Friday, July 16, 2010

Bring on "National Ice Cream Day"

Image from "Martha Stewart Living"

July 18th is "National Ice Cream Day". In 1984, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed July as National Ice Cream Month and apparently he also established National Ice Cream Day as the third Sunday in the month...I'll go with that! Considering it's summer here in the USA I cannot think of a better celebration!

One of my favourite blogs is Eat-Drink-Chic, if you are familiar with it then you most likely saw Amy's "Ice Cream Parlour" post and all the wonderful downloads. One day I am going to print it all out and have that party for our friends, I am in awe of the design, and love that the style is vintage :)

Some of you may be aware that I absolutely adore red and white striped *ANYTHING*, so I thought I would create some fun downloads for you if you want to have your own red-and-white striped ice cream party! If you click on the images they will appear full size and you can save them then print them out. Enjoy!

To start off your party planning, you may want to give out some party invitations! I suggest you print these onto card!

I love welcome signs at parties, and again, this would be much better printed on card, or otherwise stuck onto the front of a board of some sort.

For the table, you will definitely need some place cards, and again, print on card for these also.

And finally, if you are planning to make ice-cream cones, then you'll undoubtedly want to have some matching cone wraps to go with the theme :)

Happy National Ice Cream Day, thanks Ronald Reagan!

Monday, July 12, 2010

La Fête nationale, Happy Bastille Day!

Bastille Day, or as the French may refer to it, "La Fête nationale" (and commonly le quatorze juillet), is the French National holiday, celebrated on the 14th of July. It commemorates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789; the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille fortress-prison was seen as a symbol of the uprising of the modern nation, and of the reconciliation of all the French inside the constitutional monarchy which preceded the First Republic, during the French Revolution. Festivities are held on the morning of 14 July, on the Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris in front of the President of the Republic.

So when I thought of all things French that I love the first thing that popped into my head were "almond croissants". My husband and I were in Paris last year and we were staying near Luxembourg Gardens where there was a great patisserie near the Luxembourg Metro station. We would go there for breakfast pastries before we started our day, and I can almost still taste them when I think of our trip there. Ok, so from what the reviews say, this recipe is apparently fantastic, let me know how you go:

Almond Croissants

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • 3/4 cup warm milk (110 to 115 degrees F)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup almond paste
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  1. In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Cut in butter until crumbly. Add milk and egg yolks to yeast mixture; mix well. Stir into flour mixture; mix well. Do not knead. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat filling ingredients until smooth. Punch dough down. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll each piece into a 12-in. circle; cut each circle into eight wedges. Spread filling over wedges; roll up from wide end. Place with point side down 3 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Curve ends to form a crescent shape. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour (dough will not double).
  3. Beat egg white and water; brush over croissants. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.
And now for a little DIY!! Ok, so one of the most famous landmarks in France has to be "la tour Eiffel", in the hear of Paris on Champ de Mars. Therefore, I thought your Bastille Day table could not be complete without Eiffel tower decorations :) In this DIY, you will need to download these images, enlarge them and print onto card, uut them out and glue the sides together to make the tower, e-mail me if you are having trouble and I can help you out!

I personally think that croissants and Eiffel towers are all you need for a perfect celebration, but if you are planning a Bastille Day celebration dinner, then I think all you need to complete the evening are some crepes :)

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the salt and butter; beat until smooth.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.
  3. Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Serve hot.
Happy Bastille Day!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day...AY!

I want to wish everyone a Happy Canada Day...ay!! My husband is Canadian so I thought it important to make a post about this important occasion in his homeland! I absolutely love Canada, having lived in Montreal for almost 4 years I immersed myself in the culture, who doesn't love Maple leaves, Snow, Bear crafts and Mounties ...ay? :)

Ok, so if you are planning on celebrating Canada Day here are some ideas for your celebration. I found this fabulous idea on the web to decorate a cake:

Canadian Flag Cake

You'll need:

* Pre-made cake (I'd use the packet mixes, they are sure to never fail)
* 3 cups sliced fresh strawberries, halved
* 2 cups thawed Cool Whip™ whipped topping

Layer the cake as you desire then use the cream and strawberries and copy the image above to make the flag design!

Totally love that! Martha's website did not have anything Canada related, except for these "Maple Leaf cookies". In the image you see, she has them in cute "Maple Leaf Boxes", which she decorated as below:

1. Line a chip-wood box (available at crafts stores in a variety of sizes) with wax tissue paper or colored glassine cut to fit.

2. Using a maple-leaf craft punch, cut leaves from sheets of colored paper or card stock, and attach 1 leaf to each lid using a glue stick. You could also cut out the designs on your own if you don't have the special maple leaf punch!

As a true Canadian family we always have Maple syrup in our house (the REAL stuff of course :)), and I thought these wonderful "maple syrup labels" were adorable, click on that link and you'll be able to download them, thanks again Martha :)

And if you are being super-decorating-guru you may want to make some maple leaf baskets for your table, you can download the maple leaf designs here!!

Happy Canada Day!!