The Good Shepherd’s Garden Party :: Week Five

by | May 30, 2011 | Good Shepherd's Garden Party | 11 comments

“The tree of life my soul has seen, laden with fruit and always green.
The tree of natures fruitless be compared to Christ the apple tree. 
I’m weary with my former toil.  Here I will sit and rest awhile. 
Under the shadow I will be of Jesus Christ the apple tree.”
Hello again, after that unannounced and unexpected “break” from blogging!  I am still here (thank you to those of you who were concerned) and hanging in there with my (very noticeable) pregnancy symptoms… This past week, by the time I would finish all the daily chores, schoolwork, errands, appointments, dishes, meals, baths, etc, I just didn’t have the energy to sit down at the computer.  Thankfully my husband is safely home again from his two week training session in Michigan and I was finally able to take a much needed nap life is back to normal!  It is sure nice to have him home!!

It’s funny, but despite the fact that I have been spending very little time in the kitchen, all I have been blogging about lately is food…  Bleh!   I so wanted to skip this week’s Garden Party, but my children were really looking forward to it, especially since their Daddy missed the last two, and I just couldn’t disappoint them.  Instead I decided to modify the menu, only using things that I already had in the fridge or pantry.   I suppose a trip to the store would have been a little LOT easier in the end, but everything turned out great.  It’s amazing what you can come up with at the last second, without any extra pre-planning. . . Here are some pictures I took to share:

~ The Tree of Life’s Leaves ~
Almond Butter Leaves 
I made these amazingly delicious little Almond Butter Leaves using my Nordic Ware Maple Leaf Pan for the first time, with the recipe on the back of the package.   
~ The Tree of Life’s Flowers ~
PB&J Flower Sandwiches
I made these with a flower cookie cutter, spreading peanut butter and strawberry jam on one side, before topping it with another flower with a whole cut out of the center (created with a little ring from one of my frosting tips). 

~ The Tree of Life’s Fruit ~
These little Cuties were our Fruit.  
~ The Owl ~
Even though the owl cupcakes are so super cute, I decided to skip them this year and make a cake instead.   I actually made a Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake, baking 2/3 – 3/4 of the batter in a square pan to save for later and the rest in my smallest oval pan  (7.75×5.5 in) for our owl.  

I cut out a little curve at the top to create his ears, added Oreo halves and Chocolate Macadamia Nuts for the eyes, a Double Bubble Easter Egg Bubble Gum for the nose, and a whole bunch of slivered almonds for his feathers.   He is sitting in a nest of pretzel rods dipped in melted white chocolate and rolled in green coconut.   

I thought he turned out pretty cute and so did Rose, in her matching owl dress!  
~ The Olive Tree ~
These little Olive Skewers were so quick and easy to put together. I assembled them with our favorite Double Stuffed Jalapeno/Garlic Olives, Sweet Cherry Tomatoes, a slice of Cucumber and a fun little sword.  A couple of my children wouldn’t eat the olives, but they loved the rest and there were plenty of others to take those “extra” olives. 😉
~ The Palm Tree ~
Palm Tree Napkins and Snacks

We made a similar palm tree Snack last year during T Week, and the girls remember just how to assemble them for me.  This time we used a Pretzel Rod, Apple slices and some Coconut M&M’s.  
(How perfect that the M&M’s even had little palm tree’s printed on them!!)  
I also served Pina-Colada Milkshakes, complete with  Palm Tree Stir Sticks and served with Tropical Umbrella Straws.  For the milk shakes, I used this recipe as a starting point, first quadrupling it and omitting the nutmeg, then adding a bit of coconut extract and a half of a pineapple, before blending it in my vitamix.  YUM!!!!
~ Roses and Lilies ~
Turkey Breast Roses
These were HARD, and didn’t turn our anything like Charlotte’s… I really didn’t even want to post a picture, and was wishing I had “forgotten” to take one!!  ðŸ˜‰ 

Lily Sandwiches
Like I said before, I was using what I had and that meant using up some wheat bread along with the white, in case you are wondering why some of the lilies look dirty! I should have made these first, before the flower sandwiches!  

~ A Few More Pictures ~

The link-up will be up sometime tomorrow (probably in the afternoon) over at Catholic Cuisine


  1. Anonymous

    You are absolutely amazing, creative, and completely inspiring. I thoroughly enjoy learning from you, dear woman of God! Praying for showers of blessings on that beautiful family of yours. I'm so happy I found your blog!!! Oh, you are just so sweet and reflect all that is good and gracious!

  2. Kelly

    Oh, Jessica! The owl cake is *adorable*!! Love it. 🙂

    I think your party looks wonderful. Yes, even the turkey roses and the "dirty" lilies. Btw, they don't look dirty, lol.

    For a momma with morning sickies I think you are doing marvelously well.

    We also did Charlotte's palm trees with apples and pretzels. Though we used blueberries instead of coconut M&M's. Great idea! I could have used those if I was thinking. They have been tucked away in my closet for months now.

  3. Kelly

    P.S. I love the pic of Rose asleep at the table. So precious!

  4. Tiffany

    So glad your husband is home for mental peace too! Just love that owl cake addition and cute olive skewers;-) Your garden parties never cease to be full of amazing grace, despite all odds. You and baby continue to be in our prayers!

  5. Charlotte (WaltzingM)

    I just told my husband that I need some oval pans for my birthday because of all the cute things you have shown that can be done with them! That owl is precious! And so is your sleepy little one!

  6. Isabel Caroline

    LOVE the owl cake!! And Rose asleep, what a sweetheart.

  7. Jamie Jo

    That owl cake is wonderful!! I might do that one next year!! Or this fall for a fall cake!

    I love the apples and pretzels too!

    I'm right there with you with the sickness….sick is good, sick is good…I keep telling myself….sick is good….

    If I'd have gotten coconut M&M's I would have eaten all of them though….those are sooo good!!

  8. Jennifer

    I love your blog and all the neat things you do! But, when do you find the time to make all these creative foods? Seriously, are you just super efficient, or does this come super easty to you, do you stay up late? I'm very curious as to how you get it all done!

  9. mphc

    Dear Jessica, I have the same question a reader before asks: how you get it all done?? It is amazing to see all those great projects you are doing. I have two little ones and have to admit that I am not able to do such great things 😉 Blessings from Germany- btw, I love your blog- thankßs for sharing!!

    Nicole from

  10. Jessica Gordon

    Jennifer and Nicole –

    I suppose that I have been making these "fun" foods for awhile now, and it either comes easy to me, or I have gotten better and more efficient at it, or both… Other than taking a look at last year's 5th Garden Party last week, and once again before Mass on Sunday, I didn't put any additional planning into this Garden Party… I started making the food at 1:00 (after Mass and a little nap) and we were eating at 3:30. So really, I spent just 2 1/2 hours of my Sunday afternoon, preparing this fun meal for my family. I thought it was worth the time, and being a Sunday, I didn't have to worry about school work and house chores.

  11. fadfd

    Absoluetely darling Jessica! I love the cake!!!


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Hi! I'm Jessica, a Roman Catholic wife and home educating mother to our nine children. I was home educated myself, along with my eleven younger siblings. I have a special devotion to St. Therese, through whom I have been given much help and many blessings--the beautiful "Shower of Roses" that she has sent my way! Here I will record a few of the blessings I treasure. Please remember that what you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness.

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