The South Florida summer weather can be a bit unsteady, and Thursday was no different. We had been planning a summer party for more than a week, but as our party day approached the weather began to look very gloomy. We kept our fingers crossed, the weather channel on, and then we started party prepping. Slowly, but steadily the weather forecast began to improve, and before we knew it the sun came out.
The party theme was a summer burger bar with a water park set up in the backyard for the kids, and by using ALDI foods and party supplies we were able to turn a tight budget into a feast for friends and neighbors.
The summer party began around 3:30 p.m., as we wanted to have some fun before the late afternoon showers began. The neighborhood kids had a difficult time waiting for the party to start though, so it basically turned into a whole day affair. After all of the kids under 10 had arrived, we started out with my kids’ favorite ice cream cones from ALDI.
At $0.99 Benton’s Kids’ Sugar Cones are perfect for a hot summer day treat, and my kids always love to decorate them. At the party we decided to decorate the ice cream cones with Benton’s Sandwich Creme Cookies, because at $1.49, there are plenty of cookies to use both as an ice cream topping and as an extra treat.
Before we started up the grill, great-tasting and affordable fruits were served as healthy appetizers. The kids quickly dug in, when they saw the fruit platters filled with sweet grapes, juicy watermelon, fresh pineapple and of course ripe mangoes from our backyard mango tree.
Our backyard has become the neighborhood hangout for the kids, and I will gladly admit that I bribe the kids with lots of sweet treats and ripe fruit from ALDI. Before ALDI came to South Florida, I always had to look hard to find room in the budget to buy expensive produce, but with ALDI’s affordable fruit prices and weekly produce deals, our family’s fruit bowl and vegetable drawer are now always filled to the brim.
We set up a water park in the backyard, and the surprise for the kids was a new Wham-O Slip ’N Slide from ALDI, which helped turn our small backyard into a fun entertainment zone. The kids loved it, and when the sky opened up, it became even more slippery. Between the slip ‘n slide, the rain and the pools, our backyard became a mud zone at the end of the evening, but the kids could not get enough.
In addition to the cool Wham-O Slip’N Slide that we had gotten at ALDI for only $12.99, we also had four mini pools and three slides set up in the backyard. Usually we set up the garden sprinkler for some extra fun, but on the day of the party the frequent rain clouds worked well as a substitute.
The Burger Bar
We had fresh pre-made burger patties from ALDI, which made hosting much easier. However, I also made mini burgers for the kids, as I know from experience that the kids cannot eat much, whenever they are having a blast.
As a side I had made a Corn and Black Bean Salad with a Lime and Cumin Vinaigrette from a recipe, which I had found in the ALDI summer catalog.
I usually make potato salad from scratch, but anyone who has made potato salad from scratch knows that it is a lot of work. After hearing great things about the ALDI potato salad, I decided to make life as a hostess a lot easier with the Little Salad Bar Potato Salad and the Little Salad Bar Mustard Potato Salad. The potato salads did not disappoint, and at $2.49 for a 32 oz potato salad, there were plenty of potato salad for everyone for less than $5.
If I had made the same amount of potato salad from scratch, my out-of-pocket cost would have been about the same, so I will definitely be using the Little Salad Bar Potato Salads again. Not having to peel a single potato made party preparation much more enjoyable, and it saved me some extra stress.
The burger toppings included: Butter lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, green pepper, avocado, pineapple, pickles and pepper jack cheese. For condiments we had Fit & Active Fat Free Dressing, Burman’s Tomato Ketchup, Great Cherkins Butter and Bread Pickles, Burman’s Yellow Mustard, Burman’s Steak Sauce and Burman’s BBQ Sauce.
In addition to the burger bar, we also made beef, chicken and veggie skewers, and of course any summer party needs hot dogs, so we served Fit & Active Turkey Franks. The Fit & Active Turkey Franks were praised by the party guests, and these were the first of the party food to run on low. This is the first time that my hot dog-loving six-year-old son tried any hot dogs from ALDI, but at $1.29 for a 10 pack, I think we might just switch to the Fit & Active brand from now on, because my son loved these turkey franks.
We paired the Fit & Active Turkey Franks with Loven’s Fresh Wheat Buns, which at $0.99 are both great-tasting and affordable. ALDI also has a lower priced $0.79 version of regular hot dog and hamburger buns, but there was plenty of room in the budget to splurge a little on the wheat buns. The special kaiser buns are usually only available in the summer months, and I have been waiting for them to show up at my local ALDI store, as they make any burger special.
Everyone at the party made their own beef, chicken and veggie skewers, and they put together their own burgers just the way that they wanted to with their favorite ingredients from the burger bar.
With crunchy butter lettuce, cucumber, tomato, and a splash of Fit & Active Fat Free Ranch Dressing, this L’oven Fresh Kaiser Bun was transformed into a perfectly delicious classic burger by my oldest son.
Another adventurous take on a classic burger is the Avocado burger, and the ALDI avocados were perfectly creamy, fresh and delicious for this combination. Served on a L’oven Fresh Corn Dusted Kaiser Bun, the grilled beef patty found itself surrounded by fresh tomatoes, avocado, red onion, butter lettuce and cucumbers.
For drinks we served fresh ALDI Nectar’s lemonade, and the guests could choose between ALDI’s GT Cola and Citrus Twist. At $2.29 for a 12 pack of ALDI brand soda, it is definitely an affordable alternative to name brand sodas, and the price even beat the store brand at our local grocery stores. The favorite drink at the party was the Citrus Twist, which both grown ups and kids alike seemed to take a particular liking to.
After we all had burgers, hot dogs and more, it began raining again, so we started packing up. When the mailman took his final round around the neighborhood, we invited him in for a quick burger. So the mailman quickly design his own ALDI burger to go, and he also grabbed a Citrus Twist and a plate full of ALDI fruit before he headed off to finish his mail route.
Shortly thereafter the kids were sent home with a cup full of potato chips and a soda of their choice, because it was time to watch the basketball finals. A few neighbors came by after work to get a bite as well, and thankfully there was more than enough food for everyone who stopped by.
With affordable Boulder paper plates, cups and plastic cutlery clean up was easy to do, which again saved me a lot of work.
Despite having to take covers from stray showers several times, we managed to have a fun backyard party, and in the end we barely noticed the rain. We also had to take cover for mangoes quite a few times, as they kept on falling from our mango tree in the backyard. We sent the mangoes home with the party guest together with their very own grill thermometer from ALDI, and since none of the guests had ever shopped at ALDI before, it was a new experience for everyone.
Hosting a burger bar summer party was a bit chaotic at times, whenever a cloud decided to open up. The guests were in great spirits though, and somehow the rain seemed to matter less for every time that we had to take cover.
When the final rain cloud came around, I decided to stay put and watch over the grill and the last burgers, and grilling in the rain certainly was a different experience.
My boys even declared that the rain was one of the best parts of the party, although they were also thrilled about the company, the party food, the endless amount of ALDI soda, and the ice cream treats.
With a $100 party budget, we were able to put together a fabulous backyard summer party that brought neighbors and friends a little closer together.
Before shopping at ALDI I stopped by my local super store and my local grocery store to compare prices, and I was not surprised at the results. If I had bought the same store-brand groceries at the superstore, I would have had to pay $33 more than at ALDI. If I had bought the same store-brand groceries at my favorite grocery store, I would have had to pay $39 more than I did at ALDI. You can see a complete list of the ALDI foods, which we bought to host our summer party with burger bar.
While $33 may not sound like much, it is amazing how much party food you can get at ALDI for $33. I always look forward to the ALDI Summer Catalog, because the quality of the products is superb, and the variety gives my family a lot of options. With seven kids and seven adults plus the mailman at the party our $100 party budget was more than enough, because shopping at ALDI provided ample food and drinks for everyone, and there were plenty of leftovers for everyone to take home as well.
Disclaimer: Party favors and gift certificates were provided to facilitate the review. Any opinions expressed above are entirely my own, and they are based solely on the guests’ and my own family’s experience with the ALDI party foods.