Tuesday, November 15, 2011

RE-ceiving Guests: Baby Shower Brunch

In the 10 years since I was in my major baby shower social phase,  I think paper invitations have become a little old-fashioned. Evite & other electronic invitations seem to becoming the norm.

Image source collectorsquest.com

For awhile about 10 years ago, I was in the baby shower social phase where I was either going to or throwing baby showers pretty regularly.   Like Reba with the wedding showers she is throwing a lot lately for her friends' engaged children, I set up a few standards early on as a hostess to make the process easier.
My favorite brunch offering: A mimosa served in a fluted glass with a strawberry as a garnish

Image courtesy of weddingbycolor.com

First, I tend to offer to throw a brunch.  It is a lot more forgiving to the inexperienced chef and easier to prepare which usually also means easier on your budget than a large dinner party.  

Second, I set up my standard menu.  DRINKS: Mimosas (orange juice& champagne) garnished with strawberries as seen above, Bloody Mary's, Iced Tea and Coffee.  I would make a drink station on my buffet table with 3 pitchers of OJ, Bloody Mary's, and Iced Tea beside an opened champagne bottle, empty high ball glasses and an ice bucket. Easy peasy.  Before guests arrived, I would also serve about 6-8 champagne glasses with mimosas on a silver tray and put them on the drink station beside the pitchers.  Champagne, imo, starts a party off on a winning note.  I mean, how can you not be happy with a champagne flute in your hands, right?
This egg casserole is very similar to mine, but I prefer the green chilies that spice up the version I use.

Image Courtesy of Taste of Home

FOOD: Egg casserole, Sausage, Bacon, Ham, Fresh fruit, Brie, Pastries, and a Cake.  I would buy a small Honey-baked ham and put it beside bread rolls from a bakery and a small bowl of honey mustard for people to make small sandwiches.  Beside this, I usually placed my favorite dish, an egg sausage casserole that is DELICIOUS!  There are many versions of this recipe, but this is the one I swear by.


9x13 casserole dish
6 slices La Madeleine Sourdough bread
1 lb Jimmy Dean sausage
1 cup yellow onion
1 can (4 oz) green chilies
4 cups shredded cheese (whole bag)
6 eggs (beaten)
1 teaspoon seasoned salt & dried mustard
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups half & half

Lightly butter the casserole dish sides.  Line the dish with the slices of sourdough bread.  Saute the sausage and the yellow onion.  When done, pour the sausage and onion into a bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients into this bowl. Mix and then pour over the bread lined casserole dish.  Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least a few hours. Then, cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Some people cook the casserole the night before the party and just warm it up 30 minutes before guests arrive. That's just a personal preference.

 Gateau Marisa image courtesy of Upper Crust Bakery

For fruit, I buy strawberries and blue berries because they look so pretty together.  I usually warm up the brie slightly, pour a sweet garnish such as fig preserves, jalapeno jelly or Fischer & Wieser Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce on top and provide some baguette slices alongside it.  I like a cake called Gateau Marisa by Upper Crust bakery in Austin for dessert. While at the bakery, I usually buy an assortment of cookies and sweet bread to put on a platter.   The night before the party, I put pieces of paper in the serving piece (e.g. bowls, platters, plates) to see how they fit on the food table.  The next morning I spend most of my time putting the food on the table rather than cooking because the casserole, sausage and bacon are the only warm dishes and all of them are pretty simple.  Once they are heated, they are ready to serve. 

My home decorated for a couple baby shower for our friends, Mike & Eileen.  We had such a good time at this party. It started at 10 a.m. and most guests stayed until 3:45 p.m.  Yes, that is a long time, but we were all neighbors and friends and truly enjoyed each other's company.  I set up 3 trivia games for us to play that helped make it not seem so girly for the guys.  We opened gifts. We ate and drank and visited.  The most amazing part was we had no guest bathroom for this party and no one asked to use the restroom.  The bathroom remodel that I shared in my previous entry RE-modeling: My First Home was SUPPOSE to be done by this party, but of course it wasn't.  I was pregnant myself at the time and as you can imagine, *SUPER* annoyed it wasn't done, but the party must go on.  Our own bathroom was also messed up at the time because we had the plumbers replace the pipes in that one, too, and they hadn't fixed all the drywall back yet, but it was functional at least.   In a jam, I would have offered our bathroom to a guest, but I guess, everyone was too polite to ask since they knew our situation. Crazy, I know, but it didn't get in the way of a fun gathering.   I lined the mantle with terracotta pots I painted different bright colors and filled with seed packets and a poem about growing something in honor of the impending birth. I got the idea online at the time.  The pots were wrapped in matching tulle and tied with ribbon.  I found little rubber ducks to place between the pots and I hung a line of baby clothes on a line.  There is a heart shaped topiary and a cupid between the chairs for the honorees.  Beside them is the gift table where I placed a diaper cake I made as a centerpiece for the gift table. 
For showers, I typically put out a diaper cake, hung a line of baby clothes and displayed whatever I was going to offer as a favor for decor.  For the food table, I used simple flowers because I wanted people to notice the the diaper cake and the clothes line more. Whenever I host company,  I try to plan at least one takeaway - the special thing that guests will leave remembering.  When I threw showers, my main takeaways were the egg casserole, the cake and the diaper cake.

I actually made this diaper cake. Back in my baby shower throwing days, diaper cakes were still novelties spread by crafters online via a few step-by-step instructions on how to make them.  Within a couple years, companies began to sell diaper cakes.
This was my first diaper cake.  The way I learned to make a diaper cake, one started with a cardboard base. You'd decorate it with fabric secured to the back, and then put a large bottle of liquid baby laundry detergent in the middle to be the core of the cake.  Then, you would have to roll up baby diapers individually and bind them with elastic bands. Then you lined them up together all around the detergent bottle to make tiers of diapers.  The bottom tier would take a couple of rows of diapers around the detergent bottle.  The top tier is made around the cap, so it requires some adjusting so it is round.  Once the diapers were all adjusted, then the "cake" was decorated with ribbon and toys and whatever else you wanted to make it look cute. I am happy to see there are many, MANY companies and individuals who now produce very beautiful and reasonably priced diaper cakes for sale. 
A musical owl cake by babycakesdiaperbakery.  This beautiful, sweet diaper cake is $60.
This bee cake by lilbabycakes.com is a more current version of what I was going for with my first cake.   The bright ribbons of different designs and the large stuffed animal front and center helps make the overall design bolder and more dramatic.  It is priced at $94.

Image Sources babycakesdiaperbakery.com & lilbabycakes.com

A duck themed diaper cake I made for my cousin.  I made favors of bath salts & mini rubber ducks wrapped in tissue paper and placed them on the gift table with the diaper cake.  I really liked those small rubber duckies, huh?  Well, to be honest, I still do.  They appeal to my nostalgia.   I used the duck theme for the invitations and I found someone to make me large duck iced sugar cookies for this party.  Sorry, I don't have a picture of the cookies. They were cute.  I have a line of clothes hung here again for decoration.  Most stores like Target and Wal-Mart carry mini clothes line pins and they look really precious holding up baby clothes.   
So many new party trends have developed in the last 10 years.  Now that etsy.com allows thousands of crafers to easily display and sell their crafts and blog sites like blogger allow professional interior decorators, event planners and amateur status creative folks to easily share their projects, the creativity exchange online has sky rocketed.  If I were planning this rubber duck shower now, I would probably do it very differently.

The cloche display case has become big in blogland for tablescapes.  This tablescape is by another blogger, Colleen.  I like how she used the cloche idea here and I am impressed she found matching straws for the color scheme. I have seen them a lot in blog displays.  I believe they are sold in various colors on etsy.com.  The coordinating flag pendant is also a popular party addition now, but, of course, the main star of the tablescape is that fantastic cake and I would definitely copy the cake if I were doing a rubber duck party now.

Image above & below image source from mom, blogger and party giver, Colleen at figandruby

This is one darling cake. I love everything this cake chooses to be.  This happens to be a birthday cake, but I think it would work just beautifully as a shower cake. As much as I like the rubber ducky cake above, I would now probably embellish it a bit with rubber duck cupcakes. Cupcakes are really "in" and their small size work perfectly with a shower setting. I would do this by ordering a much smaller main cake, placing it on the cake plate and then placing rubber duck cupcakes on the table circling it.
Look at that perfect blue color to represent water.  Add in the miniature ducky and who could resist these babies?  

 Image Source ModernBabyShowerIdeas.com

I like the white "soap" clouds in this cupcake design.  Don't they look yummy?

Image Source cherryblossomcupcakes.blogspot.com
This is more what I wold like to do with the smaller cake surrounded by cupcakes.  I am not sure I would use the cookie surround on the cake. I would probably just use a cake plate for the height, but isn't this adorable?

Image source lovelesscentral.org/gallery
These pots were not my favorite favors ever, but they did add a lot visually to the party's decor.  I like it when the party favors function as party decor as well. 
These are very similar to the favors I had for the baby shower for my cousin.  I much prefer the cellophane packaging tied with a ribbon used here though.  I think they would add a lot of punch to a rubber duck party's decor displayed all together.
I like the simple design of this guest soap.  If I received this as a favor, I would actually use and enjoy it.  It's nice when favors are actually used.

Both duck soap images courtesy of ohbabyshower.com
Bath salts in a glass container with a ribbon and a stamped duck design would also be a cute favor.

Image courtesy of invitationsanddecorations.com

With as much cute things as they have now on etsy.com, it would be really hard not to overspend on a baby shower now just on the decor.  The occasion is already really sweet and all the designs out there just up the cuteness factor.  Of course, you don't have to have much decor to have a fun party.  As long as the company is good and there is food and drink, the party will be a success.

Written by Eldarose

St. Patrick's Day Table using lots of recycled items for decor  is HERE

Phase 1 of the Backyard RE-modeling in my new house is HERE

RE-modeling my first house is HERE


  1. Are all those diaper cakes you brought to different baby showers?

  2. Baby Shower is the best occasion for wining and dining!

    Baby Diaper Cakes

  3. Lovely blog!! The baby shower brunch favors are awesome. Will implement them in my baby shower at NYC venues. The cake ideas are really good that you have shared. Will bake a nice chocolate cake myself. Hope to arrange a great party.