Housewarming/Birthday party – preparation

Monday was a pretty easy day. I planned out the menu and made a shopping list.

J and I went to Costco!

I love the 1.5 L bottle of Yellow Tail Chardonnay! We couldn’t find an equivalent red (they had a 1.5 L of a cabernet/merlot blend, but I thought it would be too dry).

We got sirloin steaks, which I cut into long, thin strips for the kebabs. The recipe calls for cubes, but if this works how it does in my mind I think I’ll like it better. I put the strips in a ziplock baggie and threw them in the freezer. This way in sat all I have to do is thaw, marinade (which can be done simultaneously), skewer and grill! I was going to cut up the chicken too, which we already had, but I forgot to take it out of the freezer.

Today was drinks and paper.

I made the Pineapple Strawberryaide. My blender is not the best, so it’s kind of thick… I think I’ll dilute it with some water and make sure it’s served over ice. I feel like I’m going to spend the entire party in the kitchen making sure everything is stocked!

I tried to make the Caribbean Rum Tea Punch, but I tried about 5 variations (by mixing a VERY small amount in a glass), and none of them were something I’d be proud to serve. I’ll try more tomorrow.

I went to Target today to get a few small things, and found Cupcake Red Velvet wine, which was recently recommended to me. I figured it sounds like a good party wine, so I bought a few bottles.

As for paper, I just made some labels for the food/drinks. I printed off the menu, then used my scrapbooking stencils to cut them out into shapes and mounted them onto some cheap scrapbook paper.
20120920-104026.jpgthe food and drinks

20120920-104544.jpgfor the ice cream bar.

J and I went to the grocery store and liquor store. We have 99% of the stuff we need for the party.

I tried the recipe for the rum punch again, this time I tried just the basic recipe, but made it sweeter and with strong tea instead of weak. It was pretty good! I think we found a winner 🙂

My main goal tonight was to clean and “gut” the strawberries. I have a “garnish” knife which I love for small detail work. It looks like this:

The wavy blade is good to clean out the center


About an hour of work later, I had a bunch of hollowed out strawberries waiting for margarita Jell-o shots!


This week has gone by too quickly!

I had some friends come over today. We cut up everything that needs cutting, made the brownies for the ice cream bar, made the marinades for the meat, and last, but definitely not least, made the strawberry jello shots!

A few changes to the recipe: we used lime jello instead of strawberry (some reviews said there was too much strawberry flavor), and Cointreau was too expensive, so we used Patron orange liquor (yes, this was the cheapest at my local liquor store except the REAAAALY cheap stuff that probably tastes like pure sugar).

We started with a boiling pot of goo:

Then my friend N brought over a bowl of tequila

20120922-070523.jpg(we were out of measuring cups)

We needed something with a small spout to fill the strawberries. My gravy boat worked perfectly!


We doubled the recipe (1 lime jello, 1 flavorless). In the end we had WAY more alcohol than strawberries. We cleaned out all the strawberries in my fridge and still ended up making 3 massive “jello shots”. I think we could have doubled the strawberries, but used just 1 amount of alcohol.

All of the reviews say to be careful not to cut off too much of the strawberry, and that is very important! I was careful and only had 5 or 6 strawberries that couldn’t hold their alcohol. I realized the strawberries that we cleaned right before we filled held up better than the ones I had done on Thursday. So while it might take more time, I would definitely suggest doing everything on one day.

Here they are ready to go into the fridge!


About casadezhang

J and I got married in August 2010, and purchased our first house in May 2012. I decided to start a blog so I can ramble on about all the thing I find interesting. How is this different than any other home/life blog? It's probably not - but I just like to talk :). I'm not the best at updating my blogs, but I'll try to update at least once a week, or whenever anything interesting happens :).
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