Joanna Anastasia

party

Kicking off the holiday season

must try party

Cheers to the holidays! My favourite season is finally here, and this means hosting, gathering and entertaining! Also, all the yummy food, sparkly dresses and Christmas music!

Though truth to be told, I haven’t been hosting much since we had our second daughter.. and she is four years old now.. You’re wondering why? Well, cooking for a big group of people, while trying to survive in a chaos af the everyday life- as a mother, is just simply terrifying. Not to mention one tiny problem: time. Preparing a nice party for friends, with kids around, basically means that either you ship your kids to grandparents for the day, or you end up ordering food. At least, this is what I used to think.

Until last week, when I hosted the Must Try Party, and with my friends we have discovered the new President’s Choice Insider Collection: simply perfect for entertaining and parties! I have set a table full of food: from delicious gnocchi to mini empanadas, with cheese and meat platters, hot shrimp and scallops gratin and the best bacon in my life: and it took me 30 minutes to prepare! Now that’s a stress free entertaining!

must try party

must try party

must try party

must try party

First, meat lovers rejoice! I have tried hands down the best bacon in my life: Honey and sea salt naturally smoked bacon, and even if I would like to be vegan, after trying this I just can’t. My husband loved the hardwood smoked chicken wings and my friends were obsessed with the Splendido Antipasto Misto– aka the perfect meat platter with mild Genoa salami,Coppa di Parma and  prosciutto.

We have also tried the best smoked flavoured cheddar cheese ever! And the aged 5 years Canadian cheddar was my hubby’s favourite.

Also, if you ever wondered if you should spend an hour on cutting fruit for your perfect cheese and meat platter, then I’ll give you an easier solution: just add some Pomegranate Arils! In a bowl, pomegranate looks beautiful and is a great addition to cold meats and cheese! Not to mention that any drink, even a simple sparkling water,  will look so much more festive with a bit of Pomegranate in it!

must try party

must try party

One of the things I used to do pre-kids, was preparing finger foods for my guest. It would take me all afternoon, and it used to be what I liked to munch on the most too. I can’t imagine spending all afternoon working on hors d’oeuvre now to be honest! Not with kids running around! Soo these Asian Hors D’oeuvres and the Chicken Empanadas from the Insiders Collection have really made me so happy; they were exactly what my guests loved,  full of taste and the best part is they are ready to serve.

The only thing I did prepare, was serving this Oak Smoked Scottish Atlantic Salmon on some crackers with cream cheese. So simple, and seriously, so delicious! Also, we tried the Sweet & Heat Popcorn, and I must say, it’s loaded with flavour!must try party

must try party

must try party

And if you have noticed my pretty new cristal glasses, well they are also from the Insiders Collection! They would be perfect for serving wine ( there are two sizes in the package- one for white wine and one for red) though I think they make my water look pretty fancy too!

must try party

must try party

The best part of my party was realizing that I can invite friends over this Holiday season and we can eat great food and no, I don’t have to spend all day stressed in the kitchen in order to prepare it. Because with all the choices in the Insiders Collection, hosting is really made easy. And for a foodie like me, this is really great news!

Disclosure: this post was brought to you by President’s Choice, all opinions remain entirely my own.

Winter pastel birthday party

Winter pastel birthday party , ideas and tips for busy moms!

While celebrating Lili’s 5th birthday, I felt stronger than ever before how “the days are long but the years are short”. I just couldn’t stop thinking about all of the birthday parties I made so far, for this not-so-little-any-more girl of mine.

The first, over the top, with a hundred or so home-made cupcakes and all our friends, the second with boxes everywhere right before moving to our first home and while pregnant with our second girl. The third and fourth, with way too many kids high on sugar and me feeling all stressed after baking and cleaning like a mad woman.. Actually every year I would bake way too many cupcakes and stress too much over the the little things.

So this year I decided that I wanted to be more present and not in a rush and stressed. I planned this birthday party differently. I asked my big girl what party theme she liked, and this winter born baby said she wanted a winter party, with all the rainbow colors. So we decided to make it a pastel winter themed party, with pastel tassel garland and confetti’s and the colorful, rainbow-like birthday cake!

And for the first time since my girl was born, I decided to let someone else do the baking!

Winter pastel birthday party

I got cake and cupcakes at Le cake Studio , cookies at Johanie Creative and party decor at Genwoo Craft. I felt a bit more than usually like a Lazy Mom, having it all done for me, but I think that every one loved it nevertheless! And Lili, well she was so happy!

Winter pastel birthday party

Winter pastel birthday party

Winter pastel birthday party

Winter pastel birthday party

The cake and cupcakes where melt-in-your mouth pieces of art. With rich buttercream frosting and all-the-decorations, they have made my little girls birthday feel so special!

And the cookies where simply the sweetest little winter themed animals and snowflakes, that all kids and adults likewise, where fighting for !

Winter pastel birthday party

Winter pastel birthday party

Winter pastel birthday party

Winter pastel birthday party

So here’s my recipe for a simple winter pastel birthday party for kids:

1. Decide on a color theme.

We went for pastel rainbow. But it could be as simple as blue and white, all white or white and pink. Decorate with tassels and add confetti.

2. Get or make your cake and cupcakes, and decorate them with all things pastel and winter.

It can be a simple one layer cake, with buttercream frosting, but if you’ll decorate it with lot’s of white candy, lollipops, feathers, and pastel white chocolates, it’ll look gorgeous and winter-themed like mine!

3. Get or make winter animals shaped cookies.
Or just stars. And tell kids it’s snowflakes. They shouldn’t mind!

4.Let them listen to Frozen.
Yes, once they’re high on sugar, and after they have run around and broke things and screamed, let them listen to Frozen. They’ll remember they watched a winter Disney movie and will be saying for days what a great winter party they had!

5.Serve blue milk.
I called it the Elsa drink, and it was simply milk with some blue food colorant. ( I know it’s not pictured, and I know it’s not healthy.. but kids loved it!)

And lastly, don’t stress to much. You kids will love the party even if it’s not picture perfect!

 

Old fashion birthday cake

Old fashioned birthday cake

My little baby just turned one, so finally I had an opportunity to make this old fashion birthday cake, topped with a little paper banner! My family and friends probably thought that I went crazy, and/or I’m so utterly bored at home that I started making useless cake banners ;). But cutting out little diamond shaped paper pieces, gluing them together on a string and then decorating a home made birthday cake with it, is actually my kind of kick-off-and-relax activity :).

I wanted a delicate light blue, slightly ombré cake, that when cut would be pink with blue icing in side. I got some colorful garlands that had set the cheerful and bright tone of the party. And since none of my kids knows what a birthday party theme is, I didn’t bother too much about coordinating the plates with the cake and the favours :). I got Sesame Street plates (on sale) that kids loved, little pirates straws (on sale) that they loved even more, and bubbles and stickers as favours. Honestly, not sticking to a strict theme got me saving money, and stress :). Totally worth it.

Coming back to my cake:). Here is the recipe for my foolproof angel food cake. But it could be also done with a cake mix. ( yes, don’t be shocked, a busy lazy mom, sometimes is using a cake mix). And I used pastel food colouring, so the insight of my cake was light pink. Oh, and it was heart-shaped too! (because I love my baby so much and because that was my only baking dish available:) )

Old fashioned birthday cake

Once my cake was baked, I cut it in half, and spread some light blue icing . For the icing, you can either use this delicious recipe of mine, or you can use a store-bought French vanilla icing. I won’t judge you. I divided my icing in three portions, and then tinted one in light blue, another in even lighter blue, and I left one white. Then starting from the bottom I spread the icing in a rather nonchalant way:) It’s old-fashion birthday cake, it should look rustic !

Old fashion birhday cake

Now, it wouldn’t look like an old fashion birthday cake without sprinkles, am I right?

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And here is how I made this lovely, cute and in the eyes of my friends rather useless cake banner :). I started by preparing :

A string
Pretty paper
Wood sticks
Glue

Old fashioned birthday cake

I cut the paper in to diamond shape, I wrapped the string around the stick, and then I glued the paper around it. Really simple and in my case very relaxing craft 🙂

Old fashioned birthday cake

Once everything was ready I had to keep my kids and my cats away from it, and believe me, its easier said then done! Lili wanted to ” just lick it a tiny bit”, and I had to close one of my furry babies in the basement, in order to save my cake from being eaten by a cat!

Old fashioned birthday cake

But honestly, my adorable one-year-old seemed like she couldn’t care less about the cake flavor, color or banner. It was sweet, and it was all that mattered to her :). Calmly, without a sound or a blink, she ate her piece in less than 2 minutes 🙂

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