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Old 07-22-2013, 12:29 PM   #1
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Anniversary Bash! July 27

Hey everyone, I am having a backyard bash on Saturday to celebrate being married to the most amazing man in the world for the last 20 years.

I've got a basic plan in my head. I have steak and chicken breast for those odd folks who won't eat beef. I'm doing skewers of shrimp to go with. There will be wine and beer and pop. Now I need to decide on sides and extras.

Here are my questions:

Starch - hot or cold?

Hot = baked potatoes, baked beans?
Cold = quinoa salad or potato salad

I'm reluctant to do a potato salad because I don't want the trouble of keeping it cold and safe to eat. I'd love to hear what you folks would suggest.

Other salads:

Joe's Coleslaw
Spinach salad (with nuts and strawberries)
veggie tray

Desserty things:

Cookies/brownies/lemon bars
Rhubarb something - crisp or pies?
Blueberry pie?
Chocolate ganache tart?
Chocolate peanut butter pie?

I'm feeding 30-40 people. How many desserts do I need? 4-5 pies do it? How much salad? Have I got enough?

I'll be putting out various bowls of chips, salsa, hummus that sort of thing to nibble on before dinner. I'm covered there. I figured we could do a fire pit later in the evening and do smores, etc. Anything else I should have for nibblies later in the evening? Something like a spinach/artichoke dip maybe? Or hot nibblies like wings?

Thoughts for hot appies:

Buffalo chicken dip
hot spinach dip

Suggestions are most welcome. Talking to you guys always helps me clarify my plans. Thanks all!


You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:01 PM   #2
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Congrats on 20 years! Nice idea to throw a party.

On the desserts... 4 or 5 pies PLUS a tray of home made chocolate chip cookies AND some fresh churned ice cream. Get an old school churn and put your guests to work.

Salads - I would avoid potato salad as well. The quinoa salad sounds lovely or maybe tabbouleh. I would add a three bean salad or black bean salad as well and some cubed up watermelon.

How about corn on the cob? It's great with steak and again, you could put guests to work shucking corn.

late night: Some-mores are great! Skip the hot wings, etc and substitute popcorn which can also be made over the fire pit.

Whatever you choose, make sure you have time to celebrate yourself... have fun at your own party ;)

Forget love... I'd rather fall in chocolate!
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:32 PM   #3
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I was thinking a nice pasta salad or broccoli salad in place of the potato salad. Everything else mentioned in the 2 posts sounds lovely!
I could give up chocolate but I'm no quitter!
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:48 PM   #4
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Alix- Congratulations to you and your husband on your anniversary.

I hope you have corralled someone to do the grilling so you both enjoy the party. There is a lot to be said for people standing around the grill watching the chef cook. Probably one of the finer forms of legal adult entertainment ever.

I sometimes make potato salad with a Dijon vinaigrette dressing in the summer. It may be served hot, cold( not so much) and is especially good at room temp. Its got garlic, fresh sage and rosemary too.

The potatoes are marinated in part of the dressing, then roasted at 400 or so until they are golden brown. Toss with more dressing and let sit until serving. I ususally bake this in the a.m. but I think you could easily make the day before and bring to room temp before serving. The taters hold up well to warm weather.

From a 1994 Bon Appetit mag, they serve it on a bed of green beans and include tossing with blue cheese and walnuts. I have done none of this extra stuff ever, even though I like all this and have always grown green beans. Instead, I toss with red onion at the time I pour on the dressing. Parsley or green onion tops to garnish. Easy. If you like I can post the recipe.

Baked beans . Yes. You can serve them in a crock pot. Also can be made in advance. Even though it may seem like standard picnic fare, I had the best baked beans this weekend. Because they were made by someone else and not my recipe.

Another favorite warm weather food is tabbouli. For this you need lots of mint, parsley and fresh oregano. Whatever else you want to add.

Now, I recommend you erase the ? marks behind the dessert listings. Make them all. Just cut the portion sizes smaller.

Enjoy your party.
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:20 PM   #5
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Some garlicky/cheesy potatoes in a casserole would be nice with the steak.

An antipasto/pasta salad.

Watermelon with a wedding cake topper and a pan of brownies for dessert.

Forty people is a lot so I would stick with make ahead salads and casseroles.

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Old 07-22-2013, 04:31 PM   #6
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Two of everything. It's always nice to have a choice. If I see two cold salads at a buffet style party I take a little of both. Why stop at one salad, one starch?
Maybe you can combine the prep work, such as a cold potato salad with a hot German potato salad. They start out basically the same. And you can put the dish of potato salad in a larger container on ice, people have been doing less for years and lived to talk about it

BTW, this will do as the invite. Save a tree
That was paddle up the left fork after the stand of silver birch next to the beaver dam?
Give us this day our daily bacon.
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:37 PM   #7
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Congrats on your milestone Alix! You mentioned a cold quinoa salad, which I think is a good alternative to potato salad. I just made a yummy one last night and am planning to post the recipe. If you are interested.......I think your menu sounds great! Baked beans are great for a
crowd, I do them in my black enamel roaster ( it holds enough for a group like you are expecting) Hmmmm....haven't gotten my invitation yet.
If you don't like the food, have more wine!
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:48 PM   #8
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Congrats! DH and I will celebrate our 26th anniversary tomorrow. Thankfully I have the wedding certificate in a frame upstairs, otherwise I would have totally forgotten.

I like all the above suggestions!
She who dies with the most toys, wins.
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Old 07-22-2013, 05:46 PM   #9
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Congratulations, Alex! Sounds great. I just wanted to mention that potato salad is no more prone than anything else to go bad. It used to be true when people made their own mayonnaise from raw eggs, but commercial mayo made with pasteurized eggs, vinegar and lemon juice is not particularly risky.

That said, I prefer potato salad with a vinaigrette dressing, too. The tanginess goes great with grilled meats. Let me know if you want two recipes to compare :-)
The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again. ~ George Miller
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Old 07-22-2013, 07:17 PM   #10
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I like the idea of baked potatoes with plenty of butter and sour cream available. Maybe even some diced and sliced chives in the bowl. Two cold salads on the side. You can dress it yourself or have different dressings available for the guests to choose their own.

Baked beans served in a bean pot. Start it Thursday night with soaking, bake all day Friday. Keep in fridge 'til party time. They always taste much better the next day. You can heat them up the day of the party. Have some condiments available like ketchup or hot sauce.

Make a large pan of brownies. Buy a bag of Mini Reese's PB Cups. Line them up on top of the batter next to each other and touching. Then push them down into the batter until they are covered. Bake as usual. Cut into small squares when cold. These are very filling.

Definitely Choc. Chip Cookies. Who doesn't like them.

At least two pies. Maybe an apple and a blueberry. Although I like the idea of a rhubarb crisp. With the brownies and C. C. Cookies you need to get away from the chocolate.

A bowl of fresh cut up fruit to cleanse the palate. You can use a half of the watermelon as your bowl after you have removed all the meat of the melon. If you are in the mood for extra work, you can cut a fancy edging. ^ ^ ^ ^ will look very pretty. Forget the melon baller. A lot of work for small pieces. Cut out large chunks and then cut into squares.

Smores are a great idea. Will evoke some happy memories of those folks who were in scouting. At the end of the evening you don't want to be heating up dips. All your cooking is done for the day. Time for you to relax. How about that mushroom pate recipe in another thread served with crackers. Keebler makes some great flavored crackers. You can serve the pate in a round peasant loaf of bread. Cut out the bread inside and cut into croutons. Season and toast for the salads.

I am sure there will be some of the appetizers left over and can still be offered at the end of the day for picking.

And congratulations of 20 happy years. I was lucky if my marriages lasted 20 minutes. And one for the happy couple.

Illegitimi non carborundum!
I don't want my last words to be, "I wish I had spent more time doing housework"
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