Birthdays are a wonderful time of celebration. Our house was filled with karaoke, crackling backyard fires, spicy fajitas, and rich chocolate cake. I wanted food that could be fixed and eaten in your hands. Cupcakes with no wrapper, fajitas that could be fixed on a tortilla “plate” providing the perfect vessel for marinated steak, veggies, and an abundance of toppings. I wanted to avoid washing lots of dishes for the purposes of conserving water… and shirking responsibility. I spent about four hours in the kitchen leaving me plenty of time for a trip to the brewery.
The Napa Smith Brewery is tucked away under rolling hills. The large room is flooded with natural light and sprinkled with mega jenga, dart boards, and dog bowls for your furry friend. After sampling a flight and presenting my birthday present, we chose our favorite three and headed home. (Surprisingly, we had a lot of beer left over. Even more surprisingly it stayed carbonated and delicious for three days after being opened.) A growler holds 64 ounces only 8 ounces shy of a six pack. Although glass bottles are recyclable the caps aren’t. Cans are completely recyclable (I’m trying to curb most recycling, but that’s another post), but a growler is refillable. It’s something you buy and can bring back. Since we don’t need to keep three in stock at all times, we will bring two back and refill one.
Planning a party can be full of stress, disposables, and single use products, but it doesn’t have to be. The night was filled with singing, laughter and full bellies. Below you’ll find a breakdown of the menu and recipes at the bottom.
Dinner & Drinks for 10… Western Style with a budget of $200.00
Back from the grocery store. Peppers and Avocados, even though in season, are difficult to find at my farmers market. Unfortunately both items had stickers on them, but the most unfortunate thing of all was the tortillaria being closed. There were no fresh tortillas only leftovers from earlier that day wrapped in plastic. I could have made the tortillas, but I didn’t have time. Next time I will need to plan better. Fortunately I was able to load my jars with sour cream, pico, and shredded cheese.
Food for a crowd. The wax pencil takes the place of wine charms. You can write your name on the glasses, and it will wash off later.
Oven Fajitas with all the Fixin’s
*tortillas, steak, bell peppers, onions, pico de gallo, guacamole, refried beans, rice, cheese, and sour cream.
Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache
- Alcohol ($40)
- Whiskey Tea
- *Sweet Tea + Southern Comfort
- *Homemade Margarita Mix + Tequila
- Beer ($90)
- *3 Growlers from a local brewery
Fajitas for a crowd:
- Fits in 2 9×13 glass baking dishes
- 4 Red Bell Peppers
- 3 Orange Bell Peppers
- 2 Green Bell Peppers
- 3 Medium Onions
- 3lbs of Steak (Carne Asada)
- 1 Chili Pepper
- 4 Cloves of Garlic minced
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss everything in olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh cilantro, salt, pepper, juice of a lime, and extra chili powder if desired. Bake for 45 minutes.
- 4 Cups of Dried Beans
- 1 Medium Onion Diced
- 1 Chili
- 4 Cloves of Garlic Minced
Soak beans for 6 hours or Quick Soak. (Bring beans to boil, take off heat and soak for 1 hour.) Place beans in a slow cooker on high heat for 4-5 hours. Mash and add salt and pepper to taste.
- 4 Cups of White Rice
- 3 Tomatoes
Flash your tomatoes, put them over high heat until they’ve completely broken down. Put 4 cups of white rice, 8 cups of water, and tomato juice in a large pot and cover. Bring the pot to boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to low. Come back in 20 minutes, give it a good stir, and salt and pepper to taste.
Homemade Margarita Mix 750ml:
- 14 Limes
- 1/2 juice of orange
- 3/4 Cup of Sugar
Water, to fill up almost all of the bottle. (You’ll be putting more liquid in, but some will evaporate out.)
Heat the sugar and water over medium heat. Add the juice of limes, orange, and stir. To get more juice out of a lime cut in half and microwave for 30 seconds.