Milestone events – how often do you have them on the same day in the same year? It is indeed unusual but not unheard of, and in my family, it’s downright typical! I was born on my parents’ anniversary, my husband and two of his cousins share the same birthday and our two daughters were born on the same day, 3 years apart. Having children with the same birthday always inspires a variety of comments that range from sympathy, because how do you have 2 birthday parties on the same day, to snickers about fertility.
Regardless, as they say “it is what it is” and we have always managed to have all the parties we needed to without ever shorting anyone. Until this year when we were confronted with the real challenge; the girls turned 18 and 21 on the same day and while they talked for years about celebrating their milestone birthdays together, when the actual time came, it wasn’t possible. Our oldest daughter was out of the country. While obviously not a major world crisis, this was a big issue in our family.
After much discussion, the girls decided that they would have “their party” when the older one returned home and the theme would be “Steaks, Cakes and Great Lakes.” Well it sounded perfect except that steak for 50 people (their friends and some of our friends who had known the girls forever) was cost prohibitive and not everyone on the guest list was able to drink Great Lakes beer. The cake was no problem. So after even more discussion, we talk a lot in our family, we came up with a menu that was legal and pleased everyone! Here is the menu and based on the almost non-existent leftovers, it must have been a good one. (Note: everything could be prepared in advance so there was no last minute cooking!)
- Hummus, baba ghannouj, and warm artichoke dip were served with pita chips and fresh vegetables.
- Selection of olives, spicy tomatoes and peppers
- Teriyaki marinated flank steak sandwiches. The meat was grilled the night before, sliced thin and served on either multigrain or white rolls with horseradish sauce and mustard.
- Honey roasted turkey sandwiches served on the same rolls. Mayo and lettuce on the side.
- Crisp Caesar salad
- Farfalle, brie and tomato salad (so good and so easy, the recipe is below)
- Big bowl of green and red grapes
- Birthday cake and chocolate chip cookies
- Bowls of mixed nuts and candy on the buffet table and scattered about the party area
- Great Lakes Beer served in bottles so there was no confusion about what might be in the traditional red plastic cup. Wine, apple cider and sparkling water served in clear plastic cups.
Finally, since it was a birthday party, we had a Sponge Bob piñata that everyone, regardless of age loved trying to break open. Sometimes you get lucky and you have a party where everything works and this was one of them!
Farfalle, Brie and Tomato Salad
- 4 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 pound Brie cheese, rid removed and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 cup loosely packed, chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound bow tie pasta, cooked al dente, rinsed in cold water and drained
In large bowl, combine tomatoes, Brie, basil, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Cover and let stand at room temperature, up to 4 hours.
Add cooked pasta and toss.
Serve immediately or at room temperature.