My natural tendency is to err on the girly side when it comes to party decor…is it even a real party without flowers? :) For Dave’s Irish birthday dinner, however, I really wanted to keep things masculine. My better half certainly appreciates a good calligraphy place card or garden rose when he sees one, but it was important to me that this party felt like HIS style, not just like mine toned down. With that in mind, I kept the decor neutral (thankfully, our home and many of the entertaining supplies we own–wedding china, linen napkins, etc.–are mostly neutral, which made this easier) and added just a few subtle (but celebratory!) metallics and some greenery. I was originally planning to use all eucalyptus for the centerpiece, but when I stumbled upon $5 shamrock plants at Whole Foods, they were too perfect to pass up!
Since this was a dinner party, the main event was the food. I’ve shared all the details of our menu below–if you’re looking for something festive to whip up for St. Patrick’s Day this weekend, be sure to take a look! :)
Since it’s still pretty cold out and we wouldn’t be able to use our porch or yard, our goal was a long, lingering dinner where everyone felt comfortable hanging out at the dining room table for a few hours. That meant multiple courses, and with a little bit of prep, it wasn’t actually as hard as I thought it might be! In order, we served:
“Appetizer:” Whole Foods sour cream and onion chips that we set out for people to munch on as they arrived. We sat down for dinner just half an hour after the party start time, so we didn’t worry about appetizers much!
Salad: Sunflower crisp salad (pre-prepared from the grocery store–we put the components in different bowls so people could customize their salads a little if they wanted to.)
Entrée: Crockpot corned beef and cabbage (we used corned beef from Trader Joe’s), Irish cheddar macaroni and cheese (I grated all the cheese ahead of time and started cooking this right before guests arrived), spinach asiago bread (from Whole Foods)
Dessert: Guinness chocolate cake (frosted with Pillsbury cream cheese frosting right from the tub :))
After-dinner drink: Coffee with Bailey’s
Of course, we also had plenty of Guinness and a few bottles of wine on hand…plus La Croix for pregnant friends! It felt a little risky to try all new recipes on our guests, but everyone seemed to enjoy them. Dave’s and my favorite was the cake–it was surprisingly easy to make, and we thought it was delicious! We polished off the leftover slices with Irish coffee for the next two nights after putting Charlie to bed :)