Friday, January 25, 2008

Fondue Birthday Party!

For those of you who guessed 'Fondue' as the answer to the question posed on my previous post, you are correct!
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As promised, I'm delighted to share my husband's birthday celebration. I made him the above birthday party hat. I almost inscribed 'Birthday Boy' on the hat instead of 'Happy Birthday'. Not sure he would have liked that. :-)

I carried over the pinwheel idea from my January tablescape, but I added a little twist. Instead of making pinwheel napkin holders, I made pinwheel chairback place cards to tie around our dinner chairs. Although, once I got them on the chairs, I wished that I had made them larger - by then it was too late to turn back as I was out of coordinating paper so the above just had to do. I still think it is a fun and festive look. Especially with the green and white gingham ribbon.

Yet another view of the place card chairback ties.
Above is a full view of the tablescape. It's simplistic but festive. I absolutely love these sheer gingham tablecloths for birthday parties. I layered two different colors of these sheer cloths, yellow and lime green, atop a white polyester tablecloth. I also have a few sets of sheer napkins - I chose the yellow sheer napkins for this tablescape. And instead of purchasing some fancy floral centerpiece, I decided to use Roger's presents as the focal piece of the table.

Instead of traditional bows on the gifts, I adhered differing sizes of
pinwheels. This was a really inexpensive alternative to large pre-made bows. These, as well as other pinwheels, are available for purchase on my site.

The placesettings featured my favorite
shabby chic lace chargers, the sheer yellow napkins, with pinwheel napkin rings, and of course the fun ric rac paper party hats described earlier.

The tablescape looked a little sparse after adding the placesettings and gifts so I made a few extra
pinwheels to scatter on the table. If you'd like to replicate this fun and festive birthday tablescape, I'd recommend scattering even more pinwheels. The more the better.

Here is a close-up of the largest pinwheel.
I especially love the dots on this particular paper - so festive!

Now to a close-up on his gifts. A few years ago, I'd seen the above wrapping technique in either a Martha Stewart magazine or a Real Simple magazine article. I've always wanted to try it out and since thin (1/4" width) spools of ribbon from Michaels were on sale this week (Woohoo - Boy, did I luck out!), I thought Roger's birthday would be the perfect time to give this technique a try. I purchased white kraft paper (also from Michaels - a huge roll for like $4) and 6 colors of fun and festive ribbon (they were on sale - 3 spools, 10 yards each for $1). The technique is simple. Just tie the ribbon onto the wrapped package. I used 4 different colors on each package, 2 ribbons per color - 1 of each color tied vertically and 1 of each color tied horizontally. Make sure you always tie the end of the ribbon on what will be the bottom of the package. That way the top looks all neat and tidy - and perfect for a bow, or pinwheel. It does take quite a bit of ribbon, but the look is so much more creative than just traditional paper. Plus, the ribbon can be reused as it will easily slide off the gifts during gift opening time!

Now, I won't torture you and make you browse through my entire present-opening picture collection . So, here is the cliff notes version. I got him a fondue pot set, fondue plates, and of course the fuel to go with it. We love fondue and have always loved The Melting Pot, but not the expense. Since we like to spend time cooking, and eating, I thought this would be a great gift that we could use quite often in the future.

After all the gifts were open, it was time to move onto dinner. I had purchased all of the supplies for a complete fondue meal. To keep the table festive, I reused some of the exhisting pinwheels to scatter around our serving bowls and dress up the table a bit for our meal.
Suggestion: For your party, keep the gift opening for after the meal; that way your table remains festive the entire dinner. Of course, I couldn't do that b/c my gifts were necessary for the meal. :-)

We started out with a basic cheddar cheese fondue. (See bottom of this post for recipe.) The cheese is just beginning to melt in the above photo. We dipped cauliflower, green apples, and french bread into the very yummy melted cheese.

After we were done with the cheese fondue, we moved onto the broth (meat and veggie cooking) fondue recipe. I found a recipe for Coq Au Vin - which is a burgundy broth fondue similar to the one served at The Melting Pot. We cooked chicken, pork, beef, and shrimp in this broth. Also, very tasty. We also dipped the meat in the above sauces (on Roger's new fondue plates). Sour Cream, lemon butter, terriyaki, and garlic, lemon, pepper sauce. Oh, and I almost forget the veggies - red potatoes, broccoli, and mushrooms.

Oh yes, and if we weren't stuffed enough. I had also prepared the above dessert. Roger loves all puddings and custards so I made a layered chocolate eclair cake.
Okay, guess that was about it for his birthday celebration. If you'd like to see more photos of this tablescape and other birthday themes, please visit the birthday tablescapes area of my site. And for other creative tablescape ideas including information on how to submit your own creative ideas, click here.

Oh yes ... I've recently put together my Valentine's Day tablescape. A few tablescape ideas are already added, please check back for more soon!

Basic Cheddar Fondue

2 cups milk
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons ground dry mustard
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Dippings such as apples, cauliflower, bread

In a medium saucepan over low heat, mix together milk, worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, garlic and flour. Heat until almost boiling. Gradually stir in cheddar cheese. Continue heating until all the cheese has melted. Keep the mixture warm and melted in a fondue dish.

Coq Au Vin

2 cups vegetable stock
2 cups burgundy wine
1/2 cup diced mushrooms
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 green onions, sliced
2 cubes knorr vegetable bouillion cubes

Heat vegetable stock in fondue pot until it begins to simmer.
Add all other ingredients, bring to simmer.
Place individual pieces of desired meat or veggies on fondue fork and put in pot until correct temperature has been reached. Lobster and shrimp may take 1 minute while beef and pork will take several minutes.
Vegetables such as mushrooms, broccoli, and red potatoes can also be diced and placed into pot. Remove with spoon once tender.

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