space party + moon mix

 The party planning was successful! Not to mention, over, whew. But my birthday guy is still resting up from his big party. Hopefully he’ll be ready for his actual birthday tomorrow, complete with a school treat and a low key celebration with Mommy, Daddy and the little sister. I know the approaching date always gets me nostalgic and reminiscing about this time 5 years ago. But for now, I have a few photos to share from his out of this world space party (corny, I know. I can’t help myself).

For the party, I attempted cake pops, and let me tell you, they are a lot more difficult than they look. Bakerella is a cake pop whisperer and she does unbelievable things with these adorable little treats. I can only hope that one day, I can make a simple, solid color cake pop without wanting to tear my hair out. Until then, I will admire her work with the respect and awe that it deserves. I’m not worthy…I’m not worthy…

My birthday boy has a serious thing for ice cream. So, he decided, instead of a birthday cake, that he wanted an ice cream sundae bar at his party. In the theme of the day, we called it ‘Space Cream’. And, in a flash of sleep deprived delirium, I made up this tags for all of the party food. Unfortunately, I was too busy eating at the party to take enough pics of the food, complete assembled tags, so here they are in their ‘just printed’ state. I promise to do better next time.  Disclaimer: these were thought up by a cheesy 30 year old and an adorable almost 5 year old:
 
Alien Elbows: mac & cheese, I used boxed Annie’s and put it in the crock pot to keep warm.
Blast Off Buns: honey wheat slider buns for meatballs (homemade, recipe coming soon)

Planet Pops: planet-y cake pops (see above)
Moon Mix: super, duper snack mix (recipe below)
Space Cream: ice cream sundae bar
Star Sticks & Dip: veggies & dip
Galaxy Punch: Amazing raspberry and strawberry lemonade from The Pioneer Woman. For my strawberry version, simply swap strawberries for raspberries. So, so good.
Meat-E-Or Meatballs: Turkey Meatballs from Gina @ Skinnytaste. In my version, I left the cheese out (for allergy reasons) and served it on the side. I also mixed in some other herbs: rosemary and chives directly into the meatballs. I baked mine on a sheet tray in the oven 350 for about 25 minutes. Then, I let them cool and froze them until party day.
The morning of the party, I popped them into the crock pot with the sauce (as written in Gina’s recipe) and let them simmer away on high for 5 hours, and then on the warm setting for the party. They were amazing!

 Various toppings for the ‘space cream’. We had toasted coconut, mini m&m’s, crushed Oreos, teddy grahams, sprinkles, gummy bears, cherries, chocolate and caramel sauce (in bottles decorated as rocket chips (you can sort of make them out in this photo) and whipped cream, of course.

All in all, the party was a huge success. They kids stayed up way past their bed time, had too much sugar, and were, in my unbiased opinion, the most fun bunch of kiddos around. I am looking forward now to a rest, and then planning up for my little lady’s party.

One of the most popular treats at the party was our Moon Mix. This is a snack mix that I have now made countless times, and never the same exact way twice. It’s more of a method than a recipe, but I will tell you exactly how I made the space party version.

Spread the following ingredients evenly on a baking sheet and bake in a 300 degree oven for about 5 minutes until warm:
1-6.6oz package of gold fish crackers (about 3 cups). We found these super cool, and very appropriate space adventures gold fish. I would stick with savory flavors and steer clear of the graham/sweet varieties.
3 cups of crunchy corn, rice or wheat cereal (we used a Crispix type cereal, but Chex or Life work as well)
1 cup of oyster crackers
1 8 oz package of cracker sticks (we used wheat thins sticks) or about 4 cups

Pour warm crackers into a large bowl, and add 2 cups of pretzels. Toss together. Pour one melted stick of butter over the cracker mix and stir. Sprinkle one pack of dry Italian salad dressing mix and one pack of dry Ranch salad dressing mix over buttery cracker mix and stir well to coat all the crackers.
 
Spread mix onto baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 300 degrees. Stir the mix around about half way through the cooking time. Cool completely and store in an airtight container for about a week. This is so crazy tasty, I would venture to guess that your entire family will be hooked. Try your own combination of crackers, pretzels, and crunchy snacks. It is bound to be good. Enjoy!

Snack Mix Recipe

Yield: 13 cups

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 - 6.6oz package of gold fish crackers (about 3 cups)
3 cups of crunchy corn, rice or wheat cereal
1 cup of oyster crackers
1 8 oz package of cracker sticks (about 4 cups
2 cups of pretzels
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
1 envelope dry Italian salad dressing mix
1 envelope of dry Ranch salad dressing mix

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.Spread Goldfish Crackers, cereal, oyster crackers and cracker sticks onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes or until warm.

Pour warm crackers into a large bowl, and add pretzels. Toss together. Pour melted butter over the cracker mix and stir. Sprinkle Italian and Ranch salad dressing mixes over buttery cracker mix and stir well to coat all the crackers.

Spread mix onto baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 300 degrees. Stir the mix around about half way through the cooking time. Cool completely and store in an airtight container for about a week.

Enjoy!

recipe inspired by Better Homes and Garden's New Junior Cookbook
September 10th, 2012

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