Kellie’s Party Planning for the Family

I’m busy and I know you are, too. But it’s really important to me to make time for my family and friends. That’s the main reason I host an annual Valentine’s Day and Christmas party for my girlfriends and their kids. And I was thinking that this year, I’ll start a new tradition and host a Cinco de Mayo party!

But Martha Stewart, I’m not. I’m not about baking my own taco shells or weaving sombreros. I’m all about keeping it simple, making it fun, and doing it as cheaply as possible!


For decorations, I can usually find everything I need at a dollar store. If you’re lucky, they’ll have a whole section dedicated to Cinco de Mayo. If not, just stick with the colors of the Mexican flag and choosing paper streamers, balloons, paper plates and napkins in red, green and white. I also found some really great margarita glasses there and yes, they were a dollar each!


As far as the food, what’s simpler than a taco bar? Make it really easy on yourself and ask each guest to bring a separate topping. You could also ask each of your girlfriends to whip up a bowl of her favorite salsa or guacamole and have a friendly competition served up with Mission Tortilla Strips. For dessert, how about doing it taco style? Give everyone a soft flour tortilla they can fill with all sorts of sweetness — marshmallow cream, sliced fruit, chocolate sauce, chopped nuts, gummy bears, etc. Just roll it all up and enjoy! Or you can treat everyone to a true Mexican dessert — arroz con leche. J-Si’s wife, Kinsey, has a wonderful recipe (see below). He says it’s just like he remembers from his childhood in Mexico.


Since Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican culture, it’s a great opportunity to introduce the kids to some fun Mexican traditions.To get the party moving, here’s an idea I got from Coke — Hire a dance instructor to teach everyone how to salsa!

I also did a little research and found a game called Grab the Sombrero. If you can’t find sombreros at the dollar store, you can cut sombrero shapes out of construction paper and tape them to the kids’ backs. The object of the game is for the kids to grab each other’s sombreros. Once a kid’s sombrero is grabbed, he’s out of the game.

The last one wearing a sombrero wins. But whatever you do, don’t forget the pinata! There are all sorts of websites teaching you how to make one at home, but I’m going to splurge on a store-bought pinata. Like I said before, Martha Stewart I’m not.

Coca-Cola-glass-bottleAnd after everyone’s worked up a thirst learning to salsa and grabbing sombreros, make sure you have plenty of Coke on hand! Fill a tub with ice and load it up with cans of Coke, Diet Coke and Coke Zero. Everybody’s happy!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!


You know what I consider a successful family gathering at Casa de Chavez? I’ll give you a hint: it involves lots of beans! You should see my face when I see my Mom bring her enfrijoladas out! All of my chiclets make an appearance, because I smile so big! I know what you are thinking… a Mexican meal with no rice?! I know, it sounds blasphemous!

Here’s the kicker: my family does include some rice, but we save the best for last! We bring out the arroz con leche at the end. It’s the perfect way to end a meal. It may sound weird to make rice with condensed milk, and cinnamon… but if heaven had a taste, arroz con leche would be it.

And like any gathering at our house, we make sure to have a Cuba in our hand at all times. Some Coca-Cola and Rum definitely is the icing to our parties! How else do you think we get the energy to annoy the neighbors til 4 am?! Haha

My moms Enfrijoladas:


•  1 can of whole pinto beans “La Costena”
•  about 2 tbsp of tomato sauce
•  Some chopped cilantro


Put these in blender to make the sauce

In a pan add 2 tbsp of oil and heat, then pour the sauce and heat

Fry tortillas, oil has to be very hot, and remember not to leave tortillas too long or you will get tostadas, just put it in, flip it and take it out and put it on a plate with a paper towel to absorb excess oil. Try using Mission tortillas.

You can fill them with scrambled eggs, topping with some chorizo (for breakfast), or shredded chicken.

Fold filled tortillas and pour the bean sauce. Top with sour cream, cheese (crumbled queso fresco), and avocado. and for desert: ARROZ CON LECHE!!!!


Arroz Con Leche


•  7 cups water
• 1 cup long-grain white rice
•  1 (4-inch) cinnamon stick
•  1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
•  1 (14-ounce) can condensed milk
•  1 cup whole milk
• 3/4 cup golden raisins
• Ground cinnamon, for dusting


Put the water, rice, and cinnamon stick in a medium-size heavy saucepan set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, uncovered, and cook until the rice is tender, about 18 minutes. Strain out the liquid, discard the cinnamon and reserve the rice. Return the rice to the saucepan. Stir in the evaporated milk, condensed milk, and whole milk. Continue cooking over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick, about 20 minutes. Add the raisins, and stir well. Transfer the pudding to a serving bowl. Dust the top of the pudding with ground cinnamon and serve.

Sponsored by Coca-Cola and Mission. Click here for more Cinco de Mayo fiestahhh ideas!