Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Brady's Square Root Bash

So, I am super excited today to have my dear friend, Sommer, as a guest blogger.  Recently, Sommer started a blog called A New Leaf.    You should definitely check out her blog for all things fashionable, crafty, organized and well designed.  I get SO happy every time she has a new post, and it makes me REALLY miss being neighbors.  (I have decided I may have to start up a Blogs Anonymous at some point, by the way.  I am obsessed.)

Sommer has been working on a fun and creative party for her son's first birthday.  Brady was a rare and special square root baby, being born on 3/3/09, so she decided to go with the square root theme...incorporating squares and roots into the party details.  Brilliant!  She indulged me and let me make some little party details for her to compliment her genius theme. 

As soon as Sommer told me about this party, I told her she was going to have to share every little detail.  Let me tell you, when I got her pictures, I couldn't stop drooling.  She crafted the most special party to celebrate Brady's big day.  I am thrilled that she agreed to share everything with us.

First, Sommer created a beautiful invitation for the party (she also did the beauties for the baby shower the girls had for us on Cape Cod!), setting the tone for a fun party to come!  

So, let's hear more about this great party...

M:  So, I know you had some wonderful food ideas for Brady's bash.  What did you end up having as the final menu? 

S:  So the final menu ended up being...Texas Caviar, Prosciutto cups with pear, goat cheese and thyme, Poblano and Cheddar mini burgers on Nonnie's Homemade Potato rolls, Shoestring fries with parsley and kosher salt, Sweet Potato Gratins, Fresh fruit, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Brenda's famous carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese icing, sweet tea, unsweet tea, bottled water, and an assortment of ROOT beer!

M:  You know how horrible I am about menu planning (almost as bad as my color-selecting skills).  After the party, was there anything that you would have changed or done differently with food?

S:  Okay so first I have to say that you are in fact one of the best party planners/throwers I know..and that includes the food you serve!  I think I stole at least two or three recipes from each party you threw in Columbus.  I was so wishing I had the Columbus gang around to help me cook and plan...but I digress.  Couple things I would have done differently were (1) would have made the carrot cake cupcakes the evening before instead of the morning of so I would have had a little more time for details and wouldn't have been as stressed.  (2) Also should have done a trial run on the sweet potato gratins a week or two before the party.. live and learn.

Oh yeah, I also had planned on having fruit on skewers and after stabbing myself in the hand with a skewer and running behind, I just threw it all into a bowl!  Of course I then realized after the party had started that I had set out no silverware because my menu had been planned around not needing it.. but that was back when the fruit was on a skewer... oops! (3) not food related, but I wanted to make some big paper flowers for decor and just ran out of time.

M:  Were any of these new recipes that you would absolutely make again?  Any that you would like to share?

S:  The Sweet Potato Gratins were a new recipe.  They were good but I think I needed to layer more sweet potatoes into the muffin tins...but they have heavy cream and Gruyere how bad can you mess that up, right? And a HUGE thanks to my mom-in-law for thinly slicing an enormous amount of sweet potatoes! The Prosciutto cups were new to me..a recipe suggested by you when I was stumped for another appetizer.  I have to say I loved them...they were probably my favorite food at the party (besides the cupcakes, of course!)

Sweet Potato Gratins:
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 ounces grated Gruyere
6 ounces heavy cream

1.Grease 6 cup muffin tin.
2.Put the potatoes in the cups in alternating layers with the salt, pepper, and most of the cheese.  Add 2 tbsp of the cream to each cup.  Cover the tin loosely with foil.
3. Bake in a 400F oven for 20 to 25 minutes.  Uncover and top with the remaining cheese.
4. Bake for 15 minutes more.

M:  Also, poblano cheddar burgers...YUMMMMMMM.  Could I get that recipe? 

S:  Yeah I wish I had it too... once again...HEB.  They will only make them as big burgers so we ordered them and then Tim cut them in half and manipulated them to make mini burgers.  They are to die for.  They cut chunks of poblano peppers and cheddar cheese and mix it in with ground chuck..but I am pretty sure they add some spices too and not sure what those are..I may have to try and bribe the meat market guys at HEB one day and I will let you know if I am successful...they are delicious!

M:  Look at those gorgeous chocolate covered strawberries!  Okay, so you have to share the secret - I have tried to drizzle white chocolate before and it was a total disaster.  How did you make these so perfect?  AND...I love the stems too!

S: I just dipped them in chocolate bark...and once they dried I used a tube of white decorative gel new favorite find!!! Love it and it is so easy to work with.  I found it at the grocery store, but you can also get it at Michaels...comes in a few colors.  I actually got the strawberries at our local grocery store, HEB.  They don't always have them with the stems, but I lucked out this time!

M:  Do tell about every last little detail.  I know you made this so special for Brady and I want to envision every tiny special thing that you did.

S:  We chalked a Birthday message to B on the chalkboard in the dining room.  Got some fresh flowers and balloons... I was bummed about the balloons.  I waited until the morning of and when I went to get them, they were out of black, brown and white..huh????  Anyway, got some clear ones that were pretty enough.

Some little numbered spice jars from Anthropologie that I was crazy about went on sale for 1.95 so I got 3 3 0 9 and filled them with mini hydrangeas and put them on the table.  I had to exercise great restraint by not treating myself to one of every number!

Then I had the adorable food tags, flags and straws that you made for the party... so cute and creative.. I especially LOVED the little flags on the cupcakes!  You were then sweet enough to send me the file so I could cut and paste and make a few more things to match all the adorable stuff you had made..

Sommer found this cute 'S' sticker to place on the pitcher to differentiate between the sweet and unsweet tea.

I think my favorite thing to do was print out a black and white picture of Brady from each month of his life and put them in wine glasses along the window sill in the dining room.  I was able to make month tags with the stuff you sent me and then stuck them into the wine glasses filled with black beans and pinto beans.  It was fun reliving each of those moments over the last year (some more fun than others!)

For party favors, I found camo baskets at the dollar store..and made some tags for the front.  Inside were a few things "square" and "root" related including, a rubix cube (found them at the dollar bin at Michaels!), a homemade square butterscotch bar, a sack of root beer barrel candy, and a "plant me" potato with instructions on how to plant him and hopefully grow a potato.
I spy pretty chocolate/white bakers twine!  Sommer ordered it from the same place I did - I love the brown color - I don't remember seeing that one!  So cute!

M:  Of course, we need to hear about the cake.  Did you have a cake just for Brady and another for all the rest of the guests?  What kind of cake(s)?  How did Brady do with it?  

S:  Well it had to be Brenda's famous carrot cake cupcakes.. a household favorite!  Brady just got his individual cupcake and it was quite a sight.  At first he was a bit timid, but after a couple of bites he was ecstatic.  Everyone was standing around watching him and he would take a bite and then look at everyone and squeal loudly.  He did this between almost every was so funny to watch!  I kind of teared up a bit watching him because I just couldn't believe we were already at this milestone.  That memory will be one of those that is crystal clear in my mind and heart for as long as I live.

M:  Sommer found this wonderful newer version of the good old Polaroid.  It is a Fuji Instax Mini 7S.  She was going to use this to capture special moments at the party.  How did that go?  Would you recommend the camera?  

S:  hahaha... I absolutely LOVE the takes adorable credit card sized photos!  Now having said that..I totally forgot to use it!!  Not a good sales pitch huh?  No one told me that pregnancy brain doesn't end once the baby gets here..or even after he turns a year old.  Camera has been a lot of fun and have been finding cute little uses for it...would definitely recommend it for kicks!

M:  Sommer had the great idea to have a 'root beer bar' with a fun selection of root beers to go with the theme.  How did that turn out?  

S:  We did fill up the hungarian baby bath with an assortment of rootbeers... was a nice touch.. although, probably should have tested them all out before serving.  There was a Hawaiian one that was just plain gross.  But there was also one I am now a huge fan of... Henry Weinhard's Root Beer..delicious!

Sommer and I both bought these hungarian baby baths at Scott's Antique Market in Atlanta - I miss that place!

M:  Most importantly, how did Brady like his big day?  Did he get into it?  I hope he put a good dent in his cake!!

S:  He had so much fun.  He loved the cake and enjoyed all the attention.  He was good about opening his gifts and the neighbor kids helped him out. He had lots of fun playing with them.. they entertained him for much of the party! One quick, cute story- the day after the party, my mom-in-law sat down on the couch to eat a cupcake and B from across the living room let out a squeal and crawled as fast as he could to it looks like Brenda's cupcakes have yet another fan!


  1. This was too fun...I loved the honor of being on your amazing blog..I feel famous now!! Thanks for all your help in making his first so special! Love ya, S.

  2. This is awesome ladies...I LOVED reading this. It makes me miss you more :(