Marie Antoinette Party: Inspiration

I’ve been dying to make myself a Marie Antoinette costume since Christmas. Well, really since I saw the Kirsten Dunst movie, but particularly since Christmas. We were invited to an Antoinette/Louis themed party by friends with French ancestry. I had my costume all planned out, down to powdered hair and face, but we were unable to go.

The costume wouldn’t leave me alone, though, so I decided to have an Antoinette theme for my 30th birthday on May 30: “Let Them Eat Cake!” A dessert and drinks fancy dress party.

Of course, now I am 4 months pregnant, so I’ll have to somehow make a maternity dress.

The inspiration for the decor and desserts comes from the scene in the semi-recent movie where Antoinette and her friends are lounging and indulging in cake and champagne.

Tonight I did a quick silhouette of the scene in Acorn (free photo editor). I’ll print this out as a template and cut a bunch out of black paper to use on the invitations.

A friend is coming over tomorrow night to re-watch the movie with me, and we’ll assemble invitations while we watch, plan the party, and conspire about our costumes.

Easter Dinner Prep

It’s 3:30 am EST on Easter. My husband got the kids to bed while I napped from 7:30-10. It was very kind of him, but unfortunately, I was supposed to spend that time grocery shopping and cleaning! So I’m headed to bed now, cleaning mostly done, but I’ll have to get up in 4 hours to get the ham before church.

Matthew’s mom, brother, and cousin are joining us for Easter lunch at 2 pm. We’re having:

• Spiral ham
• Asparagus with hollandaise (pretty much the only time of year I make hollandaise. From scratch. So delicious. So easy to screw up.)
• Cheesy potato souffle
• My grandma’s candied sweet potatoes
• Ambrosia spinach salad (My grandma makes great ambrosia at holidays – she’s originally from Florida – and I decided to turn it into an ambrosia-inspired spinach salad)

And my mother-in-law is bringing her amazing cheesecake for dessert.

I set the table tonight and put out all the serving dishes. Things always go more smoothly the next day when I do. Good thing I did it tonight – I realized four of the dishes I’ll need for cooking tomorrow were dirty! So the dishwasher’s running now.

I set the table with place mats from Matthew’s dad, china passed down from my grandma along with many of my favorite recipes, crystal platters from my great aunt, and my own crystal I bought in Germany when I was 15.


I have fantastic, huge kitchen cupboards, but tonight I discovered the problem with keeping the china on the top shelf.

Instead of waiting for my (tall) husband to get the dessert plates down for me tomorrow, I tried to climb onto the microwave cart…

And it all





I broke the shelf and my mother-in-law’s dish which I was going to return to her tomorrow. Thankfully the microwave caught on a screw and didn’t fall.

Sigh. Going to bed now before I break something else. Like myself.

What will be on your Easter table tomorrow?

Tastes of Spring: Pictures and Video

The party is over…I got home at 12:30 and stayed up past 2 a.m. making Moroccan food for Sunday school this morning. (I napped for 4 hours this afternoon.)

Matthew is editing the images from our good camera (last night’s live photos were iPhone pics), and here are the top 10 or so for you to enjoy.

Eventually I’ll put together a post about how you, too, can pull off a crazy dinner party. After I sleep some more. : ) The main trick is that it takes a whole team of people.

Wine-tasting from Becky Castle Miller on Vimeo.

Tastes of Spring: Dessert!

Frank and Liz brought Strawberry Mousse Puffs and Chocolate Raspberry Tart. Matthew and Carl brought some late bottle vintage ports, but there’s so much wine left from other courses, I don’t think they’ll open them.



Tastes of Spring: Fourth Course

Holy. Cows. Duck Confit is basically the best thing ever. Dang. So the duck legs cook in fat for 10 hours before being seared off to crisp the skin.

The duck breast has a savory raspberry sauce.

We’ve also got leek and brioche bread pudding.










Syrah with the duck because it’s syrupy and pairs well with the duck fat.

Tastes of Spring: Third Course

Phil and Melissa made gnocchi by hand. It took four hours! Then Phil made a pea and mushroom (portobello, shiitake, and oyster) sauce. Don paired with it an Oregon Pinot Noir.





Tastes of Spring: Duck

Phil is making Duck Confit, which has something to do with lots of duck fat…? And he’s also making Duck Sous Vide, which is duck cooked under pressure. So while we eat courses 2 and 3, the duck is simmering in vacuum sealed bags for an hour and a half. Then Phil will sear them.





Tastes of Spring: Second Course

Green & White Asparagus Soup with an Alsace Riesling followed by Indian Lamb & Asparagus Salad with a 10-year-old Alsace Pinot Gris.



Tastes of Spring: Salad Course

Fried oysters over red and green lettuce with an amazing balsamic shallot vinaigrette.


A Sancerre for everyone else…Martinelli’s for 12-week pregnant me.



Tastes of Spring: More Prep

A smart host like Phil preps his dishes ahead of time.


Phil’s wife asked him to set up the fry station outside.


Wine chilling in the fridge

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