a bite at her party. I decided to do a trial run to make sure I knew the amount I needed, timing, and insanity to put it all together on top of everything else.

I've always preferred asian cakes because its more airy and light and they usually cover the cake with a whipped frosting instead of buttercream. We just like everything with less sugar in general. I found a chiffon cake recipe from Martha Stewart's website. I think we really sets this cake apart is the use of cake flour and safflower oil. I used three 9 inch cake pans with a bake time of 25 minutes in this recipe.

For the cake:

2 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup safflower oil
7 large egg yolks plus 9 large egg whites
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 whole vanilla bean, split and scraped, or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Wilton gel food coloring (I used the ROSE one)

For the whipped cream:

 2 cups cold heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for sprinkling


1. Make the cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together flour, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, the baking powder, and salt. Whisk together oil, egg yolks, and milk in a large bowl. Whisk flour mixture into egg-yolk mixture.

2. Beat egg whites with a mixer on high speed until frothy. Add cream of tartar and vanilla seeds or extract, and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar, beating until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes. Whisk one-third of the egg-white mixture into batter. Gently but thoroughly fold in remaining egg-white mixture with a rubber spatula.

3. Grease the cake pans, dust with cake flour and line the bottom with parchment paper before pouring in the batter.

4. Transfer batter evenly to three, 9 inch cake pans. I used one half toothpick dipped of the gel food coloring for the first pan, then two half toothpicks for the second, and lastly three half toothpicks for the third. Move in a clockwise motion with a fork until completely colored. My first attempt was short in one pan. Bake until top of cake springs back when touched, about 25 minutes. Let cool on racks until.....cool.

5. Whisk heavy cream and confectioners' sugar in the mixer to a sharp peak. Depending how you style the outside, you can even go for soft peaks for the whipped cream. Once the cakes are cooled, use a cake leveler to slice excess off. Add a think layer of whipped cream between each layer (1/8" to 1/4" would work). Continue to cover the cake and style however you like it. I decided to go with a rustic spackling kind of look.

It is good to always do a test run, you can see in the final I did not mix the coloring in completely. Since this chiffon cake calls for folding in the whipped egg whites, I did not feel comfortable going crazy with it. On top of that I did not want to risk ripping the parchment paper I had in the bottom of the pan. I also did double the whipped cream portion to make sure I had enough to fill in between the layers and the outside since the "spackling" needed a whole lot more whipped cream.

But actually the end result came out pretty nice! The cake was very light and definitely does not feel heavy at all. I might add some strawberries or a mixed fruit to serve with it. I know for the final run, I will definitely add more whipped cream in between each layer, portion the batter in each pan evenly, and mix the gel food coloring together better.

Pin It Now!

Share and Enjoy!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...