Our famous birthday banner was hung high this weekend for Emily’s 3rd birthday. Sprinkled all over the house were purple birthday balloons and pretty purple ribbons tied on anything and everything that I could tie to. In the background was playing a slide show of our sweet Emily (thanks to my friend Rachel for that great idea!) with a collection of photos of our sweet girl growing up.
Just before her party, Emily and Ethan bonked heads so hard that they both were crying uncontrollably leaving Ethan with a goose egg on his forehead and Emily with what appears will soon be a black eye. That is always good for those birthday photos!
The anticipation of waiting for our guests was almost too much to bear. The roads were sheets of ice and accidents were witnessed by many of our party guests on their way to Emily’s party. We were so thankful to everyone that came and drove on the treacherous roads for our celebration.
I decided to do a brunch this year because I could prepare all of the food the day before and brunch is an economical dish to serve for a crowd. I made an Overnight Breakfast Casserole, a French Toast Souffle, Holiday Punch, and purchased (at a 40% discount on the marked down items in the bakery) croissant pinwheels, coffee with flavored creamers/syrups, and our birthday cake. All in all, I spent about $30 on all the food & decorating supplies to serve sixteen people. We kept it simple by just inviting family this year and opting for some playgroup fun around the holidays instead of a friend party.
Emily opened her presents which were filled with more princess stuff than you could shake a wand at. The hit of the party, a very special pair of princess shoes of which I am quite sure she will be toppling over and getting a matching black eye as she traipses along her imaginary runway.
French Toast Souffle
10 cups white bread cubes (I used a loaf of French Bread)
2 Tablespoons each of sugar and cinnamon
1 (8 ounce) package low fat cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups milk
2/3 cup half-and-half cream
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Maple Syrup for topping
Place bread cubes in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking pan. Pour sugar and cinnamon on the bread and lightly toss with your hands. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in milk, half and half, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and vanilla until mixture is smooth. Pour cream cheese mixture over the bread; cover, and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, remove souffle from refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Immediately after removing from the oven, drizzle maple syrup over the top (it will melt into the souffle). Using a sifter, shake the powdered sugar all over the top.
Side Note: I had some trouble with the cream cheese mixing in & not making it look curdled so I followed another recipe that suggested leaving the cream cheese as a block and cutting small cubes of cream cheese to dollop between the layers of bread. You can do whichever you prefer!
Overnight Breakfast Casserole
1 pound sliced ham (lunch meat)
2 teaspoons mustard
½ teaspoon salt
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
6 slices white bread, toasted & cut into cubes
8 ounces mild cheddar cheese
In a medium bowl, mix together mustard, salt, eggs, and milk. Add the ham (cut into cubes), bread cubes, and cheese, and stir to cat evenly. Pour into a greased 9×13″ baking dish. Cover & chill in the refrigerator for eight hours, or overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover and bake 45-60 minutes. Uncover and reduce temperature to 325 and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until set.
Amy’s Holiday Punch
1 (2 liter) bottle cherry 7-Up soda
1 liter (half a bottle) raspberry flavored soda (I found this at Walmart)
1 (12 ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 (12 ounce) can frozen pink lemonade concentrate
1 (1 liter) can pineapple juice
Mix all the ingredients together for the punch. This will fill one large punch bowl or two smaller ones. Rum can be added
for a spiked punch, but that would be super inappropriate for a princess party! This will convert the non-punch lovers in the group, I promise!