Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Blog Party#38: Birthday Bash-Party Time!


I felt a little silly, designating this month's party 'my' birthday party. I guess it's because I haven't had a birthday party in...um. in uh...a number of years. Yes, it's a number alright...

But then I thought, why not? I loved the idea of celebrating my birthday with my friends, with good food & drinks, and all my favorite things.

And ladies...that's exactly what you've given me!

As the RSVP's came in, I became more and more excited. My friends were coming! And bringing really neat dishes, too...I knew this was going to be a good night.

And I want to make this a night to remember. So, a la the good folk of the Shire, because it is my birthday, I'm giving You a present!

I'm putting everyone's name on a slip of paper, tossing them in a hat (because, in our house, you'll find hats worthy of such things), and at the end of the night, drawing a name. And that lucky name will get a book!!

Tonight, I'm giving away 101 Champagne Cocktails, by Kim Haasarud. A wonderful little book filled with fantastic drink recipes. Perfect for all your (Blog) parties!

And who will pick the winning name? Why, the pups, of course. Donegal has the longest nose, so the first paper she sniffs wins!

But that's much later. Now, it's time to get the party going!

Music. We need music! And tonight, it's a mix of some of my favorite singers and albums.

First, the soundtrack to the Muppet Movie. Yes, you read that right. I love the Muppets. I love Jim Henson. And can you find a more beautiful tune than "Rainbow Connection"?

Next, I couldn't possibly party without my girl, Bif Naked. She's many of the things I aspire to be: tough yet sensitive, outspoken and unafraid, comfortable in her own skin yet still figuring out her place in the world.

And that's why her rockin'-with-a-soft-side album, SuperBeautifulMonster, finds a spot in the disc changer, too.

And if you aren't familiar with her work, check out these videos:

And something getting a lot of play around here lately, Mondo Exotica.

The rooms are strung with these nifty Batman lights, because...well, I love Batman.

As for the table, nothing too fancy this time. But, still appropriate: Wonder Woman party plates and cups!

I've never been the girliest of girls, so rather than sitting around doing each other's nails, tonight we're playing detective! Yep, we're going to do handwriting analysis, map our DNA, and even try our hand at facial reconstruction! Yes, I watch a lot of CSI; what's your point?

Oooh...but now it's time to focus on the food. I've barely eaten today, saving all my calories for the party. You gals have made some amazing bites!

Natashya's our very first guest tonight...and I get cake!
Serving up one of the prettiest birthday cakes I've seen in a while, her Chocolate Cherry Castle Cake will have us all asking for seconds, that's for sure.

And those M&M's-enhanced Chocolatinis are adorable!!!

Thank you so much, Natashya...I love it.

And here's Cakelaw...I'm so happy you could make it!

Oh; looks at those adorable little tarts she's brought: perfectly hand-held Apricot & Pistachio Tartlets. Why, we could almost call them health food, right? With half an apricot, it has to be good for you, yes? Hey, my party, my rules.

And clearly the word's gone out that I like peach-flavored things, as she serves up the first of our Peach Bellinis tonight. Delicious!

Such wonderful treats; thank you!

Lysy's here! I'm so glad you could be here tonight.

And she's giving me a real taste of English birthday fare, with a revamped Jelly; the jelly made with vegetarian gelatin substitute (thank you, for that!). And what better to go with than a home-made Cream Soda? Did you know that cream soda is one of my favorites?

Can't wait to dig in; thanks so much, Lysy!

Deb's here, and my goodness...someone give her a hand! Looks like she's brought a lot of food with her (hope you didn't have to pay to check that cooler).

All this for me? How sweet! She's set up a bit of a feast for the party, with her Chapatis & Dukka, Curried Carrot Dip & Potato Skordalia, and even Jelly Donuts & a special, tea-based, Red Cooler!

I feel so spoiled! Thank you, Deb...I mean it.

Hooray...Melody's here! Thanks to a return of electricity; it wouldn't have been the same without you.

And my, my...do try one of her 'adult' offerings, the appropriately festive Margarita Cupcakes! Pretty with a punch.

And why not? She's mixing up Margaritas in the kitchen...

Melody...thank you!!

Jeanne's the next guest; we don't 'see' each other as often as we'd like, so I'm thrilled she was able to come to my party!

And she's made these lovely little Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Twirls; yum! I love sun-dried tomatoes, and the twirls are so pretty!
Jeanne's paired these lovely confections with the always-popular Peach Bellini; you'll definitely want to get in line for this classic.

Thank you, Jeanne! Or maybe not...odds are, I won't be able to stop eating those things...

Look...it's Judith! Yay! And she's gone the 'classy' route tonight, serving up Wine & Cheeses; some gorgeous fruited cheeses, too. But Judith knew it couldn't be a birthday party without cake! So be sure to try a slice of her Coconut Angel Food Cake. I love angel food cake! And skipping the dessicated coconut was a good choice...

I'm really happy you could help me celebrate, Judith...thank you!

I know what it's like to busy (and vaguely, what it was like to be busy and have a 'career'). so I know not all my friends can make it to Blog Party each month. Which is why I'm overjoyed that my dear Morven was able to come tonight!

She's helping us celebrate with a decidedly 'kiwi' treat: Lolly Cake. It's so pretty, so colorful, it's almost a shame to eat it. I did say, almost.

Morven, I do appreciate you being here...thank you!

I'm always happy to see Haalo (who's photographic skills leave me with equal parts awe & hunger), and once you get a look (or smell? taste?) of her 'gifties', you will be, too.

Croissants may be one of my top five indulgences, so her use of them in these stunning Croissant & Apricot Butter Puddings may lead to an all-out girl fight over he tray!

And I'm equally excited to try the Mandarin Sorbet Float. So simple, but my kind of flavor impact.

Haalo...thank you so much for coming!

Silvermoon Dragon was woed she'd shown up too late, but I never turn a friend away. Besides, one look at her PERFECT for me Cheesecake Truffles, and how could I not drag the poor woman into the house?

It's cheesecake. Rolled in chocolate. Um...yeah.

Thank you for coming, Silvermoon Dragon...and don't expect any left-overs.

Our last guest (and just one of several September birthday sisters here tonight) worked so hard to get here on time, she was almost rendered speechless! But fortunately, J caught her breath and was able to tell us all about the amazing treats she brought. I'm always happy to see you, J!

Now, let's see...there's the beautiful Beef Carpaccio-topped Cheese Bites, teensy Quails Eggs with Dipping Salt, Dragee'd Belgium Chocolate Ice Bites, gorgeous Raspberry-Centered, Heart-Shaped Raspberry Jellies, crowd-pleasing Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes, and a marvelous Chambord Sparkler. Yeah, raspberries get me every time.

J...you know I'm glad you're here. Thank you!!

I know, I know...I didn't need to make anything. You guys more than took care of that.

But I'm still me, so...

Taco Dip Cups

Not something I got to eat often as a kid, but I always did love those layered taco dips. They're kind of messy, though. So I decided to reconfigure the whole thing. Flour tortillas, shaped into cups and baked in the oven. Once cooled, spoon in some spiced refried beans, a cooling mix of sour cream & cream cheese, then salsa, lettuce, tomatoes and shredded cheese.

Delicious! And a lot easier to eat.

I was trying to think of things I wanted to have, for the party. I wrestled with that for a while. I had a few, disconnected, ideas floating around. I love wontons, especially if they're fried. I love potatoes, in just about every form.

What I came up with doesn't really have a name. Mashed potatoes with some grated Jarlsberg cheese. Wrapped in wontons, fried, and served with garlic butter.

Too, too good. A tad greasy (but we have plenty of napkins), but fantastic.

Mini Whoopie Pies!

Every once in a great while, my mom would make whoopie pies. I can't find the words to describe how much I love these little cream-filled chocolate delights.

You can try though; I made plenty!

And for my drink, I've put on a pot of Chocolate Chip tea. Gorgeous, rich, and chocolate-y. You'll love it as much as I do, I'm sure of it.

Oh...I am so happy! This is the best birthday party I've had in, well, maybe ever. All my pals, such good food, it's been perfect. I can't thank you all enough for indulging me in a little 'celebrate Stephanie' time. It's just been so fun!

And Donegal has just trotted in. Time to pick a winner!

And which lucky lady gets 101 Champagne Cocktails? Donegal has sniffed out...Deb! Congratulations...I'll get that in the mail this week.

Now, who's going to stick around to clean up???? (just kidding)

And coming soon...details for October's party...

Tagged with: + + + + + + + + + +

14 Thoughts for food:

At 12:49 AM, Blogger Morven said...

Thanks for inviting me Stephanie. It sounds like we had a lot of fun!

I love your decorating and music choices. I've just checked out Bif on Amazon. She reminds me a bit of Pink.

At 4:03 AM, Blogger Deb in Hawaii said...

Oh I LOVE Donegal! I swear I never win anything--what a treat and I love champagne cocktails too. Thanks so much!

Fun party as usual--enjoyed the sing along to Rainbow Connection (great song!) Thanks for sharing your birthday and the Whoopie Pies.

Can't wait until next month!

At 8:18 AM, Blogger NKP said...

Yay Deb! Next party at your house?

Steph, great party - I am so full.

I think Bif is Canadian - so thanks for the shout-out, I always love a Canadian reference.

And Kermit, you know I love him!

So many yummy treats, I put a couple in my pocket for the trip home. See you next month.

At 1:50 PM, Blogger cookworm said...

Happy Birthday! Sorry I couldn't make it to the blog party, but I know you had a lovely time! PS: I love Jim Henson, too. Just re-watched some great episodes of Fraggle Rock.

At 3:08 PM, Blogger Lysy said...

Happy birthday! I'm so glad you enjoyed your party and the nibbles look very tasty indeed. See you next time!

At 8:36 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Morven, you're always welcome here!

What can I say...I love my DC heroes. Cocktail parties can get too stuffy; this was a way to keep it fun!

Bif is AWESOME. I think she's been around longer than Pink, but she's barely known outside Cananda. There, she's hugely popular. And I adore her.

At 8:37 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Deb...I love her, too! Don't tell, but she might be the favorite (shh). And you're welcome.

Whoopie pies are just fun, partly because of the name!!

At 8:40 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thanks, Natashya!

Yep, Biffy hails from Canada. Big on MuchMusic, I believe.

How can anyone NOT love Kermit?

At 8:44 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thanks, Cookworm!

Fraggle Rock; wow...that brings back memories. We started Alex off early on the Muppet Show, and thank goodness...it's on DVD now.

At 8:47 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thanks, Lysy! I think it was a fabulous party. You gals Rock.

At 11:00 AM, Blogger Julie Pia said...

How do I get your recipe for those whoopi pies? They look so good. Will you e-mail me the recipe? utopiapictures@aol.com

At 9:19 AM, Blogger Jeanne said...

Woo hoo - paaaaaart-tay! Looks like you had a fantastic birthday bash (and yes, I'm afraid those little pesto twirls are addictive...) Love the sound of your taco dip cups!

At 1:20 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Julie, I have to confess: they weren't as good as they could be. I got the recipe from my mom, but my baby sister emailed it and I'm fairly certain she missed something, or mixed measurements. They were not as good as the ones I've had before. Try MarthaStewart.com; her's are pretty good.

At 1:21 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Soo glad you could come, Jeanne!!


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