Graduation Season Part II: It's My Party!

It is official, my family knows how to throw an awesome party! With locally produced meat kabobs, a margarita bar, and everything occurring outside... this party was screaming my name! Today's post is about my family, me, and the amazing food that was at my graduation party.

As some of you may know, I am a meat locavore. This means that I eat meat only if it has been produced locally (i.e. raised and butchered locally - not simply packaged locally). All locavores have different parameters for what defines "local" - for me, I only eat meat that has been produced within 70 miles of wherever I am. Now, I looove meat and am not a vegetarian as many people mistakenly believe. Heck, I grew up on a dairy farm where we would pluck our own chickens for dinner and name our beef cattle after food to remind us that our "pet" would one day be our dinner. So I get it... the circle of life. It happens. In fact, my reasoning for being a locavore is that I am passionate about supporting small, local farming. I have been dedicated to this method of meat consumption for over three years now and over the course of that time, I have had many people ask me why I don't eat very much meat, especially considering the fact that my immediate and extended family all farm. My answer to this is that I not only support small farmers, but I also see no point in shipping meat from California to the Midwest (for example) when there is undoubtedly a meat-producing farm within at least a 70 mile radius of where I am. All of this shipping is not only wasted emissions, but is also upping the price which the consumer must pay to buy the meat at the store and decreasing the price our farmers receive for selling their meat. SO, with eating locally being such a passionate dedication of mine, I was pretty excited to hear that all the meat being served at my party... would be local! YAY!

My older sister Krystal and my Mom were the ones planning this fiesta. The menu consisted of orderves (meat/veggie kabobs, fruit kabobs, my Grandma's seafoam salad (trust me... it's amazing. I will have to dedicate an entire post to this stuff!), cheese produced from my aunt and uncle's dairy farm, a summer pasta salad, and guacamole (and not just any guac... this was Krystal's guacamole. I don't know what she does to it, but it is always amazing. She's given me her recipe, but mine never tastes the same... I have come to the conclusion that there are some secret ingredients at play here.). Oh... and then there were my cupcakes. Yum. Everything was made from scratch. Everything fresh. Everything delicious.

So I have never been terribly dedicated to cupcakes, I've actually always been more of a cake girl. But since making these little buttercream mounds of happiness... I'm hooked. For this party, I made three flavors. The first was a dark chocolate cupcake with a "healthy" (ha!) amount of light and fluffy white buttercream on top. They were then finished off with a little bling by adding some glitzy white sugar pearls (as recommended by my little sis', Michelle). Nice work Michelle, you were right (you may now imagine me furrowing my eyebrows at you).

This is my little sister Michelle. She also did a lot of the cooking and baking. She was like everyone's sous-chef. Michelle rocks at making scrumptious desserts; her specialty is crazy desserts I can't even begin to pronounce the names to. Her desserts are like the kind that you might be served in some five-star French restaurant. Since she has been baking more and more lately, I made her a super chic apron...

So the second cupcake flavor I made was key-lime. Yep, you heard me right. Key-lime. It was delicious. I used a white cake batter for the cupcake and for the buttercream, I used almond extract instead of clear vanilla (since sliced almonds go perfectly on top of a key-lime pie) and then squeezed about 1.5 ounces of lime juice into the buttercream. This was a refreshing and perfect summer's night cupcake.

The third and last flavor cupcake I made, was strawberry. Again I used a white cake for the cupcake. Then, starting with my basic white buttercream, I mashed enough strawberries to produce about 2 ounces of strawberry puree and again topped these cupcakes with white sugar pearls. Since buttercream has a high content of fat (ahem, it IS buttercream) and the strawberries are, well, strawberries (and are therefore composed of essentially sugar and water), the two didn't blend perfectly together and created more of a streak-effect. They looked pretty neat...

The party was outside on the patio that my Mom and Dad built by hand (the party was in Wisconsin, on the farm where I grew up). Oh, and the flower arrangement on this table was created by my little sister Michelle using clippings from various plants around the farm. So beautiful.

I also made some graduation cake pops, similar to the ones made last week for Andrew's Graduation Cake - except for these ones, I made the tassel blue to match my own graduation tassel. I think I turned my cousin Dean into a cake pop lover as well.

The actual orderves at this party were not only local... but were tasty. Super tasty. My sister Krystal was in charge of the kabob front, she's pretty much a master behind the grill. Oh, and see that person off in the distance, staring at the camera? Yep that's me. I'm holding a stick with pineapple on the end like a caveman. For some reason I thought the picture was of me even though my sister was obviously between the camera and I. But hey, it's my party right? Shouldn't the camera always be on me?... No?! Hmm, shoot.

You can see a few of the harvesters and the barn off in the distance. This is where I grew up. This is my stomping ground. I've done a lot of travelling, and this is still my favorite place on Earth. Sorry for going mushy here, but it's true.

So to make this party even better, Leah, one of my best friends from high school, came by. We've actually been friends since first grade. Leah is one of the most hilarious people you will ever meet.

These folks are my Mom and Dad. I am who I am because of these two amazing people. You may think I am being biased here, but I don't think there's ever been a better Mom and Dad duo than mine.

My party had a lot of great food at it, but what's more important is that I was surrounded by people who I know and love and who have been such a major part of my life. I am so lucky to have such a supportive family and wonderful friends. Thank you everyone for supporting me in everything that I do.

p.s. Thank you for such a great party, I feel so loved.

1 comment:

Krystal Caron said...

Yay - great post! It was a very fun party, from planning to partying. Glad you enjoyed yourself too!

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