A Birthday Party Brunch They'll Devour

Cynthia Dermody

birthday brunch

Kids' birthday parties are fun but they are so wasteful! Between my two children, I've been to 13 celebrations since January, making the following observations:

1. Everyone serves pizza.

2. Many kids are too excited to eat an entire slice of pizza (what a waste).

3. The little guests will often lick the frosting off their cake or cupcake, not even touching the bottom part (more waste!).

For my son's 6th birthday party at a local nature center a few weeks ago, I switched things up by hosting a light brunch. The menu was incredibly simple to the point it involved almost no prep. It cost me $30 for 15 children, and a number of adults.

The first course was bagels and a tub of cream cheese, a bowl of fruit salad and a dozen Outrageous Muffins, a recipe containing whole wheat and soy flour, almonds, apricots, and wheat germ from the back of the Bob's Red Mill corn meal package.

I ordered two dozen cut in half and quartered, so kids wouldn't take three bites out of a whole one and toss the rest. My son and friends often get bagels as an alternative to hot lunch, so I know they are a fave.

For the fruit, we kept it simple -- strawberries and blueberries, because they were in season and on sale. Most kids only eat a small serving anyway, so we didn't need more than a couple of cartons each.

I set the bagels and fruit out for the entire party, so kids could eat when they were hungry, making sure that everyone had something healthy before the cupcakes.

Speaking of the second course ...

I found the easiest, cheapest, most delicious chocolate cake recipe on the back of the Sorrento Ricotta Cheese container. As you'll see when you click the link, you add the cheese and a few other basic ingredients to a box of Devil's Food cake mix.

They tasted nothing like a boxed cupcake. They were moist and light and the same time, and how that's possible I have no idea.

As for the frosting, melted chocolate bars mixed with sour cream. Perfectly chocolatey, not overly sweet as butter cream can be.

Our guests devoured everything, cake and all, and left full and happy. I had exactly three bagel halves, two strawberries, and one cupcake left over, which Mommy personally disposed of after the party.

Do you serve pizza at your children's birthday parties, or do you like to get experiemental with the menu? What was your most successful party meal?

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