Light Up The Night – Zoobilee 2011

Throughout this week, we’ve been baking, cooking and gearing up for this year’s Zoobilee at the Cameron Park Zoo! Tonight is the night, folks – we’ll be lighting up the night to raise money for our favorite zoo!

Beginning in 1993, the Cameron Park Zoo has launched creative fundraisers to benefit the zoo while bringing the community together. This fun event entails booths from some of Waco’s best restaurants, a silent auction and plenty of opportunities to mix and mingle with all kinds of characters.

Zoobilee is something we at The Olive Branch look forward to each year. It’s such a wonderful way to get involved by supporting the zoo, which brings families together and provides a nurturing learning environment. This year, we’re excited to bring some sweets and savories while mingling with our fellow restauranteurs and all sorts of lively folk from the Waco community!  We’ll be sure to snap a few photos to document this exciting evening and we hope to see you there!

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Crazy Catering Weekend

What a crazy weekend!  January is typically a quiet month for all restaurants.  And, the same is true for us here at The Olive Branch, too.  However, you know what they say – “When it rains, it pours!” We had 3 events on Saturday.  PHEW!  It was a lot of cooking, coordination, and creativity.  We had to come up with 3 different menus for 3 different types of clients!

We had an afternoon tea for 65 Baylor Thetas, here at the restaurant.  We served them a fresh fruit kabob, mini Danish and tea sandwiches (2 different types).

We also had the privilege of serving my friends at Lolitas who were celebrating their 38th wedding anniversary!  They chose an upscale menu of Orchard Salad, Roast Pork Tenderloin, Roasted mixed veggies, homemade French and Whole Wheat rolls and Iced Tea.  They had a friend from Dallas provide a beautiful fresh fruit display and 2 gorgeous wedding cakes.  They are a precious couple.  They have been so generous in supporting and helping me.  It has been a blessing to have mentors in the restaurant biz.  Congratulations, Jerry and Lollie!

The final event was the Baylor Tennis Team’s banquet.  What an amazing group of people compose this team.  They are diligent students and really special athletes.  The Baylor tennis team has won too many awards to try to mention.  They are a powerhouse in their sport in the Big XII.  This is the second year that they have asked The Olive Branch to cater their banquet.  That is the ultimate compliment, by the way.  It is really special to be asked back as a caterer.  It ranks right up there in my book with being the birthday place to eat!  For this group, we put together our homemade lasagna, a blue pear winter salad with my maple vinaigrette, homemade garlic parmesan rolls, green beans and our famous hot fudge brownie with cream cheese frosting!

What a crazy weekend!  Yes, it deserves to be said twice!  We not only survived all three events, plus our normal business, but everyone was happy.  My staff worked together like a dream and made it all seem easy!  Of course, it helps that my mom and dad came up to work!  There is nothing like having your mom and dad around to help.  Thanks, guys.

I’ll leave you with some pics of the tennis team’s meal.  I promise a recipe the next time we meet…

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Happy Hour Gift Basket

Today I was commissioned to create a gift basket for an upscale salon here in town.  In scouring for unique “baskets” I came across some melamine margarita cups on sale for the summer.  I instantly decided that filling a margarita glass with one of my new margarita cake balls was creative genius! (OK – genius might be too strong a word, but you get the picture)

I dipped the rim of the cup into melted chocolate that I tinted green and rolled it in margarita salt.  I lined the cup with some small cupcake papers and piled margarita cake balls into the glass.  I took it one step further when I dipped a clear plastic cup in white chocolate, rolled it in toasted coconut and filled it with Blue Hawaiian cake balls.  The cups looked so cute and festive set on a tray filled with other goodies… triple chocolate cookies, toffee coated marshmallows and pink champagne cupcakes.  (It was happy hour at 11 am!)

A Weekend Wedding

wedding cake

It was a busy weekend!  I had the privilege of catering the wedding of some good friends, who are also good customers!  It was so much fun.  Getting to help with special events like those makes the hard work fun.  It is always such a compliment when The Olive Branch is chosen to participate on any level for such a significant event in peoples’ lives.  Kyle and Charis, thanks so much for putting your faith in me and in the restaurant to help pull off your wedding reception.  I was honored to be a part of it.  I hope you don’t mind that I am sharing a few of the pictures that I took from your wedding reception!

Kyle, making your cake was so much fun.  Kyle is an avid outdoorsman and loves any kind of adventure.  His fiancée, Charis, asked if I could make a mountain cake for his groom’s cake.  I happily said sure, not really knowing what it would turn out like!  The little climbers they gave me to add to the mountain top were the finishing touch!

grooms cake

And Charis gave me free reign on the design of the wedding cake.  She told me that she would have flowers waiting for me to add upon delivery and set-up.  And what flowers they were–her colors were green with deep purple accents (can anyone say Olive Branch?!) and the flowers were callas and hydrangeas.  She could not have chosen more beautifully elegant flowers.  I was in heaven getting to play with those and design the cake arrangement.  She couldn’t have made it any easier on me!  All said and done, they picked the one day of the week it chose not to rain and the wedding turned out beautifully.  Congratulations, Kyle and Charis.  And, thanks again for including me and The Olive Branch.  You two are really special to me and I look forward to continuing to share in your adventures.