The title may be a tad bit misleading, as I’d guess most people wouldn’t call this party an “easy” menu for a child’s 5th birthday party, but I’d say it was certainly elegant. Since I’m just rolling from one party straight into the next, LE’s Fifth birthday party was a combination of two events in one. Earlier in the year, I entered a Williams-Sonoma-Calphalon-HouseParty.com Easy and Elegant Dinner Party contest. When I entered, I had no idea we’d be moving that week or that any of our other life chaos would be occurring. I simply had to commit to finding 15-25 guests to come over for a dinner party and try out some cookware and a few encouraged recipes. I’d say we had over 50 people, at least 25 children and 35+ adults. My sister, Amelia, was an enormous help, being my photographer, Vice-President of Food Presentation, Director of Floral Arrangements, sous-chef, all around super helper and last man standing. LE’s Dallas Godparents handled the entertainment, going above and beyond providing the world’s most amazing waterslide bounce house contraption, as well as helping me with all the heavy lifting since Cory was in Europe the 10 days prior to the event, coasting in just as the party started as one parent aptly described looking straight out of Miami Vice. Williams-Sonoma, Calphalon, and HouseParty.com underwrote part of the event by supplying cookware, some funding, and recipe ideas.
The children certainly had a fabulous time as did the adults. I just love a family backyard party. Part of my entry response to the contest was detailing how much I love home entertaining and preparing food for guests to enjoy and celebrate together. I love watching children have a fantastic time, while the grownups get to imbibe an adult beverage and spend time mingling and simply enjoying the moment.
Crostini with Goat Cheese and ‘wichcraft Tomato Relish
Frozen Green Grapes
Seared Pork Tenderloin with Lime-Cumin-Corriander Marindade
Citrus Marinated Grilled Chicken with Fresh Herb Sauce 
Ripe Watermelon Balls
Strawberries and Raspberries with Fresh Mint Garnish
Sugar Snap Peas with Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Sauce
Sliced and Seasoned Kirby Cucumbers
Spinach Salad with Strawberries, Goat Cheese, and Almond Slivers
Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
The items with links have already been featured on dinnerandconversation.com and helped make this party great. Those with out, barring the raw foods, will be featured over the next week or so. Part of home entertaining, especially in the summer in Texas, requires cold raw foods, so that’s part of why those were included. The other reason is in my personal food philosophy. Blessedly, I have children who will eat darn near anything. I don’t prepare separate children’s meals, partly of course because we don’t have toddler food wars, so I wanted to include a variety of fruits that I thought even picky preschoolers could enjoy before indulging in a dessert sugar high.
All in all, I’d call it a grand success. As I individually break down the recipes, I’ll give some tips on how I go about planning quantities and portion sizes for large gatherings. Salud to the home party!