Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How To: Throw a Party for the Olympic Opening Ceremony

Since the Olympic Opening Ceremony is an event that only happens once every two years...and since I have admitted to the fact that we like to celebrate the lesser-popular holidays, what makes more sense than to host an Olympic Opening Ceremony party? Um, nothing!

So I consider us to be a bit of a trailblazer when it comes to hosting an Olympic Party.  Not because we are the first to do it, but because there are so few creative ideas out there in the Cyber World on how to do it.  Really.  We scoured Pinterest and blogs for months for ideas, but nothing really seemed that clever.

So, we pretty much had to come up with our own ideas!  The basic principle behind our party: Olympic Rings, Games, and Countries.
Cropped transparent version of Image:Olympic f...

Before I get started on the details of the party, how about a little Olympic Trivia? Did you know:
  • The five Olympic rings represent the five parts of the world involved in the Olympics during 1912?
  • London is the first three-time host of the Olympic Games (1908, 1948, and 2012)?
  • The official Olympic uniform of the athletes in ancient Rome was the birthday suit?
  •  The great philosopher Plato was a two-time winner of the Pankration?
  • Only five countries have been represented at ALL the summer games: Greece, Great Britain, France, Switzerland, and Australia?
  • More athletes than spectators attended the 1900 Paris Olympic Games?
  • The country of India has the lowest number of total Olympic medals per capita?
  • Females are given "sex tests" to confirm their gender?  In fact, the only female competitor not to have to submit to a sex test at the 1976 Summer Olympics was Princess Anne of the UK, who was competing as a member of the UK equestrian team. As the daughter Queen Elizabeth II, such a test was seen as inappropriate.
Ok, now that you have some fun fodder for entertaining your guests at your own Olympic party, I will continue with the details of How to Throw An Olympic Party.

The Drinks

For our cocktails, we went pretty simple.  We soaked Lifesaver Gummi Rings in the colors of the Olympic Rings in grape-flavored vodka for two hours (until they doubled in size).  Then, our guests could opt to eat the "Olympic Rings" like a shot, or add them to champagne.  It was very good with the champagne! 

The Menu

Originally, we were going to do a menu of British food in honor of the games, but we scratched that idea because British food sucks (I know, I spent a semester studying there.  30 pounds and broken taste buds later, I declared, "no more!").  Instead, we opted for dishes inspired by countries around the world: Greece, Japan, China, Britain, and Italy.  Here was what we decided on:

Italy- Caprese Appetizer

Cut cherry tomatoes in half, and spork with a toothpick, adding basil and mozzarella.  Just before serving, drizzle with olive oil, balsamic, and salt.

China - Lettuce Wraps

Click Here for Delicious Lettuce Wrap Recipe. Pre-make the sauce and chicken, then reheat before serving.  This is a crowd favorite!  I promise!

Britain - "Chips"

I bought high-end(ish) french fries in the freezer section, baked them and coated them with seasoning salt, and then put appetizer potions in little shot glasses with ketchup in the bottom.  My sister snagged this idea from Pinterest and it was just too cute!  The topper?  I used shotglasses I had collected from all the countries we visited, so each person could root for a country based on the shot glass they took.

Japan - Edamame

This is my secret recipe for a five-minute appetizer.  I use it all the time!  Heat 1 TBSP of Sesame Oil on high in a pan.  Add a bag of frozen Edamame (Soy Beans, I like the ones from Trader Joe's) and cook until tender and warm on the inside.  Fry in 3 - 4TBSP of Soy Sauce, and then top with fresh ground salt.  Delish, filling, and low cal!

Greece - Crockpot Greek Dip

This one is awesome, so I have to put the recipe here.  Combine 1 package of low-fat cream cheese, 1/3C of light mayo, and 1/4C of nonfat milk in a crockpot and stir until melted and well-mixed.  Add 1 TBSP of lemon juice, 1 bag of frozen spinach, 1/2C lowfat Feta cheese, and 1/2TSP of Oregano. Cook for 2 hours on low heat in a crock pot.  Reduce cooker to warm and add 1/4TSP pepper, 1/4C of pitted, diced Kalamata olives, 1/4C of diced cucumber, 1/4C of diced red onion, and 1/4C of diced grape tomatoes (I diced all the veggies ahead of time, then added them before serving).  Serve with warm pita bread, broiled in the oven and coated with a spritz of olive oil, garlic salt, and Parmesan.

Dessert - Coconut Lemon Cake

You know, this is not the prettiest cake in the world, but it did taste good.  I took basic white cake and added coconut extract and grated lemon peel to it.  Then I fluffed up store bought white frosting in the mixer, added lemon juice and coconut extract and frosted it. I made a flag out of blueberries and strawberries and then used giant gold-wrapped chocolates as medals.  Not quite what I imagined, but at least it tasted good.

The Games

I decided that most of the time would be taken watching the opening ceremonies, but I wanted something to do while watching commercials.  So I made a list of Minute To Win It games, and printed out instructions and game packets ahead of time.
Some of the games included "Olympic Toe Rings", where each person draws the Olympic Rings with their feet; "Why the Long Face", where you move a cookie from your forehead to your mouth using only your facial expressions; and "This Blows", where you blow a bubble and then move it across the room by blowing on it before it pops.

I hope that this little blog helps everyone host this fun idea for a party.  We had a great time, and you will too!  Go team USA!

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