Ted turned 2 recently and we had a bit of a party. Since having kids, the thought of parties instantly makes my blood pressure go up. So many people! So much food! And drinks! And noise! Argh!!! Anyway, I thought it was time to put my endless list making to good use and organise a stress free birthday party. How do you do that you say? Well, the key was to make sure everything was made ahead! Ted’s nap is usually after lunch, so a brunch it was! The party went from 10:30 – 12:30 which was perfect.
Now, as you probably know, I love cooking so the weeks leading up to the party were a flurry of cooking. Pretty sure I bought 12 packs of butter for all the stuff I made. So now you’re probably wanting to know what I actually made…well here’s the menu:
Oh man, these things were amazing! They had the taste and texture of a properly made croissant and smelled incredible as they were baking. See pic above and imagine their buttery deliciousness! They are a little bit of effort but I made them up the night before and they were left to prove overnight in the fridge. The morning of the party, they went straight into the oven. I made a double quantity and they were rolled up in a couple of hours. They didn’t take as long as I was expecting and they were well worth the effort. I used half the butter required for speading on the dough and I don’t think it was missed.
Overnight French Toast
This was quickly prepped the night before and on the morning of the party, was popped into the oven once the cruffins came out. The French Toast was a clear favourite with several of the guests and I will definitely be making this again. It was so simple! The French Bread Sticks we buy here in Australia are pretty long (about 2 ft) and I used 1.5 of them for my lasagna dish. Next time, I would dip the bread slices in the custard then put them all in the dish and finally pour any leftover custard over the top. Some of the slices were a dry on top after pouring the custard in, so I had to pull some slices out and rub them around in the custard.
Apricot Orange Ring
I made these up two weeks before the party and then froze them. To make the process even simpler, I actually made the apricot filling a few days before and kept it in the fridge until I was ready for the next step. I took the ring out of the freezer the night before and in the morning quickly made up the drizzle and put it on top.
There were a couple of babies at the party who are old enough to be on solids, but not old enough for a whole meal of party food, so I made these up as a healthier snack for them. These were also made the week before and ‘freshly frozen’ as my MIL likes to call it. I moved them from the freezer to the fridge the day before to thaw. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, subsituting some vegetables to suit what I had. Find the recipe here.
Cous Cous Balls
These are simply cous cous rolled into balls. Another healthier option for the smaller kids.
This doesn’t require a recipe. My Mum actually brought this one along so I didn’t have to make it, but even if I did, it’s a simple one to put together the day before.
Vegetarian Sausage Rolls
My MIL made these so I don’t have an exact recipe, but they were very tasty! These were put in the oven to heat up while the French Toast was cooking.
Vietnamese Iced Coffee
If you’ve never made this before, you have to try it! Strong and sweet, it goes down a treat! I made the coffee concentrate a couple of weeks before and froze it in water bottles. I moved them to the fridge a couple of days before to thaw. Store the condensed and evaporated milk in the fridge so everything is nice and cold. I also froze a little of the coffee concentrate in ice cube trays to pop into the jug.
Orange Juice and Champagne
Another one that requires no recipe, but is essential for a brunch.
Dump Truck Birthday Cake
This cake is so effective, yet so simple! It’s basically an ugly iced cake with a toy plonked on top. I loved the ‘construction stripe’ look of the inside of the linked cake so I wanted to replicate that. If that seems to tricky, the cake would look just as cool with a plain chocolate. I baked the cakes the week before and sliced them as required and then froze them. The day before the party, I iced the frozen cake and put it in the laundry (nice and cold), covered. The honeycomb did melt a little and next time I would pop the honeycomb on the cake the morning of the party. It didn’t effect the end look of the cake though.
It was quite a dark day so I don’t have lots of lovely photos to show you of everything, but the links above certainly do all the recipes justice.
Other than making everything ahead, the best tip I have is disposable plates. If you can handle it, disposable plates, cutlery, cups and napkins make everything so much easier! And if it suits, put an end time on the party invite…that way you can kick everyone out without feeling rude!
It was a good thing I did go the ‘do ahead’ route. That morning, we woke to find our water switched off while they repaired a broken pipe in our street. So glad I didn’t have 50 things to prepare and a heap of dishes to wash!! Have you tried a ‘do ahead’ birthday party? Did it work?