Book Themed Baby Shower: Hungry Caterpillar Kebabs, Favors, and Games

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I know you all could probably figure out how to do the Very Hungry Caterpillar Kebabs from the description (easiest recipe ever, right?), but I wanted to do a post explaining some of the other parts of the shower, and these were just too cute not to mention.  And let’s be honest, just a few years ago I wasn’t the most crafty of girls, you know, and I would have wanted a step- by-step post telling me exactly what to do to make my shower food/favors/games/etc turn out exactly like the picture or article I was using for inspiration.

Hungry Caterpillar Kebabs: I wasn’t lying, dear readers, there really is no recipe.  It’s just fruit on a stick.  The only thing we did to make it special was to choose fruit that would make up the traditional ROYGBIV rainbow and arrange it accordingly.  I used plain wooded skewers and I used the folowing fruit for my rainbow: watermelon, canteloupe, pineapple, kiwi, blueberries, and red seedless grapes.  I used precut melons from Publix, since I didn’t need much, and canned pineapple slices that I cut into chunks (have you seen the fresh – I use the term loosely – pineapple that we get here in Georgia? More like fresh-but-picked-so-far-before-ripening-you-may-as-well-call-them-seeds).  For the rest I just cut up some kiwis (I needed 2 kiwis for 12 kebabs), and the fresh blueberries and grapes from the produce section.   I wish I could take credit for the rainbow idea, but one of my creative co-hosts came up with it, and I just executed it 🙂

Favors: I didn’t mention our favors before, but they were amazing, and very creative.  We used jam, in the small 4 oz Ball jars – they were meant to be a play on baby food, and I think it really turned out well.  At our last shower we also used jam for favors, because I had an abundance of it sitting around and we thought it would be cute.  Turns out, it was one of our best ideas, because everyone loved it there, and when we reprised it for this shower we had the same reaction.  I think because so few people can these days, and especially young people – until recently I only had 1 friend under the age of 50 who had canned anything – people are really impressed by it.  This time one of my co-hosts made the favors: we had Apple-Pear Butter and Blueberry Plum Jam to go with this children’s book.  I think people don’t realize how easy (and super fun!) it is to can, and so when you offer them a jar of preserves they imagine that you’ve been sweating over a pot of boiling fruit for days on end to produce it and they’re just in awe.   But really, small jars of jam or preserves, or even pickles, are great for shower favors both because they are one-of-a-kind, and because they are homemade .  I love giving homemade gifts for favors (or any “thank you” gift – hostess gifts, etc) because I feel like it’s such a genuine way to show someone that you appreciate their gift/time/hospitality.  Or just for a random Tuesday.  I’d love to receive another jar of Blueberry Plum Jam for no reason except that Kelly wanted to send me one.  I’m just saying.

Games: We had a really fun little game of Children’s Book Trivia – created by another of my co-hosts.  My friend Julie usually takes the game portion of our hosting duties, mostly because she’s awesome at it.  I don’t know if she used a template for this, or if she made it up on her own, but it was just a list of 15-20 questions about children’s books…I don’t have kids and haven’t been in the children’s secton in 20 years, but I knew 75% of them, so it was on a level that most anyone attending a baby shower would be able to participate in and and enjoy.  For prizes for the winner (not me, alas) she had a little pail of goodies (including glitter silly-putty! Jealous!).   It was a good game that went along with our theme, and was suitable for a wide audience (ie, those of us without kiddies had a fighting chance) and would be really easy to replicate.  I’ll try to get a template up here for reference for those of you who might like something to print out.

The second game we played was really fun, though a little more challenging.  We were given small packages of  baby food (no lables!) and had to identify the contents by their  appearance.  It was a little harder, but still lots of fun.  I’ll admit that I guessed a lot, and didn’t come close to winning, but it was fun watching everyone try to puzzle through it.  Also, since they aren’t perishable, we were able to give them to our future Mom to get a head start stocking her pantry.

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Decor: I showed you this picture before and, honestly, this may have been my favorite part of the shower.  It was just too cute.  It was just purchased tissue paper balls hung up in a “Caterpillar” shape and with wee eyes and legs attached, but it was the first thing our geusts saw when they came in the hosue, and it was a really great memorable and inexpensive way to decorate.   You could hang it from the ceiling, over a buffet table maybe, or just set it out on a table behind food or gifts, or do as we did and hang it from a banister or railing.  The Mama-to-be loved it, and in fact told us that she was going to leave it up as long as possible because it was so cute – which is another plus.  You can give it to the guest of honor to use in the nursery or playroom and it’s another little gift.

All of the things we did here were pretty simple – and totally doable by almost anyone.  Please let me know if you have any questions, or need clarification on any of the ideas or products we used.

Next up:  Moonpie recipe.

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Book Themed Baby Shower: Spinach & Pancetta Quiche/Green Eggs and Ham

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This was a divine quiche.  Divine, I tell you.  I took a pretty standard Quiche Lorraine recipe and tweaked it just a bit to suit my “green eggs and ham” idea, and it was definitely one of the stars of the baby shower.  There was but one tiny slice left, and the expectant Mama requested the leftovers, so I didn’t get to bring a crumb of it home with me.  Sigh.  But not to worry, I’m planning a repeat of it this very weekend. 

 

Spinach and Pancetta Quiche

Adapted from SmittenKitchen

Crust: (see note)*

1 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
Salt
6 tablespoons butter, diced
1 egg

Filling:

2 cups spinach (I used a whole bag of Publix baby spinach)
3/4 cup diced shallot (2-4 depending on the size)
3 eggs
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch pepper
1 1/2 cups diced pancetta (about ½ pound, or a little more.)
3/4 cup grated cheese**

Heat a large sauté pan over med heat. Cook pancetta until just barely starting to brown and some of the fat has rendered, then add the onions and cook over low heat until the pancetta is nicely browned and shallots are caramelized, occasionally stirring, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch and one-fourth teaspoon salt. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender, fork or fingers until it is in very tiny bits. Add one egg and mix it until a dough forms. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle. Place the dough in a 9-inch pie plate and press to remove any air bubbles. Crimp the edges, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While the quiche shell chills, mix the heavy cream and sour cream in a medium bowl. Whisk in the remaining three eggs. Add a pinch each nutmeg, salt and pepper and combine to form a batter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Remove the quiche shell from the refrigerator and spread the pancetta and shallot mixture evenly over the base. Spread spinach over this,then sprinkle evenly with cheese. Pour in the batter and place the quiche in the oven.  Bake until puffed and golden, about 30-40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool slightly on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

* If you have a favorite pie crust recipe, then feel free to use it.  Or a frozen one would be just as good and save some time. 

**I used a mixture of cheddar and another mild hard cheese (BellaVitano Espresso from Publix) that I had laying around, but you can use gruyere, swiss, or anything else you like and it would be just as good. So I’ll leave it up to you. 

 

Book Themed Baby Shower

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I’ve been dying to tell you all about this, because, quite frankly, it was awesome.  This is the third shower I’ve hosted with this group of ladies, and we are a great team.  We’ve sorted out our particular talents so that each of us is doing something we’re good at, and also that we enjoy…it really makes for one heck of a shower when you have such amazing co-hosts. The book theme was really fun and easy to work with, and we were able to coordinate all the food, games, and decor with no trouble at all.  My co-host with the Cricut (such an amazing device!  I want one!) made the banner above, as well as the tissue paper Hungry Hungry Caterpillar, and the clothesline for the  gifts was her idea as well.  Another friend (the adorable young man below belongs to her) came up with some children’s book trivia games for us (I didn’t win.  I was actually sad about that, but then, I don’t read a lot of children’s books these days…), and our fourth co-host made us some lovely invitations, of which I have no photo…but they were made to coordinate with our banner (above) and you can rest assured, they were adorable.  Your truly was responsible for the food, and I can’t even tell you how much fun I had with it.  Everything I made was meant to go with one of the books and here’s the list:

Green Eggs and Ham – Spinach and Pancetta Quiche

Goodnight Moon – Homemade Moonpies

Give a Mouse a Cookie – assorted cookies, including Homemade Oreos, Espresso Chocolate Chip Shortbreads, Sugar, and Chocolate Chip (not made by me, but I will be telling you about them, because they have a secret ingredient that is Killer)

The Tale of Peter Rabbit – Carrot Cupcakes

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – Baked Chicken Meatballs

The Very Hungry Caterpillar – fruit Kebabs

We also had Lemon-Berry Punch, which was a Martha Stewart recipe and came out quite well.  I’ve already share the meatball recipe with you, and I will be sharing the rest of them over the next week.  The carrot cupcake recipe came from (where else?) SmittenKitchen, and I’ll just direct you over to her site for the recipe.  As usual with Deb’s recipes, they turned out wonderfully – moist, tender, and tasty.  I did pipe wee carrots on top of them, and I was quite proud of how they looked, since I usually have no great gift for decorating.  Please do email, or comment, if you have any questions about any of our decor or the theme, etc.  We had so much fun being creative with it, but it took a few skype brainstorming sessions and quite a bit of time on Pinterest for us to put all of our ideas to solid plans and then to reality.  For now, enjoy some photos of the happy Mama-to-be, and be sure to check back in a day or two for the recipes!

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