One of my best friends from college, Laura, is getting married in October. She found the perfect guy who complements her SO well!! It always makes me happy when my friends find their true love and life partner. It really is a magical time and I couldn’t be more happy for her. Plus, this magical time means lots of fun parties!! You all know how much I love parties. And weddings are definitely my favorite!! So naturally I’ve turned this wonderful time in her life into something for me…throwing a bridal shower!
One of my other best friends from college, Allison, lives in Dallas near me. She had the brilliant idea of throwing Laura a shower up here. I jumped at the chance to co-host because I knew we could do something really fun and special for the bride. Allison thought all of two seconds before a theme popped into her head. Laura loves sushi. I mean, LOVES it! Every time we make dinner or lunch plans, she always suggests we meet for sushi. We knew the shower needed an Asian-inspired theme with sushi as the main appetizer.
Allison knows and appreciates my party-throwing obsession, so she pretty much let me run wild with the decor and presentation. We work well together since we both have a passion for design, so when it came time to decorate her house, we were both full of ideas.
Even though spring is long past, we decided to incorporate cherry blossoms and the color pink into our decor. We wanted everything to feel light and airy. Plus, pink just works great for parties! I’m sure you all remember Emily’s branch centerpiece she designed last winter. Well, I snatched it off her dining room table and we used it at the party stretched across the counter. Allison also cut some bamboo out of her yard and placed it in a vase with small rocks and water for the other side of the counter. Our table was going to be full of food, so we decided that instead of a centerpiece we would focus on having something hang above the table. I turned to my favorite decor site Luna Bazaar and ordered a bunch of fuchsia and light pink lanterns, along with lots of folding fans. I still had white lanterns from a previous party, so we incorporated those as well.
Sticking with the color scheme, we placed pink sparkling lemonade, Izze sodas, and pink prosecco into a tin container. It was an easy way to pull the colors around the room, plus gives the guests more drink options. We also served iced green tea and of course, water (we do live in 100+ degree Texas!).
On to the food. We obviously served various sushi rolls, but we also had steamed pork dumplings, edamame, wasabi peas (for snacking), and a great noodle salad (recipe below). The bites were light and tasty, which meant that the food was actually eaten! While having leftovers is fine, I always want the food to disappear at a party.
Instead of a typical shower cake, I decided to make lots of little desserts for the guests. I have really found a passion for baking. I never thought I would have the patience for it, but the process sort of calms me. Weird, I know. After scouring the internet and cookbooks, I came up with the dessert menu. I made lime-glazed mini bundt cakes, strawberry cake-balls, and raspberry fools. A fool is sort of like a parfait; made with cream, creme fraiche, and soaked raspberries, all folded together. It is heavenly.
I am a huge fan of guest favors at parties. I mean, kids give goody bags, why not adults? A little trinket is nice, but any sort of food treat is really the best. For this shower, we bought little Chinese take-out containers. I printed out “thank you” labels and we filled the containers with fortune cookies.
Overall the party was a success! We all had a great time celebrating the bride-to-be and hopefully she left the party feeling more like a bride. Congrats to Laura and Andrew!
Stir-Fry Noodle Bowl
Adapted from Rachel Ray
1 pound whole-wheat spaghetti or udon noodles
2 pounds mixed fresh mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, crimini, etc)
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1 bunch scallions, chopped into 2-inch lengths
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup pea pods, thinly sliced
3 to 4 cloves garlic, diced
1 (2-inch) piece ginger root, grated
1 (10-ounce) package frozen shelled edamame
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons Asian chili sauce or hot sauce (to taste)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
toasted sesame seeds
Bring a large pot of water for pasta to boil. Add salt and noodles, and cook to al dente. Reserve ½ cup pasta water.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Coarsely chop mushrooms and place in a bowl. Add the scallions, teriyaki sauce, and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Arrange on nonstick baking sheet and cook 20 minutes, turning once half-way through baking time.
Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over high heat. Add peppers, red onion, pea pods, garlic, and ginger. Stir fry for 2 minutes and then add the edamame, heating through 2 to 3 minutes more. Add hoisin, the juice of 2 limes, hot sauce, and the reserved pasta water. Add drained noodles and toss to coat. Turn off heat and toss in any optional garnishes.