Summer is a full birthday season in my house. My son, who was originally due on my birthday, July 27th, but born earlier on the 11th, and my husband whose birthday is in August, makes for an active kitchen. And a busy Mom.
This year, because it was my little cub's first birthday, I really wanted to do something special.
I planned a small party and invited family that had yet to meet Barrett. Turning 1 is a big milestone, but let's face it, more for Mom and Dad than for baby, to whom a Sunday party is just a Sunday, with new people and more noise.
I put together a menu of some of my favorite recipes and worked for days on very little sleep to make food from scratch I just hoped everyone would love. In the end, it was worth it. And they did.
These last-minute super simple Watermelon Triangles on popsicle sticks were a big hit. And a fun option to pick up served alongside a large fruit salad of various balled melons, berries, grapes and pineapple drizzled with just a hint of raw Arizona honey.
Do you remember the Corn and Black Bean Salad, one of my all-time favorite recipes I blogged about in 2010? I make it every summer now, at least twice. It's perfect for parites, and our guests gobbled it up.
The bean salad with sweet bites of grilled corn and mango was a fitting match for the bright Citrus Marinated Chicken Skewers served with a tangy Tzaziki Dipping Sauce that was packed with fresh dill and parsley from my garden. These were gone in no time.
Just for good measure, I made my best spicy red sauce served over al dente penne. And, to my surprise, that vanished too. Before I was able to snap a photo. I must make a note to blog about it come fall.
Finally, after placing the cakes on the table in advance to tempt our guests, a few people pleaded 'When can we cut the cake?!' I made my two absolute favorite cakes: Carrot Pineapple & Strawberry Shortcake served with homemade vanilla ice cream. It was time to sing 'Happy Birthday' and dig in to our slightly melted, super delicious desserts.
Daph and I will always remember such a special day we were able to share with the people we love in celebration of the person we cherish the most. And one day we'll show him the pictures.
When my 33rd birthday arrived, I was all out of ideas having already made my two favorite cakes earlier in the month. My husband suggested an ice cream cake. He knows how much I love ice cream. I thought it was brilliant, and instantly remembered describing a banana split to him (my husband) just the day before. I had been craving one for months. That's it...
Id' make a Banana Split Ice Cream Cake.
I searched online for inspiration and found this stand out on browneyedbaker. Making everything completely from scratch was quite labor intensive.
A layer of Chocolate Wafer Cookie crust, a layer of ripe bananas, followed by Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream, Strawberry Sauce (sans vanilla), Milk Chocolate Ice Cream, Hot Fudge (sans mint), Madagascar Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and, once frozen overnight, topped with Pineapple Topping (cinnamon omitted). Garnished with freshly whipped cream, chopped walnuts and maraschino cherries. I used Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home for the recipes, replacing whole milk in place of buttermilk in the strawberry ice cream, using whole milk in place of the evaporated milk in the chocolate and Madagascar vanilla bean in place of Ugandan in the vanilla.
In no way am I being superfluous when I tell you this was the most amazing cake we've ever had!
Seriously, the best ever!
I toasted to my new year with a fruity Margarita, using Ginger Syrup and five ripe Peaches, peeled, sliced and macerated in 2 tablespoons of sugar overnight, to use with the juice in place of the nectar.
What a yummy way to close out a heavenly month of food and firsts'.