Friday, July 20, 2012

Going for the Gold - Olympic Extravaganza

The Olympics are almost here, and I LOVE watching them! The summer Olympics of 2008 took place in Beijing, and this was the theme for my August monthly dinner that year.  There are so many more ideas I would incorporate now, but this is my simplified version in 2008.  Warning: This is way before my blogging days, so my photos are not very good and I didn't take photos of most of the decor.  Also...this year's Olympics are in London.  Check out my London Monthly Dinner post for menu/decor ideas.

Invitation:  I created this Olympic ticket to send to the girls for my monthly dinner.  I designed it in Microsoft Word.  If you are throwing an Olympic party and would like the file, just comment below with your email and I will send it.  It would be easy to swap out the Beijing and all the text. It is nothing fancy.  Another invite idea would be to create a torch using card stock with all party details on the back and the title on the front.

Attire:  I asked the girls to dress up as an Olympic/athlete just for fun. We had everything including a USA fan, tennis players, and even a fencer complete with tin foil sword and metal strainer for a face mask!!

Decor:  On my walkway, I set out various mini flags from around the world leading up to the door.  A sign on the door read "Olympic Village."  I set my table with a red tablecloth and yellow napkins to relate to the flag colors of China. Black chopsticks adorned the plates.  As a centerpiece, I crafted a giant martini glass into a torch using colored tissue paper. I also set out Chinese fans, fortune cookies, and I found the Kimono wine bottle cover at the Dollar Store!

As a place card for each guest, I had gold medal necklaces spread out on each plate.  I bought the medals at Party City.  They were the super cheap ones that come in a pack of 6. I covered the sticker in the middle with gold card stock and hand wrote the guest's name.

Menu:  Since the Olympics were taking place in Beijing, I served Chinese food.  I recommend all these recipes...

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

¾ lb. ground chicken
(I just cut 2 breasts into strips)
1 tablespoon minced gingerroot
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 head iceburg lettuce
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
2½ cups bean sprouts

In a skillet, stir-fry chicken, garlic and ginger in oil, breaking up with back of spoon until no longer pink.  Add carrot, celery, green onions, soy sauce, and sesame oil; cook for about 1 minute or until vegetables are tender.  Separate lettuce into 8 cup-shaped leaves.  For serving:  Spread about 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce on bottom of each lettuce leaf.  Spoon small amount of chicken filling.  Top with a few bean sprouts. Fold lightly and eat with hands.

Stir Fried Beef and Broccoli in Oyster Sauce

¾ lb. flank steak
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 each cloves of garlic, minced
6 each green onions, chopped
1 lb.  broccoli cut into florets
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon chopped ginger root
1/3 cup water

2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon corn starch

Cut meat across the grain into very thin slices.  Place in a bowl and combine with soy sauce, rice wine, water and cornstarch.  Allow to marinate for at least 10 minutes.  Meanwhile prepare remaining ingredients and stir together sauce mixture.  Heat oil in large wok or large skillet.  Add meat and cook, stirring constantly, until meat is about 75% cooked.  Remove and reserve.  Scrape out pan if necessary and return to heat.  Add garlic, ginger and green onions and cook 30-60 seconds until fragrant.  Stir in cut up broccoli and add water.  Cover and cook 3 minutes.  Re-add beef to pan and combine well.  Add sauce to mixture and bring to boil.  Cook until thickened and beef and broccoli are cooked through.  Serve with steamed rice.

Egg Fried Rice

3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 lb. cooked rice
4 ounces green peas
(I added: 2 carrots, finely chopped)

In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a pinch of the salt and a few pieces of scallion.  Heat oil in a preheated wok, and lightly scramble the eggs.  Add the rice and stir to make sure that each grain of rice is separated.  Add the remaining salt, scallions, and the peas (and carrots).  Blend well and serve.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Packets

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
½ cup sweet and sour sauce
1 can (8 ounces) pineapple chunks, drained
1 medium bell pepper, cut into strips
¼ small onion, cut into small wedges
½ cup chow mein noodles, if desired

Heat grill.  Cut four 18x12-inch pieces of heavy duty foil; spray with cooking spray.  On one side of each foil piece, place 1 chicken breast.  Top each with 1 tablespoon sweet and sour sauce and one fourth of the pineapple, bell pepper, and onion.  Top with remaining sauce.  Fold foil over chicken and vegetables so edges meet.  Seal edges, making tight ½-inch fold; fold again.  Allow space on sides for heat expansion.  When grill is heated, place packets on gas grill over medium heat. Cover grill and cook 15-20 minutes, rotating packets ½ turn every 10 minutes, until juice in chicken is clear.  Serve chicken topped with chow mein noodles.

Deep Fried Ice Cream

Cinnamon & Sugar
Deep Fried Ice Cream
(Although I found the recipe and was going to make the ice cream myself, I saw “deep fried ice cream” in the store already made, so …)

Heat oil to 365 degrees.  Cut tortillas to look like an hourglass and place one at a time in oil to cook.  Then remove and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Shape the ice cream into balls and refreeze.  When ready to serve, place ball of ice cream on top of cup-shaped tortilla with the fan part of the tortilla parallel to the ice cream.

Favor:  As a favor, I made sugar cookie gold medals that I attached to ribbon necklaces.  I piped on the Olympic rings and the year. I packaged these in zip-lock sandwich bags so guests could easily transport them.  If you are making these for your party, just make sure you make the holes large enough.  When the cookies bake the holes get smaller, so they have to start fairly large.

This dinner was a lot of fun.  We were suppose to play Wii Olympics as well, but we had technical difficulties.  Maybe next time!!  Hope you enjoy the Olympics this year...GO USA!!


Unknown said...

I can't find your London Monthly Dinner post. I saw it in the list of yearly topics, but it doesn't have a link to a post. Am I not looking in the right place? I'm planning an Opening Ceremonies party for next week so I'm trying to get food ideas!

InviteandDelight said...


I fixed the link and posted the Taste of London dinner. Hope this helps! Thanks for checking out my blog!!


Anonymous said...

Hello, I would love the word document,
thank you

Anonymous said...

Hi Carole,

I just saw your site and it has so many, wonderful ideas. I'd love to use your olympic ticket for a party. My email is

Thank you,

Anonymous said...

Hello Carole,
I am hosting a winter Olympics party, and your ticket invite is perfect! You are gracious to share, thank you. My email is

Anonymous said...

Planning an Olympics themed birthday party for my son and would love the invitation template.

Unknown said...

My daughter requested an Olympic Theme Party. love your ticket!!! Please share.

FletchFab said...

Hi, I too am planning an Olympic themed party for my son and love your invite. Would you be so kind to share your template? You can email me at

Valeria said...