Monday, June 6, 2011

Flower Shower

One of my dear friends is preggers with her second baby...and while it isn't always customary to have a shower with your second child, when it is a different sex it is absolutely necessary.  So I asked if I could host one for her and all of her friends, and I was so ecstatic when she agreed to let me!  If there is one thing I love in life it is throwing a party!  That is for sure!
This is my friend Jill, and her mom.  And I did manage to get a photo of Jill and myself, but I will have to get that from her mom's camera!
I hosted "Lunch with Lia" at the Prickly Pear in downtown Mooresville.  I love this little restaurant.  It is perfect for a date night, a light lunch, or even a bridal or baby shower.  One of my bridal showers was held at the Prickly Pear back in 2008.  The food is fresh and delicious and the atmosphere is amazing.  The restaurant is an old, small cathedral-style church.  The staff have always been super friendly as well.  Once, when Forbes and I had a bad experience, they were quick to make restitution and I received a gift card in the mail the very next day!  Now that is what I call excellent customer service.

When it comes to showers, I am not a big fan of the hoakie games that are always played.  So when I sent the invitation I was specific to warn the girls that we would be enjoying a classy lunch together, a few gifts and cupcakes...and that was all.
To change it up even more, I went with a "garden party" theme and planted Zinnia's in cute little pots as favors and added a floral touch to my homemade cupcakes.
If I do say so myself...these were the most fantastic cupcakes I have ever tasted.  And I made them!  That was so exciting for me.  I adapted the recipe from a few others I found online, used a little intuition, and hoped for good results.  I was pleasantly surprised when the cake came out moist and light, and the frosting sweet and rich.  The almond and chocolate flavors compliment one another perfectly and the decadent treat was perfect for this special occasion!

Chocolate Almond Cupcakes

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Frosting, recipe below

In medium bowl whisk together coconut milk and apple cider vinegar.  Let stand for 1-2 minutes.  Stir in vegetable oil, almond and vanilla extracts.

In large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  Mix wet ingredients into dry and stir until just combined. 

Spoon batter into lined cupcake tin 2/3 full.  Bake cupcakes at 350* for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  (I baked mine exactly 20 minutes.)  Let cupcakes cool completely before icing.  Makes 12 cupcakes.

Almond Buttercream Frosting

4 cups sifted powder sugar
1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1 tbsp Almond Extract

In electric stand mixer, ship together sugar and butter until light and fluffy and add in almond extract.  If you plan to be outside with your cupcakes with a risk of melting, add more powdered sugar to make the frosting stiffer.  

Spoon frosting into zipper sealed plastic bag and snip the corner.  Pipe icing onto cooled cupcakes.  I topped mine with a sugar-flower decal.  You could use sprinkle, fresh fruit, or slivered almonds.  Either way, the taste is going to be phenomenal! 
To start the shower, I ordered a selection of appetizers including chips and salsa, guacamole and queso dip, as well as shrimp tostadas.  You know what I had my fingers in...
The guacamole at Prickly Pear is amazing and typically made fresh in front of you when you order it!  The rest of the girls really enjoyed the queso and the tostadas.  Some of us also ordered entrees for lunch.  I had one of the burritos sans cheese.
I asked them to serve me half and wrap the other half to go for Forbes.  Even after my half came out, I still only managed to eat half of my portion! It was amazingly huge!  After lunch it was cupcake time and everyone enjoyed the treat!
And then of course we showered Jill with gifts!
We had an amazing lunch and a great time with one another.  After the gifts were all opened, the girls departed with their party favors and I retreated home to catch a few moments of relaxation before our next big event...dinner with Forbes' mom.
We met Alina and Ron at the Winston-Salem Whole Foods for a little hot bar action.  I would have to call Sunday an achievement in culinary perfection.  The food I consumed was wonderful.  I always go a little overboard on the hot bar at Whole Foods because I have to sample everything.  On my favorites list from dinner includes the Sweet Potatoes and those Asian noodles, as well as the Seitan Artichoke Salad.  I want to go back right now for more!
After dinner, we shopped a little before parting ways with my in-laws.  They sent us away with a bouquet of hydrangeas from their bush.  Hydrangeas were my wedding flower and I am in love with all the beautiful blooms right now!

After dinner, we had one more stop in Winston-Salem before heading home.
After such a long day, we relaxed with a flight from Foothills Brewing Company.  We both really enjoyed all of their beers and I couldn't really choose a favorite. 
Forbes and I both agree their Pale Ale and IPA were really really tasty though.
Oh boy, just writing this post makes me exhausted thinking of all we accomplished yesterday!  It was so much fun, and full of joy and friends.  But I have to admit, I am happy to be back to Monday, and normal, everyday life!  This is my last week babysitting the kiddos so we are heading out now for some ice cream at my favorite gas station/frozen yogurt establishment!


  1. Thanks Tanya - I had an amazing time on Sunday! You are an excellent hostess and the time with all of you and the showering of gifts made me really wish that Lia were here NOW! :o) Thanks friend!

  2. You threw such a beautiful shower- well done!!

    And I can't wait to try beer flights again- they're so fun :)