In case you can’t already tell, I am (slightly) neurotic when it comes to hostessing and party planning. Even though I love, love, love doing it, the slightest details stress me out and I dwell over things that would be simple for somebody normal.
I guess I am a glutton for punishment.
And speaking of gluttony, the foundation of every good party is the food, and of course the dessert. The menu for Jax’s birthday did cause more than a little chaos in my mind. I debated over having it fully catered, but that can be so expensive. Then I planned a menu that would have had me cooking up a storm, thankfully I soon found my sense and nixed that idea.
Finally I settled on simplicity – sandwiches! Initially I was against the ubiquitous sandwich tray, every casual gathering you attend will no doubt have sandwiches. But there is a reason for that – everyone loves sandwiches! And is there a better food to serve at a child’s birthday? Common sense and practicality prevailed and sandwiches landed themselves as the main event at this event.
I ordered the sandwich trays from Costco, which I think have the best ones around, and they come with a dijon sauce and pesto mayonnaise instead of plain mayo and mustard.
Be sure to remove the sandwiches from the tray they come on and arrange them on pretty service wear – presentation makes a HUGE difference. I served them on a three-tired stand and a large platter.
To go along side I made my yummy Party Pasta Salad. I call it Party Pasta Salad because I make it for every get-together I throw but also because it’s a colorful medley of veggies and pasta so it looks like a party in a bowl. The recipe follows at the end of this post.
There was also fresh fruit salad.
And of course, two of Jacquelyn’s FAVORITE foods – blueberries and strawberries. I swear my girl can live off of these.
Since this was a a first birthday party and all of Jaxie’s little friends are around her age I made sure to have food just for them to enjoy – the Plum Organics and Happy Baby pouches were a hit with the mommies and kiddos alike!
I also put out toddler/kid friendly snacks to keep the munchkins full and happy – cheerios, Toddler Mum-Mums (organic rice rusks) Goldfish crackers and Happy Baby Cheese Puffs did the trick.
I had a variety of cold drinks available: guava strawberry punch, lemonade (which I dyed green to match the color scheme) and tropical iced tea.
Lemon/blueberry infused water and for the purists – bottles of water.
Beverages were self serve in old-time milk bottles with cute striped pink straws. And for the kiddos I bought color-coordinated sippy cups which were their’s to take home after the party (and yes, I washed and sterilized the sippies before I set them up for use).
The dessert table was modest but cute as can be, complete with mini-milkshakes!
Mini-milkshakes are always a hit! Order a large milkshake with no whipped cream from your closest drive-thru and pour into a collection of cordial or shot glasses; add straws and presto, sweet cuteness your guests will rave over.
YUM – cookies. Me like cookies.
Behold – the loveliest cupcakes I have ever set eyes on. Almost too pretty to eat….almost.
I ordered these beauties from a local dessert catering company called Sweet-Stops.
Sweet-Stops did the cupcakes for my gender-reveal party – perfect mini-cakes that told my friends and family we were having a girl when they bit into it and saw the pink frosting. Sweet-Stops will always have a special place in my heart and belly.
More cake! I ordered this one at Target! It was delicious and my guests were shocked when I told them where I got it. Target’s bakery does amazing work and they are so inexpensive. This 1/4 sheet cake was $18 and it came with a matching smash cake for Jax.
Jax’s smash cake was adorable! I set it atop a pink candlestick and it served as a lovely focal point on the dessert table.
Ok, I promised my recipe for my Party Pasta Salad. It’s delicious and you will be asked to bring it for every party once your guests taste it, and it’s easy to boot!
Party Pasta Salad
1 Box Tri-Colored Rotini Pasta, cooked according to package directions and cooled
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, finely chopped
1 Container of Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, cut into halves
1/2 Purple Onion – finely diced
1 Bunch of Italian Parsley, finely chopped
1 Cup crumbled Feta Cheese
3/4 Cup Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/2 TBS. Garlic Powder
Salt & Pepper to taste
1. Toss all ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Allow to chill before serving.
This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for larger gatherings.