Friday, February 1, 2008

I {heart} home-thrown parties!

I have to say - I'm SO pleased with how my dinner party for Deb's birthday turned out last Saturday night. I still have the flowers (slowly dying around the house) to remind me of the incredibly fun night, so I therefore still have the event on my mind.
I can't believe my food estimates were accurate (had enough and no leftovers!) for 12 people and I really can't believe we all fit around my table!! Some of my favorite details were the flowers - from which I analy matched the word "Menu". I just bought a couple dozen at Costco and went to work playing with them at home. Here are the descriptions I had on my menu and some pictures of the meal I prepared:

Pear and Gorgonzola Salad
~ Sliced pears, homemade candied pecans and crumbled gorgonzola cheese over baby spinach with a shallot vinaigrette dressing

Mushroom & Wine Pot Roast
~ Tender slow cooked beef in a mushroom, onion and red wine sauce served over creamy mashed potatoes with seasoned haricot verts

Aki’s Guava Delight ~ Guava chiffon cake filled and iced with guava whipped cream. Topped with guava puree. *From Aki’s Bakery, San Jose

...and of course the Birthday Girl!!

It's these kinds of details that (to me) make something so perfect and I just loved that the cake even matched the flowers! Haha - that's so girly!! Can you see the knit cupcake I made and gave to Deb as a little birthday gift?

Like I said to my friends... if I was rich - I'd throw a party like this for friends and loved ones once a week! I truly love to entertain and more than anything else, love to control all aspects of an event! Ha!

This was my first ever sit-down dinner party but I definitely cut my teeth on the 50+ person birthday party I threw for Mom and Dad at our home in Danville - some pictures of that event (from May 2007) here:

I asked 3 good friends: Connie, Tracey and Debbie to come help with serving and cleaning at the party. They were LIFE-savers. Especially Connie who I believe washed almost every dish we used that night!!

Here's Connie working our "bar". The funniest thing I heard that night was Tracey (as bartender) asking my dad for ID before pouring him a glass of wine. Ha!!

Most of the food we served was homemade (what else?!) But I kept it simple with primarily things I could "cut and serve" as opposed to really cooking - especially for appetizers. I also splurged and ordered a couple beautiful platters of sushi from Oh Sushi in downtown Danville. I was pretty impressed with their quality of fish being that they're a little sushi restaurant in whitey-ville Danville... The nicest part: I took my own platters in and they made them look great!

We served the Caesar salad, lasagna and garlic bread buffet style on the deck, then set everyone out on the sport-court for dinner. The umbrellas would have been very nice if only it'd been a hot May day! It was very cool! But I actually think they provided a bit of protection from the cool/wind as we watched a slideshow of photos of Mom & Dad projected onto the side of the house later that night. See the pile of blankets we put out? They did indeed get used. And it's hard to make out, but I made centerpieces for every table using various bouquets of flowers I got at Costco! I LOVE flowers!

And finally - one of the highlights of the night (for everyone else but moi since I had to stand there and work the thing!) the Chocolate Fountain! My cousin, Stacey - of California Chocolate Fountains - lent me her small fountain for the party.

I had a little trouble getting it going. It was bubbling and gurgling and the chocolate was NOT running well. Called another CCF cousin (Nicole) who told me to basically "reboot": turn it off and turn it back on. And there we go! It started running beautifully! Apparently there was an air bubble in there... What a hit - everyone loved it. And we had birthday cake later too! Oh and those pink peonies in back - Mom grew those in her garden! They were amazing!

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