My newest grandson, Sebastian (we call him Bash) was born a month ago. During the months leading up to his birth my life got a little crazy-busy and I couldn’t see myself organizing a baby shower for Amy. I know. Mom fail.
But, in my defense, we did get everything she needed for her first few weeks including a rocking chair, diapers, and receiving blankets. So there’s that.
Back in the day, before it was common for people to know months in advance whether they were having a girl baby or a boy baby, my friends and I would wait until the babe was born to do the showering. It was a daring departure from the days of the “safe” yellow and green gifts and we thought we were sooo ahead of our time and forward thinking, but that’s not important right now.
I suggested this to Amy. “Let’s have a party after he’s born and then everyone can come and meet him.” She wasn’t sure about this radical idea. But it turns out that it’s the newest “thing” in baby-showering. Who knew we were being trendy?
They’re calling them “Sip and See’s” now, and according to my extensive research on Pinterest (I’m Marta Verdes Darby there, by the way) they seem to involve copious amounts of alcohol – hence the “sip” part – because that’s apparently what new moms need the most.
I decided we would do a Jungle Themed party and call it our Meet The Baby Bash. (See how that works on two levels? Because Bash. I know. Shut up.)
My jungly colors were (ironically) greens and yellows like the old-school “safe” baby color days, but oh-so-much better.
(All the pretty photos were taken by Lucy Darby.)
So I grabbed all the clear glass containers and mason jars I could find and all the green, yellow, and white fruits and flowers that caught my eye.
Picture me running around the produce department going, “Oooh, these bananas will pair nicely with the pineapples and limes.” (I know. I was hating me a little, too.)
At some point, Amy had jokingly suggested I should put out a bowl of lemons because that’s what they do in all those home improvement shows when they’re “staging” the new houses. I took her way too seriously.
And because it’s summer and because it’s my backyard, I needed flags, of course. So I shopped the sale bin at the local fabric store and scored these über-cool-jungle-prints and Lucy sewed these beauties up in no time.
Amy claims she hates flags and banners. I tend to love them. I think they add a super fun and friendly ambience, so we did that. Because flags make everything that much more festive. (I’m right. I know I’m right.)
I had about 50 people coming. What to serve? It was an informal backyard soiree and I wanted everything to be delicious. I also wanted a combination of hot, cold and room temperature foods, with an appetizery feel to them but that would also be filling and have enough of a variety to appeal to the crowd.
I started with Wedge Salads: shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced cherry tomatoes, sliced green onions, and bacon with a bleu cheese dressing.
We tossed them prior to serving them in individual cups with forks, that way I didn’t have to put out a big bowl of soggy salad. Plus they were kind of cute like this.
I served everything in disposable aluminum containers, which made clean up super simple. We filled the pans with ice to keep the salads cool on this hot summer day.
Jonathan insisted we needed Bacon-wrapped dates and so he set out making a tray of those. I also made an easy and delicious Crack Dip (recipe follows), served with chips as well as with the trays of fresh fruit.
Crack Dip Recipe
- 16 oz. sour cream
- Hidden Valley Ranch Dip Mix
- 2 slices bacon, cooked and finely chopped
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 green onion, sliced
- Mix the sour cream, ranch dip mix, bacon, and cheese together in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours.
- Garnish with green onions and extra bacon. Serve with chips.
I also made Picadillo and Pulled Chicken which could be eaten alone or prepared with Walking Tacos.
Walking Tacos are super easy and such a fun party food. I added the instructions on the blackboard and provided the chip bags, fillers, and toppings. We had served these before at Jonathan’s Graduation Party, so I knew it would be a popular party food.
We made trays of Ham and Cheese Sliders with a delicious butter, onion, and mustard sauce and baked until golden brown.
And trays of Baked Quesadillas. The toppings for the Walking Tacos (salsa, guacamole, sour cream) worked well with these.
Baked Quesadilla Recipe
- Package of flour tortillas (20)
- 1/2 cup salsa
- 12 oz. shredded cheddar and/or jack cheese
- chopped fresh cilantro
- sliced green onions
- Sour cream and salsa for topping
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease a baking sheet with 2 tablespoons of butter.
- Arrange the tortillas on a baking sheet, slightly overlapping, as many as needed to cover the bottom of the pan.
- Spread an even layer of salsa on top of the tortillas.
- Sprinkle evenly with the cheese.
- Arrange the remaining tortillas on top of the salsa and cheese.
- Spread butter evenly over the tortillas.
- Bake at 425° until the tortillas are golden and the cheese is fully melted. 9 to 12 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and green onions.
- Keep warm and serve immediately. Top with sour cream and salsa.
Of course, my Cubanity had to be represented. To that end, we had ham croquetas and potato balls. I confess that I had these catered from Porto’s Bakery. I could have made them, I suppose, but I decided it would have been a bit too much and also, why argue with perfection?
These were served with a bowl of old school, bakery galletas (Cuban crackers), also from Porto’s.
I think my greatest fear when throwing a party is that there will not be enough food. That was obviously not a problem for us this day.
I kept my desserts simple. Again, I relied on Porto’s and offered an assortment of “pastelitos’ – Cuban pastries. The choices were Guava, Guava and Cheese, and Cheese. These were, as you can imagine, quite a hit.
As far as the “sipping” part, we opted for a non-alcoholic evening and served sparkling water, sodas, including Cuban ones- Materva and Iron Beer – and water bottles. Plus we had two dispensers with tea and lemonade.
My daughter, Amy was completely relaxed and enjoyed herself immensely as the guests all ooh-ed and aah-ed over Baby Bash. This evening gave her a night off as that boy was passed around and admired by all. He’s such an angel. Also, doesn’t she look great for a new mom?
Party throwing is exhilarating and exhausting all at once. I am extremely blessed to have my family and friends who stepped up when I lost my head a few times as the preparations were underway.
I love having a houseful of noisy, happy people and this was certainly the case. They stayed late into the night, which pleased me greatly.
But this. This was the very best part of the entire night for me.
photo: lucy darby
Call me Wella.