Posts Tagged '#we’rehavingaparty'

Creating the Party Project Plan

AKA “We’re Having a Party, Part 2″
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When we last left our heroine (me), she was perusing the internet for interesting party appetizers. This one was too hot, this one was too cold, this one is just right – copy & paste into a document for printing! img_9990 This one is too hard, this one is too soft, this one is just right – copy & paste into a document for printing! This one is too much, this one is too little, this one is just right – copy & paste into a document for printing! After a few days there were several choices for food AND drink. I wanted a special holiday punch! I’d had a lot of fun making a special holiday punch for Thanksgiving and I wanted a new special punch for this party.

We had dinner with my sister and brother-in-law and the 4 of us voted on the options. All of those new dishes seemed very reasonable to make. Nothing seemed to require too much crazy preparation. Time proved me wrong on that but as a work plan, it all looked good. img_9991 I am very inaccurate when it comes to gauging how much food is enough. I always have WAY more than I need. I know this in advance and I honestly DO attempt to limit what I serve, but somehow I’m always adding ‘just one more thing’ here and ‘another one’ there. On the other hand, I’ve never had anyone complain there was nothing to eat and no one has ever gone hungry and many people get leftovers to take with them (that’s if you stay til the end when I’m doing clean-up 🙂 )

The party was on a Tuesday. New Year’s Eve was Monday night. I was working the prior Thursday and Friday. I had 3 days to shop, clean and prepare food. I’m very lucky in that my husband helps a lot – both with the cleaning and the food. I tend to do all the grocery shopping. img_9992For a party like this, the shopping would have to be done over several days, because some things could not be bought too far in advance. This party I had 2 extra pairs of hands to help – my sister and her husband were committed to helping. *smile* I’m very very fortunate. I’m not sure WHY they decided they were going to serve as my kitchen staff but I’m sooooo grateful that they did. There are several days missing from this recounting but I’ll tell you that I did move the turkey from the freezer to the refrigerator on the Tuesday before the party, giving it several days to defrost properly and in time for marinating before roasting.

img_9959I sat down Friday night and wrote out my schedule. Saturday had one commitment that was time-specific – getting my hair cut. *grin* I also planned to pick up the liquor and start on moving furniture and “stuff” off the first floor to elsewhere in the house. My brother-in-law (b-i-l)has a membership at Restaurant Depot, because he does LOADS of cooking for our temple congregation. He offered to take me there so I could buy in bulk. I was looking for food, drinks AND some more paper goods and serving utensils. Never mind that I’d already spent a small fortune at the party store, just a feeeeeeew mooooore things, you know???? 🙂

img_9958Have you ever been to the warehouse stores where restaurants and caterers buy? What an experience. I forgot to take pictures of my cart (I didn’t buy anywhere near as much as I thought I would there) but I did try to get some shots of the shelves for anyone who has never seen a food depot. I love that place. 🙂 Saturday, therefore, was Restaurant Depot in the morning, then my hair, then the liquor then the party store (again) and then home to begin moving things and prepping on food. I have no idea what happened to the Saturday page of my battle plan. But once I have my lists in my notebook, I’m ready to rock-n-roll!

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We’re Having a Party!

I love socializing. I love feeding people. I love my friends. I love throwing a good party. There are several parties/food events I do every year, some of them more elaborate than others. I used to throw a New Year’s Eve party. We had what I used to call “The Gang of Eight” – 4 couples that got together frequently during the year. After my son was born I called us the Gang of 8.5. 🙂 One of our standard get-togethers was on New Year’s Eve. menuAlong with a few other folk, we’d get together at my house for dinner and watch the ball drop. Then a few years ago some of us began murmuring about being too tired to stay up til midnight. I remember one year where I think 3 of the females were actually asleep on couches and chairs after dinner – we had to wake them before midnight. *grin* NOT ME. But you knew that. A few years ago I made an “executive decision” – I moved our get-together to New Year’s Day, called it Brunch/Lunch and invited a few more people. It was still a relatively small crowd and we did still have New Year’s Eve with a small handful of folk (who could stay awake, or at least attempted to make it to midnight).

This year, between the college football playoff games and my new kitchen, I decided a more drastic change was required. I decided that we would FINALLY have our “come see our gorgeous new kitchen” open house along with our New Year’s Day luncheon. coffe labelsOnce I drew up the invitation list, I saw I had around 60 people on the list. I’ve posted pictures of the inside of my house and you should know that it would be an extremely tight squeeze to fit 60 people on my first floor without removing furniture – even WITH removing furniture. I think the only time I’ve hosted that many simultaneously was for my son’s bris, when I think we had between 60-70 people there (and yes – we took most of the furniture out of the living room and put in folding chairs). We got lucky that day because it was in March and we had some springtime temperatures and people flowed out onto the deck as well. But I wasn’t worried. I knew that on my list there were some who wouldn’t come (just because they don’t come), some who would be away for the holiday, and some who had prior commitments. New Year’s Day is NOT an original date for a get-together. 🙂

How do you throw a party for 60 people? I start by looking at the folk I expect to show up, and noting all of their dietary preferences. *grin* My mother used to stress-out totally about entertaining. She was an ogre on the days leading up to the entertaining, and the day-of she would practically have palpitations. spiked punchAnd that would be just for having the bridge club over to play bridge (12 people there for a specific purpose eating only munchies, coffee & dessert), long before this day and age when everyone has some food preference and/or allergy. So I make my list: gluten-free, diabetic, kosher, vegetarian, no alcohol, following the keto diet, on a lose-weight diet. Apparently I also have someone who does not eat nightshade but I didn’t know that until she was there and checking ingredients. Once I have the food restrictions, I begin on my menu. There must be enough food that all of those people will have a CHOICE of something to eat. I don’t want to have a pile of carrot sticks to hand out and say “here – you can eat this”. 🙂 (Do carrots have nightshade??? Something new to learn and consider.)

When I have my basic idea of food groups – appetizers, main course, side-dishes, desserts, drinks, snacks – I being selecting recipes. I have certain staples that work for large groups – roasting a turkey, large rectangular pan of quiche, bagels/lox/cream cheese – plus the standard drinks. gluten free Paring the menu down to the selected dishes is the next step. The dish has to fit the mood, fit my loose kashrut standards (no pork, no shellfish, no mixing meat & dairy in one dish) and be tasty. For this party I decided that other than my main courses (turkey, quiche, bagels/lox/cream cheese), all the other dishes had to be new and different – NOT like my other party menus. 🙂 And that meant – turn to the internet and browse!!!

Happy New Year

IMG_9978That title is both a wish and a description. I wish you and yours a happy healthy new year to come. And I am overcome with emotion from my wonderfully happy new year’s day brunch yesterday. I don’t even know where to start to tell you about it – it is such a whirlwind of activity and emotion hosting an open house for family and friends. I do know one thing for sure, however, that I have to tell you – and will say repeatedly – I could never have done it without my sister’s help. She and her husband and my husband worked and prepped and cooked and baked and cleaned through the 4 days it took to match this party to my hopes and expectations. 🙂 But of the 3 of them it was my sister who put in hours doing a lot of the manual labor and tedious tasks while I bustled about on more glamorous endeavors. My sister was my rock. Best Sister Ever.

For me, throwing a party is about family, food, friends, and, for certain parties, football 🙂 The football was a bit disappointing for this brunch but I have the best friends and family. IMG_9982Food is important but if you don’t have great friends who like to come out and meet and greet each other, you aren’t going to have a good time. I have to say that I am extremely fortunate in my friends. Everyone socializes and talks to folks they might not have met before. There was a lot of laughing and conversation and hugging and handshaking. My friends come with their happiness on high and share it around. I loved getting to see everyone and chat and to see them all having fun together. This party was billed as both a new year’s day party and a ‘come see the new kitchen’ party. *grin* More on that another day.

We were also fortunate in the weather – nearly 60 degrees and sunny in the afternoon. I always use my deck as my “walk in refrigerator” for my winter parties. I confess I was a little concerned about how WARM it was – if my desserts and drinks would stay fresh. IMG_9986 *grin* The upside of the warm weather was being able to set up the deck so folks could be outside and enjoying the sun!

The party lasted from bright warm sunshine into the dark hours, but the fun never diminished. Okay, for the cats the fun ceased completely once I brought out the vacuum cleaner that morning. 🙂 GC and BC disappeared back upstairs until the last guest left. WC attempted to hold her own in the sun room, refusing to budge so that I could clean the couch but she finally retreated upstairs when the first guests arrived. The 3 of them were quite relieved once I shut the front door for good. But as for ME – I’m still feeling the ‘afterglow’.


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