Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The best GRANOLA bar & Henna party- part 2

I am so happy you guys like the part one of the "Henna Party Post" , and very happy with all your kind words about me being a good daughter in law (blushing)...yet it is crucial to say that this was a team effort..so before I do continue with part 2 of the this post, allow me to thank all and each one who helped to make that night a great success including the Mother of the beautiful bride, Shaden, her wonderful sister, Hiba, and the bride her self...Lamloom...miss you gal...The bride's aunt, Dana and her lovely daughters..Rhund, Joud and the beautiful Mira...and last but not least..Yasmin...my daughter..Of course my mother in law...we love you...she was supervising it all :) and my wonderful Mother, I love you mom!!!

So after this intro lets get down to part 2, the final part...food...yaay...Please note that this post has so many tips that you can apply in any party...

Before I start talking about what we did, it is important to
Tip 1:
Plan your food according to the season, number of guests, time of party (lunch, dinner, tea ...etc), theme, and the space you have...is it a buffet, a set down party...etc.

So having said that....in our case we planned our menu as such:
Season: Summer time: Plenty of cold drinks, cold desserts, light food
Number of guests: We expected 150 plus minus however, we did go a bit overboard with the food, as usual but ended up eating it for Iftar few days after...hehehe
Time of party: Sahoor...in reality it was a bit before Sahoor time so people where a bit full from Iftar meal so we tried to plan the menu on the light side as much as we could and focused on having some desserts
Space: We decided to go with a buffet, considering the number of guests we where expecting...

Before I start talking about the food stations (we decided to go with stations in order to avoid people jamming up on one area) this makes me want to give another tip
Tip 2: 
When you plan a buffet, divide your tables if you have a big number of guests into stations, this way people can go to the drinks station while the appetizers station line up ease up...etc.

General tips:
- Decide when are you going to serve the food. When you have a big party like this one, it is best to go with prepared ahead food that doesn't require last minute touches or heating; after all you want to enjoy the party.
- Get help: If you want to enjoy the party, lets face it, you need help. We did end up hiring a team of helpers whom we divided the work in between. They where serving people at each station and 2 where free moving around to collect any dishes, glasses...etc to avoid spelling accidents and sticky situations. If you don't want or can't access to hire help, just think of asking your family and friends to do that for you...give them tasks and I am sure they would love to help.

Table settings:
As I mentioned, we went with stations of food. Tables where divided depending on what dishes will go on each one. Table cloths where tailored (as mentioned in the post I); beautiful golden satin; we saved money and we got to keep these for future occasions as well.

The first station was actually in the main party tent, it was a beautiful setting....Since we where in Ramadan, we wanted our guests to nibble on lovely nuts, dried and fresh fruits and sip the Famous Cardamom Arabic Coffee while enjoying the Henna and festivities...here is the beautiful setting...



If you pay attention to details we thought outside the box...used clean plant pots for fresh fruits and baskets we already had to fill with these goodies..yum...We also leveled the baskets to create a nice setting...

Another lovely addition that we thought is all about Arabian nights was the chocolate coins...


These where the first to go...hehehe...as we say Sahtain..meaning Bon Appetit..

We had the water cooler next by and 2 of the helpers where they assisted anyone needing water. No spillage, no garbage- it was a blessing.


The same applied for the coffee station. Helpers where moving around serving coffee to guests.

Now moving to the food tent...remember this from the last post...



The first station was designed to hold all the cutlery and dishes. We decided that since we don't have 150 big and small dishes, we don't want to rent these and have to worry about broken or missing plates later on not to mention washing dishes...so we went with disposable. Beautiful disposable dishes which we bought in bulk. White with a silver ring on the edges. They looked like glass, but way lighter and no washing later on. The same with the cutlery...silver spoons & forks with beautiful white napkins.



So this was the first station where our guests picked up what they needed and headed to the food.

Now here comes what the menu was and included (again light, easy stuff for people to nibble on and suitable for sahoor time)


5 kinds of salads (Ceasar, pasta, Arugula with palmito, Spinach Tabooleh, & Greek)
Cheese platters: (White cheese, assortment of yellow cheeses, fresh mint, cherry tomatoes)




- Assortment of olives (black and green)
- Kishkeh (Labaneh with walnuts)
- Assortments of bread
- Hummus
- Foul
- Fateh (Hummus with bread)


Yalanji (dolmadas) & Hara'a Usba3u (A classic Syrian dish made out of lentils cooked with tamarind sauce, dough, onions and other delicious ingredients).


We used this wood made tower (spray painted it with silver and decorated the edges with some colorful ribbons)


We also had pastries (assortments) and Shawerma sandwiches..I forgot to take a picture of the these really..


Next came the drinks station...


We also used disposable cups...we found these beautiful colored ones at Centro (the new supermarket in Madia street in Amman)


Desserts station

We had


Amar Al Deen Muhalabia (Milk pudding topped with apricot curd)


We also had this huge tower of birds nest (a Middle Eastern dessert made of Kunafeh dough filled with nuts and soaked with simple syrup)...this we ended up nibbling on all Ramadan....it was fab..from Arafat..

We also had great Kulaj from Kulaj Omar (A fantastic dessert from Nablus, Palestine); special semolina pastry filled with pistachios, cheese, walnuts and soaked in simple syrup) (I didn't have a chance to take a picture of this one)

We also had a candy station where we hung this up right above it..






My photos at the party suck ...I was too busy and they where taken by phone...


And the cake of course...


Done by Manal's Bites :)

Now...party favors...where custom made chocolate from my beautiful friend Enas the owner of Andes Chocolates..They where made out of coffee white chocolate in the shape of the Aladdin lamp...wrapped in a clear pack and a golden ribbon with a tag of the bride and groom initials...


She was so kind...she surprised us with this beautiful chocolate house...with the bride and groom initials..



It was a blast indeed..thank you for reading along..I hope I didn't bore you...but next time you plan to have a party...remember..its fun..just plan ahead and enjoy your time...after all, its party time :)

Now...time for the recipe...I know this is a very long post but a recipe is a must in every post...today we go back to school again with the most delicious granola bar ever..I mean really!!! Skip the chocolate bar even...if you taste this...you will know that I am not kidding to compare it to snickers with less fat, more nutrition and just deliciousness....



The best GRANOLA bar
Ingredients:
1 cup date paste (if you don't have that, just grind one cup of pitted dates in a food processor)
1 1/2 cup toasted oatmeal (I used instant)
1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped
1/2 cup toasted peanuts, chopped
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)
P.S.: Use any nuts you like or any other candy you like.

Directions:
Toast oatmeal in the oven for 10 minutes
Toast nuts
Warm honey and peanut butter
Add to dates and mix
Add all dry ingredients and mix
Line a small square pan with parchment paper
Press the mixture in it to make it even, cover and refrigerate or freeze.
Cut into bars, wrap with parchment and give for your kids in the morning....a great healthy breakfast or energy bar.



بتمنى تكونوا استمتعتوا ببوست الحنة الاول وهي الجزء الثاني بتفاصيل الاكل...بتمنى تحبوه كمان..

نرجع لوصفات المدرسة واليوم رح اشارككم بوصفة اصابع الجرانولا اللي بتضاهي بزكاوتها السنيكرز..ومش بس هيك مفيدة وصحية ومليانة مواد غذائية مهمة بالتمر والعسل وزبدة الفستق والمكسرات...والاحلى..ما في طبخ..بس شوية تحميص واخلط وامشي...



اصابع الجرانولا
المقادير:
كوب معجون تمر (اذا ما في معجون كوب تمر مزال البذور ومطحون)
1/2 1 كوب شوفان محمص 10 دقائق بالفرن
1/2 كوب لوز محمص ومفروم خشن
1/2 كوب فول سوداني محمص مفروم خشن
1/4 كوب بزدة الفول السوداني
1/4 كوب عسل
1/3 كوب رقائق الشوكولاتة (تشوكلت تشيبس) (اختياري)

الطريقة:
يحمص الشوفان 10 دقائق
تسخن زبدة الفستق والعسل لتطرى
تضاف للتمر ثم تضاف بقية المواد
ترص بصينية مربعة مبطنة بورق الزبدة
توضع في الثلاجة عدة ساعات وتقطع
تلف كل واحدة بورق الزبدة ليكون شكلها اجمل


Monday, September 28, 2015

Pina Colada and Henna party details (part I)

I have been always a fan of planning parties; a special theme with decorations, food, activities and all. As I went on and on about the "Henna party" for my niece which took place this summer, I am now feeling relaxed enough to write this post (part 1) to share with you how we planned this part.

The key in planning any party is.....Planning ahead!! I am not exaggerating if I say that we started thinking about this party in December of last year. Why so early?! The other involved parties including the bride and her family live in Canada while the party took part all the way here in Jordan. The other reason was we wanted to plan something really special, different and personal. I personally believe that planning ahead can help you save you money just as much as it saves time. When you know what decorations you want, you can easily get them on sale or work on crafting them like we did in some parts for this party. 

The steps where:

1. The theme: We choose Arabian nights. It was very appropriate as the time of the party was during the Holy month of Ramadan and after Iftar (the meal where we break our fasting). Once you choose the theme, the rest of the details like decorations, food, activities will be easier. 

2. The day and time: We knew back in Dec of last year that it will be after Iftar but we where not sure which day. We knew we wanted it in the Middle of the month, so people can attend as the last 10 days of Ramadan are very sacred and  important; people prefer to spend them praying.

3. Location: Since the party was in the summer, we decided to go with the outdoors idea. We are blessed with a big garden that is divided to three sections. A big one where we set the tent to host the activities, dancing, henna...etc, the food section and a section with tables and chairs for everyone to set and enjoy the food. 

Consulting with the bride, her sister and mother was very important. I needed to know what they had in mind like the color theme, the decorations...etc. So we started sending each other pictures we liked of parties we found online to get some ideas and see how we can get inspired. 

The final decision was to do a colorful theme; colors every where. 

I want talk much...I will let the photos explain how it all went...

Decorations:



This is the tent where we served food. I had tons of curtains at home that I was not using, so I offered to have these set the way you see above to give a dramatic look. The lights where bought from a special store (we used 200 meters of small lights for this tent and it was all worth it)

The tables you see, we already had in house, I have a big family in law and we do have lots of gatherings so we invested in plastic tables for all our occasions. The only part we did is we bought meters of nice satin gold cloth, had it cut and hemmed to cover the tables. (this saved money big time instead of buying table cloths)


My favorite part. These are recycled jars (tomato paste jars to be exact). Using a glue gun, we glued lace around the jars and inserted a candle inside which I got on sale from Ikea. 
The dramatic look this created was something else.



We placed them everywhere and in all sizes, big, medium and small.

Another lovely idea was these branches which we got for free, spray painted white, secured in a pot and poured cement to stabilize them in the middle of the pot. Spray painted the pot with gold and the result was 6 lovely pieces which we hung small lanterns on in all colors. The lanterns where bought from downtown Amman by the dozen at a great price. So here goes another idea that barely cost much.


Here they are in the back.

For the big tent where we hosted the almost 150 ladies (oh yeah..this was a big party). We rented a tent along with round tables (which you see above) and chairs. This was expensive but necessary... if it was up to me I would have asked everyone to sit on the floor to suit the theme....but many guests won't be able to do that due to age and many other issues...

Here is a look inside the main tent...





Now it is very important to say that this beautiful colorful setting in the front is our own work and was not rented. We ordered these special huge cushions (20 of them, 4 colors), bought tables and had the legs cut short to 40 cm height to create this look, bought satin cloth in different colors and got it hemmed for the table cloths and used every single cushion we had in the house to assist create this look. We also had lots of lanterns, which we use to decorate our housed in Ramadan, so we had these set as well. The lovely corner you see int he third picture is basically this...


This rack was used to hang these wonderful pieces, usually used for dancing and we used for pictures and as giveaways.. we placed baskets at the bottom with colorful bracelets, necklaces, tarboosh..you name it...all where used to take photos in the photo booth which I will talk about later on.



 The only things that we bought where the Tarboosh, the colorful dancing pieces and the bracelets. The rest where borrowed from every girl in the family :)

Tip: Don't try to buy everything, see if you can get somethings borrowed or use what you have on hand to create a great look and save money. 

The photo booth was another favorite of mine...it was a masquito tent from Ikea, very cheap really. We set it up but realized that it kept moving with the wind so we had to bottom stabled with the white pipe you see below. Yet it was dull, so the mother of the bride used some pieces of colorful scarves they had on hand to create this beautiful look. We added some lights and I really wanted everyone who took a picture in this booth to know what was the occasion no matter how long the time passes by, so I had the name of the bride and groom engraved on wood as you can see. This was a nice gift that they kept for their home after the party. 



We placed a sofa inside and the beautiful rack with all the goodies hand on it, moved here when ladies started to take pictures. 

Another look at the area where we had the tables...




We also used bean bags which we had before to add more to the look.

Here is the pics at night...




I hope you enjoyed the decoration part ... I will share the food part in another post...if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask...we had a blast!!!

So as this is a food blog, I need to still share a recipe :) Here is my Pina Colada drink...try it, it is so good..




Pina Colada

Ingredients:
7 slices fresh pineapple (use can if you want but the fresh is better)
1 can coconut milk (I used light)
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 cup crushed ice
Sugar if you like it sweet.

Directions:
It is important to have all ingredients cold to get a thick pina colada.
Mix all in the blender and enjoy...delicious...

  تفاصيل حفل الحنة لبنت بنت حماي في الاعلى بالصور واهم نصيحة لعمل اي حفلة هي التخطيط المسبق الذي سيوفر الوقت والجهد والمال

وصفة شراب البينا كولادا
المقادير:
7 شرائح اناناس (انا استخدمت طازج بس ممكن معلب بس الطازج اطيب
علبة حليب جوز الهند (انا استخدمت اللايت)
1/4 كوب عصير اناناس
كوب ثلج مجروش او مكسر
سكر حسب الرغبة

الطريقة:
تخلط كل المقادير في الخلاط وتقدم فورا والف صحة