Sunday, May 1, 2011

a birthday dinner picnic in the park

You all want this party started? Right? You all want this party started ... quickly! Right?
Here are the photos from my birthday dinner picnic in the park! It turned out so great :D I am happy to report. Those who know me well, know I love planning and throwing parties! I find it very fulfilling to watch an event unfold into the perfect evening, everyone smiling and enjoying themselves.
The event unfolded, as usual, a bit stressful. I always kind of freak out the day of a party I am throwing. More often than not, I get little to no sleep the night before, feverishly finishing up projects and going over the details of what needs to happen on event day. I often do all the cooking as well, I love to plan menus and find cooking gives me another set of creative tools with which to express myself.
The menu I planned for my birthday picnic consisted of a modern Mexican theme. One of the two main dishes I made was slow cooked Dr. Pepper brisket quesadillas (adapted from this recipe). I didn't have chili powder or the Dublin Dr. Pepper so I made a rub using salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, parsley, brown sugar, and cocoa powder (werd.) I didn't really measure the seasonings, just eyeballed them. All together they make a paste, which I use to coat the top side of the brisket. I placed it into the Crock-pot along with half a 2 liter of Dr. Pepper and cooked on low for about 8 hours. When it was done, my husband pulled it and I sauteed some red onions to serve with it. I also cut up some Brie cheese and cilantro and served sour cream for garnishes.

The second of the two main dishes was pulled Key Lime chicken, which is my recipe, also for quesadillas. For this I boiled a chicken in water and chicken broth. I cut up some key limes and threw them in the pot as the chicken started to boil. I seasoned with cumin, garlic, cilantro, thyme, salt and pepper. It turned out tasting fully of lime, which was awesome, however, next time I will peel off the rinds of the limes and add just a few tablespoons of the lime zest.
The sweet lady who catered our wedding, Vanessa from Beaches and Backyards catering, was super nice and let me borrow some of her chaffing dishes! They lent just the right amount of class to the tablescape. I also served my favorite black bean and corn salad, mad with sweet peppers, salt, and lime. Mexican rice made with Sofritos, grilled avocados (adapted from this recipe), tortillas, chips and salsa... And last, but definitely not the least, my good friend Pete brought his famous meat! Pete's Meat :D It's so yum... the perfect blend of spicy marinade and tri-tip steak, he brings it to every party we have and by now it is famous—at least with all of us! Thanks Pete!
I was finally able to invest in some of those cute little milk bottles I've been seeing so many party planners use. And actually, I took Bakerella's tip to use these bottles from Target, once the labels were removed you'd never know the difference! I made Paula Deen's homemade lemonade and served it up nice with lovely little striped red and yellow paper straws I bought from HeyYoYo on Etsy and a sprig of sweet mint. Some of the handmade goodies I made included sweet little party hats for all who attended and fabric flowers (adapted from this tutorial)from left over quilting scraps, and paper doily bunting.
I also made Bakerella's cake pops for the first time! Ever so easy, I just hadn't had the perfect opportunity until now. I used white cake and buttercream frosting, melted chocolate and white sprinkles, YUM! And I tried to...
Well, I didn't try, I did make ice cream popsicles. I just tried keeping them frozen all night in a cooler. The later half of that feat I did not succeed at :) but they were totally yummy none the less! I wanted to try to replicate my favorite Baskin-Robbin's flavor, Nutty Coconut. So LJ, my husband, marble slabbed up some vanilla ice cream mixed with sweetened shredded coconut, pecans, walnuts, and almonds. Melted or not, it was absolutely d-lish and I am glad, even though it wasn't pretty, that I made them!

And then came the night. Never armed with an expert camera flash, I was only able to get a few and definitely photoshopped photos of the party after dark, which is when it really got happening ;) haha! Just kidding...
The paper lanterns gave off just enough light and the candles inside their mason jars hinted a glow to the tablescape that was soft and warming. We did have a lantern that we used when it was time to serve the food ;) though.

All in all, it was the most perfect birthday that I've had in Hawaii, save for the first birthday I ever had here, when I came on vacation the first time and was able to witness this place, in all it's splendor. I really felt like I was trapped inside of a postcard for the first two days I was here... So it was the most perfect birthday that I've had since I moved to Hawaii!

Did I mention how much I love to throw parties?

P.S. This is a shout out to my awesome husband, LJ! Whom without his wonderful help I would NOT have been able to pull all this off. He was certainly my second set of hands and he let me tell him what to do for a entire day, never complaining once! I am most certainly once blessed cookie!

update! just added the links to the tutorials i used for inspiration to make the party hats and fabric flowers :) sorry i missed those two in the first post!


Acornbud said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Wow! You know how to party!

hanasaurusrex said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

;) hehehe... thanks!

christine said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

cute set-up! happy birthday :)

Katie and Reuben said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

This is just gorgeous! Happy Birthday! :)


DaD said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

WoW! Nice planning. Nice spread. Great photos. Would you plan my birthday party, too?

angela said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

this is amazing! if you aren't a party planner you really should be. :) what is that yellow swirl tablecloth? fabric? I'm planning a circus party for my son's 1st birthday and that is kind of perfect!

hanasaurusrex said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

thanks angela! i'm actually thinking i might dabble in the party planning biz? :) oh! and i got the tablecloth at target... i just looked to get the link for you, but it's out of stock on their website :( maybe you could still find it in store if there's a target nearby you?

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