Tag Archives: food

Snack On This

Holden’s party is just 3 days away and I’m doing as much as I can now to alleviate stress and extra running around in the next couple days. The fact that the party is NOT at our house helps A LOT!

But, there are still little things that need to be done like packaging party favors, picking up plates and napkins and adding a little something extra to plain water bottles.

 The party is mid-afternoon so I figured a light snack along with cake & ice cream would be enough. Elliott had her 6th birthday party at a local state park and the guests created their own trail mix. They really seemed to enjoy it, but it meant packing and hauling lots of extra containers to hold all the items. I decided this time around to pre-make the mix and serve it out of big glass canisters with a huge serving spoon.

: Safari Snack Mix :


This is the perfect thing to toss together to feed a crowd and can be tailored to easily fit with any theme.

Here is what I used…

2-6.75 ounce boxes of Annie’s Ginger Snap Bunny Cookies

2-12 ounce bags of Jungle Animal Cookies {same brand as the pink & white Circus ones}

1-16 ounce bag of Snyder’s pretzel twists

2-4.5 ounce bags yogurt raisins

2-5.5 bags dried pineapple

2-6 ounce bags banana chips

1-12 ounce carton Whoppers

1-11.8 ounce bag coconut m&m’s

2-3.1 ounce boxes of cupcake bites

1-10 ounce bag mini marshmallows

1-20 ounce jar of lightly salted peanuts {served in a separate container on the side in case of allergies}

I just mixed it up in two batches in a large bowl and divided into gallon ziploc bags to keep it fresh until party time!

There are so many other things that you could add and/or substitute into this mix…

Goldfish crackers {I’m not a big fan of the rainbow variety, but they would add lots of color to the mix}

Almonds, cashews or any other nut

Dried cranberries {or any dried fruit}

Any dry cereal {Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, etc.}

Pirate’s Booty

Teddy Grahams


Bits of granola

Caramel corn or popcorn

Milk Duds

Fritos or Cheetos


Have fun creating your own sweet & salty combination!


Lucky Seven

Today is our 7th wedding anniversary!

Jay captured it so well is his Facebook status, that I’m stealing it…

I still remember so much from that day. From hitting McD’s before the ceremony to Del Taco after the reception (ask us about it later) and everything in between – the candle that refused to light, the Pomeritas, the gaming tables, stolen creme brûlées. Happy Anniversary babe!

{Elliott took a moment off from the iPod Touch to snap this for us}

Today the family celebrated by attending an inspiring mass, going to an appointment in Hollywood, having a Thai lunch at Joom Bangkok, and dining on baby backs in a cherry dijon BBQ sauce, blue cheese mashed potatoes & steamed broccoli this evening. I made my first Tiramisu as it’s {one} of Jay’s favorite desserts….recipes to come!


Needless to say, seven years has flown by. Hoping we can slow down the next seven by taking in and cherishing all {the little things} that fill our days, but I wouldn’t want my life any other way. I’m a lucky, LUCKY lady, for sure.

I love you, JWPA!

Serve Up A Smile

Rainbow layered cakes are all the rage these days.

Yes, they’re a little more time consuming {especially when you only have one pan and need to bake 4 separate cakes!}

But it’s all worth it when you cut into it and reveal this…

Your guests will “ooooh and ahhhhh”.

How can you not?


For this cake, I used two boxes of white cake mix. I prepared the first box and then took 2 cups of batter and put it into another bowl. I used food coloring {gels} rather than regular food coloring as they are more vibrant. First, I put about 15 drops of pink and yellow, mixed well and baked those off. Then I repeated the process with the second box of mix and used the same amount of food coloring for the green and blue cakes and baked them off. Let cool and then layer them together with just a bit of frosting. Frost the whole cake, decorate, sing and then serve up a smile.

Happy 6th Birthday, Elliott!

Thank you for all the {smiles} you bring to our family!

When my little cake grows up, it wants to be just like this!


{I found the Wilton gel food colors at Target {pink, yellow, green & blue}. You can also find them at Michael’s or Wal-mart in many different colors. These cakes are fun for holidays, graduations or sporting events. It’s fun to grab the school or team colors and bake up some spirited cupcakes or layered cake}

Flip Flop Fiestas ~ Food & Drink

So, we’ve decided on a theme, delivered our invitations and thought about how we’re going to decorate…now we need to think about what we’re going to eat and drink!

Part 4 ~ Food & Drink

I love to cook & bake and put menus together so this MAY be my favorite part of party planning. I have learned to keep the food simple, but delicious. It’s better to serve less, great tasting food than to have oodles of store bought or less quality food in my opinion.

You can tailor the type of foods and how much you want to serve to the time of day your party will take place. I have been to a couple mid-morning parties where brunch-type food was served and it was fabulous. Quiche, fruit, bagels & cream cheese…this can also be a little more cost effective. Have a pajama party and serve pancakes or waffles. There is nothing wrong with having an early morning party and serving muffins, donuts, milk & coffee! Make the cake out of donuts like this one made out of Krispy Kremes:


Our parties are usually right around lunch time. In the past I have done lots of {make-your-own bars} at my kids’ parties…homemade sloppy joe’stacos and chili. I make a big pot of meat, set out the mini buns, tortillas and toppings and the guests help themselves. I always have at least one other side dish that can be made ahead of time. I served potato salad and baked beans with the sloppy joe’s, chips & guac with the tacos and cornbread muffins with the chili.

Have your party mid-afternoon and you just have to serve cake & ice cream. Or host a {Milk & Cookies} party around 2-3pm and just serve an assortment of homemade cookies and chocolate milk as an afternoon snack! {be sure and mention on the invite breifly what food will be served so the guests can plan accordingly}

Again, once I have a theme I go all out. I like to print up a menu and frame it so that the guests know what I’m serving up. Come up with clever names for your dishes, type them up, print out and place in a frame!

I like to have some kid-friendly options, too, obviously. I have found time after time that piggies in a blanket are a HIT! Partygoers of all ages LOVE these and they are so easy and cheap! Just take a package of hot dogs, cut them in half, roll them in crescent rolls and bake as directed on package. Serve with ketchup & mustard for dipping and you’re good to go! I never make enough of these….

Kids love picnic lunches. If you’re doing something at a park or the beach {or even at home}, pick up some of the frozen Smucker’s peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, some individual bags of chips, applesauces and a juice box to put together little picnic lunches in paper bags or take out containers that can be found at places like Smart & Final. Tie with a fun ribbon and serve.

You can doctor up a cheese and cracker platter by finding some small cookie cutters and cutting out pre-sliced cheese in shapes. Make some tea sandwiches, cut off the crusts and then cut into small triangles. They can be as simple as cream cheese and cucumber or tuna salad. Finger foods are great for parties since people prefer to graze while they mingle. I like to keep lots of small cocktail plates handy.

I’ve also just served heavy appetizers like dips and pasta salads. Artichoke dip is always a crowd pleaser ~ your guests will hit you up for the recipe on the way out! Everyone loves a 7-layer dip with refried beans, taco meat, tomatoes, green onions, sour cream, guacamole and cilantro {you can also add corn and/or olives}. Serve with tortilla chips of Fritos Scoops. Order some hot wings or make some potato skins for some fun pub-style eats.

And believe me, there is nothing wrong with having good ‘ol Costco pizzas and cesar salad in you mom’s garage and letting the kids run amok outside…we did that for Holden’s 2nd birthday!

Other options: fondue, spaghetti & garlic bread, catered Panda Express {did this for Elliott’s 1st!}, crock pot bbq pork for sliders on Hawaiian sweet rolls! All these are great for a crowd and perfect for leftovers…if there are any!


You need something to wash down all this good food…

I always keep it simple for the kids with Capri Suns or juice boxes. Have a Sharpie handy to write names on the drinks.

Fill a glass pitcher with water, ice and lemon or lime slices for those who want to get their 8 glasses of H2O a day. 😉

Since the parents always stay for our parties at this point, I always have a signature cocktail. Make a batch of sangria or  big pitcher of a pre-mixed drink like a martini or margarita and add ice when ready to serve {pre-mix martinis, but add to a martini shaker with ice just before serving}. Again, put on your creative hat and come up with a fun name for your {adult beverage}.

My mom bought us a glass beverage dispenser and it’s been the best gift ever. It gets pulled out every time we have a party or a crowd. Great for iced tea, lemonade, or punch. From TJ Maxx for under $20.

We always have the usual soda suspects of Diet Pepsi and it’s cousins, but it’s also fun to pick up some Izze sodas or some old-fashioned root beer. While you’re at it, pick up some hand crafted beers, too. Grab a couple big tubs from the dollar store, pack with ice and cradle your beverages to keep them cold.


Now let’s talk about cake!

I have ordered expensive cakes, cheap cakes, cupcakes, cupcake cakes, ice cream cakes, done homemade cakes, you name it! I’ve made a cake AND had cupcakes, too! Make it easy…pick one and be happy with that. Make cupcakes and let the kids decorate them…did that, too! Cupcakes-in-a-jar are all the rage and something that I have not yet tried, but how fun are these?


If you want to make a theme cake, let Google do the work for you! There are tons of ideas and tutorials out there to help build the perfect cake. Be creative, but don’t get overwhelmed…if your cake doesn’t look so hot, it will still taste great. I learned this firsthand recently with Holden’s {caketastrophe}!

Have a milk & cookies party and you can totally forgo the cake and serve cuties like these:


Serve some store bought ice cream sandwiches and dip them in sprinkles on the sides or make these:


Just pop some candles on top and call it a cake!

For Elliott’s 4th birthday she had an Ice Cream Social. I just picked up those giant Costco cupcakes and cut them in quarters and the kids had fun making a mess…I mean making their own ice cream masterpieces!

{I picked up the soda fountain hats at Smart and Final and the kiddos decorated them}


I think that’s it for food & drink! The key is to make the food SIMPLE, but DELICIOUS! Bottom line…try not to stress out…plan ahead, shop ahead and see what you can do a day or two beforehand. Believe me, I still need to work on this. The less scrambling around you do the day of the party, the more fun you’ll have!

Last, but not least…coming up tomorrow: Part 5: Activites & Favors