A simple plan is a good plan. My plan for this party looks fancy, but was really very simple in execution. The trick is to pay attention to the pretty details without going over the top! After all, the girls are there to have fun, and probably won't notice your hand-embroidered tablecloth or intricately beaded napkin rings...
The little white clothing rack was borrowed from Meg. It was the perfect size for little girls to rifle through hanging garments. Shoes, accessories and bling were displayed in old baskets or colourful cake boxes I had lying around. Never throw anything pretty away!!
Think, Emporium! I raided Geoffs Emporium and found the most gorgeous fabric to use as a fancy tablecloth; pink and gold paisly pattern, with a velvety feel. Cheap!! A couple of metres of that, thanks.
Then ribbons and lace, pink and white at .10c a metre. Bargain! My good table napkins got rolled up and tied with several different types, a bud off a $2 bunch of rosebuds poked in to finish off. Ribbons were tied on the chair back and helped to fancy up the light shade.
Bring out the Best China...
I've been collecting trios, cake plates and cut-glass dishes for about the last year, just because I love old pretty things. What a great chance to use all my fancy things! Should I have been scared in case they got broke?? Maybe. But these little ladies I had as guests were very well-mannered and careful, so no worries there. Everything got presented in the old glass serveware and pretty china. Even the twisties and chicken nibbles.
So you see, it looks very fancy, but most of the things I used are things from my cupboards. And the few extras I found at the Sallies for $2 a pop are now added to my collection. Bonus!
The Party guests were requested to arrive at 3pm. I figured a good couple of hours playing dressup, no problems. I hadn't counted on how quickly these junior fashionistas would put together their outfits!
Ouch, it's only 4pm... tea is not scheduled til 5pm - what to do???
Singstar! What else?? Not particularly tuneful, but a great impromptu time-filler!
They also took home an organza bag of old-fashioned rock candy and jellybeans.
It was Mr G's great idea to dress up as a butler and serve the girls, and they were delighted with "their servant"! He was hilarious, refusing to pour their strawberry mik until they said please and thankyou; all in the poshest of voices of course. A silver bell we picked up in England was put to use, the girls ringing it to call their "servant" when he disappeared to secretly munch on some goodies.
To top it all off, we lit the brazier (firepit) outside and toasted marshmallows, and told fairy stories. Magical.
The Fancy Menu
Less than two weeks before the party, I deduced that my birthday girl is gluten intolerant. All of a sudden I had to go on a crash course, figuring out how to put together a delicious, pretty, gluten free feast!
Thanks to everyone who sent me encouragement and recipes; I couldn't have done it without you!
I like to keep party Menus simple, so they can be prepared ahead of time. Who wants to spend their kid's party in the kitchen?? Not me.
Here's what we did...
- gluten free cupcakes decorated two ways - butterflies & iced (see below)
- gluten free heart cookies (see below)
- fruit kebabs
- GF rock candy and jelly beans in glass dishes
- Hersheys Kisses (gluten free, yay!)
- GF sausages on sticks with dipping sauce
- GF marinated chicken nibbles
- GF pretzels (they do exist)
Bake at 190oC for 15 minutes or until cakes spring back when touched. These cupcakes are delicious!! You would never know they are gluten free.
Decorate with a swirl of butter cream icing and top with sprinkles or a sugar rose.
To make Butterfly Cakes: Slice the top off each cake; cut this in half. Place a teaspoonful of whipped cream on top of the remaing cake and then arrange wings on top. Dust with icing sugar. So pretty!
Gluten Free Heart Cookies:
A disaster. I don't know whether to even post the recipe. This was a non-GF recipe for which I substituted GF baking mix. Horrors when the carefully cut-out shapes spread like billy-o all over the tray. I had to rush and cut out some new shapes while the mixture was still soft, and hope that some could be salvaged.
Cream butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Sift flour together and fold into creamed mixture until just combined. The mixture is crumbly, so use your hands to smoosh it together. (It tastes good so you can lick your fingers)
Roll out (not too thin) and cut out shapes.
Bake on a tray lined with baking powder at 180oC for 5-6 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow to cool completely, then sandwich together with this filling:
1 cup icing cugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon hot water
a dab of food colouring of your choice.
(if you want to ice on top and put sprinkles, make the icing runnier and drip onto cookies, then sprinkle with 100s and 1000s). When cooked, they taste like Melting Moments.
GF Sausages on a Stick (instead of hotdogs)
Get a kilo of good quality GF sausages (pork or lamb) from a real butcher. Bake in the oven for 20 mins at 190oC, in an oven tray lined with baking paper (no washing up!) When cooked, use a knife to poke a slit it one end of each sausage and then poke an ice-block stick up it's bum. GF hotdogs! Dip in tomato sauce. Yummo!
GF Chicken Nibbles (instead of chicken nuggets)
Marinate a kilo of chicken nibbles in GF soy sauce and golden syrup (or melted honey); bake in the oven for 50 minutes. Oh so delicious. Your kids will never miss their processed chicken nuggets again!
You can't go wrong with fruit kebabs (thread fruit and GF marshmallows onto sticks; I dip my banana in lemon juice and then roll in dessicated coconut; delicious). Chopped up watermelon always goes down well and satisfies our mummy-craving for healthyness. I was going to do chocolate-dipped strawberries. But I didn't.
GF Sweets: Some brands of sweets are made from wheat glucose not cane sugar or corn glucose. I contacted my supermarket to ask about their bulk sweets suppliers and received a call from Cadbury directly! They were very obliging and reassured me that the items in question (jellybeans) were made with corn glucose (but warned that this can vary).
In NZ the best brand for delicious marshmallows is Mr Mallow. They are GF and so delicious; they toast up really well too.
I found a GF sweet supplier with an online website, by googling "Gluten Free Sweets" in my area. Here is the NZ Website: Crazy Candies
Corn Snacks: Doritos* (cheese and salted) are GF; Twisties* are GF, you can find GF pretzels; potato chips which are ready salted or salt'n'vinegar are GF. Other flavourings use wheat.
(* = "May contain traces" - fine for an intolerance, but not for a coeliac)
Rainbow Layer Cake: