Thursday, October 4, 2012

The One With Ellie's Third Birthday Party

O hey. Remember me? Yeah, I used to write this blog before the epic summer of craziness. And to be honest, I don't know when I'll be back to posting regularly, but I thought I'd still stop by and show you the cuteness that was Ellie's third birthday party.

That's right. Ellie is three. It is crazy. She is just so much fun these days. It's sometimes a little strange to me how much of a person she is. How she can tell me stories of things that happened to her. How she can look back at all the pictures on her Instagram wall (see below) and recount the stories of going there or doing that. She is just very wonderful. And I think she really, really loved having a birthday and being special and having a party and eating cake.
Picture courtesy of Mallory Phelan.

Picture courtesy of Mallory Phelan.
Picture courtesy of Mallory Phelan.
Picture courtesy of Mallory Phelan.
Picture courtesy of Stephanie Deever.
Picture courtesy of Mallory Phelan.
Picture courtesy of Mallory Phelan.
Blowing out candles is Ellie's favorite thing. As is singing "Happy Birthday." When I told her it was time to sing she wasted no time in starting to sing the Happy Birthday song to herself. Everyone else just had to join in.

Also, the greatest form of entertainment at the party was the rock piles in our backyard. Apparently way cooler to children than any of the awesome food. Except maybe for the kettle corn. That was a big hit.

Now that she is finally old enough to have a say, I really wanted her party to be all about things she really likes. So I made the menu around some of her favorite foods (and, admittedly, some of mine). And she even helped decorate the cupcakes. And she definitely helped a lot with quality control. She was great at sampling everything to make sure it was up to standard. Especially the frosting.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The One With the Fantastic Fool-Proof Fudge

I forgot to post Ellie's birthday party invitations, but I was kind of thinking along the idea of having a carnival-themed birthday party. It seemed appropriate for the end of summer. Plus, you can serve lots of kid-friendly things like corndogs and kettle corn. And fudge. Definitely fudge. Or am I the only one who thinks fudge is carnival-y?

Anyway, whether you think it belongs at a carnival, or at your house so you can eat it whenever you want, you should give this recipe a try. It's super crazy fool-proof, just like the title promises.

Fantastic Fool-Proof Fudge with Andes Mints
  • 1 12 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup (6 oz.) milk chocolate chips
  • 2 cups (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 box Andes mints, unwrapped and diced small
Prepare an 8" x 8" glass pan by lining it with a 12" x 12" piece of aluminum foil, pressed along the sides and bottom. Lightly grease the foil with butter. 
Dice your mints and set aside in a small bowl.
In a non-stick saucepan over low-medium heat, melt the sweetened condensed milk, milk chocolate chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips, stirring frequently to prevent the chocolate from sticking to the bottom and burning. Once your mixture is liquid, remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Moving quickly, pour half of the fudge into the pan and spread with a spatula. Sprinkle the Andes Mints over the top. Distribute the other half of the fudge over the top of the mints and spread evenly with the spatula. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Once the fudge has completely solidified, turn the pan over onto a clean work surface and cut into pieces. 

To make Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Fudge, follow the same instructions as above, but use 1 Tablespoon of Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla in place of regular, and don't use the mints.

One of the things I really love about Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla is that it is just slightly unusual, to give anything you make with it a little kick, but it isn't overwhelming, so most people like it.
I cut the fudge into rectangular pieces, wrapped each one in Saran wrap, and then put one of each kind in the favor bags for Ellie's party. I'm a big fan of favors adults can enjoy, because, well, they payed for the gift. And also, edible favors are nice because no one feels obligated to keep some random memorabilia of your party. Plus, I always like the excuse to make yummy things. 
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