November 21, 2011

"Little Chef" Birthday Party

My daughter, Madelyn, officially turns 7 years old tomorrow, November 22nd.  My, how fast they grow!  It seems like just yesterday I was planning her 6th Hello Kitty birthday party.  This year, we decided on a little chef birthday theme.  

I made the invitations to look like little chef hats out of felt.  In it, I included an index card that read the details of the party like a recipe.

We made vanilla cupcakes from scratch and personal pizzas.  As expected, it was a little messy but proved to be a really fun time!  Here is a brief rundown of the party.  

When each child arrived, I led them to a table with their own apron and chef hat.  

The children were encouraged to decorate their hat and apron with fabric markers while waiting for the other children to arrive.  

During the party, I played a playlist of songs that were mostly about food:

  1. Le Festin (Ratatouille soundtrack)
  2. The Coffee Song (Frank Sinatra)
  3. A Bushel and Peck (Julie and Julia soundtrack)
  4. All that Meat and No Potatoes (Fats Waller)
  5. Juila's Theme (Julie and Julia soundtrack)
  6. Beans and Cornbread (Louis Jordan & The Tympany Five)
  7. Ham 'N' Eggs (A Tribe Called Quest)
  8. Tea for Two (Ella Fitzgerald)
  9. Yes, We Have no Bananas (Louis Prima)
  10. That's Amore (Dean Martin)
  11. Special Order (Ratatouille soundtrack)
  12. The Pasta Song (John Riggio)
  13. Be Our Guest (Beauty and the Beast)

Once they were all done decorating, they put on their aprons and hats and headed over to the "cupcake station", where they would make vanilla cupcakes from scratch.  Before starting, I asked the children, "What is the first thing you do before you start cooking?"  Two of the young chefs knew the answer, which, of course, was... wash your hands!  We then went through each of the ingredients on the recipe card to make sure they were all laid out and measured properly.  We discovered, by design, that the milk was missing!  Each child took a turn carrying out the recipe directions.  I taught them little techniques and tricks along the way, like how to level out flour, how to get egg shell out easily, etc.  They were amazed how the batter's texture and color would change with the addition of each ingredient.

After we finished making the batter, we put the cupcakes in the oven and got to work on our personal pizzas. Each child was given a small ball of pizza dough on a piece of parchment paper that had their name written on it.  They rolled out the dough with their own rolling pins into whatever shapes and sizes they wanted.

I then placed out a muffin pan filled with pizza toppings in each well and they were encouraged to decorate their pizzas using as many of the toppings as they wanted.

Some of the children preferred plain cheese and others got really creative!

By the time they were done decorating their pizzas, I had enough time to remove the cupcakes to cool and up the oven temperature for the pizzas.  I then placed the pizzas in the oven and they played the pin the cherry on the cupcake followed by spaghetti, spaghetti, meatball! (duck, duck, goose).  The pizzas were done cooking, so we took a break and ate them along with snacks and pink lemonade.

Next, it was time to decorate their homemade cupcakes.  I think licking the frosting was their favorite part!

We then sang happy birthday.  The birthday girl made a wish and blew out the candle on her very own cupcake.

The kids got a kick out of playing hot potato with an actual hot potato.  We then did a pinata and they used their chef hats to hold the candy that fell out.  Gifts were opened and family and friends were thanked for both their presents and their presence.   

I handed out to each child a gift bag.  Inside of a mixing bowl, I placed a personalized recipe book that included the recipes we cooked at the party along with blank recipe cards for the future, an oven mitt, a wooden spoon, their personalized chef hat and apron, and a rolling pin.

We had a great time!  I highly recommend this party theme for those of you with children who are interested in cooking and/or baking.  Children of all ages love getting their hands into ingredients and making stuff with them.  Some other food ideas for a chef party could be homemade soft pretzels (children could make shapes out of them), salad on a stick, cookies, meatballs, tacos and fruit kabobs.  There are so many options!

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