Icy Creamy at The Pantry

The final event during the West Coast leg of my book tour was a party held at The Pantry. It was a gorgeous afternoon in Seattle and I spent the morning at Pike Place Market stocking up on local flowers and produce. The moment I walked into the space, I was hit with such a…

julieharmsen_C001 copy The final event during the West Coast leg of my book tour was a party held at The Pantry. It was a gorgeous afternoon in Seattle and I spent the morning at Pike Place Market stocking up on local flowers and produce. The moment I walked into the space, I was hit with such a feeling of calm. The space was so warm and inviting- it felt like walking into the kitchen of a good friend. I knew it was going to be a great party.julieharmsen_C30 copyjulieharmsen_C011 copyjulieharmsen_C033julieharmsen_C026 copy julieharmsen_C030 (1) copyjulieharmsen_C029 copy julieharmsen_C050 copy As the guests arrived, they were greeted with delicious eats from Rain Shadow Meats, and tall, icy glasses of homemade celery soda. It sounds strange, but trust me when I tell you it was incredibly refreshing. The group that gathered was so interesting- food bloggers, restaurateurs, stylists, chefs- a really eclectic and interesting crowd. We all easily fell into conversation. I actually had to be nudged to start my demo, or I would have spent the entire party chatting away.julieharmsen_C12 copy julieharmsen_C012 copyjulieharmsen_C087 copyjulieharmsen_C15 copy julieharmsen_C039 copy I was thrilled to partner with Seattle ice cream phenom Molly Moon for the event, so along with the fresh peach syrup and almond coconut chocolate chip cookies that I made, we had incredible, homemade ice cream (without me having to lug my ice cream maker along for the ride)! After the demo, we all feasted on fruit-syrup drizzled sundaes and ice cream sandwiches.  julieharmsen_C16 copyjulieharmsen_C18 copy julieharmsen_C095 copy julieharmsen_C103 copy I’m so grateful to everyone who took the time to come and celebrate with me, including Jenn, Megan, Lisa, Deborah, Heather, Janti, Leslie, Marisa, Kellen, Di, Paul, Grace, Phillip, Jess and Andy. A special thanks to Julie Harmsen for the gorgeous photographs that you see here. Thank you to The Pantry for the use of your beautiful space. And a huge thanks to Molly Moon for those incredible tubs of ice cream! Finally, my deepest appreciation to Vitamix, for making this leg of the tour possible. Lots of love for you, Seattle!julieharmsen_C104 copy

Icy Creamy in San Francisco

It’s a bit hard to put into words the whirlwind adventure I’ve been on this past month. Going into my book tour, I had no idea how I was going to pull off numerous events in multiple cities. My itinerary was three pages long, with multiple flights and accommodations to keep track of, as well…

IcyCreamyHealthySweet _ Nanette Wong-20It’s a bit hard to put into words the whirlwind adventure I’ve been on this past month. Going into my book tour, I had no idea how I was going to pull off numerous events in multiple cities. My itinerary was three pages long, with multiple flights and accommodations to keep track of, as well as all of the food preparation and grocery shopping that took place. I boarded a plane to San Francisco with two 50 pound suitcases loaded to the brim with kitchen tools, stacks of books, gift bags, and personal effects. The moment the last event ended I let out a huge breath, my stress melted away and my shoulders finally stopped hovering around my ears. But then I see these gorgeous photographs, and I remember all of the amazing people that came out to support me and my book, and I think…yep, I’d do all over again in a heartbeat! I am so incredibly thankful to my sponsors, Vitamix and HawaiianShavedIce.com not only for supporting me on my book tour, but making products that are an absolute joy to use. Okay, so San Francisco…besides a book signing at the incredible cookbook store, Omnivore, I also held a private party for local tastemakers. We had the best time- a gorgeous venue (thanks Cookhouse), a super talented, inspiring crowd and a shaved ice bar with homemade syrups! Plus…Prosecco and pops! cyCreamyHealthySweet _ Nanette Wong-2 IcyCreamyHealthySweet _ Nanette Wong-51 IcyCreamyHealthySweet _ Nanette Wong-49 I greeted my guests with homemade strawberry pops served in a wine glass filled with Prosecco. Not only was it delicious but it served as such a great ice breaker! While I had a rough idea of the recipes that I would demo at the party, I let a trip to the Ferry Building Farmers Market inspire my final choices. The strawberries were at their peak, and locally grown. Plus I splurged on some gorgeous local wildflower honey. The pops were so vibrant and delicious…plus soaked in Prosecco, so there’s that! After mingling and sampling some catered fare, I demoed a Strawberry and Basil syrup recipe, which I made with the help of my new Vitamix (the smaller size makes it so travel friendly!). And then we all went crazy drizzling homemade Peach, Watermelon Mint and Strawberry Basil syrups over fluffy shaved ice from my HawaiianShavedIce.com machine! Snow cones, you guys! Best party idea- seriously, it was a blast!IcyCreamyHealthySweet _ Nanette Wong-56 IcyCreamyHealthySweet _ Nanette Wong-11IcyCreamyHealthySweet _ Nanette Wong-72 IcyCreamyHealthySweet _ Nanette Wong-67IcyCreamyHealthySweet _ Nanette Wong-62IcyCreamyHealthySweet _ Nanette Wong-59 I want to personally thank all the wonderful people that came out to help me celebrate Icy, Creamy, Healthy, Sweet including Nik, Stephen, Molly, Jessica, Alexis, Marisa, and Kim. You sure knew how to make a girl feel welcome San Fran. And a final, huge thank you to Nanette Wong for the gorgeous images you see here! Have a lovely Fourth of July weekend, folks, and if you’re up for some fun, give this frozen treat thing a whirl 😉cyCreamyHealthySweet _ Nanette Wong-1 IcyCreamyHealthySweet _ Nanette Wong-3

Vik Turns 3!

My baby turned three this past week.  WHAT?  Three years old, I can hardly believe it.  He is such a little man, probably due to the fact that he is constantly trying to keep up with his older brother.  He is such an incredibly calm spirit with a determination and grit that is well beyond…

_MG_7204My baby turned three this past week.  WHAT?  Three years old, I can hardly believe it.  He is such a little man, probably due to the fact that he is constantly trying to keep up with his older brother.  He is such an incredibly calm spirit with a determination and grit that is well beyond his years, and for such a young boy he is so very self assured.  He amazes me every single day and it is a privilege to be his mama.  It was such a joy to shower him with love for his birthday!

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_MG_6978I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating…we are so lucky to spend out summers on this little lane of ours.  We’ve known all the families on the lane for twenty years now, and many of them have been here for generations before us.  They all look forward to Vik’s party every summer, and I love knowing that he’ll grow up celebrating with this wonderful group of people.  We kept the party centered around old-fashion fun: sack races, pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, Simon Says, clothespin in the bottle drop, face painting and of course, a pinata.  We made finger sandwiches, cut up a few big watermelons, and made mini-chocolate cupcakes.  Everyone had a blast, Vik especially.  Happy birthday my sweet boy…we love you so!

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Vijay’s Birthday Bash

There is nothing cuter than a four year old boy…and nothing more exhausting!  In case you didn’t know, four year olds are the smartest people in the world, and can do everything themselves!  Although he tests our patience daily, Vijay is still the light of our lives, and it was our greatest pleasure to throw…

_MG_7267There is nothing cuter than a four year old boy…and nothing more exhausting!  In case you didn’t know, four year olds are the smartest people in the world, and can do everything themselves!  Although he tests our patience daily, Vijay is still the light of our lives, and it was our greatest pleasure to throw him a big bash over the weekend to celebrate his fourth birthday.  After a week of dreariness and rain, the clouds parted, the sun shown down, and we were gifted the most beautiful day.  The pictures don’t do it justice- the sunlight was gorgeous and dappled, and I only managed a few snaps during the party, but I simply had to share.  My baby’s four…and that is something!

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IMG_3449What started out as a small party- you know, let’s just invite preschool friends and neighbors- blossomed to quite a crowd.  Luckily we had a firetruck, a cappella group, balloon artist, pinata and face painter, not to mention a full catered Indian lunch, 100 mini cupcakes, and the coolest cake ever (yup, I made that sucker!) to keep everyone entertained.  It was a great day, and it was the first year that Vijay understood that a birthday party equals presents and sweets, so he was totally pumped.

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_MG_7278The funniest moment of the party had to have been rounding the corner to find my dad fully decked out in the fireman’s gear.  He was so excited.  “Take my picture.  This one’s going in the office.”  I guess you never grow out of the fireman fantasy!  As we were snapping pictures, their unit got a call.  The firemen quickly rustled my dad out of their uniform, jumped onto the truck, flicked on the sirens and peeled out of the party.  The kids went nuts.  We couldn’t have planned it any better!

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Vijay’s Third Birthday

This past weekend we celebrated Vijay’s third birthday with a bash for around 100 of our friends and family.  We just can’t help ourselves…we love a good party.  Vijay’s birthday falls at the perfect time of year to throw a big outdoor party that not only celebrated his birthday, but allows us to see all…

_MG_1829This past weekend we celebrated Vijay’s third birthday with a bash for around 100 of our friends and family.  We just can’t help ourselves…we love a good party.  Vijay’s birthday falls at the perfect time of year to throw a big outdoor party that not only celebrated his birthday, but allows us to see all of our friends and family that we missed over the busy summer months.  It was a great mix of people- neighbors, Vijay and Vik’s little friends, college kids, our colleagues, friends with older kids….pretty much everyone we know and love!

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_MG_1818Of course no party is complete without a few party tricks- mainly face painting, balloon animals, entertainment by the Brown’s Tones (Brown’s fierce all- female a capella group), a pinata, Indian food and over 150 mini cupcakes.

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_MG_1813Every year we count our blessings.  To have so many wonderful people help us celebrate our little guy is an amazing thing.  And to our sweet boy…happy birthday to the light of our lives.  We love you bunny.

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Vik’s 1st Birthday Party

On our last full day in Northern Michigan we celebrated Vik’s first birthday…and on the actual day he was born!  We have lived on this little dirt lane of ours for twenty summers, and most of the surrounding cottages have been in the same family for generations.  We have grown up with our neighbors, and…

On our last full day in Northern Michigan we celebrated Vik’s first birthday…and on the actual day he was born!  We have lived on this little dirt lane of ours for twenty summers, and most of the surrounding cottages have been in the same family for generations.  We have grown up with our neighbors, and now there is a new generation of little ones.  We all gathered to celebrate our little Vik, and it was the sweetest party.

We kept things simple- pretty decorations, finger food, little cupcakes, a pinata, face painting and bubbles.  The tree house also provided endless entertainment- the kids attached a small cup to the pulley and spent most of the party passing cupcakes and treats up to each other.

Perhaps the biggest source of joy was the pinata.  I followed this tutorial, and it was very easy, although a bit time consuming.

Everyone kept asking us if this could be a yearly thing…and oh, we hope it can be!  There is really no better place to party than on our gorgeous lake, with old friends and adoring grandparents.

Happy birthday dear baby boy.  You have added endless amounts of joy to our lives.

Vijay’s First Birthday Party

It only seems appropriate to give you a party recap on Vijay’s actual birthday!  Today, exactly one year ago, our little man came rocketing into this world!  Life hasn’t been the same since…in fact, it just keeps getting better and better. This weekend’s party was epic, as far as first birthdays go.  We’re talking 90…

It only seems appropriate to give you a party recap on Vijay’s actual birthday!  Today, exactly one year ago, our little man came rocketing into this world!  Life hasn’t been the same since…in fact, it just keeps getting better and better.

This weekend’s party was epic, as far as first birthdays go.  We’re talking 90 guests, jugglers, and an acapella group.  Clearly, we weren’t messing around!

The wonderful thing about living near a college campus is that we have the opportunity to interact with young people all the time.  When we are out and about, walking around campus, we end up meeting the coolest students- and student groups.  Our jugglers and singers were both Brown student groups who had met little Vijay on one of our many walks around campus.  They were so excited to perform at his birthday- their enthusiasm was incredible!

With the entertainment taken care of, I was able to focus on the party decorations, and desserts.  The theme was “polka-dots” and decor included polka-dot paper garland, polka-dot mini-cupcakes, polka-dot balloons, a double layer cake, paper lanterns, and little signs with Vijay’s picture dotted around the yard, sticking out of plants. We also had finger food provided by our favorite Indian restaurant, Rasoi.  Samosas, tandoori chicken, vegetable fritters- seriously good eats! 

So now the only question that remains- how the heck are we supposed to top this for his second birthday?  I’m thinking elephants and acrobats, or perhaps the Brown Marching Band.  Luckily- we have a year to get on that- first, a week-long nap.  We are pretty beat from all of the festivities!