Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Birthday things!

So this is most definitely an edition of "really old pictures of food" since my birthday was back in early September. How old did I turn? Well, the lady at the grocery story today said, "You an old lady! I thought you were so much younger!" when looking at my I.D. So I hope that answers your question. [Side note: I think people just forget that late twenties looks a lot like mid twenties? Your face doesn't collapse right before your thirtieth birthday. I dunno -- I've just been getting a lot of that "YOU LOOK SO YOUNG" recently and while I'd like to think it's my excellent skin care regime, I don't think so...I've always looked pretty much the age I am. I think people just expect my age to look different, or something? Or maybe I just lack gravitas? I'm also a teacher -- a pseudo-college-professor of sorts -- and I don't think that helps. People expect college professors to look old, I guess? I was clearing out my classroom the other day while another class entered and a student said, 'Are you the teacher?...I mean, did you just get out of undergrad or something? I'm sorry, you just look so young' and then when I told him my actual age HE LOOKED EMBARRASSED. However, the ultimate cluster of age awkwardness occurred when my orthodontist's assistant figured out I taught at the same college her daughter attended -- the struggle to reconcile the fact that the surly often-late-for-appointments girl who didn't wear her retainer was responsible for teaching her offspring played out in beautiful conflict across her face. Yes, adults get orthodontia, too. Suck it.]

Anywhoodle, what was I talking about? Oh, yes, how mature I am. I decided to have a birthday party and invite a motley, multi-generational crew, most of whom showed up, which was was awesome. I decided that the theme for my birthday would be "Laura's Blue and White Wonder bread Birthday." I was asked what a "blue and white" party was, and I replied that those are my favorite colors. Nothing more complicated than that. I also decided to make recipes from this book. Why? Because it exists, that's why. 

My friend Cybele came early and took some photos of me running around messing up my parents' kitchen in my first outfit of the evening. I kept making faces at her and she helpfully titled the photos of this, "funny," "also funny" and "hilarious." 

Me in outfit #1, removing Wonderbread treats from the oven.
 She also took a picture of me putting candles on a birthday cake:
The couple of the left just got married! The couple on the right did not. Also, admire outfit #2. 

 Speaking of that cake, Mary actually made it for me. Knowing the blue and white theme, she picked all the blue and white sprinkles out of the container and put them on the cake. That's love, people. THAT'S OCD LOVE. 

 I did make some of my own treats. Cupcakes, of course, as well as the afore-mentioned wonderbread treats. Cybele is an amazing photographer, so she makes all the food look SO AMAZING in her photos. Seriously, her photos are the food porn cupcakes of my dreams. If only real life looked like this. 

 I will say, however, that I was really proud of these cupcakes, photo magic aside. I gave up on the swoopy, smooth texture and decided to texture the icing with a fork. I think it works! I also found silver sprinkles. And used blue food dye. ALTHOUGH SOMEONE SAID THE CUPCAKES WERE NOT BLUE BUT GREEN. WHY DO THEY WISH TO HURT ME LIKE THIS? 

I also made a few chocolate cupcakes. I put a chocolate one on top of the display to make up for my accidentally racist arrangement of the past. So here the chocolate cupcake dominates the blue cupcakes, which is most definitely the racial hierarchy somewhere in outerspace: 

 Here's the last of Cybele's photos, of the cupcakes and the various Wonderbread treats (and jello shots). 

 What are these Wonderbread treats, you ask? Well, excellent query! 

I made several variants. There's Wonderbread parmesan sticks: 

One loaf Wonder Bread, crusts removed
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese  

You cut the crusts-removed bread into 3 strips. Lord, I spent more time than I'm proud of removing Wonder Bread crust and cutting up Wonder Bread (note: this is hard to do. Wonder Bread is squishy.) 

 Dip one strip into the beaten egg and stack it between two other strips, making a sandwich three strips high. Brush the entire stack with melted butter. 

(Note: most of these recipes involved brushing with melted butter. I got more familiar than I ever wished to be with melted butter of all kinds. Luckily, I had one of these dudes: 

 Which is super-helpful if you're a) trying to glaze something, b) brushing melted butter on Wonder Bread treats)


Then you roll the strips in the Parmesan cheese and arrange them on a baking dish (the stacks can touch each other, but make sure to keep the egg-dipped slice in the middle). Refridgerate for several hours or overnight. 

Preheat the oven to 350. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. 

I also made Wonder Asparagus Rolls to Die For, which involved rolling a piece of Wonder Bread flat (crusts removed): 

 I made two variants of the Asparagus rolls, one with asparagus and one with no asparagus, but instead walnuts and chopped dried apricots. The recipe suggested using a mixture of cream cheese and blue cheese crumbles, but I went with their alternative suggestion and just used goat cheese instead. 

I also made  Wonder Omelet Sandwiches

This involved buttering Wonder Bread, filling it with cheese and ham, then covering it with a mixture of eggs, milk, mustard, and salt. You store that overnight and then the next morning brush it all with another round of melted butter, this time mixed in with crushed potato chips. Then you cook this whole deal for an hour, which was way too long, as the sandwiches ended up burning and sticking to the pan. They all got eaten, however -- I mean, cheese and butter and crushed potato chips...gotta be okay, right?

I also used the leftovers to make myself a 'Chipwich later that week:

This gave me intense indigestion but it was so worth it, you guys 

 I made a punch with Kool-aid, ginger ale, Malibu Rum, and pineapple juice. However, the only Kool-aid at the store was red, so the punch was most unfortunately RED and not BLUE. Some lovely guests arrived with Blue Curacao, and I poured way to much into the punch and insisted -- in the dim light (we were outside) that the punch was now blue. However, in the harsh light of day I had to acknowledge that that it was really...more like sludgy purple? Possibly black? 

However, Megan pointed out that adding Blue Curacao to wine made a nice blue color, so I've since made a blue punch with white wine, seltzer, lemon, and blue curaco: 

 I do also recommend Malibu rum in combination with Berry Blue jello for jello shots. It really works! 

Jason also took some excellent photos at the birthday party. There was a series of "things in people's mouths": 

 There was also some swimming at the party, which was good fun, and outfit number 3!

Didn't get a photo of outfit #4, sadly
 At one point, there was an uninvited guest who appeared near the pool: 

They won't hurt you! Why are you running away?
 I think the Wonder Bread snacks were ultimately a success; at least people were nice to me about them and insisted they were, "Actually good! Not even ironically good!" But I was too nervous hosting to eat much; I did eat some the next morning and to my hungover self they were delicious. But I'm not really an impartial judge. 

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