Family Fun · Food · Holidays and parties

Fiesta Birthday

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My daughter wanted a Mexican fiesta themed party for her 7th birthday. Well, actually she wanted a party centered around a queso fountain, or a “fountain flowing cheese dip,” as Andrew Peterson puts it in one of her favorite songs. A taco bar and taco cake were also requested by the almost 7-year-old. She really commits to her theme.

Truthfully, this was a pretty easy party to put together. We decided to have it in the community room at the fire station since our house couldn’t accommodate the number of guests. I went very laid back and casual with the taco bar presentation knowing that we had to haul it all to the community room (after spending the morning at soccer for one of my sons).

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The taco bar was simple. Crunchy shells were in a tray and tortillas were in a tortilla warmer. I kept the shredded chicken, ground turkey, and black beans in slow/pressure cookers. I know it wasn’t the most Pinterest-worthy presentation, but it kept the food at a safe serving temperature. We used multi-colored bowls for the toppings of shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, onions, tomatoes, and black olives. I used squeezable condiment bottles for the sour cream and taco sauce and had a bowl for the homemade salsa. The taco bar was completed with a large bowl of tortilla chips and the fountain of queso. It wasn’t the most beautiful presentation, but it made my birthday girl happy and that was the most important thing.

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The most time-consuming part was making the taco cookies for the cupcake toppers. It wasn’t difficult, it just took time to complete the steps. I started with vanilla sandwich cookies that I separated and removed the filling. The tomatoes were made from finely diced Twizzlers Pull & Peel licorice; the lettuce was coconut colored green with food coloring; orange jimmies (or sprinkles) represented the cheese. I cut each vanilla cookie in half, piped some chocolate icing to look like the meat and hold the cookie together, and then just put the toppings on.

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The taco shell for the cake was an 8 inch round white cake cut in half. I made marshmallow cereal cookies out of Cocoa Pebbles to be the meat and used icing to join that to the shell. After it was assembled, I piped some green icing on for lettuce, sprinkled yellow-colored coconut on for cheese, and topped it with halved maraschino cherry “tomatoes.” Thankfully, Taco Bell was happy to oblige and provide fresh taco wrappers to adorn the cake stand.

In the end, I had a very happy 7-year-old and all of her friends had a good time at the party. That is the true test of a good party, I think.

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