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5 Tips for Planning a Big Birthday Out

5 Tips for Planning a Big Birthday Out

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A great party in your home is tough to beat. You have all of the comforts of your house at your fingertips and the ability to truly personalize and excel at hosting. But with great party throwing skills comes great party responsibilities. From cleanup to cocktails, it is a ton of work pulling a celebration off.

Instead of going it alone, consider throwing a party out at your favorite bar. Jason LaGarenne of The Anchor, a bar and nightclub in New York City, can teach you how to personalize a party even when you’re out and about!

What are the first steps in planning?

Having a good ballpark idea of how many people you are expecting is a good place to start. Facebook invites tend to be unreliable because we all have friends who either RSVP to everything and not show up or RSVP to nothing and show up to everything. Although we can accommodate most unforeseen things and adapt accordingly, if you tell a venue you have 20 people coming and 150 show up, things can get a little hairy. Budgets are not terribly important, as we customize our events to meet any budget — the most important first step is to know what kind of party you want. Some questions to ask yourself are: Do you want something quiet and intimate, a bacchanalian, booze-soaked dance party, or something in between? What type of music will your guests enjoy the most? What will they be drinking? Will you be serving food or is it a late night event? Obviously, for something like a birthday party, you'll know most of your guests, so deciding what kind of party works best for you should be fairly easy.

What are some ways you can personalize the event?

A signature cocktail is a nice touch, but one of my favorite things to do for the birthday parties I help people put together is create personalized touches that can be enjoyed communally — this gets people interacting and is especially helpful for the guests that may not know everyone at the party. An example of this is doing custom punch bowls rather than individual drinks. Now, I realize "punchbowl" gets people thinking “50's high-school dance,” those god-awful tubs of who knows what, or "jungle juice" (served from garbage cans!) from college parties — but rest assured, we work with the person throwing the party to create amazing concoctions featuring fresh juices and quality spirits. They are a far cry from what you may have had in college and have been a huge hit with the parties we host.

What are some definite “don’ts” when planning a party out?

It's important to know your guests — so I would say don't just invite everyone you know or send a mass invite to all of you Facebook "friends." You want a good sized crowd, but you want people that will add to the fun of the evening. Also, another don't is don't show up blackout drunk to your own party — a spirited dinner or a little pre-gaming never hurt, but people are there to celebrate and drink with you, not carry you out or babysit you in the bathroom. Pretty much anything — any odd requests, unique personalities, and specialized tastes — we can handle.

What does every great party absolutely need?

In my experience, the most important part of any party is the music. People are willing to overlook certain things, but if the music sucks, it can make for an awful time. A good dance party and people letting themselves go is what makes for a memorable experience. Another generic "birthday dinner" or lame pretentious club does not create genuine good times that people will talk about. This is the reason we are known for booking incredible, nationally renowned DJs. Through our relationships, we are able to bring the best DJs the city has to offer and we work with them to play music our guests will love. Rather than pay cover charges or big money for these same DJs at big clubs, we provide them for free in the interest of our guest's enjoyment. We absorb the costs this involves because it's that important.

With Taro's being closed for a week due to a COVID case and thus my choices to purchase sushi quality fish and create my own, I find myself looking for advise on where I might purchase a good quali.

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How to organize recipes

If you make shorter recipes or don’t mind a small font size, I recommend recipe cards (either one page or two page). You might like this one or this one

I normally use this recipe page (see photo 4) which allows enough room to write.

For long recipes I recommend the recipe page and the photo + comments + storage instructions page from this recipe binder

And if you love monograms, you’ll love this recipe page or this one

Ingredient Temperatures Are Important for the Perfect Sponge Cake

Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature. Cold eggs do not whip up easily and will not hold the same volume of air as a slightly warm eggs.

While the cake ingredients should be at room temperature, the butter or baking spread you are using needs to be even warmer but not hot. The butter should be soft but still holding together. If the butter or spread is too soft, it becomes oily and the resulting cake heavy and dense. If the butter is too cold, it takes too long to incorporate into the sugar and eggs and can cause over-mixing, which in turn means a heavy cake.

Remember when getting mail was still fun (before all those annoying bills started showing up)? If you can&rsquot be with someone on their birthday, bring back some of that postal joy by sending a birthday care package. Just think of all the things you&rsquod bring along to celebrate if you could be there, add in a few nods to inside jokes, and ship them in a box!

Oh Happy Day&rsquos Birthday in a Can is a fun twist that&rsquos great for kids. If you&rsquore looking for a romantic gift, create a fun night in for you & your significant other using one of our Date in a Box ideas. If you love the idea of a birthday care package but don&rsquot know where to begin, you can always order one from the experts at

General Tips and Guidelines

Fortunately, there are a number of general principles you can follow when planning your menu and recipes. Begin by following these "rules of thumb" and write down your initial thoughts. Then look at the big picture several times over a period of a few days to make adjustments to your plan.

  • Always round up your estimates, don't round them down.
  • Anticipate which food selections will be most popular and serve more of them than the general portion guidelines suggest. For example, shellfish appetizers are always popular, so serve as much as your budget allows.
  • The more choices you offer, the smaller your calculation of individual portion size should be.
  • That said, you can assume your guests will taste everything on a buffet, but the tastes will be small. However, overall consumption per individual will be greater than if there were fewer choices.
  • Add "bulk" items to your menu. For a sit-down dinner have plenty of bread to fill in any hungry spots. When hosting a cocktail party, nuts, olives, pretzels, etc. provide a little extra security that you'll have enough for all but requires no extra work.

Here are basic guidelines for individual serving sizes of various foods. Multiply these estimates by your number of guests and, once again, always round up your estimates.

Top 5 Party Punches

1. Starring ginger ale and pineapple juice (we used DOLE Canned Pineapple Juice), this frozen sherbet punch updates the childhood favorite with floating fresh fruit.

2. When life gives you lemons, add cranberries! Serve up this sweet-and-sour cranberry-pineapple lemonade.

3. Dive into this fishbowl punch recipe — guaranteed to satisfy kids and adults alike.

4. This minty melon breeze punch is one in a melon.

5. Take a trip to paradise with this tropical fruit punch.

NEXT: Get more refreshing drink recipes or start your summer bash by sending an Outdoor Fun, Pool Party or BBQ Evite invitation.

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20+ Easy Chicken Thigh Freezer Meals (Recipes to Stock up when on Sale!)

This is our latest collection of make ahead recipes: chicken thigh freezer meals!

(You can check out our other collection of delicious and simple freezer chicken meals here &ndash that one features chicken breasts!)

The freezer is a fantastic money saving tool. Stockpiling your freezer with ready to go meals is a genius way to save time and it&rsquos also a great way to save money.

We&rsquove talked about saving money on food for years &ndash like in our series How to Save Money on Groceries without Coupons.

The steps to save money with freezer meals are simple and could pay off big time:

  • watch the flyers for deep discounts
  • stock up on usually big-ticket ingredients &ndash think protein foods &ndash like chicken thighs
  • make some easy prep freezer meals with your low-cost score
  • pop them in the freezer to make a quick and delicious meal in minutes!

There&rsquos so much to love about chicken thighs.

They are more tender than chicken breasts &ndash plus they pack a bigger Iron punch. Iron is a common nutrient of concern with children &ndash it&rsquos the deficiency I see most often in children in my work as a Registered Dietitian. Chicken thighs are a tasty way to get more Iron into kids.

Best Meal Planning Tips

Well now we need to talk a bit about what you are actually going to fill those free menu planner printables with. Meal planning can be a source of stress for many families as their lives are already busy and they feel like life is one big day. There are so many wonderful meal planning tips that can help take some of that stress away and allow you to focus your energy in other areas…like getting more rest.

Here are some of our best meal planning tips to help busy families make time for nutritious food without losing any sleep and not spending too much money.

Use a done-for-you menu plan service like MyFreezeEasy.

This service only requires that you batch cook once or twice a month and your freezer will be full of meals for your family! MyFreezeEasy also gives you the shopping lists for the meal plan that you choose. They have a ton of choices from custom plans to dietary specific plans like gluten free, slow cooker, and clean eating.