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Feb 1, 2011 07:42 AM

Help me plan my daughter's 1st Birthday!

Hi guys,

Wanted to reach out to you for some assitance in planning my daughter's first birthday -- which will be on 2/20. It will be from 11-1pm and there will be 16 adults and 9 kids.

Here's what I have so far...
- I was planning to make my husband's grandma's special pasta sauce and meatball recipe (which I can make adhead of time since it freezes really well). And we will also have Korean food which my sister is taking care of (my daughter is half Korean).

- custom ice cream cake from Carvel

What I need are some ideas for finger foods... pigs in a blanket, spring rolls, mini burgers??

What do you think? I don't want to blow the bank on this but I'm willing to spend some money. I also don't want to be slaving in the kitchen -- I really want to hang out with my family and spend time with them.

I was thinking along the lines of frozen apps from Costco. Have you had any luck on those? Any you'd strongly recommend?

We'd also have a veggie and cheese plate. Maybe a cheese pizza for the kids??


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    1. How about a mixed antipasto platter, with food/veggies from a variety of cultures? You could have a soy sauce dip/dressing for some, and an olive oil/garlic based for the others. Considering people will only be there for 2 hours, I wouldn't think you need to have much though given all the food you will be having for lunch.

      1 Reply
      1. re: escondido123

        I tend to be like my mother -- prepare to feed an army!

      2. When we have to feed the parents during our kids' parties, we order a gourmet sandwich and wrap assortment (all kinds of good stuff from high end food store), a spinach or arugula salad and a fruit salad. It costs about $200. A case or two of bottled water, box coffee and a hot water dispenser for teas. Catering costs more, but at the end of the day we have found it makes much more sense for us. This is usually in the spring and not at our house,so we dont really need hot foods and ordering out makes life much easier when you need to fill goodie bags and blow up balloons!

        If you do pasta, Id suggest making a baked ziti, penne or rigatoni, making the meatballs bite size and serving them on the side. Maybe add a colorful roasted pepper platter. Kids like meatballs too, but go with long cuts if you are going to serve them pasta-much easier for kids.

        You could do a taco or fajita bar. Black bean chili or black bean salad. You could serve skewers of all kinds with different dipping sauces. You could do a shrimp cocktail platter. Seafood or lobster salad (oil based-not mayo). You could do mini crab cakes. Slice up some brats and serve with kraut. Braised short ribs and polenta. Miso cod fish chunks served with toothpicks. Smoked salmon with creme fraiche, pickled onion and caper served on brown bread circles.

        For kids, pizza is the standard fare, but Ive also seen nuggets, hot dogs and mac and cheese (and a combination of both). You can find all natural versions of all of them (applegate hot dogs for example).

        I know the feeling, but keep in mind its only two hours. It goes by fast and the parents are usually busy observing the kids. Dont stress it!

        1. is it 9 other 1 year olds?

          and as far as cake..we did a publix cake...they give u a extra little cake for the daughter had cake from head to toe...but she had blast eating it it....

          1. I like the spring roll idea and think you could build on that by focusing on appetizers that you can make ahead of time and then freeze. Cook them in batches as you need them the day of. That way al you have to worry about on that day is throwing food into the oven to warm. PLUS, whatever you don't need can stay in the freezer for snacks in the future. I've done gougeres, puff pastry mushroom and cheese tarts, hoisin pork filo cigars, my mother's crabmeat and Old English spread appetizers (which are really much better than you'd think). Then a few days later, if you have a lot in the freezer, make a big salad and eat leftover crab appetizers. Or stir-fry some veggies and serve with the pork cigars.

            2 Replies
            1. re: katecm

              Judging from my daughter's 1st birthday party (about the same size) I would be inclined to suggest staying away from anything that you have to dash into the kitchen to heat up or assemble. We did "barbecue" chicken sandwiches, made and served in the crockpot, and several other buffet-style salads, along with chips/dips, cheese/crackers, a fruit plate and so forth; I delegated everything I could and made the food as self-serve as possible, and still was too busy to manage to take a single photo. Putting together apps on an as-needed basis just seems like one more thing to deal with, and when there's a toddler involved -- or a group of them -- I've found that it's best to streamline as much as possible, so you can make Kid priority A and Having Fun priority B. (You'd think that with all that family around, child care would be easier, but somehow it isn't. Amazing how people scatter when there's a diaper to be changed. And meanwhile, you still have a party to tend to . . .)

              1. re: darklyglimmer

                I agree, for our open-house style birthday parties I only do things I can set out at the beginning and forget about. For young kinds, cheese, crackers and fruit are always winners. To cover my basics I order deli trays: fruit, veg, meat and cheese. Then I decide how much effort/money I want to spend on more adult/interesting food, which usually means local specialties like my favourite samosas, mini spanakopita, hummus - I go for things from small businesses in my neighbourhood rather than the grocery store. That way it's "special" with little effort, except for picking things up, and I delegate that where I can.
                For bigger parties I've also done an additional fancy cheese/pate platter but with young families, I'd cover basic cheddar cubes before I went to higher end stuff. The kids need something other than sugar in their bellies but they are generally happy to graze on finger foods. I do juice boxes for the kids and self-serve beer, wine and soda for the adults. I don't usually buy bottled water but it can be handy for these parties.