November 29, 2010

(Easy Entertaining} NY Yankee/Pub Themed Birthday Party

After Thanksgiving dinner with the family in the Hudson Valley area, we came back to the city to prepare for another celebration:  my husband's birthday!  I turned our apartment into a blue and white NY Yankees (his favorite team) haven with comfort food everywhere.  We had lots of DIY plating stations so guest could make their own fish or shrimp tacos, dress up their own nachos, and put together their own s'mores.  By the end of the night, everyone was stuffed but had a great time.  We hope that our party inspires you to make your own pub night at home!

The decorations were really easy.  I went to a sporting goods store to buy most of the Yankee bat and balls.  I made and designed all of the paper decorations (banner, slider toppers, etc) using my Circle Cutter, circle punch, and card stock.  The popcorn containers (for the baked sweet potato fries and onion rings) and mini popcorn containers (for the peanut butter pretzels and pretzel m&m's) were easy to make (templates below).  I went a little overboard and actually scored pinstripes on the mini white containers with my Scoring Board. You can also see how I used paint chips as food labels and to dress up the boxes I used as food platters.
I found the little NY Yankee hats at our nearby sporting goods store and thought that they were perfect for snacks like truffle and white cheddar popcorn (with Garlic Gold toppings), caramel bacon popcorn, and my homemade spiced nuts (recipes below).  These hats were also favors for his guests to take home.

My husband grilled up the sliders (with our Le Creuset Cast-Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle) and served them on potato rolls with his homemade onion jam, homemade pickles, and various condiments.  I also made Mac n' Cheese cups so guests could easily pick them up.
Both the DIY fish/shrimp tacos and nacho stations were a hit.  We put out 4 homemade toppings - tomato salsa, pineapple salsa, cabbage slaw, and yogurt cilantro sauce - and guest could dress up their fish (we used Spanish mackerel) and/or shrimp tacos to their liking.

For the nacho station, I made a serving platter of nachos. On top of a plate of Trader Joe's tortilla chips, I piled on mushrooms, peppers, jalapenos, scallions, and shredded cheese and then toasted the plate in the oven.  We put out sour cream, our homemade guacamole, and our homemade vegetarian chili.  This dish was another big hit.
My husband does not have a sweet tooth, but he and his friends love my peanut butter cups.  I also put out a S'mores Bar - graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate squares with almonds.  Guests put a marshmallow and chocolate on top of a graham cracker, and then microwave it for about 20 seconds.  Once the marshmallow puffs up, we take the plate out of the microwave and squish it down with another graham cracker.  

In addition to the mini hats, we gave out 2 other affordable favors.  One favor was a Trader Joe's dark chocolate bar (only $0.25 each!) that I wrapped up in customized striped label I made.  The other was a DVD of the 2009 World Series (that the Yankees won) that I found for 99 cents each!
A signature cocktail is a must for any party!  I made a drink with blueberry juice, lychee syrup, lychee fruit, freshly squeezed lime juice, and passion fruit vodka.  Along with Trader Joe's macarons (on top of Blueberry Jelly Belly jelly beans), I made another easy dessert:  Chocolate-covered Cheerios.  I melted chocolate in the microwave (10-20 seconds so it doesn't burn) and then poured the cereal into the bowl.  I made cereal balls, and then placed them in a parchment paper-lined tupperware container.  I let them chill overnight in the refrigerator and then served.  So sweet, crunchy, and easy to make!
Happy Birthday honey! I hope you enjoyed your party!  Much thanks to his friends and family who came to share in this post-Thanksgiving celebration!

Mini Popcorn template (I used the same template for the Halloween Baby Shower I hosted)

Homemade Spiced Nuts (adapted from Darryl Robinson's Savory Mix recipe)
2 cups almonds (can also substitute with other fave nuts like hazelnuts and cashews)
1 cup pecans
1 cup walnuts
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Toss the nuts in a medium bowl with all the remaining ingredients.
3. Spread out on sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes.
4. Stir occasionally to ensure even browning.
5. Remove from oven and serve.


  1. I knew there was something fishy about your husband. Hehe. Happy (belated) Jeff. Looks like an awesome party, Andrea... anyone would be lucky to have you as their party planner!

  2. Haha - Other than the Giants, I'm a Toronto sports fan. Unfortunately my Toronto teams haven't been contenders, so there's no strife in the marriage thus far. The party was fun and now I'm itching to plan some holiday parties!

  3. Anjali Shah - The Picky EaterNovember 30, 2010 at 3:26 AM

    What great pictures!! You did such an AMAZING job with this party - I'm totally impressed! Thanks for sharing all the yummy things you made! :)


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