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Dinner dates with my husband usually end the same way: after we slip into our pjs, we reflect on the night. Typically, we choose a restaurant with an amazing ambiance, b ut the food is just okay and we lament about the $100 – $200 that we’re out of pocket. Don’t even get me started on the added cost of babysitting for a toddler who is already asleep.

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I inherited the entertaining bug from my mother. She is the “Panamanian Martha Stewart”, so wanting to entertain came to me naturally. Entertaining with champagne tastes on a modest budget and limited time can be challenging, but today I have some tips to share with you on how I threw and easy & stress-free Cinco de Mayo party with a few of our close friends. With just a little bit of planning, the overall cost was about the same as a dinner out, but everyone enjoyed themselves in the comfort of our home and we have leftover tequila! We even had an impromptu dance party – priceless!

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For the menu, we decided on serving a fajita bar with all the fixings. Something about assembling your own food appeals to me, maybe because I’m so particular I like to be able to control my salt/spice intake. I grilled all of the meat to give it a smoky flavor.

TIP: To keep it juicy, I opted for chicken thighs. That way you can keep the meat moist & cut off the excess fat later!

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cinco-de-mayo-recipes_9You can stay pretty tame and serve jarred salsa and jalapeños or go a little crazy and pickle your own red onions along with a side of fresh made or purchased mango salsa. To save time I purchased fresh made salsa, pico de gallo and mango salsa. The side dishes were super easy – rice cooker cilantro rice, stove top black beans and oven roasted corn (husks on). Below are recipes that I tried and loved!

Fajita chicken/beef // Cilantro lime rice // Mexican Oven roasted corn // Churro cupcakes

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cinco-de-mayo-recipes_25As far as decorations, I used colorful serving dishes that I already own, mixing and matching blue bowls with yellow dishes to create a terracotta vibe. I also arranged fresh flowers – yellow roses and hot pink Gerber daisies colors for an additional pop of color. I encouraged guests to bring their sombreros and we even had a piñata for the kiddies.

All in all, we had a blast with our friends for around $200.00 and about three hours of decorating and cooking. Worth every penny & minute!

crystal-lewisBusiness/IT consultant, Recipe Creator, Excellent Home Cook, Hostess with the Mostest, Devoted Wife and Gavin’s mommy

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