Every year, as the holiday season starts winding down, I gear up for a big production – my little princess’ “royal birthday”! The cupcake birthday was probably the last one I planned for her without her involvement. From then on, she plans her own birthday parties. Growing up, I don’t remember caring for my birthday, but my little “big girl” has it all laid out for every birthday coming up in the next few years!

This year she wished for a Princess Tea Party with her favorite Disney princess – Ariel, the little mermaid. And here’s how mommy and daddy made it happen…

A Big Production-001 (2)

My husband and I love entertaining. We both take special interest in hosting and planning for various parties throughout the year.  Be it casual dinners with family and friends, Easter egg hunt, summer barbeques or holiday parties, we create themes, design menus around it and come up with crazy ideas that make it a fun event for us and our guests. Our daughter’s birthday party is, without a doubt, the biggest one of the year!

With a mermaid tea party theme this year, I decided to have some girly fun myself and my husband, on the other hand, was totally into creating a true “under the sea” experience for all the little princesses coming over to celebrate with Ariel. By using simple wall decals with colorful fish and various sea creatures swimming all over the walls, he converted a nook in the living room into “Ariel’s Grotto”. We set up the tea room on the other side with a big table in the middle of the family room and chairs along the side for little princesses to sit down for tea. Keeping it simple and elegant, I set the table with Princess Ariel party plates and napkins along with cute little espresso cups and saucers. I pulled the entire theme together by coordinating solid pink, green and white colors for  chairs, sashes, table cloth and pom poms.

My sister baked a big batch of scrumptious cranberry-orange scones and also some savory potato puff pastry turnovers to go along with. We set them up perfectly on a 3-tier serving tray that looked gorgeous and vibrant with the colorful macaroons at the top. For the cake, I had envisioned Princess Ariel throwing a tea party under the sea and a local bakery turned my dream into reality with a gorgeous and delicious strawberry cake that wowed everyone at the party.

Ariel Tea Party Menu

Princess Ariel arrived shortly after all the little mermaids had gathered and dressed each one of them up into beautiful gowns. They listened to her fairytale and then danced and got their faces painted from her while others embellished tiaras and bracelets. Decked up princesses came to the tea room, one by one and sat down per the seating arrangements carefully charted out by the birthday princess herself.

A Big Production
To go with the mermaid theme, I created a variety of tea sandwiches  – round Chicken Mayo “Peal Sandwiches“, star-shaped Cheese & Ketchup “Starfish Sandwiches” and ” Jellyfish Sushi Roll” made with strawberry jelly/jam.  Kid-friendly Strawberry Lemonade Herbal Tea was poured out of a fat and stout teapot into the tea cups for each one of the little ladies. While they drank the tea and ate the sweet and savory treats, parents enjoyed grown-up sandwiches – Chipotle Chicken Sandwich with Cilantro-Jalapeño Aioli  and Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Pesto Panini with the side of Greek-style Quinoa Salad.

All of the girls had a wonderful time…they danced and sang with Ariel and enjoyed their royal day full of magic!

Lastly, here are the recipes for the fun shaped sandwiches I created especially for the tea party:

Chicken Mayo Sandwich

A simple sandwich made by tossing shredded chicken in lots of mayo with a little bit of fine ground black pepper. Cut it in fun shapes with cookie cutters and the kids just love them. For the party, I used round cookie cutters and called them “pearl sandwiches”…no pun intended 😉

Chicken Mayo Sandwiches

Makes about 24-25 2-inch round sandwiches

1 lb pack of white bread (I used Sara Lee Iron Kids white bread)

about 2 cups of finely shredded cooked chicken (I roasted 4 chicken breasts in the oven and shredded them with a fork)

1 cup of mayo

salt

fine ground black pepper

Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut 2 rounds out of every slice of bread. Don’t discard the remaining bread. You can grind it in a food processor and freeze or toast in the oven for making homemade bread crumbs.

In a bowl, combine shredded chicken with mayo and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and spread the filling between two rounds of bread to make the sandwich.

Sandwiches can be made a couple of hours in advance. Cover with a wet paper towel or a plastic wrap and keep it in a cool, dark place at room temperature until ready to serve.

 Cheese and Ketchup Sandwiches

Just like the chicken mayo sandwich, I made this one by tossing grated white cheddar cheese with ketchup and a little bit of mayo. Our mermaid party wouldn’t be complete without cute little star fish! So I used star-shaped cookie cutters and turned them “star fish sandwiches”!

Cheese & Ketchup Sandwiches

Makes about 24-25 2-inch star-shaped sandwiches

1 lb pack of white bread (I used Sara Lee Iron Kids white bread)

about 2 cups of  grated white cheddar cheese ( I love to use the Indian Amul cheese)

1 cup of tomato ketchup

1/4 cup mayo

salt

fine ground black pepper

Using a 2-inch star-shaped  cookie cutter, cut 2 stars out of every slice of bread. Don’t discard the remaining bread. You can grind it in a food processor and freeze or toast in the oven for making homemade bread crumbs.

In a bowl, combine grated cheese with ketchup and mayo and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and spread the filling between two star shaped pieces of bread to make the sandwich.

Sandwiches can be made a couple of hours in advance. Cover with a wet paper towel or a plastic wrap and keep it in a cool, dark place at room temperature until ready to serve.

Strawberry Jelly Sushi Roll Sandwiches

This was a pinterest-inspired creation! From all the amazing pins out there, this is a must-have for a mermaid themed party. I used only the strawberry jelly, keeping peanut butter out of the equation, just in case any of the girls were allergic to it.

I told the girls they were made with “jellyfish” 😉 . They all laughed at it and ate them all up!

Strawberry Jelly Sushi Roll Sandwiches

 

Every slice of bread makes 3 rolls

1 slice of white bread (I used Sara Lee Iron Kids white bread)

2-3 tbsp strawberry or any other jelly/jam/preserves

2 tbsp peanut butter (optional)

Special Equipment:

Rolling pin

Sushi mat

Cover the sushi mat with a plastic wrap.

Trim the edges of each bread slice. With a rolling pin gently flatten the slices of bread.

Spread peanut butter, if using and then the fruit spread over it on each slice of bread.

Transfer the slice on to the sushi mat and roll it into a tight spiral. Wrap each roll tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few mins or up to a couple hours.

Just before serving, cut each roll into 3 pieces, 1-inch long and arrange them in a standing position on the serving platter.

 

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5 thoughts on “a big production

  1. Awesome Vasanti. Loved the way you served the drinks for the girls in the saucers and cups. Lovely.

  2. Thanks so much Chitra…the espresso cup and saucers were adorable and just perfect for the party. I was glad the little girls loved drinking tea out of them.

  3. Hi Vasanti, this is great. I am going to use your ideas for my daughter’s 4th birthday party & her fav princess is Ariel! Where did you get serving tray from? Do you have scone recipe? Thanks a lot.

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