Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bon Voyage

We threw a big party a little over a week ago. The purpose was to get the family together for one final send-off for Chicken Little before she leapt from the nest.

I spent less than $10 on fresh flowers. I was concerned about the cheesiness factor, but I really liked the color combinations with the vases (I already had those). The second one was so festive!
Speaking of festive.... LOVED these shoes worn by my mother! Not what I was expecting for a cook-out, but since we stayed in (except for the actual cooking part), they were perfect!
This looks like only a few people came, but about 20 people showed up, and for most of the time, everyone was gathered in the kitchen (isn't that how it always happens?!).
The grill-master makes his final preparations... (please note his proud display of the team colors - it may only be pre-season, but my annual widowhood has already started - from now until February, I'll only have his attention on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.)

We tried to keep the menu, easy and summery, but it was still quite the feast. We had chips, salsa and queso to snack on, and the absolute best homemade sangria (recipe below), and iced tea, of course. Then for the serious eating section of the party, we had burgers, dogs, watermelon (yummy!!!), and potato salad. And for the really, really serious eating at the end, we had TWO desserts...
Banana pudding and hummingbird cake with cream cheese frosting.... and homemade banner. I had planned to make cupcakes, but Chicken Little wanted a cake with frosting and layers, so I went with Plan B. It was the first time I made that cake, and it was scrumdiddlyumptious - even if I do say so myself. :-)

Chicken Little with said cake... I think a good time was had by all, and she was sent on her way knowing she is loved and will be missed. (please ignore the messy kitchen counters in the background)

Yummy Sangria Recipe (I found this at

½ c. brandy
½ c. triple sec
¼ c. lemon juice
1/3 c. frozen lemonade concentrate
1/3 c. orange juice
1 (750 ml) bottle dry red wine
¼ c. sugar (optional, but I added it)
1 lemon, sliced into rounds
1 orange, sliced into rounds
1 lime, sliced into rounds
8 maraschino cherries (or however many look festive to you)
2 c. carbonated water or ginger ale (optional, but I went with ginger ale)

In my version, none of these measurements were exact. I added more of what I like and less of what I don’t like – it’s hard to mess it up. Regarding the alcohol, get the cheap stuff because you’re doctoring it up so much that it won’t matter.

Directions: In a large pitcher, mix together the brandy, lemon juice, lemon concentrate, orange juice, red wine, triple sec and sugar. Float slices of lemon, orange and lime, and maraschino cherries in the mixture. Refrigerate overnight for best flavor. For fizzy sangria, add club soda/ginger ale just before serving.

Serve cold – over ice or not. Be careful – this stuff tastes like punch and will sneak up on you before you know it.