Monday, July 26, 2010

Belated Birthday

My birthday happened to fall on a Friday this year so it made it a perfect time to have a party. A backyard BBQ to be specific. I was excited to entertain and agonized over the menu. I spared myself from making my own birthday cake again this year (it was quite the feat last year). Instead we had pie. This was the menu I decided on:

Homemade Lemonade
Iced Sun Tea
Cheap Beer
Chips and Mom's Salsa
Assorted Sausage Slices
Grilled Chicken
Grilled Tri-Tip
Green Salad
Fresh Fruit Salad
Corn on the Cob
Carmel Apple Pie
My Brother's Berry Peach Pie

We ended up with too much of everything after all of the guests arrived. I knew that I wanted to have my mom's salsa and was happy that my brother brought the pie. I have been to parties and dinners where there was that one thing that stood out amongst the rest. I wanted to have a party where everything that was served was that 'one thing'. I skipped the cake because I knew that the pie I wanted to serve was already a tested favorite. I knew that my mom's salsa was another crowd pleaser and has been for the last 20 or so years. The Mr. and I are lucky to have a butcher as a best friend. He was the one that brought and cooked all the meat. The sausages are a staple at every party he provides for. After much research on my end I found the lemonade and Sangria online. Both went over so well that they are now permanent staples as part of my summer menus. The best part of the BBQ was that we were able to provide food and drink for 30 people (30 people didn't show up so we had tons of left overs) for around $100 (meat, salads and salsa excluded) I have saved you the trouble and have listed the recipes for lemonade and Sangria below:

Serves 8
* 3 cups dry red wine (I used Charles Shaw (Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joe's) Cab Sav)
* 1 1/2 cups carbonated lemon-lime beverage (ie: 7-up)
* 1 1/2 cups orange juice
* 16 lime slices
* 16 lemon slices
* 8 orange slices
* 1/2 cup brandy
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 2 Tablespoons Cointreau or orange liqueur (I used Triple Sec)
* 2 Tablespoons Grenadine
* 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
Ice Cubes
Stir wine, orange juice, 8 lime slices, 8 lemon slices, orange slices, brandy, sugar, Cointreau, Grenadine, lemon juice and lime juice in large pitcher and combine. Let stand for at least 30 minutes to steep. Add soda right before serving to maintain carbonation. Fill 8 large wineglasses with ice and divide sangria evenly amongst them. Garnish with remaining lemon and lime slices. Serve.
(recipe from

Best Lemonade Ever
Serves 20
* 1 3/4 cups white sugar
* 8 cups water
* 1 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon juice
Ice Cubes
In a small saucepan, combine sugar and one cup water. Bring to boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until chilled. Remove seeds from lemon juice but leave pulp. In pitcher, stir together chilled syrup, lemon juice and remaining 7 cups of water. Pour over ice cubes before serving.
(recipe from

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