Friday, August 27, 2010

A Queen Party!

Happy Friday! It was a long week and I am glad it's almost over!

When I received Rachel's order for a Fo Fabulous Custom Party Package, I knew I would have fun with this one! Rachel's boyfriend David is obsessed with all things Queen (the band) and Freddie Mercury, so naturally, she wanted to throw him a Queen themed birthday party! This was such a fun party to research and Rachel did an amazing job executing all of the ideas and taking detailed party pictures for me. This was DEFINITELY a party fit for a Queen (fan). Hee hee.

Here is the party package I created: Queen Themed Birthday Party Custom Party Package  

I loved the way Rachel used ideas from the Party Package! Here are some party pics:
Rachel assigned each table a famous Queen song. Wouldn't you have liked to sit at the "Another One Bites The Dust" table?

 Or the "We Are The Champions" table?

I created custom party confetti for Rachel and sent it down to Florida for the party! The confetti had funny pictures of the birthday boy as well as Queen and Freddie Mercury pictures.


Speaking of David the birthday boy, Rachel created a great cake table filled with a picture of David, plastic records, Queen photos and of course, a guitar cake.

 For the large Queen pictures, Rachel used the same technique I used for Brooke's Baptism. Rachel filled a glass jar with tissue paper. For the pictures, she printed out large pictures and glued them to skewers which she then stuck the skewers in the tissue paper. A perfect display! 


For the party favors, Rachel ordered custom magnets from VistaPrint and put them in clear bags filled with candy for guests to take home. 
My favorite aspect of the party was the bar area (now that I think of it, that's usually my favorite part of any party). Rachel featured Freddie Mercury's favorite cocktails and even created awesome Freddie Mercury drink stirrers! I LOVE the stirrers!

 Rachel was really happy with the way the party turned out and had this to say: 

"There was not 1 person that didn't make a comment about the decor. In fact, the bartender took the Freddie drink stirrers and several party guests took a piece of the decor items such as song photo frames, confetti, and records."

Aww! Thanks Rachel :) 

 I know you want to throw a fabulous party, but you may not have the time to research all the ideas, so let me do the work for you! You can order your package HERE and then shoot me an email at with the party details. You will get your customized package within a week of your order! And here's a secret - The party packages will only be priced at $30 for a few more weeks. Get 'em while they're hot (and before prices go up)! 

Have a GREAT weekend!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Crazy-Ass Cupcake Recipes

It's a well documented fact that I love all things cupcake, so when Mr. Fo sent an email entitled "CrazyAss Cupcakes Recipes," I knew I had to take a look. The article is actually called "Savory Cupcakes," but I think Mr. Fo's take on it is simply more accurate and definitely more humorous.

Btw, Mr. Fo just stumbled across this article during his daily Internet wanderings, and thought I would enjoy. He doesn't typically google cupcake recipes. OR DOES HE? What if he was the brains behind the whole operation. Like he was really Jackie Fo, and I, the real Jackie Fo, hated all things baking and party planning. Hmmm? Guess you'll never know.

First things first, the article is from the wonderful foodie site Delish. Delish has an awesome collection of seasonal recipes from tons of publications and Internet sites. I highly recommend it. Read the article HERE. I am going to pick out some of my favorite crazy-ass cupcake recipes to discuss.

Maple Bacon Cupcake

photo credit: Photo courtesy of Molly Landreth/Kumquat Cupcakery

There is this weird thing happening with bacon. People want to put it in everything... places where bacon just doesn't belong. I guess I am not an equal opportunity foodie. I am not a HUGE bacon fan (I know, it's SO blasphemous), but I can admit that this bacon cupcake (from Kumquat Cupcakery in Brooklyn) looks adorable. But do I want to eat it? Not so much. Bacon with my pancakes, yes please. Bacon cupcakes? Eh.

Tomato Basil Parmesan

photo credit: Courtesy of Bliss Cupcake Café

 My Italian blood can  DEFINITELY get  on board with this tomato-basil concoction. Although, let's be serious: This is not a cupcake. It's more like a dinner roll/muffin situation. Although it IS from a place called Bliss Cupcake Cafe, which coincidentally is in Arkansas about 20 minutes from where my in-laws live. Bliss claims to have the finest cupcake in all of NW Arkansas! Art and Sus - we must take a visit the next time I am in town  :)

The Lox

photo credit: Photo courtesy of Cecelia Henricks

I actually LOVE lox and and cream cheese on a bagel, so I could definitely see this making an interesting brunch option. Again, not a dessert cupcake by any means, but definitely a cool idea. I guess as long as you put it something in a cupcake wrapper, it's considered a cupcake? If I put a slice of pizza in a large cupcake wrapper, could I call it a pizza cupcake? Anywho, this brunch treat comes from It's a CupCake in Philadelphia, a shop that specializes in savory cupcakes. 

 Chocolate Covered Potato Chip

photo credit: Photo courtesy of Over the Rainbow Cupcakes

This cupcake actually looks delicious. Talk about the perfect sweet and salty combination, plus that chip dipped in chocolate and then drizzled in white chocolate? It's practically a work of art. This creative cupcake comes from Over the Rainbow Cupcakes in Palm Beach. Fittingly, this treat is on their "Wild Side" menu.

Chicken 'n' Waffles

photo credit: Photo courtesy of Desmond Chow/Robicelli's
No, it's not just a Ludacris album. It's a cupcake! A vanilla waffle cupcake with a fried chicken topper, I give this one major points for thinking outside the box. This inventive creation comes from Robicelli's Cupcakes in Brooklyn, where they churn out a different crop of cupcakes each week.

Well, there you have it - take a look at the full article HERE to check out even more "crazy-ass cupcakes." I am weirdly hungry now... maybe I will go pick 4 random ingredients from my pantry and try to whip up a cupcake. Who knows, it could be a winner!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


They say good things come in threes. Third time's a charm and all that jazz. Who is this "THEY" and how do they know everything? Let's explore good things that come in threes:

The Kardashian Sisters is great guilty pleasure TV, you love it too, don't deny it
Snap, Crackle & Pop  they make an excellent cereal and an even better treat
The Three Wise Men were pretty cool
The Triple Crown is quite coveted

...and the list goes on....(Side Note: Don't you think that The Three Wise Men would be just delighted to be included in the same list as the Kardashians?)

OMG - how could I forget the BEST ONE?!

Fabulous-ness around the web

What an intro, right? Let's get down to it... here is the THIRD installment of my fabulous finds! (NOTE: If you have any trouble viewing the pictures, click on them to enlarge.)

From one of my favorite new sites, Pizzazzerie. Check them out - you will LOVE them, they are a great inspiration site for entertaining.

Have you ever seen something so cute? These are cupcake skewers! Find the full post HERE. I literally squealed out loud when I saw this, Mr. Fo thought I had been bitten by a bug or something.

This next idea would be perfect for a Mad Men themed party or any sophisticated party - a Make Your Own Martini Bar from the ultra gorgeous site Sunday Suppers. Subscribe to Sunday Suppers if you want to see something beautiful with every post.

This next swoon-worthy image comes from one of my favorite party inspiration sites, P is for Party. The party is initially from Green Wedding Shoes, another amazing site! Look at the whole party post HERE, but for now, take a look at the ribbon backdrop behind the dessert bar! I love this simple idea that adds so much color! A dessert bar looks the best when it has a decorative background, and I am planning to use this idea for a shower I am planning. I just love it!

The next stop is something sweet from Glorious Treats, a wonderfully creative blog with mouth watering sweet treats. Everyone loves a hydrangea, right? They are absolutely gorgeous and easy to arrange. Just plop one in small vase and you are done! Well, how about a hydrangea cupcake? Can you even tell the difference between the cupcake and the flower?

The coolest part is how she used two-tone frosting to pipe out the lovely French Blue color. I would have never thought of putting two different colors in a piping bag, but as you can see, it works beautifully!

And not to give Glorious Treats all the credit, but something else she posted this week really caught my eye. What can I say, she is just fabulous. You know how if you are a creative person, you have ideas running through your head all the time? Well Glory from Glorious Treats had an idea for a Paris inspired dessert buffet, so she just created it one day. I love it! Although if I put all of my ideas into action, we would be broke and I would probably be divorced. But maybe I can do just one, like Glory? Please Mr. Fo?! Anyways, please admire her lovely Parisian tablescape.

How great are the ribbons hanging from the trees above? What's up with me and ribbon backdrops?! 

I love the Eiffel sign and the wire Eiffel Towers. It's just adorable and would be perfect for a girls night, bridal shower or a French themed dinner party. Love love love. 

And finally, to wrap up this post, a gorgeous summer tablescape from Style Me Pretty, featured on one of my new favorite blogs, The How-To-Hostess. The color combo of red and blue is gorgeous! Wouldn't Glorious Treats' hydrangea cupcakes go perfectly with this table! Although the How-To-Hostess makes an excellent point - where are they eating this lovely outdoor dinner without sweating through their clothes? Antarctica? Well, wherever it is, it's gorgeous.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my third tour of fabulous-ness around the web. Tours One and Two can be found HERE and HERE. Will there be a fourth? I don't know, you will have to come back and see :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Homemade Gnocchi - A mysterious beast

Excitement is high in the Fo household as I recently completed one of my culinary goals. I made my own gnocchi from scratch. While it's always nice to complete a goal, it didn't exactly turn out how I would have liked. My dreams of light and fluffy potato pillows didn't come true. Despite my fantasies, I am not the person who conquers gnocchi on her first try. I'm more like the person who makes gnocchi and it's totally edible, even tasty, but it gets a C+ from me. Here is my journey. (Insert classical, dramatic music here.) 

(Quick definition if you are unfamiliar with the pleasures of gnocchi, as provided by Wikipidea. Gnocchi is various thick, soft dumplings. They may be made from semolina, ordinary wheat flour, potato, bread crumbs, or similar ingredients. The smaller forms are called gnocchetti. Jackie Fo note #1: Potato gnocchi is the most common for shizzle. Jackie Fo note #2: Gnocchi is pronounced "Nyo-kee.")

After perusing every gnocchi recipe on the web, one day I opened up my Food Network magazine and here it was. The easiest gnocchi recipe I had ever seen.

(Music becomes more dramatic and louder as you wait for recipe to appear.)

First step: Buy a potato ricer. Some folks say it's not necessary and that you can mash the taters with a potato masher, but the ricer was highly suggested. And it was $12 and it gave me an excuse to go to Target. While it looks like some sort of torture device, it was actually quite helpful:

Next bake your potatoes for an hour. Once cooled, scoop out the flesh. (I hate when recipes refer to food as flesh...ummm I don't want to eat something called flesh.) Put the "flesh" in your potato ricer and you will have a pile of this. It looks like rice. Hence, a potato "ricer."

Mix in the appropriate ingredients and mash together with a fork:

 The next step is important and confusing all at the same time. It seems simple enough: Add flour to the dough. Continue to add flour until the dough becomes less sticky. Here's the confusing part: Some recipes call for kneading and some say not to. All the recipes say to make sure you don't add too much flour or the dough will get heavy. Heavy dough is the death of gnocchi. You have to add exactly the right amount of flour to make sure the dough doesn't stick, but not too much or the dough will be heavy. It's impossible I say. To knead or not to knead? To flour or not to flour? What's a girl to do?

Here is the dough with potentially too much or too little flour:

The next part of the process is really fun but super time consuming. Separate the dough into eight pieces and roll it into skinny logs of dough. Skinnier than what I did below. After reading more about the process, I am realizing the gnocchis should be smaller. Anyways, after you roll them out (just use your hands and me sure to flour the surface really well), cut into pieces.

Lay the gnocchi flat on a baking sheet and stick in the freezer until ready to cook. I put wax paper down and floured the wax paper to make sure the gnocchis didn't stick. Don't layer on top of each other, they will clump together. 

Paired with the gnocchi, I made a roasted red pepper sauce. This was actually really, really yummy. I got the recipe from Epicurious, but modified it by adding some regular tomato sauce to balance out the sweetness of the roasted red pepper. Be careful with the Parmesan. I tried to put in a little bit and ended up pouring in half the container. Yikes! Should have called it Parmesan Roasted Red Pepper Sauce. 

Also, don't use your mini food processor for this. Due to my complete lack of common sense regarding spatial relations, I thought I could fit all of the ingredients into this: 

When you stuff everything in, it will overflow, like so. And this orangey red color dyes  your counter top quite nicely. So that's fun to clean up. I personally enjoy breaking a sweat while cleaning up after dinner, but maybe you don't.

The finished product: 

It looks pretty tasty, doesn't it? And it was. The sauce was perfection; I suggest making it (without a tub of Parmesan!). It was the gnocchi that were ... simply adequate. While they were cooking, they didn't completely fall apart, but some of the gnocchi didn't stay quite together. I suffered the curse of most first time gnocchi makers - they were heavy and potato-ey. Sort of like I accidentally made the dumplings that go with chicken n' dumplins as opposed to Italian potato dumplings. Still delicious, but not light and airy as I had hoped. So, what was the culprit? It could be many things ... the flour content, the size of the gnocchi, the cooking time, I can't be sure. I assume like most things it just takes practice. 

Here are some good links with gnocchi making tips:

So I will try, try again. It was fun and at least I got to wear my favorite apron, bought straight from NYC's Little Italy:

(Insert laugh track.)

Does anyone have any gnocchi tips or a good recipe? Please share and help me conquer this mysterious beast.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bottles and Sleep Sacks and Diapers Oh My!

A PROGRAMMING NOTE: Apologies for two posts in a row that have nothing to do with parties or food. But this must be shared with my fine readers.

Here is what our guest room will look like this weekend:

That's right. Mr. Fo and I are in charge of a baby this weekend. Ummm... YIKES. The baby in question is of course baby Brookie, our six month old niece. You can check out her adorable face HERE at the baptism party I planned for her.

We will be watching her for a whopping two full days. Please see the diaper amount I was provided:

If you think that looks like 100 diapers, you are correct. If I have to change 100 diapers in two days then (a) the baby might have a stomach issue and (b) I might die.

Here are some other fun items that make a baby's world go round:

Bottles and Formula...Word on the street is that babies like milk.

In addition to the terrible smelling milk she is forced to consume, Brooke has moved up in the food world. She now eats some grainy concoction called "rice cereal" and of course, the classic mashed up fruit and veggies. Note that they are organic - I totally approve. No genetically engineered ingredients for my niece. I've seen Food, Inc. (You should too.)

See all of her cute little baby clothes and toys in her very own PERSONALIZED overnight bag. Or should I say, her trendy mini collapsible basket. SO cute, right?! She is already so stylish. Well, she is my niece, so I guess it's to be expected.

Here's a close-up of one of her favorite toys, the SUPER originally named "Mr. Giraffe." Side Note: Mr. Fo wholeheartedly disapproves of the way Brooke's toys are named. For example, her favorite toy is a little lion. He is aptly named, "Mr. Lion." Mr. Fo doesn't want Brookie to go her whole life thinking that all animals have a "Mr." in front of them. He's just plain ridiculous.

The giraffe that you see above is a plastic squeak toy that resembles a dog toy. I thought Drew had picked it up in a moment of desperation at the Rite Aid or something. You can imagine my surprise when Drew informed me that this seemingly plain toy is actually super popular with the Hollywood Moms. Apparently, Sandra Bullock is a fan. The giraffe's actual name? Sophie. Sophie the Giraffe. (So I guess we should change her name to Mrs. Giraffe?) Read more about this famous toy HERE. Apparently it's like the best toy giraffe ever. If IT IS the best toy giraffe ever, I expect it to be bedazzled or something. It really looks quite average. But enough about Sophie.

Baby land is just a different world. With its very own baby land jargon. Some of my newly learned words:

Sleep Sack (Why do we put babies in a footless sack? It just seems mean.)
Pac N' Play (I get it... because you pack it up... but babies don't really play in it, they sleep in it.)
Bumpo (No clue about this one.)
Binky (If my life depended on it, I couldn't tell you if a binky was a pacifier (also known as a "passy"), a blanket, or some sort of stuffed animal)
Dreft (Duh, it's baby laundry detergent - as if you would use Tide on a baby.)
Rice Cereal (It's not rice OR cereal.)

To be honest, I have spent a lot of time with Brooke and am quite good at the diaper changing and feeding process. So I am not really nervous about all this baby stuff. I just know that with Mr. Fo and I watching a baby all by ourselves, hijinks will ensue. Mr. Fo has already attempted to get in the pac n' play, so can you imagine our weekend ahead?

I will fill you in on the baby watching hilarity next week. Have a GREAT weekend and wish me luck in Baby land!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Weekend Recap and a Decorative Doily... (WHAT?!)

Excuse the strange title... you will understand shortly.

This past weekend, Mr. Fo and I took a quick road trip to Asheville, NC. Asheville is a wonderful town filled with the following: 1) The famous Biltmore Estate 2) 9 different Beer Breweries 3) Hippies. Tons of hippies. 4) Amazing natural and organic food. 5) Mountains. 6) Independent coffee houses (i.e. coffee houses that have signs in the window that say "Friends don't let friends drink Starbucks.")

Mr. Fo and his family have a special connection to Asheville as they lived there for several years while Mr. Fo was in elementary school. They still go back every summer to play golf at the GORGEOUS Biltmore Forest Country Club.

I tagged along this time, and I am so glad I did.

After hearing about Asheville's growing beer brewing obsession, we decided a tour of local breweries was a must do. Asheville Brews Cruise - here we come! We hopped in a van with our fabulous tour guide Shawna and 12 other beer lovers and headed out for a beer filled day of fun.

I am only going to bore you with my favorite brewery, Pisgah, which is an organic beer brewery. Healthy Beer - Ummm awesome. To give you an idea what our tour was like, here's a picture:

That pretty much sums it up. Dude in a t-shirt, drinking a beer, giving us the most laid back tour I have ever had. Pisgah's whole thing is: We don't seek you out, if you want our beer, you have to come get it. (i.e. When I asked how I would get a keg of Pisgah beer in Charlotte for a party, he said, "You would have to drive up here and get it." OHHHH SNAP.) They only distribute within Asheville and in a few nearby towns. Lucky for us Charlotteans, we can get Pisgah at Duckworth's, but not consistently. It's like, Dear Pisgah - you're hard to obtain, therefore I desperately want you. It's pure genius! I have to have it.

We bought some souvenir Pisgah pint glasses.

And we brought home a Pisgah "growler," as they call it.

After our fantabulous beer tour, we headed to the lovely Biltmore Forest Country Club, where we would be spending the night. They have these adorable little rooms with sloped ceilings and tons of old school charm. The rooms include flat screen TVs though, because it is 2010.

We took a golf cart out on the GORGEOUS golf course and enjoyed the "15 degrees cooler than Charlotte" weather. We also had more beer, which was totally necessary.

Due to said additional beer, we may have accidentally slept through our alarm for dinner. And by slept through, I don't mean 10 minutes. I mean our reservations were at 7:30 and we woke up at 8:45. YIKES. But it's cool, the lovely folk at Biltmore Forest were understanding, and I was able to eat one of the most delicious meals I have had in months. Scallops over lobster ravioli.

Almost as great as the meal were THESE:

In my sleepy state, I first thought this was a napkin that was stuck on my drink glass that I couldn't get off. After a closer view, I realized they were decorative doily thingies that held in the moisture on your glass.

Naturally, I did what any normal diner would do at this moment. I severely questioned our waitress asking questions such as: 1) What are these mysterious things? 2) Do they come in different colors? 3) Do you reuse them? 4) And finally, can you go into the back and get me some to take home? I must blog about these.

And of course, when I got back home, I immediately googled these fascinating items. It seems their official name is "Stem Wraps." They can be found Here, Here and on Amazon - $125 for $30 - what a deal!

Their main purpose? To absorb condensation. You know how annoying it is to get water on your pants when your glass "sweats." Genius, I tell you. I wish I had invented them. Then I would use them at my Caribbean island home. (You know, because I would be rich from inventing them?)

Have you ever heard or seen these stem wraps?

So, this is a bit of a random post, I must admit. But I wanted to share my Asheville trip and the fabulous stem wraps. So I wasn't so bad was it?