Friday, July 30, 2010

Brooke's Baptism Preview!

Hi there everyone! Sorry for the lack of posts this week, I have been working on Brooke's (my niece) baptism party! It's this weekend and I'm so excited! Instead of more Fabulous-ness around the Web as I promised last time, I will be doing a few preview photos of the Baptism Decor. Next week I will do a big post on the party and then do a full report of Fabulous-ness from around the Web.

So, here is what my house has looked like this week:





As you can imagine, Mr. Fo has been super psyched about this. It's like, "Welcome to your life married to an event planner!"

It's all good though. That mess has turned into some really adorable decorations for Brookie. After all, my niece deserves only the best. Let's preview some things, shall we?









I have even been doing a little of this...





... all of this has led me to a little of this....



But who can complain when it's all for someone as cute as this?!



Full party post next week! Happy Friday!


Monday, July 26, 2010

Mac and Cheese Bites and a B-Day Celebration!

So this past weekend, I celebrated one of my best friends' birthday. We celebrated Lauren, or "LGD" with a birthday dinner Saturday night.

I brought the appetizer and made a few decorations. Let's take a look, shall we?

Everybody loves mac and cheese ... but don't you think people would love it even more if the mac and cheese was bite sized? Like a Mac and Cheese BITE, for example?

I used a recipe found on the blog My Italian Grandmother. (By the way, I would like to meet this Italian grandmother, because my Italian grandmother never made macaroni and cheese bites!!!)

The recipe is below and can be found HERE. I made it pretty much verbatim except I used regular paprika instead of smoked paprika. Is there even a difference? Expert Chef friends, please advise.


Three-Cheese Mini Macs

TOTAL TIME: 45 MIN
SERVINGS: 48 mini macs

Ingredients

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for brushing
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (1 packed cup)
4 ounces deli-sliced American cheese, chopped
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the macaroni until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain, shaking off the excess water.

2. Brush four 12-cup, nonstick mini muffin tins with butter. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the Parmigiano; tap out the excess.

3. In a large saucepan, melt the 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in the flour over moderate heat for 2 minutes.Whisk in the milk and cook, whisking, until boiling, about 5 minutes. Add the cheddar and American cheeses and whisk until melted. Off the heat, whisk in the egg yolk and paprika. Fold in the macaroni.

4. Spoon slightly rounded tablespoons of the macaroni into the prepared muffin cups, packing them gently. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmigiano on top.

5. Bake the mini macs in the upper and middle thirds of the oven for about 10 minutes, until golden and sizzling. Let cool for 5 min-utes. Using a small spoon, carefully loosen the mini macs, transfer to a platter and serve.

Make Ahead
The recipe can be prepared through Step 4 and refrigerated overnight.


Here are some pictures of my mac and cheese progress:

I cook-a the pasta:



I whisk together milk and flour over a heated saucepan until it gets thick:



I add in the cheesy deliciousness...



...And whisk it until it is melted:



Then I mix in the egg yolk and paprika and mix with the macaroni - YUM. At this point you could just bake it all together in a baking pan to have one big dish of baked mac and cheese. But for an appetizer, the bites are the perfect size.



Get out your mini muffin pan and pack them tight with macaroni. Sprinkle Parmesan on top before baking:



Cook until sizzling and golden colored, for my oven it was about 10 minutes:





Serve on a platter. Your friends will be impressed by this easy and delicious treat. Note: It's better to eat them right after they have been cooked and cooled a bit rather then warming them up again the next day.





I don't have kids, but I imagine if I did, they would love this cute little treat. Plus, talk about portion control?! I don't know about you, but I used to demolish a box of Velveeta Shells and Cheese in college. I'm not proud of that. (Okay, maybe I'm a little bit proud.) The point is, you just pop a few of these in your mouth and you can guarantee you won't eat 3 bowlfuls of mac and cheese.

Now on to some decorations to celebrate LGD:

I printed out a bunch of fun pictures of LGD and cut them out using one of my craft punchers. Seriously, best invention ever. I don't care how dorky it sounds....and I know it sounds extra dorky.









For cupcake toppers, I did a theme based on one of LGD's favorite pastimes...Working Out. Hence why she has an 8-pack. You go on with yo bad self girl. I used a few fitness icons for the toppers: Olivia Newton John (Let's Get Physical), Jane Fonda and the flamboyantly fabulous, Richard Simmons. (Who coincidentally, I met in an airport once. If I do recall, he was flamboyant in person and wearing his signature red.)







Happy Birthday one more time to LGD!



I have a busy week coming up with last minute errands for my niece's baptism and another custom party package to do! Come back later in the week for Round 2 of "Fabulous-ness Around The Web."


Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'm published yo!

Happy Thursday blog world!

In an attempt to keep myself busy, make some extra pocket change and become a world-known freelance writer phenomenon, I have started writing for another site. You can find my page on Examiner Charlotte by clicking on this link: http://www.examiner.com/x-60018-Charlotte-Party-Planning-Examiner.

I will be posting entertaining and party tips a few times a week. It would REALLY help me out if you could go to the site and click on subscribe. Just enter your email address and you will start receiving my new posts via email. Check them out to help me get page views!

I don't ask you guys for many favors.... do I? Can you just help me out with this one, teensy, tiny favor? Pretty please with a cherry on top?



(image credit)

You're the best - now go get yourself an ice cream sundae to celebrate my new gig.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Let's Fly! An Airplane Themed Custom Party Package!

When Kristin from the ultra fabulous and super popular blog Bon Bon Rose ordered a Fo Fabulous Party Package from me for her son's 1st birthday, I was so excited! Kristin calls her son "The Dude." Anyone who is called "The Dude" deserves a super cool party.
His theme? Airplanes!!!

(A Semantics-related side note. The song "Airplanes" by B.O.B. and Haley Williams from Paramore is my anthem for the summer. LOVE. See link HERE for your listening and viewing pleasure. You'll thank me.)

As per usual, excuse my rambling side note. Here is the Party Package I prepared for Kristin. There are some fab airplane ideas out there on the web.
Let's Fly!

Here are some pictures from "The Dude's" Airplane Themed Party - Great job Mama Kristin!

Kristin used one of the invites I sent her - it was my favorite! Invites are a perfect way to kick off the theme of your party. This invite is from the Etsy shop Love is enormous.



In accordance with the invite, Kristin went with a blue and red theme. She found this adorable bunting on the Etsy shop Spring Chick. This would be perfect for a 4th of July party too.



For party favors, Kristin ordered mini airplanes for the kiddies to take home along with adorable red and blue party buckets.



My favorite party element was the cake. Kristin used a local bakery to create an airplane cake for her party. I swear by this trick - tell your local bakery what you want, or even better, send them a picture of the cake you want. If they are good and well reputed, then can usually replicate it almost perfectly.





For more party details, see Kristin's Bon Bon Rose party HERE, where she talks about The Dude's party. And she happens to mention little ole' me too. Aww, I'm blushing.

All you entertainers out there, think about buying a Fo Fabulous Party Package! I do the legwork and you get the credit for throwing a fabulous party.

Hope everyone is having a fab week!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fabulous-ness from around the web

I am going to deviate from the typical intelligent and informative rambling usually found on my blog to show you some cuteness I have found on the world wide web. It's been a little slow in the Jackie Fo world, so instead of bragging about myself, I will brag on some fellow bloggers and the cuteness they have created. Mmmmkay?

First up:

Banana Pudding Bites

This lovely idea comes from Pen n' Paper Flowers. I adore this site and all the gorgeous creations it contains. Folks in blog world have probably been privy to her recent Lemonade and Sunshine bash that has been featured on every party blog out there! If you haven't been fortunate enough to see it CHECK OUT THIS POST! It's absolutely beautiful. But back to the Banana Pudding Bites. Take a look at the picture below and tell me you don't want to make these for your next party. See the full post on the banana pudding bites HERE.



Next up is another individualized dessert that I absolutely LOVE.

Cupcakes in a Jar

These come from the fun blog Mycakies.com. For this dessert, red velvet cupcakes are put into tiny mason jars and used as party favors. So not only do you get a delicious dessert, you get a mason jar to keep! Cupcakes and Mason Jars?! They are definitely on my list of favorite things, so combining them might make my head explode. You can read the full post HERE. Check out the pictures below. A tip: she suggests piping the frosting into each jar so it doesn't get all smeary and gross looking on the sides. I think you can do the same with the banana pudding bites for a nice clean look. Perfection!

red velvet in a jar

red velvet in a jar

On to one of my favorite blogs, aptly titled: Eat, Drink, Pretty.

Tiffany Blue and Pink Bridal Shower

Everything she does is just gorgeous, and if you don't believe me, take a look at her photo shoot she styled for her 1 year blogiversary. DAMN GIRL! More recently, she threw a lovely shower for her sister. You can never go wrong with Tiffany blue and gorgeous flowers, food and creativity. See the full post here in part 1 and part 2. Take a look a pictures below and start drooling. My favorite part? The champagne infusion bar. I WILL be using that idea for a shower one day, it's just too fabulous not to! I may even make myself a champagne infusion bar tonight. Just for me. Seems like a good idea.











My next adorable find:

TEA TIME!

Kim, from Frost Me blog, debuted these adorable teabag cookies awhile back (see post here) but they need to be shared. How cute are these?! For a tea party, a shower or just for fun. To quote the supremely intelligent and not at all ridiculous Rachel Zoe, "I DIE." Check out Kim's blog for fabulous party inspiration.



And finally, as I do most days, I did a quick Google Image search of Edward. (If you don't know who Edward is, please leave and never come back. Joking - I love all you Team Jacob ladies out there - Jacob's not too shabby either.) I saw Eclipse the other night, and I realized that Edward's face is like the Mona Lisa - a complete work of art. He's almost too pretty to actually consider being with. I mean, he did ask me out a few times, but I'm happily married. (Love you Mr. Fo!) It's like, jeez Edward - know when to quit! It's NOT going to happen no matter how hard you try!

It's probably better this way as I don't want to be with someone who almost definitely weighs less than I do. But I can still admire the "art." More eye candy where this came from HERE.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Picture

Well everyone, I have bookmarked about a million cute things I have found lately, but I've got to save them for later. Jackie Fo has a life, you know! (It's filled with incredibly exciting and exhilarating things lately. Not so much. But a gal can dream.)

Check out these blogs (and Edward)... you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Millions of Peaches...Peaches for Me

Remember that song? Anyone know what it actually means? Fill me in if you can.

In an ongoing attempt to eat more fruits, vegetables and natural foods, I present to you....

"The Peach Smoothie."

Don't think I can't hear you naysayers out there.... "Smoothies aren't that healthy.... they are misleading, etc." In response, I say to you, "I did my research! There are healthy fruit smoothies out there!"

With my master googling skills, I used the search term: "Healthy Fruit Smoothie - Meal Replacement." I had 2 goals:

1) Switch up my breakfast routine with a fruit smoothie. My typical breakfast options of oatmeal, eggs or cereal were getting boring. (Forgive me eggs, I still love you. I just need some space right now. It's not you, it's me.)

2) To use the giant bag of peaches I bought at a roadside stand. BTW - they are DELICIOUS. Buy peaches from a roadside stand if you get the opportunity.

With this fabulous recipe, I have killed 2 birds with one stone and also managed to use my blender for the 2nd time since getting it as a wedding present. (First I had to find it. Of course I should have known it was in the tippy top of our bedroom closet - that makes PERFECT logical sense.)

I found the winning recipe on THIS WEBSITE. Note: I am positive you could switch up the peaches for any frozen fruit you may have.

Peach Smoothie Recipe

1 cup frozen peach slices

1/2 banana, sliced

3 tablespoons nonfat vanilla yogurt

1/4 cup orange juice or apple juice

1/2 cup nonfat rice milk, optional

add sugar to taste

Throw all ingredients in the blender and chop and then puree for many seconds until it is delightfully smooth.

212 Calories, 37g Carbs, 4.2g Fat, 1.7g Protein

A few administrative notes. Substitutions can absolutely be made here - Use plain nonfat yogurt and water in place of juice to cut down on sugar. Rice milk is not something I ever plan on purchasing so I did not exercise my option to use it in this recipe. And finally, no extra sugar is necessary unless you have been trapped on a desert island and have only eaten seaweed for 10 years. It is plenty sweet! And with only 212 calories? Ummm... Yes please! And haha to all you naysayers out there - smoothies can be healthy!

Here are the details of my peach process:

Purchase bag o' peaches from local farmers' market or your friendly local peach stand on the side of a 2 lane road if you happen to have the pleasure of traveling on such such road.







Skin and slice the peaches to prepare them for their time in the freezer. I can SMELL the peach juice from the below picture!



Before putting the slices in the freezer, you need to sprinkle them with some "Produce Protector" so they don't turn brown. Doesn't Produce Protector sound like it could have been a Power Ranger or something? "I AM PRODUCE PROTECTOR AND I WILL KILL YOU!" (I am apparently 5 years old today.) Anyways, you can buy this fabulous stuff at the grocery store - thanks for the tip Drew! You can even sprinkle it on your guacamole to keep it from going brown. Fiesta yo!



Once frozen, combine the peaches with the rest of the ingredients you plan to use. See the Light & Fit Dannon yogurt? I love the yogurt, but hate the commercial with Heidi Klum. I don't know why, but I have an intense hatred for it. Anyone with me here?



Put all of your ingredients in the blender and puree until it's your desired consistency. (Forgot to take pictures at this point. I was probably distracted by the whirring of the blender...again, I'm 5 years old today.)

Pour it into your favorite insulated cup and prepared to be blown away! This is ten times tastier than anything from a smoothie place, and you actually know what's inside it! I swear, it tastes like a creamsicle, but it's only 212 calories. Say what?!

I had this at 8 A.M. and it kept me full through a hard workout in the morning all the way until lunchtime. I even doubled the recipe and made one for Mr. Fo who promptly gave his manly stamp of approval. (I added manly because it occurred to me that drinking a peach smoothie is kind of girly. Hee-hee.)







You will be complaining when you dig out your blender from wherever it resides, but I promise - it's worth it. Perfect for a sweltering summer day.

One question for my health conscious readers - I would like to add some protein to this but without adding calories. Should I add protein powder? Any suggestions are much appreciated.

Well I'm off to find another roadside treat. Until then - happy blending!