Great Baby Shower Ideas and Recipes

Fun, food, and friendship are the secrets to a memorable baby shower.

The Party

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There's no sweeter celebration of friendship than a baby shower. Whether the guest of honor is expecting her first, second, or even third child, a shower is a wonderful way for friends to express their joy before the baby is born. Recently, the women of Big Production, a New York City-based publicity firm, gathered for a luncheon in honor of their company's expectant co-founder, Cindy Krupp.

The goal of Cindy's colleagues and friends: to create an atmosphere both casual and festive. Cindy's sister Debra, the mother of 4-year-old twins, offered a simple bit of advice over lunch: "Get plenty of sleep while you still can!"

As a keepsake for the baby, each guest brought a copy of her favorite children's book, and the group jointly presented a crib quilt with messages written on top. "I can't decide whether to use it or frame it," said a delighted Cindy, who later noted, "This is such a special afternoon. I feel blessed to have so many wonderful friends."

    A Kid-Friendly Menu

    • Spicy Party Nibbles
    • Pick-Up-Stick Fish Strips
    • Creamy Mac & Cheese
    • Baby Broccoli and Cauliflower
    • Tropical Mint Tea
    • Alphabet Block Cakes
    • Yogurt Parfait Sundaes

      Baby Shower Ideas: How To Make Brownie-Pop Rattles

      Baby Shower Ideas: How To Make Brownie-Pop Rattles

      All-Time Favorite Ideas

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      A color scheme and theme help pull a baby shower together. Cindy's friends chose creamy tones for the invitation, luncheon table, and favors; children's books and keepsakes were the unifying themes. Other popular concepts:

      Couples' buffet dinner. An evening party for both parents-to-be and their friends. Unisex gifts might include diaper bags for both Mom and Dad, coupons for future babysitting, and gear such as a carrier and baby monitor.

      Baby's bed and bath shower. A great way to provide the basics every new parent needs: layette items, an infant tub, linens, changing-table gear, and more.

      Salon party. A pampering outing in which each guest gets a beauty treatment, including a pedicure for the mom-to-be. The festivities continue with dessert and the presentation of gifts at a nearby restaurant.

      Picture-perfect shower. A nice theme for second-time parents or those who have the basic gear. Friends can pool their resources to purchase a digital camera or camcorder plus albums, frames, and other photo-related gifts.

      Sleepytime tea party. Tea sandwiches and herbal teas are on the menu at this relaxing shower. Gifts might include a nursing pillow, a cozy throw, or a robe to take to the hospital. Guests take home a vintage teacup and a tea sampler.

       

      Spicy Party Nibbles

      Serves:
      10

      Prep Time:
      10 minutes

      Cooking Time:
      7 minutes

      Ingredients:

      • 2 Tbs. canola oil
      • 2 tsp. cumin
      • 1 tsp. chili powder
      • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
      • 1/8 tsp. cayenne powder
      • 1 cup original Goldfish crackers
      • 1 cup Rice Chex cereal
      • 1 cup air-popped popcorn

        Instructions:

        Step 1: In a large skillet, heat oil. Add spices and stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Remove from heat, and allow to cool before serving. Store in an airtight container.

          Nutritional Facts:

          Each serving: 66 calories, 1 g protein, 7 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat (1 g saturated), 0 g fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 5 mg calcium, 1 mg iron, 68 mg sodium.

            Pick-Up-Stick Fish Strips

            Serves:
            10

            Prep Time:
            15 minutes

            Cooking Time:
            40 minutes

            Ingredients:

            • 1 lb. cornmeal
            • 2-3 Tbs. chili powder
            • 2-3 Tbs. cumin
            • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
            • 2 lbs. white fish fillets, such as sole or flounder, cut into thin strips
            • 4 Tbs. canola oil
            • 1 bunch cilantro, cleaned and chopped
            • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

              Instructions:

              Step 1: In a plastic bag, combine the cornmeal, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Add fish fillets to the bag of seasonings, 4 to 5 strips at a time, and shake bag well to coat.

              Step 2: In a large skillet, heat canola oil. Place breaded fish strips in the hot oil a few at a time. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, and then flip strips with a spatula, being careful not to break them. Cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Place fish on a platter, sprinkle with cilantro, and garnish with lemon.

                Nutritional Facts:

                Each serving: 304 calories, 21 g protein, 36 g carbohydrate, 8 g fat (1 g saturated), 3 g fiber, 44 mg cholesterol, 196 mg calcium, 4 mg iron, 707 mg sodium.

                  Creamy Mac & Cheese

                  Serves:
                  10

                  Prep Time:
                  10 minutes

                  Cooking Time:
                  35 minutes

                  Ingredients:

                  • Vegetable cooking spray
                  • 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni or shells
                  • 3 cups evaporated skim milk
                  • 2 Tbs. cornstarch
                  • 1 1/2 lbs. low-fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
                  • 1 Tbs. dry mustard
                  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

                    Instructions:

                    Heat oven to 350?F.

                    Step 1: Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with oil; set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, according to package directions.

                    Step 2: In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of milk to a simmer over medium heat. In a small bowl, combine remaining milk with cornstarch, mixing until cornstarch dissolves. Slowly stir cornstarch mixture into hot milk. Add 1 lb. of cheese, mustard, and pepper; stir until well blended.

                    Step 3: When the pasta is cooked, drain and mix with cheese sauce. Transfer pasta to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown and crusty.

                      Nutritional Facts:

                      Each serving: 310 calories, 29 g protein, 20 g carbohydrate, 13 g fat (9 g saturated), 1 g fiber, 51 mg cholesterol, 833 mg calcium, 1 mg iron, 643 mg sodium.

                      Baby Broccoli

                      Serves:
                      10

                      Prep Time:
                      10 minutes

                      Cooking Time:
                      7 minutes

                      Ingredients:

                      • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
                      • 2 heads broccoli, trimmed and cut into florets
                      • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
                      • 2 Tbs. olive oil
                      • 2 Tbs. fresh dill, chopped
                      • 2 Tbs. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
                      • 2 Tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped

                        Instructions:

                        Step 1: Add 1 tsp. salt to a large pot of water; bring to a boil. Add broccoli and cauliflower and cook until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and toss with the olive oil, fresh herbs, and remaining salt. Serve immediately.

                          Nutritional Facts:

                          Each serving: 61 calories, 4 g protein, 7 g carbohydrate, 3 g fat (0 g saturated), 4 g fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 55 mg calcium, 1 mg iron, 360 mg sodium.

                            Tropical Mint Tea

                            Serves:
                            10

                            Prep Time:
                            5 minutes

                            Cooking Time:
                            5 minutes

                            Ingredients:

                            • 6 bags Sunset Rose herbal tea
                            • 4 cups water
                            • 6 cups orange/pineapple/strawberry juice blend
                            • 1 1/2 bunches fresh mint, trimmed and cleaned

                              Instructions:

                              Step 1: Place tea bags in a large heatproof pitcher. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and pour over tea bags. Steep for 5 minutes and remove tea bags. Allow to cool for 20 minutes.

                              Step 2: Add juice and mint to the pitcher; refrigerate until completely cooled. Serve with ice.

                                Nutritional Facts:

                                Each serving: 76 calories, 1 g protein, 19 g carbohydrate, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 0 g fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 15 mg calcium, 0 mg iron, 2 mg sodium.

                                Alphabet Block Cakes

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                                Alphabet block cakes make a pretty centerpiece for a baby shower. Making the cakes yourself will be time-consuming, so we recommend that you show the magazine photos to your local baker, who can reproduce the blocks. If you'd like to make the cakes yourself, here's how:

                                Bake your favorite cake recipe in a 9" by 13" pan. When the cake is cooled, cut nine 3" square pieces and discard leftover cake. To make each block, stack three squares, with frosting between each layer. Cover the top and all four sides with your favorite glaze icing. Let dry completely, and use a tube of decorative icing to write capital letters on all five visible sides of the block. Each 9" by 13" cake makes three alphabet block cakes.

                                Yogurt Parfait Sundaes

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                                Serves:
                                10

                                Prep Time:
                                10 minutes

                                Cooking Time:
                                0 minutes

                                Ingredients:

                                • 1 pint fresh raspberries, rinsed
                                • 2 cups fresh strawberries, cleaned and sliced
                                • 3 kiwis, peeled and sliced
                                • 1 pint low-fat vanilla yogurt
                                • 1 10-oz. pkg. frozen raspberries in juice, defrosted and pureed
                                • 20 alphabet-shaped cookies (optional)

                                  Instructions:

                                  Step 1: Combine raspberries, strawberries, and kiwi in a medium bowl. Divide the fruit among individual dishes. Top with a few tablespoons of yogurt and a teaspoon or two of raspberry puree. Garnish with alphabet cookies, if desired. Serve immediately.

                                    Nutritional Facts:

                                    Each serving: 126 calories, 4 g protein, 25 g carbohydrate, 2g fat (1 g saturated), 3 g fiber, 20 mg cholesterol, 95 mg calcium, 1 mg iron, 22 mg sodium.

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                                        Copyright © 2003. Reprinted with permission from the March 2003 issue of Child Magazine.

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