Saturday, May 23, 2009

Graduation Party: Part 1

Submitted by Linda

Many of you who know me, know that I'm in the throes of throwing a high school graduation party for my son Tommy. I ordered the traditional graduation announcements for our faraway family and friends, but pictured above is the hand stamped version which is an invite to an open house honoring Tommy.

I really enjoy planning parties, down to the smallest detail. When my boys were small, I'm sure I was a bit "over the top" in my themes. In their elementary school years, they often opted for a trip to Disneyland with a friend, or another outing, rather than having a party. So it seems like quite a while since I've had the pleasure of planning a fun party for a son.

Now, (just like their younger days), I want to plan a 'champaign party on a beer budget'. (Don't worry, we're not serving any alcohol!) I'm good at finding bargains, and using coupons, and asking favors of friends who have tables and chairs and such. But when it comes to food, I get stuck at the usual hamburger/hotdog bar-b-que!

Enter my friend Michelle who is highly gifted in the area of food and cooking. Last weekend, when she was here for stamp club, we dreamed up the menu (with the help of a couple of phone calls and text messages to and from her Italian relatives in N.Y). We came up with an Italian menu that I am really excited about, and that Tommy will enjoy. To loosely quote Michelle: "I like this menu because it's a bit different, and people are really going to enjoy themselves - especially Tommy".

So we planned which food items to order, and which food to prepare ourselves, keeping in mind that May is a crazy time for teachers. Our plan evolved into a trip to Claro's Italian Market in Upland (last weekend), and a quick trip to LaQuinta for an overnight cooking marathon.

Here is a photo of Michelle, holding some of our Italian sausage.Here is the sausage, baked and ready to be frozen. It will become "sausage and peppers" for the party. In this photo, Michelle is prepping ingredients for homemade marinara sauce. The green item is thyme, fresh from her herb garden! It smelled amazing. Click here to see the recipe, previously posted by Michelle.

Here Michelle is filling pasta shells with a yummy filling of cheese, spinach and oregano (again from her own garden). She ended up making 99 shells, which I loaded into my car and are now in my freezer!
If you want to smell amazing Italian food smells, you definitely should visit Claro's. While we were cooking today, we kept joking about how Michelle's house smelled as good as Claro's.

Stay tuned to read about the rest of the menu.......

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