Posts in "Entertaining"
A Charlotte Baby Shower
A Charlotte Baby Shower | Freckled Italian

We got back from North Carolina this afternoon, but before too much time passes I wanted to share a few snapshots of my friend Paige's baby shower that I helped co-host in Charlotte last month. It was my first trip back since we made the move out west and it was so fun to have my girlfriends together to celebrate Paige's sweet baby boy, who will be making his debut in February!

Baby Shower Gold Letter Balloons | Freckled Italian
A Charlotte Baby Shower | Freckled Italian
A Charlotte Baby Shower | Freckled Italian

My friends at Minted were kind enough to supply the invitations for us, and Paige picked out this gorgeous watercolor wreath design that ended up matching her baby shower flower crown perfectly. I love a good flower crown as much as the next girl, but I have seriously never seen anyone pull one off quite as beautifully as Paige did.

Minted Baby Shower Invitations | Freckled Italian

It's really good to be home after a long stay for the holidays, but I'm pretty excited to plan a spring visit to kiss that baby! We love you, Paige; and I can't wait to meet you, Baby G!

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DIY | How to Make a Candy-Filled Gender Reveal Cake
Gender Reveal Party Cake | Freckled Italian

One of my friends is expecting a baby in February, and when she said she and her husband were planning to have a gender reveal party, I practically jumped out of my seat and begged her to let me make the cake.

When I was in college, my roommate Raquel and I used to bake all the time and we got pretty good when it came to decorating cupcakes. I hadn't really decorated a full cake before but I knew I wanted to fill the cake with colored candy instead of dying the batter, and it turned out so cute! I was so excited about how it turned out and my friends loved it, so I wanted to share how I did it here on the blog.

Supplies/Ingredients: 

  • 2-3 boxes of cake mix (I used 3 for this but you could easily do 2--you'll need to make enough for 4 round cake pans)
  • Eggs, oil, and water according to package directions
  • Frosting: I used 1 blue, 1 pink, and 3 white (this was more than enough)
  • Piping bag and frosting tips (I used flower and star tips)
  • Blue or pink M&Ms, or any other candy (this doesn't even have to be a gender thing, it's just a fun party cake!)
Gender Reveal Party Cake | Freckled Italian

Instructions: 

  1. Bake cakes according to package instructions. Allow to cool completely. (I made the cakes the night before and cooled them on my counter before refrigerating them in plastic zip-lock bags overnight.)
  2. With a serrated knife, cut the very top (rounded) layer off all four cakes. This allows them to stack evenly.
  3. Take two of the cake layers and use a wide glass to remove a circle from the center of each. These pieces will go in the middle of the cake and store the candy surprise! 
  4. Layer the first whole/no-hole piece of cake on a large plate or cake dish and use some frosting to lightly cover only the top of it. What I did here is use some blue frosting because my friends are having a boy (!) and I wanted the frosting inside to be colored. Stack one of the pieces with a hole in it on top and repeat the frosting on the top. Add the other piece with the hole and frost the top.
  5. Fill the hollow cake with candy and add the top layer of cake. Frost with white icing and then cover the sides of the cake with white frosting as well. Once the entire outside of the cake is covered with white frosting and smoothed to your liking, refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  6. Now it's time to decorate! I used blue and pink frosting to cover the cake with flowers and then mixed the leftover colored icing with some white to make a lighter version of each color, and then I filled in any blank spots of the cake with a star tip. Decorate your cake however you want! The design I did was pretty simple and managed to be pretty impressive in the end.
  7. Refrigerate cake until ready to present/serve. If you've filled it with chocolate candy like I did, make sure you don't leave it out on a hot day!  
Gender Reveal Cake | Freckled Italian
Candy-Filled Gender Reveal Cake | Freckled Italian
Candy-Filled Gender Reveal Cake | Freckled Italian
Candy-Filled Gender Reveal Cake | Freckled Italian
Gender Reveal Cake | Freckled Italian

How cute is that cake? I had to snap a shot at the party later that night after they cut it:

Candy-Filled Gender Reveal Cake | Freckled Italian
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A Late Lunch in Seattle
La Crema Does Seattle | Freckled Italian

I've been home from Seattle for over a week and I can still barely believe it all happened. I didn't even know Kristan and Annie three months ago and suddenly there we were, planning the biggest event of our careers so far together

There were countless emails and phone calls and weekly video chats where we went over our never-ending to-do list, and somehow it never even felt like work. I grew up in a house where entertaining and feeding people was the norm, so something about planning a big lunch party just felt really natural. And it was even better to be teaming up with La Crema to make it happen--can you believe I've been working with them for two years? So wonderful.

La Crema Does Seattle | Freckled Italian
La Crema Does Seattle | Freckled Italian

The table was just dreamy. Annie did such an amazing job styling it and setting up all the place settings. We originally wanted to get a ton of flowers but ended up only needing a few little ones, so we picked them from Kristan's backyard. Like I said, dreamy.

La Crema Does Seattle | Freckled Italian

Look at that space! We rented Cannelle et Vanille's new studio space as the venue and it was absolutely perfect.

La Crema Does Seattle | Freckled Italian
La Crema Does Seattle | Freckled Italian

I think this is the most beautiful charcuterie board I've ever put together. We had so much fun deciding which meats and cheeses and other snacks to include, and it ended up looking totally gorgeous on the table with La Crema's Russian River Valley Rosé. (Hi mom if you're reading this then you probably can assume that we had way more food than we needed on this table. Thanks for that.)

But the soup might have been my favorite course--I loved it so much that I actually just bought all the ingredients yesterday so I can make it again this week. I don't think I've ever made quinoa before but I loved toasting it up on a really hot griddle and using it as a garnish! Kristan got that idea from Dolly and Oatmeal and it went so well with our soup.

La Crema Does Seattle | Freckled Italian
La Crema Does Seattle | Freckled Italian

Roasted Leek and Cauliflower Soup (adapted from Love and Lemons)

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 large leeks, washed and sliced thinly (only the white a light green parts)
  • 2 heads cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 4-5 small waxy potatoes, quartered
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • About 1/3 cup olive oil (plus some for drizzling)
  • 3-4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • The juice of one large lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Crispy toasted quinoa, for garnish (recipe included below)
  • Sliced green onions, for garnish

For the crispy quinoa garnish:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (we used tricolor)
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Heat a skillet with olive oil over medium high heat.
  2. Pour in the quinoa and stir until crispy, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Instructions: 

  1. Season leeks, cauliflower, and potatoes with salt, pepper, and olive oil and then divide between two baking sheets and roast at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until slightly browned. Rotate pans halfway through cooking time.
  2. Remove from oven and transfer to a blender (allow to cool slightly). Add half of the vegetable broth and blend until smooth. Add more broth if necessary.
  3. Transfer to a pot and simmer on low. Drop fresh thyme and lemon juice in and stir well. Add more vegetable broth if it gets too thick. Season again, remove the thyme sprigs, and serve hot; topped with crispy quinoa, green onions, and a drizzle of olive oil. 
Roasted Leek and Cauliflower Soup | Freckled Italian

The salad was lovely too. The day before the party, Kristan and I went out for breakfast and I asked for some greens on the side of my baked eggs instead of bread, and they gave me this lovely lettuce that wasn't chopped at all, and it was simply dressed with really beautiful olive oil, so we were kind of inspired by that and didn't cut up our lettuce before dressing it with nice oil, a spritz of fresh lemon juice, and a pinch of coarse sea salt. Delicious. And how pretty are watermelon radishes?

Mixed Greens Salad | Freckled Italian

Mixed Greens Salad with Shaved Fennel and Radishes

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 cups washed and dried mixed greens--we used a combination of frisee and butter lettuce
  • 1 large bulb of fennel, washed and thinly sliced (it's easier to slice first and then wash since the bulbs can collect dirt)
  • 2-3 watermelon radishes, sliced thinly
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • About 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt, to taste

Instructions: 

  1. Assemble salad plates with mixed greens, then top with a small pinch of sliced fennel and three or four radish slices.
  2. Lightly drizzle olive oil over the salad and squeeze lemon over each plate. Season with salt and serve immediately.
La Crema Does Seattle | Freckled Italian

The main course was delicious and we were lucky enough to get salmon courtesy of Drifters Fish, a small business local to Seattle. We marinated the fish in a homemade honey mustard glaze and baked it. Visit Annie's blog for the recipe! You'll love it. I never make fish at home but this was really easy and it ends up looking quite impressive so I may need to make it the next time I have some friends over for dinner.

La Crema Does Seattle | Freckled Italian
La Crema Does Seattle | Freckled Italian

Kristan made the most delicious dessert I've ever had--it was a strawberry rhubarb galette topped with pistachios and served with homemade vanilla bean + orange blossom ice cream. Hello. We paired it with La Crema's Late Harvest Gewurztraminer, which might be my favorite of their wines--it just feels so special. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Galette | Freckled Italian

What a day! It felt like a dream. We were so exhausted the next morning but couldn't believe how smoothly everything went and how lovely our guests were. Brunch on Sunday felt like the night after a wedding--recapping our favorite moments and how beautiful everything looked. Everyone had such a great time and I left Seattle feeling pretty lucky, and with the biggest smile on my face.

La Crema Does Seattle | Freckled Italian
La Crema Does Seattle | Freckled Italian
La Crema Does Seattle | Freckled Italian

This event (and blog post) was sponsored by La Crema.

Invitations, Menus, and Place Cards c/o Minted | Plates c/o Hayneedle | Salmon c/o Drifters Fish | Glasses and Flatware c/o Vintage Ambiance | Additional sponsors who donated supplies for our kitchen and goodie bags: Le Creuset, Wolf Gourmet, Kristas Baking Co., Mustard and Co.

Photos by Oguz Uygur.

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