It made more sense to have our baby shower host write the post about planning this shindig…so without further ado, I give you my bestie’s thoughts on throwing me a rockin’ party…
By: Jeff Hinchee
As someone who reads Delia’s blog, you no doubt spend your free moments thinking about how lucky her friends are to regularly indulge in her epic and well conceived parties. We ARE very lucky. Delia and (husband) Jeff are really amazing friends, so I wanted to throw them the baby shower they deserve. Actually, when Delia and I were in California last year throwing baby showers she pulled me aside, looked me in my eyes and said— totally deadpan— “Take notes. This is your job when I’m pregnant.”
The theme was loosely inspired by Delia’s nursery. Enchanted forest, real and imaginary animals, with a splash of “baby hunting lodge”. For the invitation I collaged together a bunch of images I liked to convey that unusual concept.
Throwing a party for such a seasoned party planner is a daunting task. Even though I knew she would be happy with anything, you would never invite the Queen of England to stay in your railroad apartment and sleep on the Ikea mattress on the floor that you call a bed. And so I enlisted the help of some other devoted friends, referenced Martha Stalwart frequently, and proved that you, reader, CAN throw these parties too!
With only 30 minutes to set up the space it was a scramble to get the food table arranged, the leafy pennants and balloons hung, and the furniture moved around.
Truffles are the easiest candy to make at home, they are basically composed of only two ingredients and you can flavor them in a million different ways…which makes them the best Christmas gift EVER!
I carved a large stamp for the truffle boxes (click the image for the video tutorial), stamped one in red on white paper, scanned it and printed a bunch on sticker paper. They still look hand stamped but they are all perfect and low maintenance.
Since truffles are mostly just heavy cream and chocolate, you can either pre-infuse the cream with flavors by using a steeping method (whole ingredients left in hot cream for 30 minutes and then strained out) or you can add flavorings or liqueurs to the melted mix.
The basic ratio for the simplest truffle is 1 cup of heavy cream to 1 pound of chocolate (a mix of bittersweet and semisweet). The basic method is this: heat the cream to boiling, remove it from the heat for 30 seconds and then pour it over the chopped chocolate and whisk until smooth. Add a tablespoon of dark brewed coffee and a little vanilla to heighten the chocolate flavor. Let sit at room temperature until firm, scoop and form into balls and roll in cocoa powder or powdered sugar.
SUCCESS! Left to Right: Holiday Spice, Peanut Butter and Pretzel.
I decided to make 3 “truffles” this year as my Christmas gift using the steeping method…although one is really just a classic peanut butter ball! After successfully making a delicious Cinnamon Toast Ice Cream this summer by steeping the cream with buttered cinnamon toast croutons, I thought, “why not try this same technique with pretzels?” The resulting “Pretzel Truffle” is subtle, but delicious, while the other “Holiday Spice Truffle” is punchy and perfect with every one of my favorite flavors this season. How you can make your own truffles and my recipes from this year after the jump! Continue reading
Whether you’re throwing a big surprise party, or just a small birthday dinner, whipping up these masks of the guest-of-honor will make for some unforgettable photos! I happened to have this great photo of my friend, Jeff, from our wedding. I enlarged it in full color on card stock and cut it out with an Exacto blade. Then, I simply taped some bamboo skewers I had from my kitchen onto the back and placed one on each place setting at his birthday dinner party table. It got me thinking…imagine walking into your own surprise party and seeing your shocked expression on 40 other faces…amazing!!