Monday, April 18, 2011

Birthday Celebration Number Two!

My mom had a birthday last week, and we love to celebrate birthdays in our house! I knew that since this is the first year in a long time that I have been in town for her birthday that I wanted to make it special! I finally decided on the menu and cupcakes and of course I had a lot of fun shopping for her because we like the same things. Here are some pictures and recipes to share with you from our party!

Mom's birthday cupcakes! It was my first shot at homemade buttercream icing! It is the best, and the recipe is down at the bottom...

Mom's pink and green decorations! This is a really bad picture, but here is the menu for the night. We had Strawberry Lemonade, Summer Strawberry salad with creamy poppy seed dressing, Cherry Tomato Salad, Baked Chicken with Strawberry Salsa, and of course CUPCAKES! Doesn't this plate just look so colorful!? I love the spring and summer when there is so much fresh produce!!!! Here is our salad bar complete with cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, pineapple, madarin oranges, cucumbers, and strawberries. This is the Cherry Tomato Salad which was my favorite of the night for sure. I definitely want to share the recipe... Cherry Tomato Salad

  • 2 pints ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered (about 4 cups)

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • 1/2 tsp. sugar

  • 2 cloves of garlic; minced

  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

  • 2 tbsp. EVOO

  • ground black pepper

  • 1 small cucumber diced into chunks

  • 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup. I bought feta with sun dried tomatoes..YUM)

  • 1-2tbsp fresh parsley; minced

1. Combine tomatoes, salt, and sugar in med. bowl; toss to combine. Let stand for 30 minutes. Cover the bowl with a lid or saran wrap tightly and gently shake the bowl to remove the excess seeds and liquid. Strain the tomato liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a liquid measuring cup, pressing to get as much liquid as possible.

2. Combine 1/2 cup of the tomato liquid with the garlic, oregano, and vinegar in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Simmer until the mixture is reduced, about 6-8 min. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Whisk in the oil, and season with pepper to taste.

3. Add the cucumber, feta, dressing and parsley to the bowl with tomatoes. Toss gently and serve.

Here is the Strawberry Salsa that I made to serve on top of the grilled chicken. I was a little skeptical to hear strawberry and salsa together, but it was actually a really good mixture!!! I want to share this recipe too... Baked Chicken with Strawberry Salsa

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, rinced, and diced

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

  • 4 scallions, white and green portions, sliced thin.

  • 1 tsp. fresh parsley, minced.

  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice (plus more for squeezing on chicken)

  • drizzle of olive oil

  • drizzle of honey

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 4-6 chicken breast halves (the actual recipe is for salmon with strawberry salsa so you could get salmon fillets if you prefer seafood!

1. To make salsa, combine strawberries, tomatoes, scallions, parsley, vinegar, 1 tsp. lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper into a medium bowl. Mix well to blend, then cover and refrigerate while preparing your chicken or salmon.

2. If cooking chicken: Line a baking dish with foil. Place each chicken breast half in the pan then drizzle with fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes; make sure to check the chiken for an all white center, NO PINK!

If cooking salmon: Preheat your oven on broil; line a baking sheet with foil and pleace the fillets on the foil. Squeeze lemon juice over fillets, and season with salt and pepper. Broil about 10-12 minutes, depending on your oven and size of fillets.

3. Serve the chicken or salmon topped with chilled strawberry salsa, serve warm!
This is the fluffy and yummy butter cream icing that I topped the cupcakes with! it is soooooo good, and people will fight over who gets to lick the spoon when you are done! Buttercream Icing

  • 1 cup ulsalted butter, SOFTENED

  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract

  • 4 cups confectioners sugar; sifted

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • food coloring as needed

1. Cream room teperature butter with a hand mixer until smooth and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until fully incorporated. Beat in vanilla extract.

2. Pour in milk and beat for additional 3-4 minutes. Add food coloring and beat for 30 seconds until smooth and desired color is reached.

3. DECORATE!!!!!!

This recipe made PLENTY of icing for 24 cupcakes, there was plenty left over!


  1. Pink and Green are my favorite! Can't wait to try that buttercream icing!

  2. Are u sure about the 1/4 cup milk? I tried this recipe and it caused my sugar to separate



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