Sunday, July 12, 2009

Planning a Housewarming Party - Introduction

After making such a nice place to live we have to show it off, right?

We planned our housewarming party for a month and a half post move-in day which was a good amount of time to have most everything in its place, with just a few empty walls and missing pieces of furniture. I wanted to get the evite out extremely early since summer weekends tend to fill up quickly. Hence, the evite for the party went out in late May, before we had even moved in

The party was going to have a 7:00 start time, but we planned on having a few people over earlier to grill out at 5pm for dinner. This earlier time was a convenience for my new little niece who, try as she might, was not going to be able to make it for the late night portion. We asked people to let us know ahead of time if they were interested in grilling out so we could plan to buy the right amount of brats, burgers and chicken. Everyone that came early brought a side which helped out since we were covering all of the food for the party portion of the evening. I learned that it is okay to ask people to bring a dish and the host does not have to feel responsible for everything involved with the night.

Jen brought a great salad and was nice enough to share her secrets!

Black Bean, Tomato Mango Salad
1 large mango, diced, divided* (about 1 3/4 cups)
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp table salt
15 oz canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup tomato, diced
1/2 cup onion, sweet, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, fresh, cut into thin slivers
1 tbsp canned jalapeno peppers, or fresh, minced (if using fresh, do not touch seeds with bare hands) – I used 1 whole jalapeno seeded

In a large bowl, mash 1/4 cup of diced mango with a fork; whisk in lime juice, water, oil, cumin and salt. Add remaining diced mango, beans, tomato, onion, cilantro and jalapeno to bowl; toss to mix and coat. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 1 day. Yields about 1/2 cup per serving.

Grilling out with a smaller group was a great relaxing way to kick off the party while having a more intimate gathering with some close friends.

And then the real fun began. . .

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