Time of my life (part 1)

My baby shower was this past Memorial Day weekend. The shower brought together lots of my high school and college friends, family and truly will be a wonderful memory for me to share with Naja. I hadn't seen some of my friends in OVER two years, and folks flew in from all over: California, Upstate NY, Indiana, North Carolina and more. At the end of the day, I felt blessed to have the friends and family that I have. I know Naja is going to be a lucky girl with about 20 extended aunts and uncles.

I'm going to break the shower up into two posts: 1. Shower details (food, et al) and 2. Party pics. This post will feature Part 1: Food, et al.

My mom threw me the shower, and I probably had a little more involvement with everything than you normally see...however, I'm really hands on, I love to be involved and busy - so I loved every part of it!  The theme was, "Round and Poppin'" and the colors were brown, pink and green. We tied the theme in with the shower game gifts, and gift bags, and the decorations. My mom knows how much of a foodie I am, so she let me plan the menu. We served the following:
*Anything with an asterisk has previously been featured on the blog, and is linked.

Zucchini Roll Ups*

Main Dish
Curried Tuna Salad*
Emerils's Chicken Salad SS: Link to recipe from foodnetwork.com
Fried Chicken
Deviled Eggs
Smoked Provolone Pasta Salad (see below)
Very Berry Fruit Salad SS: Link to recipe from foodnetwork.com
Cucumber Salad SS: Link to recipe from foodnetwork.com

Red Wine Sangria
White Wine Sangria
 Mom's Punch

Cake from Brown Betty

The cake got a little messed up in the commute from Philly to VA, nonetheless, I loved it! Unfortunately, I was so busy talking my head off at the shower, I forgot to take pictures of pretty much everything. However, I do have one picture of the Smoked Provolone Pasta Salad (with some of the cucumbers), so I'll go ahead and share that recipe.

Smoked Provolone and Penne Salad
Source: Whole Foods Market Cook Book
Serves 8, Adapted to serve 60+

2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups chopped parsley
4 cups mayonnaise
2 cups white wine vinegar  SS: I would use less next time, perhaps 1 3/4 cup, we had to adjust this by adding a lot more pepper because the vinegar was very strong
1 bulb garlic, minced (~ 2 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

4 pounds penne pasta
6 cups packed baby spinach, washed and stemmed
4 16-oz jars roasted red peppers, diced
3 pounds smoked provolone cheese, diced

Combine the Parmesan cheese, parsley, mayonnaise, vinegar, garlic, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper with a hand mixer or in the bowl of food processor or in a blender until the dressing is smooth.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasts until it is al dente. Drain the pasta into a colander, run cold water over it or submerge it in ice water until chilled through, and drain well. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, spinach, roasted red peppers, and smoked provolone.

Toss the salad with the dressing. Serve immediately. *You may make this salad up to 2 days ahead of time; just add the spinach and dressing before serving. The pasta base keeps perfectly well for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

My mom made the Chicken Salad, my uncle made the fried chicken and deviled eggs, and I prepared everything else on the menu. I also had lots of friends help out the day of with preparation. Many thanks to Steve, Ashley M., Ashley H. and Danielle - seriously,  you guys are AWESOME!

Gift Bags
In addition to preparing the food, I also helped out with the gift bags. Each guest received a bag with hand-painted pink and green circles, packed with a "Baby CD Mix", AKA songs with the word "baby" in the title, and a set of cookies that spelled out "N-A-J-A." I printed out labels for all of the CDs and added some polka dots along with the list of songs on the CD. I baked about 200+ cookies total, and I iced them myself. The green color wasn't what I expected, but this was also my first time using food coloring with icing. I made the cookies from here, and used the icing referred to here.

OK, I think that's A LOT for one post, since this is a blog with a bit of everything, I did want to share some things, but I'm leaving out some details. If you have more specific questions, ask away!


  1. This is sooooooo beautiful! My favorite is the CD and cookies. The CD with the words "baby" is just genius. Love it! The pasta looks good and I love the cake and the cloth patterned letters behind it. This baby shower looks fit for a princess named Naja:-)

  2. It looks and sounds like you guys had a fabulous time and lots of delicious food! I'm so sorry I couldn't make it, but congratulations on baby Naja and I can't wait to meet her! Best - BG (from work)

  3. @ Amma Mama & BG - thank you!

  4. The cake. the pasta. the cookies
    Absolutely yummy everything looks!
    and to think this was only a teaser