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What: 4-year-old birthday party (hello kitty style)

When: March 21st, 11:30

Where: A beautiful California home

Who: My friend Pearl and guests (4 little girls and 9 “big” girls )

Emilie, a good friend I’ve made while in California, asked me if I was willing to do food at a birthday lunch celebration for her daughter, Pearl, this week. 

excited birthday girl and her mom (emilie)

So, of course, I said yes because…. 

1) I love, love, love cooking food for special events

2) I love parties in general

3) I love Pearl (and she loves hello kitty)

is this a girl’s party?

the birthday girl  (pearl) and me

me and emilie – settin’ things up

Here’s the run down for the birthday fun:

  • guests arrive
  • hello kitty craft time
  • pin the bow on hello kitty
  • lunch
  • cake
  • presents
  • nail painting

As I arrived a few hours before the party, the room was decked out in colorful hues, table set, Pearl was dancing in the kitchen and polk-a dot balloons were being delivered to the front door.  I quickly got to work putting the food together for the much anticipated event.  A chair suddenly cozied up next to me, with a newly turned 4-year-old on top asking me to tie her apron.  I took the subtle hint from this stylish birthday girl as we began assembling sandwiches together, with generous laughter and of course, more dancing. 

 the little girls’ table…of course.

Joy continued to fill the air as we prepared, and guests arrived to celebrate this beautiful girl’s life.

some sytlin’ young ladies leaving this party….yes, there were decorative nail stickers too.

Now, I know you are all wondering, what was on the menu?  Ok, so here was the food line up:

  • mini open face tea sandwiches: greek, italian and vegetable
  • pecan, cranberry, orange and feta spinach salad
  • fresh melon & strawberry skewers (shaped like hello kitty bows – compliments of Emilie)
  • hello kitty peanut butter and honey mini sandwiches
  • string cheese
  • chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting and white chocolate filling (ok, I know this isn’t healthy but it is a birthday party)
  • cake pops from Starbucks and other snacks

pink twinkle star suckers make great cake toppers, and the girls enjoyed them as we cut the cake!

had to take a picture of the white chocolate filling… at this point all girls were running around, energetic from sugar, evident by the chocolate smears around each mouth.

Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil Tartlets

makes 10

  • 3 plum-tomato TOMATO, PLUM, 1/2″ slices, ends removed
  • 1 tbsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
  • 1 ROSEMARY OR REGULAR, FRESH PIZZA DOUGH (store bought or homemade)
  • 7 oz FRESH MOZZARELLA CHEESE, 1/4″ thick slices
  • 3 tbsp BASIL, FRESH, sliced, snipped or chiffonade
  • SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
  • 2 tsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN

1. Roll out pizza dough on a floured surface to 1/4″ thickness. With a round cookie cutter, cut out 10 circles.

2. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle or brush with 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, alt and pepper. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-9 minutes or until starting to brown and risp. Remove from oven and rub one side lightly with fresh garlic.

3. To roast tomato slices, remove majority of seeds and place on a wire rack, fitted in rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Drizzle or brush tomatoes with 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

4. Layer mozzarella and roasted tomato on the baked bread; drizzle with the 2 tsp olive oil. Broil for 4-6 minutes or until cheese just starts to melt, and tomato lightly browned.

5. Top with fresh basil slices or whole leaf.

NUTRITION INFO PER SANDWICH: 110 calories, 6g fat, 3g sat fat, 10mg cholesterol. 10g carb, 1g fiber, 1g sugar, 7g protein

MINI GREEK SANDWICHES

makes 10

  • 5 PITA BREADS, 6″ WHOLE WHEAT OR MULTIGRAIN
  • 3 oz HUMMUS, ROASTED GARLIC OR RED PEPPER
  • 3 plum-tomato TOMATOES
  • SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
  • 1 tbsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
  • 10 CUCUMBER SLICES, about 1/4″ slices
  • 1 slice RED ONION, cut in quarters
  • 4 oz FETA CHEESE, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 oz BLACK OLIVES, SLICED
  • 2 tbsp FRESH PARSLEY LEAVES, garnish (optional)

1. With a round biscuit or cookie cutter cut 10 circles out pita bread (2 per pita). Place on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 5-7 minutes, or until lightly brown and crisp. Set aside to cool.

2. Slice tomatoes, ends removed, into 1/2″ thick slices. Remove majority of seeds and place on a wire rack fitted in a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.Set aside to cool.

2. Cut each feta cube in half, for a total of 10 little square pieces.

3. Spread about 2 tsp hummus on each baked pita bread. Layer a cucumber slice, few slices red onion, roasted tomato, feta chunk, 3 olive slices, salt, pepper and leaf of parsley (optional).

NUTRITION INFO PER SANDWICH: 130 calories, 6g fat, 2g sat fat, 14g carb, 3g fiber, 2g sugar, 5g protein

MINI VEGGIE SANDWICHES (picture far right)

makes 10

  • 10 slices SPROUTED WHEAT BREAD, toasted
  • 10 tbsp GARLIC & HERB CHEESE SPREAD, LIGHT
  • 2 medium RED BELL PEPPER
  • 1 large GREEN BELL PEPPER
  • 1 tsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
  • 1 AVOCADO, sliced
  • 1/2 LEMON, JUICED
  • 2/3 cup CARROT, SHREDDED
  • 1/2 cup ALFALFA OR BROCCOLI SPROUTS
  • SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE

1. To make roasted red peppers (may use raw – skip this step): preheat oven broiler, setting rack close to heat source. Roast whole red peppers on a foil lined baking sheet until outside is charred, about 5-7 minutes per side. Remove from oven and wrap foil around peppers tightly to seal. Let set about 10 minutes. Peel off outside skin of pepper, remove stem, cut pepper in half, remove inside ribs and seeds. Cut into square like chunks about 1″ x 1″. Let cool.

2. Cut green pepper (may use raw – skip this step), inside seeds removed, into large chunks and roast at 400 degrees on a foil lined baking sheet, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper, for 6-8 minutes. Let cool (both peppers can be made ahead and refrigerated).

3. Squeeze lemon juice over slices of avocado to prevent browning, cut all slices in half to fit sandwich.

4. Cut about 1/2 – 1″ off all sides crusts on each slice of toasted bread, or enough to form a perfect square about 2 to 3″ x 2 to 3″.

5. Spread 1 Tbsp garlic herb cheese on each toasted square. Layer red pepper, 2-3 avocado pieces, little shredded carrot and green pepper chunk. Then carefully hold sandwich and stick a toothpick through the center to stabilize.

Sprinkle top with salt, pepper and sprouts.

NUTRITION INFO PER SANDWICH: 120 calories, 5g fat, 2g sat fat, 10mg cholesterol, 12g carb, 4g fiber, 1g sugar, 5g protein

SPINACH, FETA, CRANBERRY & ORANGE SALAD

serves 12

  • 6 oz FRESH BABY SPINACH
  • 3/4 cup CRANBERRIES, DRIED
  • 3.5 oz PECAN, HALVES
  • 3.5 oz FETA CHEESE, crumbled
  • 2 ORANGES, peeled and segments cut
  • 3/4 cup SALAD DRESSING, POPPYSEED (storebought – I used Brianna’s brand)
  • 1/2 tsp BLACK PEPPER, GROUND

Toss everything together and serve!

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING: 180 cal, 14g fat, 2g sat fat, 10mg cholesterol, 15g carb, 3g fiber, 10g sugar, 3g protein

the “big” girls laughed and enjoyed the food….

now added to my culinary resume…. hello kitty party – check.

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