Fiesta Ready//DIY Cinco De Mayo Gathering

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One of my favorite holidays is soon approaching and  I just cannot help myself. I feel like I celebrate Cinco de Mayo every weekend actually… I love celebrating with icy cold Mexican beer, maracas, watermelon, guacamole, tacos and churros. True to my Texas roots, I like to stay “fiesta-ready” at all times, and I enjoy hosting a little lunch party for my best girlfriends. Little fiestas like this are a great reminder that sometimes the simplest get-togethers are the most fun. My friends are mostly moms and this is a time for us to all come together and just let loose and enjoy each-other's company over a few cervezas and some delicious Mexican food. I hope to inspire you loves to host a little Cinco de Mayo fiesta of your own because it really is so simple and so much fun. I will be sharing several of my favorite recipes (mostly being very low calorie) and showing you how to create a DIY floral banner for a photo booth backdrop. I think we can all agree that these days, no party is complete without a photo booth backdrop… no exceptions! These flowers are also amazing too because they become super festive head pieces that look amazing with Mexican embroidered dresses and tops! And OMG...doesn't everyone look incredible?? I am loving all this pop of color!

So first things first...a Cinco De Mayo party is not a party without good icy cold Mexican beer, lime, and salt. My faves are Corona Extra and Modelo Especial. I personally just think the holiday should just be called Corona De Mayo. I cannot imagine these two not being apart of the yearly fun. 

Corona Extra is incredibly refreshing and has the smoothest taste. The flavor is crisp, clean and well balanced between hops and malt which I love. The superior ingredients are also a huge plus. It contains the finest quality blend of filtered water, malted barley, hops, corn, and yeast. You will also notice a fruity-honey aroma. Corona Extra is the perfect addition to any fiesta and I really love it for all of my summer moments. This beer just champions the carefree spirit of the summer season. Bring on all of the "Saber Viver" ("knowing how to live") I prefer the bottles but you can also find them in cans and they also make a Corona Light that is only 99 calories per beer.

And Modelo Especial just wins my heart over with it's rich, full-flavored Pilsner-style Lager that delivers the best crisp taste. This delightful beer has an orange blossom honey aroma with a hint of herb. It's brewed with time, effort, and determination...a beer born with the Fighting Spirit! It will quench your thirst on a hot day and transport you to a beach in Mexico.

And they are always the hugest hits at my Cinco De Mayo fiestas. They both make the party! 

So now that we have the libations covered..what could be more fun than a party filled with food fit for a fiesta? When it comes to party food, Mexican influences can take flavors up to a whole new level of yum. I could live off Mexican cuisine. Growing up in El Paso there was no shortage of it either...I mean you cannot get any closer to the border. 

Here are a few of my favorite "on-the-lighter-side' Mexi recipes ! They were such a hit with the girls. I will be sharing 4 recipes..my super simple guacamole served with celery and rice crackers, spicy beef lettuce leaf tacos, watermelon & cojita skewers, and churros. ( I made these for the girls to take home to their hubbies and kiddos)

And all of these dishes pair so nicely with the Corona Extra and the Modelo Especial!!

SUPER SIMPLE GAUCAMOLE: 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 ripe medium-size avocados
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • hot green chili (2 serraños or 2-3 jalapeños), finely diced
  • 1/2 small purple onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium tomato, deseeded & chopped in 1/4" pieces

DIRECTIONS:

 Cut avocados in half lengthwise, twist halves apart. Remove pit by hitting it with sharp base of knife blade and twisting. Scoop out flesh of avocado onto plate or cutting board. Sprinkle on garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Use potato masher, pastry blender, or fork to mash avocado to desired consistency. Add in all of the other ingredients mashing it all together. Serve with the rice nut crackers. (they literally are like chips but without all those calories) and celery sticks. I love guac with celery!

(My lovely friend Katie helped me make mine this go around as I had a few other last minute touches to get ready before all the babes arrived)

SPICY BEEF LETTUCE LEAF TACOS:

For those on a low-carb kick that love Mexican but dread all the beans and bread, try this alternative for taco night. It uses lettuce leaves instead of taco shells to make a dish that's halfway between a lettuce wrap and a taco. Low on carbs and still delicious! These have become my weekly staple for " Taco Tuesday".

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef (I love making extra for the party. If making these for dinner, one pound is sufficient)
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 packet of Southwest Taco Seasoning or Old El Paso
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 24 large romaine lettuce leaves
  • 2 large roma tomatoes chopped

DIRECTIONS:

Cook and stir jalapeño and onion in a skillet over medium heat with olive oil. Cut up ground beef into small pieces; place into a separate skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir ground beef with taco seasoning until beef is browned and crumbly, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain excess grease. Sprinkle roma tomatoes with salt in a bowl. Fill each lettuce leaf with about 2 tablespoons beef filling; top with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the onion and jalapeño mixture and the tomatoes. Top with guacamole and salsa if desired.

WATERMELON & COJITA SKEWERS:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 oz. Cotija cheese, crumbled
  • Skewers (I found some amazing colorful ones at my local market)

DIRECTIONS:

Skewer each cube of watermelon with a toothpick or cocktail skewer; add to a serving plate. Sprinkle with Cotija and mint. Serve chilled. Serves 8-10. These are sooooo easy and sooooo fun!! 

CHURROS WITH DULCE DE LECHE FILLING:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup dulce de leche or Mexican cajeta
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar Save $
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

Combine flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. In a medium-sized pot, add water and butter, and bring to a boil until the butter has completely melted. Remove from heat. Quickly add flour mixture with a wooden spoon until it forms a ball. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, and combine until the dough is soft. Add the batter to a piping bag with a large star-shaped tip. Heat the vegetable oil on medium-high in a deep frying pan. Pipe the churros directly into the oil so they are about 6 inches long and straight. Fry 4-6 churros at a time until they are completely golden. Remove from oil and place on a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess oil. Repeat the process until you have used the remaining batter. Use a wooden skewer to make a hole on the inside of each churro. Use a piping bag with a long round tip to fill the churros with dulce de lechè or Mexican cajeta. Combine sugar and cinnamon and roll the churros in this mixture. 

These are definitely a treat!

So now you have the beer, the food, and now you must document these beautiful memories so you need a cute little photo backdrop!

You can literally cover the entire wall if you have the time...!

You can literally cover the entire wall if you have the time...!

Paper backdrops are a hot trend right now and for good reason: They lend a handmade bit of charm, are inexpensive to create and are perfect for giving that personal flair. I personally love the inexpensive part. Tissue Paper Flowers are also simple and quick. The best part is  you will most likely have most of these items already laying around your house, if not you can find everything you need at your local $1 Store or Craft Store. OMG..yes please.
Depending on how many tissue paper flowers you want to create, one flower requires 6 pieces of tissue paper. 

  • 120 Sheets of Tissue Paper (20"x26" or 20"x30") And for Cinco De Mayo pick a variety of bright fun colors. 
  •  Pipe Cleaners or other Flexible Wire
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon
  • Tape

Step 1: Prep Your Paper

Lay six sheets of unfolded tissue paper down on a flat surface. Stacking them on top of each other. (you can keep your tissue flowers solid or mix and match the colors) I Love a good pink and red combo!

Step 2: Fold Your Paper

Place the tissue paper stack in front of you portrait style. Take the bottom edge and fold in over one inch. Then flip it over and fold it back on the other side. Continue folding your way up the paper one inch at a time.When you are done folding your tissue paper stack should look like an accordion.

Step 3: Make Your Flowers

Fold that accordion in half and fold an inch and a half of a pipe cleaner around it. Then twist the pipe cleaner together to secure the flower to the stem. (or do this with wire)

Step 4: Fluff and Finish Your Flowers

While holding your stem (pipe cleaner), gently open up the flower accordion and begin pulling the top layer straight up all the way around the flower. Be careful not to rip the delicate paper.  You usually can't tell if it's been ripped. Separate the other two layers by pulling the middle layer straight up toward the top layer, while pulling the bottom layer straight down.Finally, flip the flower upside down and gently run you fingers from the center stem to the edge applying gentle pressure, pressing the bottom layer down toward the middle layer.

Step 5: CREATE YOUR PHOTO BACKDROP:

Attach your flowers to a long ribbon creating your photo backdrop. You can even fill a whole wall or door entry way just depending on how much time you have. You can really get so creative with this!

Look at how much color they added?! They look so incredibly festive and yes...they can even become fabulous head pieces that make such a bold statement. So incredibly festive, right?!

I cannot wait to see your fiesta's so tag me please! And let me know which Mexican beer you prefer in the comments below... Corona or Modelo?! I love hearing from you all!

P.S: I found my cervezas at my local market along with all of my other ingredients making things oh so convenient. I am so looking forward to more summer parties with these amazing Mexican beers. Bring on more sunsets, more time outside, and some poolside grilling. 

Cheers! Happy Cinco De Mayo Mi Amor's!

XOOXOXO
SAM

Special thanks to my dear friend Samantha Smith for taking these lovely photos. And special thanks to Cheap Thrills  in Tulsa for providing all of the lovely clothing . Local loves check out some close up's of the lovely Cinco De Mayo attire she has available here. That vintage Mexican wedding dress is something else! 

And the Ole' is definitely more for Spain but it added such a nice addition to our little fiesta ! We do what we can around here!