Monday, April 07, 2008

Picnic Lunches and Cake

Today was my day to host the playgroup that Gabe and I are a part of and I wanted to do something different. I normally like to make a big always varies and I try to make it fun. I've done a taco bar, make you own pizza day, pasta day, soup and sandwiches, etc.
I decided on a picnic theme today since the weather is getting warmer and it seemed fitting to have one in the living room followed by some outdoor fun for the kids. I can't wait for even warmer days when we can actually take the picnic outside.
I had 6 moms and 8 kids to prepare lunch for so I decided to designate a brown gift bag for each family. I decorated the bags with a nametag and then filled each with enough food and supplies so that everyone had some options to choose from. There was nothing earth shattering in the bags, but everyone devoured their goodies and seemed to love the idea of eating on blankets...which is quite a feet. It isn't easy to please 8 children between the ages of 1 and 3.
I liked the idea mainly because I was able to prep most of the lunches last night and finish off the sandwiches and pasta this morning before our guests arrived. There was nearly no clean up afterwards since empty bags were tossed and leftover food was easily packed away or taken home. Being nearly 8 months pregnant, I can't help but try to make things a little easier on myself, so I don't feel too bad about trying to avoid mess and clean-up.
Each bag contained the following: 1 apple, 1 mini-water per person, 1 ham and cheese on pretzel bread, 1 container basil pesto pasta with pine nuts, 1 snack bag of cheese and 1 with crackers, 1 applesauce per child, and 1 granola bar per person. Extras included forks, spoons, straws, and plenty of napkins.
Gabe and I will be recreating these picnic lunches often this summer since we both love getting out and spending the day at the park. I can hardly wait for that warm weather!

The other yummy creation I made recently was this layer cake. I am not a member of the Daring Bakers, but I do love to see what they create each month. This month's Perfect Party Cake looked completely irresistable, so I gave it a try...twice. I made it at the beginning of last week for my mom who flew in for a visit, and then again on the weekend for a get together with the neighbors. I altered the shape by baking a half recipe in a small cookie sheet and then slicing that into thirds. The first time I layered it with raspberries and raspberry jam, the second time I layered it with fresh strawberries and strawberry jam. Both were extremely delicious and got rave reviews. You can find the recipe all over the blogosphere...but here are the two sites that my cakes were based upon.
Cookbook Catchall

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