Party details

Since Father’s Day, life seems to have hit me at full speed – with work, a presentation to give (work), 3 challenges completed in TOH 20 day challenge (details later this week), a baby not sleeping very well at night, a new business ‘idea’ that is probably crazy but I am thinking about it anyway and, you know, just life in general. But thankyou for all your sweet comments about our Father’s Day lunch. I thought I would share some of the details with you. IMG_0728 Decorations Starting with my favourite decorations – fresh blooms. A bunch of yellow lilies and some other yellow flowers -  that I placed in some recycled jars I had on hand. IMG_0670IMG_0676 I found this print online (somewhere?) and popped it in a frame for the dessert table. IMG_0625 Finished with the addition of some homemade bunting – and of course – the cake. IMG_0662 The bunting was rather easy – created simply with some leftover scrapbooking paper,  ribbon and double sided tape. The menus and cake label were created with the help of – printed onto paper then glued to some cardboard. IMG_0628IMG_0669 Simple, cheap, yet effective. Food As for the food – the markets were my saviour. Between the deli, the butcher and the greengrocer – the produce spoke for itself. Starting with the antipasto platter – which came together in 5 minutes (or less!) IMG_0701 Prosciutto, truffle salami, stuffed olives, marinated bocconcini and some crackers. While the side dishes were made in advance inspired by these recipes – Carrot and chickpea pilaf – brown rice used in place of white. IMG_0664 Eggplant, walnut and feta salad – the key being good quality feta! IMG_0682 And of course, the main meal, cooked by my two trusty BBQ chefs… IMG_0712 Butterflied leg of lamb – that I had marinated in olive oil, garlic and cumin overnight. IMG_0727 And finally – the star of the show – that ever impressive kit kat cake! IMG_0628 Two GF vanilla cakes, layered between chocolate butter icing. Finished with the kit kat edging and a ribbon, and topped with M & Ms. IMG_0644 Again – an easy yet impressive addition to our lunch! But I don’t think you can go too wrong when it comes to that much chocolate. Between my trip to the markets, and the assistance of some items I had at home (glass jars, ribbon, paper etc) – this party really came together with not a lot of fuss. And I certainly had a lot of fun planning and preparing it (although I am a little strange like that!) What about you? Do you like planning parties?

Party Planning 101

As I have mentioned before, we are soon hosting a dinner party for 36+ people to celebrate my leap into the "30s" (or perhaps more so to commiserate the end of my 20s?? lol) . pic8 While I am someone who loves to organise parties, be them big or small, in order to keep my stress level down and I am a huge planner. Did you miss my other planning tips?

I have learned over time that catering for other people (be it 5 or 50) is never an easy thing to do. And, even if I have lot of friends and family willing to help, sometimes this comes with its own downfalls too. Perhaps it relates to the ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ phenomenon?! A few months ago, my sister in law and I managed to stay relatively stress-free when planning the "Day at the Races" party for my parents-in-laws’ joint 70th birthday party. We had to cater for over 110 people, which was also no easy feat. pic1 And so today, with another upcoming party to plan and prepare for, it got me thinking about what worked during the planning process for that, much bigger, party…. 1. Meetings My sister in law and I had quite a few face to face "meetings" when planning the party for her parents. Not only were they an opportunity to catch up for dinner (and a couple glasses of wine…), we were able to jointly finalise numbers, invitations and the food menu. These meetings, in conjunction with email, helped us stay on track and not double up or miss anything. 2. Utilise the skills of others We found out that a guest at the party was a keen BBQ-er, and he offered to not only man the BBQ for us,  but also to select and buy the meat. All we had to do was tell him how many people were coming (oh and pay for the meat of course!). 3. Learn to love online resources Given that my sister in law and I both work full time, it was not always possible to get away from work to hit the shops during business hours. We did, however, embrace the magic of the internet and purchased the invitations, the edible photo topper and various other balloons / decorations from online sources. pic6 Not only did it make the ordering process simple, and often saved us money, all the items were delivered directly to our door! 4. Know your numbers About a week before the party, we sat down to plan the final menu. Given it was a lunchtime party, we decided on a BBQ / salad combination. And, once the guest numbers had been finalised, we were able to decide just how many dishes to offer. While not having enough food is bad, I think having too much food and it going to waste is worse!! 5. Know your crowd We discovered that we had no vegetarians coming to the party, although we did have guests with both wheat and dairy allergies. pic3 Knowing this information upfront made it all the more easier to ensure that everyone’s dietary needs would be catered for. 5. Divide and conquer With our menu plan in mind, we then divided up the salads and appetisers – with each taking 4 specific salads and 2 dips. pic2 This meant that we were both able to contribute, without being overwhelmed. Also, by sitting down and allocating specific dishes, were made sure there would be no double ups. 6. Get together to create together Although we had allocated dishes between us, we wanted to work on the star of the show, aka the birthday cakes, together. So, the night before the party, we rallied at the BBB household and baked, tempered and shaped chocolate to our heart’s delight. pic4  Not only did it lighten the load in the kitchen, it was definitely a fun gals night in! 7. Create a timeline and stick to it Being a lunchtime party, we did not have the benefit of a full day in which to prepare food. This was complicated by the fact we could not get into the venue to set up until 1 hour before the party started. So, working backwards, we arranged an early morning get together to finalise the food preparation, then made our way to the venue together. Having completed all the food preparation before we arrived, all we had to do was decorate and we were set to party! pic7 I think it was a combination of the above that made the whole process run smoothly, without creating too much work / stress for either of us. While my 30th party is quite different in style (dinner party v casual lunch), I know that I will be implementing many of the above strategies to keep my sanity! _______________ Day 16 – MOVE it, TONE it, DRINK it

  • MOVE it – Cardio 1hr (Run 5km, Elliptical 20 mins, Bike 10 mins)
  • TONE it – Sit-ups 130 (mixed types)
  • DRINK it – 2L

______________ What about you? What is your number 1 tip when it comes to party planning? Happy Baking 🙂