They got engaged at Christmas – they’ve been dating for 5 years!   Finally!

Oh it’s a-comin!  Brides are bizzy-bizzy getting ready for those spring and summer weddings, and you – dear Aunt, Sister, Cousin or Friend-of-the-bride are going to give them a glorious, once-in-a-lifetime engagement party!  Something just so perfect to celebrate, and you’ll invite all the neighbors and her bridesmaids and the groomsmen and fraternity brothers and we’ll all have oh-such-a-maaahvelous time!

This is really very nice of you to do.  I’m sure it will be much appreciated, but what’s the theme?  Will it be a tea and punch drop-by or will it be a little chicken salad plate luncheon with finger sammiches and giggles?  Money’s kind of tight right now, but you want to be fun and memorable and …  Hmm….

Tah Dah!  Everyday Celebrations to the rescue!  Here’s a short but sweetly economical suggestion for setting the mood and having all the hoped-for fun, without having to take a second job bagging groceries to pay for it.  Our suggestion is inspired by one of the incredible new products  just introduced by that Fabulous Maven of Clever Favors, Kate Aspen!

title

 

Say it with Hamburgers!  Oh, not just any old hamburgers, but hamburgers with the most amazing array of condiments and dressings known to Peoplekind!  And of course, these will be the most delicious meat-patties tasted, EVER, when you use our special recipe tips for “stretching the meat”.

invite1

Make your own (or buy ’em if you will – some links with cute ideas follow)

Buy post cards at the local office supply and decorate them with grill-themed clipart, compliments of PowerPoint (or any other graphical-type program you have on your computer – OR you can snag one off a Google search by using the keywords “Free Grill Clipart”).  Here are some ideas from PowerPoint:

clipart1

Most post card packs come with a template link or suggestion for getting the right size set up on your computer.  But if not, measure the card, then set up the size in the “Design” or “Paper Size” menu of the software you’re using to do the card.  Here’s a 5×7 I set up in PowerPoint with the  “Design”, “Page Set-up” menu choices.

barbie   or  longlake

You get the idea.  Buy a pen in a funky color, address the front and slap on a 27-cent stamp and you’re on your way!

Whoops!  The links – if your budget allows it:

 menu

The World’s Juiciest Hamburgers (recipe follows at the end)

2 kinds of buns

  • Kaiser rolls (look in the bakery department of your local grocery store)
  • Whole wheat buns (look in the same place – or ask.  Everybody’s making them now)

Condiments: 

  • Sliced Avocado (coat lightly with lemon juice to keep from browning)
  • Thinly sliced red onion rings
  • Assorted cheeses (blue, swiss, cheddar, etc.)
  • 3 kinds of mustard (Dijon, honey and regular)
  • Ketchup
  • May0naise (regular, lite and Miracle Whip)
  • Romain lettuce sheets
  • Bacon Crumbles (fry ahead, drain and crumble)
  • Thinly sliced tomatoes (Romas are nice if they’re good n red)

Hawaiian Baked Beans (recipe follows)

Bar-B-Q Baked Beans (recipe follows)

Roasted Potato Slices (recipe follows)

Mini cheesecakes (recipe follows)

Liquid accouterments:

  • Beer  (2 kinds, canned, purchased at Costco and served from galvanized aluminum buckets, iced)
  • Party Punch (recipe follows)
  • Iced tea (let’s not knock ourselves out with all the Cokes and stuff – everybody does that anyway)

decorate 

Head to the local fabric store and buy some serious yardage of oil cloth in a picnic check pattern and cut out squares to drape over your serving tables. 

Get some gaily -colored napkins (and lots of ’em) at the local Dollar Tree!  Click that link back there for locations near you.  I’m telling you – they sell the absolute nicest napkins there for $1.00 per pack of 20 to 24 – in some really cute colors!  Another thing they sell (although supplies are not always plentiful) are those paper plate holders.  Snatch up some of those if you’re in the mood and they buy your paper plates right there at the Dollar Tree, or go and invest in the strongest Chinet you can find.  You’ll want to make sure that those heavy plates don’t land up in someone’s lap!

favors

grll1   These precious miniature grill favors will serve multiple purposes.  Set a few around and open up the top to light the little tea candle in the middle for atmosphere.  Sprinkle a few more around closed and use the absolutely hilarious hamburger and hot dog place cards that come with them as place cards.  Or line them up on the serving table to label the fabulous condiment line and dishes you’ve prepared for your guests! 

Then get a “designated picture-taker” (DPT) to zip around the party and take pictures of your guests with the engagement couple using a digital camera.  Said DPT will also be responsible for then printing out the pictures on your PC and placing them atop a little grill, one for each guest (or guest couple).  Line them up on the dessert table as a take-home memento for everyone at the party!  What a delightful memory of a very special, once-in-a-lifetime night!

recipes

World’s Juiciest Hamburgers

Make in advance and freeze on cookie sheets (well sealed with wrap d’ plastique, of course).

  • Ground chuck (it’s juicy, and cheap)

Plan on about 1/4 lb. of raw meat per hamburger.

  • Ritz Crackers pulverized (throw them in a zip lock bag and squeeze your frustrations out on ’em)

About 3 to 4 crackers per hamburger

  • One raw egg per every 6 hamburgers

You can scramble the egg in advance, if you want

  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Leah & Perrins is the best

  • 1 tsp McCormicks Montreal Chicken Seasoning per hamburger

You heard me right – Chicken Seasoning

Throw it all in a big bowl, dig in with clean hands and mush it all together.  Make patties, place on cookie sheet, wrap with plastique and freeze (separate layers with wax paper). 

Hawaiian Baked Beans

Prepare in advance and refrigerate.  All baked beans are better the next day, I promise!

http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1826,146178-231207,00.html

Bar-B-Q Baked Beans

http://www.steaks-guide.com/article-pages/bbq/barbeque_baked_beans_recipes.htm

Roasted Potato Wedges

Don’t worry about heating prior to serving.  These are good at room temp! Also – secret tip – use a good EVOO and the juice of three lemons.

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Herby-Roasted-Potato-Wedges/Detail.aspx

Mini Cheese Cakes

Oh we are going to save you some time and pain here!  Use your miniature muffin tins.  Spray with non-stick substance (just a tad!)  Buy boxed cheesecake mix and made a little crust in the bottom of each little opening.  Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes (or until just a little browner than when they started).  Pull out, cool, fill with cheesecake mix and bake according to package directions (but watch them – they will bake quicker in these little tiny tins).  Remove, cool, and top with a dollop of Cool Whip and a strawberry slice (marinate sliced berries for about an hour after sprinkling with white sugar for maximum yum).

Party Punch

Buy your favorite mixed fruit juice at the store (strawberry-banana-orange, mango-raspberry, whatever).  Add 1 large bottle ginger ale to 2 quarts of juice.  Add rum to your liking (vodka works, too and might be a little cheaper), serve in a punch bowl with ice.  Cheap and easy!

Celebrating Economical Engagement Parties today!

Remember to Celebrate Something Everyday!

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