Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Go Bananas: Monkey Party Menu

My sister, Jennifer, planned an adorable first birthday celebration for her sweet son Jonathan. Jennifer has graciously shared photos, recipes and tips from the party, which I will be sharing this week. I know you will go bananas over today's monkey-themed menu.

Monkey Party Menu

Banana Nut Cheerios
Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwiches
Monkey Tail Spiral Sandwiches
Monkey Vine Fruit Skewers
Chocolate Dipped Frozen Banana Bites
Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Icing
Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing
Banana Pudding Parfaits
Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey Ice Cream
Banana Punch
Bottled Water

Jennifer designed all the party printables herself for this party and discovered a new passion for paper crafting. Pictured above, scrapbook paper cones hold treats for the littlest monkeys at the party: Banana Nut Cheerios.

Fresh Monkey Vines, fruit skewers tucked into plastic foam blocks and covered with banana candies, were a hit at the party. One little girl told her mom, "I want some more fruit." Her mother was so proud she wanted seconds on a healthy option until she took her daughter to the table and realized she wanted more banana candy.

Jennifer served two great sandwich options at the party: Monkey Tails (turkey rollers from Costco) and Peanut Butter Banana Sandwiches (sandwich bread topped with mashed bananas and Peanut Butter & Co. The Bees Knees, a delicious blend of peanut butter and honey).

Chocolate Dipped Frozen Banana Bites

Jennifer rolled these delicious bite-size treats in shredded coconut, chopped nuts and Heath Bits.

2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons canola oil
Assorted toppings for coating bananas
3 ripe bananas, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

Stir chocolate and oil in a double boiler. Keep chocolate warm throughout. When it cools off, it becomes sticky. Place each topping in a separate shallow dish. Line baking sheet with foil. Arrange banana slices on foil. Using skewers, dip one banana slice into chocolate, coating completely. Shake off excess chocolate. Drop dipped banana into topping. Sprinkle more topping over banana to coat completely. Transfer to foil-lined sheet. Repeat with remaining bananas, chocolate and toppings. Freeze until firm, about 3 hours, then remove the banans from the freezer 30 minutes before serving. Yields 36 bites.

Vanilla cupcakes with buttercream icing ...

Or chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream icing?

Might as well try one of each, and balance out the plate with a banana parfait. I love the monkey detail Jennifer added, hanging a little monkey on each glass.

Banana Pudding Parfaits

Jennifer's 10-year-old son, David, was a great help to Jennifer in the party planning. He assembled these parfaits the day of the party.

1 14-ounce can condensed milk
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 4-ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups whipping cream
Mini Vanilla Wafers
3 medium bananas, sliced
Cool whip
Small, clear cups
Combine condensed milk and water. Add pudding mix; beat well. Chill 5 minutes. Fold in whipped cream. Spoon 1 tablespoon pudding mixture into the bottom of the cup. Top with vanilla wafers, bananas and Cool Whip. Repeat layers 1 to 2 times. Top with Reddi-Wip just before serving.

For Jonathan's smash cake, Jennifer ordered this adorable fondant monkey from craftyrosy.

Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream was a natural choice for all this monkeying around.

Jungle Juice was a refreshing way to escape the jungle heat of the party. Jennifer served it partially frozen at the party, but the family enjoyed leftovers with breakfast days later straight from the fridge.

Banana Brunch Punch

12 medium ripe bananas
2 2-ounce frozen cans of orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 6-ounce cans of frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
6 cups warm water, divided
4 cups sugar, divided
2 46-ounce pineapple juice
4 64-ounce bottles of lemon-lime soda
Orange slices, optional
In a blender or food processor, blend bananas, orange juice and lemonade until smooth. Remove half of the mixture and set aside. Add half the warm water and half of the sugar to the mixture in the blender; blend until smooth. Place in a large freezer container. Repeat with the remaining banana mixture, sugar and water; add until container. Cover and freeze until solid. Allow the punch to thaw a couple of hours before the party, and serve while slushy. Garnish with orange slices, if desired.

Jennifer designed these bottled water labels to tie in to the rest of the party goods.

Guests went bananas over Jennifer's fun menu. But most important, her party spread was Little Monkey approved!

Swing by again tomorrow for more monkey fun!

Photos by Jennifer Driver. Used with permission.

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