¡Feliz cumpleaños, Amado! Today is Amado’s fourth birthday and I must admit that this has definitely been the most fun year for me.
Truth be told, motherhood hasn’t always been easy. I don’t think my biological clock ever ticked nor do I get baby fever when I see newborns, but when I met and married Michael, we knew we wanted a child together. Two years after living the vida loca as newlyweds, we had Amado – “the loved one.” The first six months were rough and I like to remind him that he was a little chillon who never let me put him down – every time I sat to eat, he’d cry.
Now he’s a barrel of laughs and I love how he is able to express himself fluidly in both English and Spanish. He loves riding his bike when it’s warm, shoveling the driveway when it snows, and talking about the government shutdown with his papá. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, going to the movies, and traveling with mamá. Amado says he wants to go to Israel next, float in the Dead Sea, and bring home mud from there for our facials. He claims to be trilingual in English, Spanish, and Yiddish (not sure where he got this one!) and adores Michael Jackson. His favorite songs are Billy Jean, Jam, and Bad.
Last year Amado was really into French rack of lamb, cucumbers, seaweed salad, and Life cereal. This year his favorite foods include spaghetti with homemade bison meat sauce, broccoli, strawberries, and avena. As you can see, his palate is quite refined for a four-year-old so it makes cooking a lot easier because we’re typically on the same page when it comes to comida.
Speaking of food, I want to share a few quick tips on hosting an adult-friendly kid party because let’s face it, pizza and store-bought cupcakes with mounds of florescent frosting get old real quick. I’m no expert event planner, especially when it comes to kid parties, but I do enjoy entertaining and making good food.
For Amado’s birthday brunch last year, I decided to keep things simple (or so I thought) and set up a taco and bubbly bar with hibiscus mimosas for the adults and a biónico, waffle, and leche bar for the kids. The idea behind this was to have stations set up where both kids and adults could serve themselves so that I could mingle with guests. I didn’t get to take as many pictures as I wanted but here are a few that I hope inspire you to consider the adultos the next time you’re hosting a kid bash.
A biónico is a Mexican fruit salad topped with yogurt, granola, shaved coconut, honey, and other toppings. Click here for the recipe.
I thought this was a healthier alternative to pre-packaged kid party snacks.
Seasonal fruits work best for biónicos. I served strawberries, raspberries, papaya, mango, and pineapple. There were also some fun toppings that worked for both biónicos and waffles: sprinkles, chocolate chips, nutella, chia seeds, nuts, and whipped cream. Adults enjoyed these, too.
Maple syrup, hibiscus syrup, agave syrup infused with vanilla beans, chocolate sauce, and strawberry sauce for the waffle bar.
I always have water infused with fruits and herbs when hosting a gathering because nobody ever finishes plastic water bottles and it cuts back on waste.
Aguas frescas and hibiscus mimosas are always a fan favorite.
Click here for my hibiscus simple syrup recipe to make hibiscus mimosas.
Tacos de barbacoa – this meat is perfect for large groups because it can be made and kept warm in a crockpot. I kept the comal on low so that guests could heat their own tortillas when they got the muchies. As for the sides, I kept it simple and served grilled green onions, fresh radishes with chile y limón, and salsa.
We especially love this Tangy Tomatillo Salsa with Chile de Árbol for tacos de barbacoa, but most homemade salsas are great on tacos.
I always set out to make a delicious birthday cake, but then I remember that baking isn’t my forte so I bought this chocolate salted caramel bundt cake from The Bundt Shoppe.
Even though I thought we kept it simple, birthday parties are always exhausting and I don’t sit down to eat until everyone’s gone, but they’re definitely worth the effort once every ten years – ha! Hope Amado wasn’t wishing for another birthday party any time soon.
Lola Wiarco Dweck
Lola is a Mexican-American recipe developer, writer, and cooking instructor who loves sharing her culture with the world. Growing up in California and spending summers in Mexico, Lola celebrates her family’s Mexican recipes and vibrant culture through Lola’s Cocina.