Mango Panha - A cooling mango drink for summers

While it has been considered the king of fruits, the Mango is also considered heat generating. That is why you are advised not to binge on them in the summer. I love mangoes and have a severe allergic reaction to them if I have more than one a day. So the next best alternative is Mango Panha or Aam Panha as it is known locally.

The funny thing is, once you cook the mango and turn it into this mango pulp juice, it is considered a cooling drink. So here's the recipe for Aam Panha.

Aam Panha

1 kg Raw Mangoes 
(Hari Aam ki Kairi)

1/4 cup Jaggery (Gud) 
Can also use sugar.

Salt to taste

1/2 litre water

1.    Wash the mangoes and soak them in water for a hour so that any dirt gets dissolved.
2.    Now place the Mangoes with half a litre of water in the pressure cooker.
3.    Cook for 3 whistles. Cool and open cooker. take out the skin and the seed and leave the pulp and water in the cooker.
4. In a blender mix the mango pulp, with salt, jaggery or sugar and water. Blend well and store in the fridge
5. Add ice, water and sugar as required to dilute the drink when serving the mango juice.

If you are looking at some more Mango Recipes check out this cook book.

Microwave Cooking Demo Recipes

I recently gave a microwave cooking demo at the ladies club and here are the recipes that I used.

Jam Tarts
100 gm butter
1 cup Maida
4 spoons mixed fruit jam
Cold water
1.    Mix the butter into the maida till it becomes like biscuit crumbs. Add little cold water and make into firm dough. Keep in fridge for 10 min.
2.    Roll out dough into ¼ inch thickness and cut out into circles. Place in baking dish and bake for 2 min in microwave on high or 100.
3.    Take out half cooked tarts, and add jam into them. Add thin strips of dough on top to make the cross. Return to bake for another minute till done.

100 gm butter
1 ½ cup Maida
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tspn Baking Powder
1 tspn Vanilla essence
1.    In a bowl beat sugar, butter and eggs together. Add the vanilla essence.
2.    Sieve maida and baking powder together. Now add to above mixture and fold well.
3.    Pour the mixture into baking dish and place in microwave for 4 minutes on high or 100. Let it stand for ten minutes after baking is done inside the microwave.

Cheese Soufflé
1 cup milk
2 spoons butter
1 spoon maida
2-3 eggs
1 cup grated cheese
Salt, pepper &mustard powder to taste
1.    Melt butter in dish in microwave. Add maida and milk. Now cook again for one minute.
2.    Add the grated cheese and let it melt. Add salt, pepper, and mustard powder and cook till sauce thickens for a minute or so.
3.    Now add eggs and beat them. Let the mixture rise as it bakes for two minutes.

Vegetarian Sheppard’s Pie
For base
300 gm Paneer
1 cup boiled black Masoor (sabut)
1 spoon Ginger garlic paste
1 spoon soy sauce
¼ cup chopped carrots, capsicum
Salt, pepper, red chilpowder to taste
1.    Crumble paneer, and add masoor to it. Add all other seasoning and vegetables and mash up together.
2.    Now line the baking dish with this base for the Pie and prepare the potato topping.

For Topping
4 boiled potatoes
½ cup milk
1 spoon lemon juice
2 spoons cream or butter
1 spoon finely chopped coriander
Salt and pepper to taste
3.    Mash the potatoes and add all the other ingredients and check for salt and pepper.
4.    Now top the base with this mixture and sprinkle some butter on top before you put it in the microwave to bake for 4 minutes.

Party Snacks for Kids

For Small Kids

By small kids I mean all those under ten year old children who will not eat regular food. So how do you get them to eat at a party? You give them finger foods which does not need them to hold on to a plate. They can just pick up a snack and keep playing whatever game it is that they are involved in. That way they will not suddenly get hungry and cranky during the party.

Children do need to get their energy levels topped up during the party considering just how much they exert themselves. It will also save you from getting them to eat properly at the end of the party when you are cutting the cake. At that time they can forget about the snacks and focus on the cake. So what do you give them? You give them easy to eat finger foods which are not sticky or messy.

Pop Corn, Finger Fries, and Carrot Sticks are ideal. If you are looking for more ideas find them here. Let these snacks come all through the time that the kids are playing games and getting on with the party. The more they dance and play the hungrier and thirstier they will get. So make sure you have enough water and cold drinks at hand.

Keep plenty of disposable glasses at hand. Each kid will use more than one. So you don't want to run short of glasses at the party. It is usually best to cater for three glasses per head per child attending. Also have a lot of ice handy. We do not want to run around hunting for ice at the last moment, do we?

 For Older Children

For the ten years plus age group it is not too much trouble as you can serve a heavy snacky affair at the end of the party after the cake has been cut. At the same time there have to be a sprinkling of snacks in between the games and activities that are being conducted. You can use some peanuts, wafers, crisps or cheese balls as your filler snacks.

Here you may want to offer a wider range of beverages as compared to snacks. Some healthier options apart from carbonated drinks would be fruit juices, smoothies and milk shakes. Of course you will have to cater to all the kids attending so you may want to have a limited number of each kind of drink on offer. Make up for the lighter snacks with a lavish meal spread after the cake is cut.

You can use Burgers, Pizzas and Noodles as your heavier snacks. Try bread based snacks to add varaition, but don't get stuck on mere sandwiches. Remember while the food is part of the party, it is just a small aspect. The main thing is for the kids to have a good time. As long as they enjoy themselves, you have had a successful party.

Wedding Sangeet - Ladies Club

Have not filled in what's happening in my life for a while. All in all life has been quite hectic for the last one week as we are hosting our Ladies Meet. The theme for the party is Wedding Sangeet.

The entertainment will include a paper game on wedding peculiarities, and a group game which will be a modified relay race on the wedding theme. Essentially it is going to be a dress the bride fast race.

Should be fun I even got a whistle to blow to signal the start of the race. Ah the little joys in life.

We are also doing a fashion show which i choreographed, scripted and put music for. This is on the Brides of India. Always makes it fun for the participants to come dressed to the hilt.

And of course there will be the mandatory tambola and lucky draw. It will all be over soon after which I will hit the bed and sleep.......

The Barbie Theme Birthday Party

If you are planning a party for your little girl you may already have a request for a Barbie Theme. (One of the most common birthday party ideas for girls in their tweens!) In which case you will become the best Mom in the world for actually letting her have the theme. Although you must also give her a budget to plan the party in. Try and give her a figure that is lesser than what you have in mind, so when the eventual spill outs do occur you are still prepared for it.

Also ask her to limit the party to a limited number of friends. They should be her classmates or friends she plays with on a daily basis. This will mean that a uniform age group will attend the party and will be easier to handle for you. As you will not have to think of entertaining kids from different age groups and the same games can be played by everyone.
Pre Party Preparation

Get those Barbie Invites done and delivered

There are a number of different types of Barbies out there. So it may make sense to pick the story that your child loves the best. Although since it is all Barbie you don't have to kill yourself getting the identical paraphernalia. To make the invitations at home you can use a packet of Barbie stickers and chart paper. This will keep your little girl busy and happy. Plus the delivery of these invites becomes all the more personal.

Make sure that you get the invites sent out at least a week to ten days before the party. Other parents will need time getting the theme costumes going! And you will have fixed the venue and time and will be able to plan the remaining elements of the party with ease.

Barbie Gifts and Prizes and Take Home Packets

Since you are having the Barbie themed party your take home gifts, and prizes for the games will need to be associated with Barbie. There are a number of  inexpensive products that you can pick up and stock up on such as Barbie Mugs, Barbie Doll Dresses or Barbie Pencils. You can fix up the gifts and the prizes for the games later. Make sure you feature the take home gifts in your daughter's budget for the party.

In addition to the gifts that you get, have some chocolate bars handy to give out as bonus gifts (these need not be part of the budget for your daughter.) Make the "take home" packets ready and store in an easy to remember place. Do cater for extra kids who might drop in with their siblings or other last minute guests.About 5 extra packets is good enough.

Order the Cake with Barbie on it 

But naturally the birthday cake must have the favorite Barbie Character of your little girl on it. Make sure that you choose a cake that she approves of and will look forward to. It is best to order from a bakery which will deliver the cake to the party venue, as this will save you last minute running around to get the cake. If they don't deliver, tie up with a friend or a delivery service to pick it up. If you must get it yourself make sure you get it in the morning well before the party starts.

If you are planning on getting  ordering the snacks or cooking them at home make sure you figure just how much time and effort will be involved in that. Ideally the cake and food should be ready before the party starts. That way you get to enjoy the games and party with your child.

Party Time

The decoration of the venue should be over at least an hour before the party starts. Get all the theme stuff and balloons and streamers and other party decorations in order. Once you have all the things in order you can welcome your little guests and get set for the party. Music is of paramount importance here. Get peppy songs and foot tapping popular music to play throughout the party. The three things the kids look forward to at the party are the Games, the Cake and the Gifts.

Barbie Theme Games

Keep about three party games on an average. They will take about 15 minutes each and that will add up to an hour in real time as the evening progresses. After which you can serve the food.

The Barbie Doll! Divide the kids into groups of four or five. Give each group a set of materials to dress up their Barbie Doll with. Blast the music and have a catwalk to decide on the best costume. Let the birthday girl pick a winner. Then crown the winner and give the gifts to the winning team.

The Barbie Pop Quiz. Let your daughter act as Quiz Master and ask a set of Barbie movies related questions.The first person to answer wins an instant prize. You can help frame the questions before hand. About 8 to 10 questions are enough.

Pass the Tiara. This is like a modification of pass the parcel. The kids sit in circle and as the music is played they must take the tiara off their head and put in on the head of the next child. When the music stops the person wearing the tiara is the princess who decides on a performance she wishes to see another child give. She can ask any one in the circle to sing a song, dance, tell a joke, etc. When it is done she must remove the tiara from her head and move out of the circle. Continue till there are two kids left. Give them both gifts.

Cut the Cake

After the games are over get the music blasting while you get the food and table set. Now is the time to cut the cake and take all those photos. So make sure you have the camera and a designated camera man ready. Ensure that you have finger foods as eats that kids will find easy to munch on. Have plenty of paper napkins on hand and keep mops handy for spills.

Take Home Gifts

Once the kids have finished with the eats, you can have them all line up for their take home gifts and go home. Make sure that you label each gift with the name of the child if you are giving different things to each child. If it is a common set of items, no problem, just have the birthday girl hand out one bag at a time.

Clean Up! Yes the kids bithday party is over and it was a great success, but make sure that you get your kids to help you clean up before the gifts are opened. That way you will have less to do the morning after. Get professional help if you can.Keep huge garbage bags ready to fill in all the used paper plates and styrofoam cups.All decorations which may be reused should be kept away.

You can print this page out and keep for your reference. If you found this post useful. :)

The Anatomy of a Theme Party

So you finally picked the ideal theme for the party that you are planning. You sent out the invitations and are sure of what the decor is going to be. You have the ideal menu for the party planned and then after all the planning you are at the big day. So how does the party go? It will all depend on how you set it up.

When you put in so much planning you want the event to be a success so plan out the progress of the party as well. Set up fixed time slots to move from one part of the party to the next. Factor in some flexibility, but remember things tend to take longer than you thought they would. On the whole if you follow these tips your party should stay right on track and rock.

The Entry - As guests come into the party venue they need to be pushed into "Theme Mode". Some themes will involve costumes that already make them look the part, but you have to make them feel the part too. This is easiest done by giving them something related to the theme as they enter. For instance if you are having a Vampire theme give them a pair of fangs. If you are having a Casino night pass out some playing cards. You can use these handouts in a party game later.

The Games - Try and keep the first game a simple ice breaker. Even of the guests are comfortable with each other, allow them to get used to the theme. Opt for simple games which have few rules and incorporate an element of the theme. Then give the party some time to digest the first game before you move into the next party activity. Remember to have fun is the object of the party, even when you are sticking to your agenda. Explain the rules to the games well in advance and organize any material that you will need to conduct the games before hand. Have them ready in a cardboard box with you. One box per game is a great idea.

The Prizes - Keep theme appropriate prizes for the games where possible. Also make sure you cater for a few extras as the games tend to end in tie breakers and you may want to hand out a few more gifts. Also if you have to have another game because its just too early to serve the food, you need to have spare prizes available.  Try and pick things that are not too expensive and that you may be able to return if unused. Also try and give out as many small gifts as you can. Nothing boosts a guest's mood as much as winning a prize at the party.

The Food - The snacks should flow freely all through  the party, even during the games. Get some help with the serving. If its a formal venue you will have waiters to help, but if its as home make sure you enlist the help of at least two friends to help you out. Also make sure that you have enough variety of drinks and beverages available. Do not run out of ice. Stock up and make your neighbor stock up too! When you serve the actual food, make the plates as close to the theme as possible. The food itself will be inspired by the theme and you can set up menu cards which spell this out.

The Take Homes - After an evening of fun and frolic a small token to take home will be the icing on the cake. While children expect take homes at a birthday party, the adults at a theme party do not. So it will be a good surprise for them. Again it does not have to be something very expensive. You can buy in bulk and wrap them up individually. Try and give something that goes with the theme and that will serve as a memento as well.

Plan a Theme Party

There are many themes that you can plan a party around. The party food and games must match the theme that you choose. Of course the theme must be age appropriate. So here is a list of Party Themes that you can use based on what the average age of the guests will be.

Let us begin with a list of themes that can be used for a gathering of all ages and full families.

Black and White Theme Party
Costume Party
Dessert Party
Hawaiian Theme
Hollywood Theme Party

Now let's talk about party themes for adults only.

Arabian Night
Casino Theme Party
Poker Party
Wine Tasting Party
Cheerleader Party

For a gathering of only women you can try out these party themes

Bingo Party
Arts and Crafts Party
Game Show Party
Pajama Party
Karaoke Party

Here are some party themes for teenagers and other young adults

Vampire Party
Western Party
Fortune Telling Party
Murder Mystery Party
Sci-Fi Space Age Party

For the tweens we can have some fun party themes

Tarzan Party
Sleeping Beauty Party
The Simpson's Party
Peter Pan Party
Treasure Hunt Party

For the preschoolers you can have simple party themes which involve cartoon characters that they know and love

Tom and Jerry Party
Dora Party
Disney Party
Bob the Builder Party
Barbie Party

1. How do you pick the perfect party theme? You figure out the theme based on who will attend the party and what they will be comfortable doing. Also some themes work better in smaller groups while others need a crowd to be more fun. So the number of people you plan to call will also affect the theme you choose.

2. The themes decide the party activities but the number of activities needs to be fixed. Usually three activities is a good number to go with, although you should have a fourth one up your sleeve just in case you have more time to kill.

3. The food, table ware, and invitations must all be related to the party theme that you choose. In fact the invites should clearly spell out to the guests what they must expect. At the same time don't go for expensive stuff that will cost you the earth. Go for creative stuff that will have a great effect.

Throw the Perfect Party

It is more than likely that you will at some point of time or the other, have to oversee an event ranging from a simple meal to a cultural event or even a convention.

Here is a simple checklist of how to do it in a well-organized manner.

1. Plan well ahead, down to the last detail. Prepare everything as much in advance as possible.

2. If you are going to cook yourself try out the dishes once before hand. Do not experiment with new dishes on the day of a big party. Leave time to relax and entertain your guests properly.

3. Send invitations that include your address and telephone number making it easier for the guest to find the place. Mention the type of party it will be example Buffet Lunch, Supper, Cocktails, Barbecue, Child's Birthday, etc.

4. Keep place settings ready for a formal sit down dinner. They should be pretty but not over-elaborate. Make sure guests have all the necessary crockery and cutlery available to them.

5. Keep the lighting soft and subtle. Don't bring in harsh disco lights and strobes or keep the room very dimly lit. Cater for entertainment during the party, depending on the event anything from soft music, to party games and dancing can qualify. For childrens' parties have attractively wrapped gifts for prizes for the games. Also have a small token gift for all the children to take home.

6. Drinks can include Aperitifs before the meal including aerated drinks, fruit juices, spirit based drinks such as gin, vodka, whiskey, Campari, vermouth, Madeira, etc. Wine is traditionally served during the meal. A general guideline is that white meat and fish is served with a red wine while red meat and game are served with a white wine.

7. Make sure you have enough ice for drinks. A choice between Brandy, Port or Coffee is availed after the meal.

8. Eat away, but not too far away, from the kitchen so that food is eaten warm and not served ice cold. Make full use of sideboards and side tables to save clutter and legwork.

9. The meal menu will depend on the kind of party it is. If it a cocktail then have heavy snacks. If it is a dinner, conventional menus can be followed. If it is a picnic, sandwiches are your best bet. Be extra careful if you are planning an outdoor barbecue with fire. Ensure basic fire safety precautions are taken and have an extinguisher on hand. Warn children present to stay away from the barbecue stand.

10. Presentation is everything. Garnish the food to make it look attractive, garnishes and decorations should be edible so use lemon twists, tomato roses, spring onion tassels, cucumber wheels, carrot noses, etc.

11. Ensure that you inquire about the eating habits of your guests before you invite them. It can be embarrassing to have vegetarians over for a pure chicken and meat barbecue. Plus it will save you last minute hassles of having to cater to their meal.

12. Desserts should complement the food. For instance a dessert tray should follow a Continental meal while an Indian meal can be followed by halwas, pedas, barfis, and other sweetmeats. If you do not wish to go through all the trouble to set up assorted dessert trays, just have Ice cream. It is popular with adults and children.

Don't panic if things go wrong. Keep smiling and improvise. Your guests will never know the difference. Most of all enjoy yourself and your guests will too!

Welcome to Party Food and Games

Are you looking for easy to make party food?
Or fun to play party games?
You have reached the right place.

This site is a direct result of a number of parties and events that I have hosted. Being an employee of an Event Management Company allowed me to see first hand that having a party is fun if you are well organized. Be it a gathering of close friends at Christmas in your home or a Corporate Event at a Convention Hall we always want the event to be a success.

It all boils down to preparation!

To make sure that you have the ideal event you need to know what you want to do in it. Is it just a gathering of friends out to play some games and eat good food? Is it a birthday celebration for a preschooler, or a high school teen? Is it the silver wedding anniversary of your parents? Or is it just a romantic dinner for your spouse and you? A company picnic which includes a pot luck? Be clear about the logistics and everything else will fall into place.

Here's a set of ideas that you can use:

Venue - This is the basic and most important decision you will make. It can seriously affect the success of your party. The weather plays an important role in your choice. If the party is slated for the winter months it would make sense to have it indoors. The garden is best used in the summers. Also the number of people will have to be considered. If the number is far greater than you can comfortably deal with at home, hire out a hall or restaurant.

Food - Check out in advance if you have vegetarians in your party guests. Cater with adequate food and snacks for them. Also if it is a theme party you may want to go along with the theme in the food you serve as well. Just make sure that it is not something too exotic and that your guests will be comfortable eating it. Being creative is good, but a guest going hungry is not!

Drink- Naturally the age of the guests will determine the drinks that are served. Make sure that you have a lot of ice. That is the first thing that usually runs out at many a party leaving the host no choice but to go buy some more in the middle of a party. Also make sure that if your guests have a drinking preference for a particular beverage it is easily available to them.

Games -The success of your party in no small measure depends on the entertainment that you provide. While music is a given, the games must also be age appropriate and fun. Don't pick highly complicated games with a whole lot of rules, unless your friends really like such games. The games that work best in parties are easy to play and can be played by all members present.

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