I have absolutely mastered the art of taking on more than I can handle. It seems as if I cannot function unless I have incorporated every single item my mind can produce into an event and my mind runneth over with ideas. Well this event was no exception. I decided to throw a surprise party for my husband’s 35th birthday and in honor of our usual tradition of going to Las Vegas for his birthday, I chose a poker theme.
This was probably my most budget conscious event ever and as frugal as I like to be, this was a real challenge. I knew I had to have drinks of the alcoholic variety for the guys which is definitely a big ticket item and a party is not a party without good eats so the decor had to take a back seat.
For the food I chose to go with the cliche, stereotypical, or whatever one would call it, chicken wings. Never fear, because in true diva fashion I chose four different varieties of wings; Traditional buffalo, Honey-Chipotle, Parmesan-Mustard, and Korean Style Buffalo. Then I threw in homemade salsa and homemade tortilla chips. I must interject here, unless you have absolutely no time, I would always recommend homemade. I guess, technically it’s semi homemade. Just take corn tortilla shells and cut it into fours (with a good knife you can slice through quite a few shells at a time) and fry them up in oil. You can then season the chips with cumin (my fav), salt, pepper, a lime zest-salt mixture, or anything you can concoct. O.k. finally I added a veggie patter with store bought ranch dressing. The most extremely cost effective way to do a veggie platter is to DIY. My veggie platter cost less than $6 and that included the bottle of dressing and more vegetables than I needed. A platter pre-made and purchased from the store would run a good $12+, dressing not included. My platter consisted of red bell peppers, broccoli, celery, and baby carrots that we already had at home.
As I mentioned before, I bit off more than I can chew so I was only able to make the first three of the wings as I ran out of time and the third set of wings were not ready until about 10:00 pm (the party started at 8:00 pm). Yes, I spent the first half of the party cooking. I threw in the towel before I got to the Korean Style wings. Fortunately it worked out because hungry men playing poker and drinking, make for good late night eating.
I had the party set up outside. You would be surprised at how, with the right placement, your backyard can be turned into a very comfortable entertaining space for little money. I brought our dining table outside for the dessert table. I chose to cut cost event further and not rent chairs so the one round table I rented was surrounded by four sets of outdoor lawn chairs and two of our padded, fabric dining room chairs. Honestly it added a little quirky charm to an otherwise standard poker table.
All in all the event turned out great and my husband was surprised and I learned another party planning lessen, manage your time and only take on what you can complete in the allotted amount of time. Oh and I will be making the Korean-Style Buffalo wings today, waste not want not!