Thursday, May 15, 2014

1st Birthday Party, the food

Here you can see a closer shot of the food table. I don't feel like I made that much food, but somehow I was cooking from 7:00am until 2:00pm with no break!

p5-14 Party food

In the back we've got a crockpot with (frozen) meatballs & a sauce that is half grape jelly, half Heinz chili sauce. My husband's family makes something similar with grape jelly & yellow mustard, and I think I like that one even better (as long as I don't think about what went into it!). Our crockpot has 3 different inserts (2, 4, and 6 quarts) and I used the extra two for the white bowls on the right!

In front of the crockpot is the veggies & dip ~ one packet of Knorr's Vegetable soup mix + 16 oz. sour cream + a heavy dose of Parmesan cheese.

To the right is Jell-o Popcorn!. I used grape for purple and cherry for pink, but that one turned out more red. This was the recipe I almost decided to scrap last minute because I was throwing it together as the guests arrived. I'm glad I didn't! I was munching on it all night and it's a new family favorite. (There are also some cupcakes my mom brought from a bake sale off to the side of that.)

In the center is the cake!

p5-14 Birthday cake

I scanned the box mixes, trying to come up with something fun I could do, and was pleased to find a bright teal "Blue Velvet" cake mix. I topped it with neon pink (canned) icing, a #1 candle, and a few colorful circle sprinkles. The teal center was fun, unexpected, and went perfectly with our colors!

Finding a plate for the cake was the most difficult because I couldn't use our red plates or the napkin covered plates. We did have one dark blue plate I kept from our last dinner set, and it didn't look too bad (but was a little small). Once I decided to use that, I pulled out a large serving bowl that matched, planning to use it for chips or something similar. But the cake sat so low on the counter, I ended up flipping the bowl over & putting the plate on top for an impromptu cake stand!

Pandora, like her brother before her, had no interest in eating any of her 1st birthday cake. She popped a piece in her mouth and promptly spit it out.

p5-14 Bite of Cake

To the right of the cake is a favorite ~ Hot Bacon & Swiss Dip served with tortilla chips. Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to eat it warm this time, but it was still good.

And to the left are the cookies that occupied a lot of my cooking time!

Has anyone else seen the photo where they roll a ball of cookie dough in colored sugar, snip it with scissors & open it to make a lovely flower shaped cookie? Yeah, that didn't go so well! Luckily I tested a few before baking a whole batch. I flipped mine so the sugar was on the top, but they were way too fragile & didn't even make it off the pan without breaking apart.

p5-14 Flower cookies, broken

So then I decided to snip the petals all the way through and lay out the flower myself, overlapping the center & pressing it together. I thought 8 petals looked better than 6, so I made about nine flowers & added a sprinkle of pink or purple sugar to the center of each. Before baking ~

p5-14 Flower cookies, pan

After that tray I was tired of forming flowers, so I rolled balls of dough and pressed them flat with the bottom of a glass. Then I used two of my flower shaped vegetable cutters and pressed a flower in the center of each cookie, topping each with a light sprinkle of pink or purple sugar. Not as pretty, but so much quicker!

p5-14 Flower cookies, plate

And at the very front are the paper goods. I saved a lot by using clear utensils (white is also good) and a pack of 45 plates with a purple & white print. That big pack of plates was the same price as an 8 count of the colored 'party' plates! It looks like our son's upcoming party will involve some license character, but buying the character plates + napkins + cups + decorations can really add up! I plan on keeping the cost down by using only character plates or napkins, then filling in the rest with color coordinated stuff.

Behind the utensils you can see a star shaped dish peeking out, which was filled with some cheap butter-mints I found in the birthday supply aisle in our colors. To finish things off I scattered around a few of the pink & teal mini chocolate bars from a bag of closeout Easter candy I had on hand!

We ended up with *way* too much food, partly because we were originally expecting more people. Next time I will definitely tone things down a bit and make or buy more ahead of time!

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