Monday, October 22, 2012

Surprise Party!

Hi everyone!  So last blog I told you we had celebrated Chris' birthday, well what I didn't tell was that myself and a girlfriend were planning a surprise party for him and his birthday buddy Joe.  Chris and Joe meet in college as randomly assigned roommates, turns out they had more in common than just living in the same dorm!  They are less than 24 hours apart in birth (Chris first, Joe the next day), are huge Buckeye fans and have quite the affinity for classic rock, just to name a few of the similarities.  So us girlfriends got to work and pulled off (for the most part, secret keeping is very hard!) a nice little get together for the them!
Here are a few pictures from the evening:
The birthday boys!

Making wishes! 

Oh how cute! 

The boys being hambones!
I swear they like each other more than they like their girlfriends!

We had quite a spread of goodies!  Thanks to very gracious friends who helped as well!  In this blog I'll be featuring cheese blintzes, caramel apple jello shots (yes, really), crockpot applesauce and a hot beverage bar!

First up, cheese blintzes, a recipe my aunt gave to me when I got my first recipe box.  My momma has made these as well so I called her beforehand to make sure I had everything right especially since I was halving the recipe.  Little did I know these super women of my family were keeping such an easy crowd pleaser in their recipe artillery!  They were a hit and such a cinch to make!
Cheese Blintzes
(this is the original recipe, I halved it since there were other treats, the halved recipe made 16 servings)

- 2 pkgs. cream cheese (8 oz.)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 c. sugar

- 2 pkgs. crescent rolls

- 1/4 c. sugar
- 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp butter (melted)

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- I line my 13x9 pan with foil beforehand but its not entirely necessary I just do so for easy removal and cleaning purposes.
- Blend cream cheese, vanilla and sugar together till smooth, set aside.
- Unroll crescent roll sheets, place one along the bottom of a 13x9 pan (seal seams, unless you buy the seamless sheet then disregard).
- Spread filling and cover with top crust.
- Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar mixture on top then pour butter over all of it.
- Bake 30 minutes till top crust is golden brown and there are no more pools/puddles of butter on top.
- Let cool then slice into bite sized squares.

Next, caramel apple jello shots, a very festive fall find from Pinterest!  I made these last year for Halloween so I decided to do them again, unfortunately they didn't set up as well as last year but it could be some different variables (not as long in the fridge).  These are made with real apples and they are quite the delectable boozy treat!  With the leftover apple pieces parts I made applesauce in the crockpot, yum!  It turned out pretty good for my first try and man did it make the house smell great!
Caramel Apple Jello Shots
- 10 small granny smith apples
- 1 envelope Knox gelatin
- 1/2 c. water
- 1/2 c. coconut milk
- a couple drops of yellow food coloring
- 1 pkg. hot chocolate (if you can find caramel flavored cocoa even better but its not a must have)
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. Caramel Vodka (Smirnoff has one out now, I used Van Gogh Dutch Caramel)
- lemon juice to prevent browning

- Wash apples, cut in half and hollow out.  I used a small cookie scoop, you could use a mellon baller or just a spoon. Be careful not to get too close to the skin or else you'll puncture the apple or make it too hard to pick up.  Leave some apple on the skin for easier pick up (see above picture).
- After scooping out the insides brush with lemon juice to prevent browning.
- I use a muffin tin for my apples so they don't wobble around and spill.  You could also make sure they fit tight on a baking sheet or in a pan.
- Mix water and hot chocolate in medium size pot, make sure its all combined then add coconut milk, mix again.
- Sprinkle gelatin packet over top and let sit a few minutes.
- Turn on stove to medium heat and mix gelatin until combined.
- Add sugar and let simmer ever so slightly until combined.
- Add food coloring until you get a caramel color, it should only take a few drops.
- Let cool a little until its just warm, add caramel vodka.
- Pour mixture into apples, I use a 1/4 c. to pour so its a little more manageable than a pot.

- Refrigerate overnight.
- Trim off any sides that have browned too much.  Cut in half then in half again to make easy to eat slices.
- Serve ASAP as you can only stave off browning for so long.
- This makes about 80 or so slices.

Crockpot Applesauce
- 10 to 12 small granny smith apples, peeled and cored (keep in mind I used the insides of the apples from the above recipe and then whatever ones I had leftover) 
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp. lemon juice 
- 1 slice of lemon peel
- 7 tsp. brown sugar (since I was using granny smiths rather than a sweeter apple I ended up having to add sugar to sweeten it up but if you are using a sweeter apple stick with 4 to 5 tsp. then add more to taste)

- Peel and core apples, place in crockpot with cinnamon stick, lemon juice, lemon peel and brown sugar.
- Set on low for 6 hours. 
- Fish out the cinnamon stick and lemon peel and let cool.  Depending on how you like the consistency of your sauce use an immersion blender to make smooth or let it be if you prefer it chunky.  
- You can preserve this by canning but since I don't even know where to start with the canning process and it made a small amount since I was only using bits and pieces of what I had leftover I just put it in a tupperware and stuck it in the fridge, should last up to three weeks. 

Hot Drinks Bar

So fall weather always brings to mind spiked warm drinks (cider, cocoa, tea, the possibilities are endless)!  If anyone reading has ever tailgated with me you know as soon as the weather drops below 70 I bust out my hot drinks dispenser.  I found this great two cylinder insulated dispenser at World Market during my fall kickball season.  This has been probably the best $20 I've spent at that store, this thing gets use all throughout football season!  Each side holds about half a gallon and it has a handy little handle for easy transport.  So when thinking of a fun cocktail idea for the boys party that wouldn't be "too girly" it clicked that this would be perfect especially since it would be serve yourself, leaving us hostesses to tend to other duties!
Here is a picture of the set up, granted this was a few hours before people arrived so the marshmallows are not out of the bag, etc.      

In one side I made hot spiced cider, the other was just hot water for making cocoa or tea.  To make the cider I warmed a half gallon of cider in a pot on the stove with some cinnamon (a tablespoon or so, I never really measure) and a few sprinkles of nutmeg.  Then I just set out some flavored vodkas, coffee and chocolate liquors and spiced rum with a few shot glasses for measuring, I placed a little sign inviting people to make their own cozy concoction.  We also had beer and wine out for people to help themselves.  If I could give any advice for easy entertaining a set up like this would be highly suggested, this way you aren't stuck in the kitchen the whole time mixing drinks and you have time to actually visit with your guests!  Save the fancy cocktails for smaller gatherings and go with previously prepared or serve yourself options.  

So that was the party!  Sunday we recouped and Chris' football team had their first playoff game, they won in overtime and are going to the championship game in two weeks!  Even though we don't have a little squirt that plays its still so fun watching young boys grow through this great sport.  Seeing the team react and celebrate when they made the winning touchdown was priceless and I'm so glad Chris is there to coach them through it.  The kids really look up to "Coach Mo" (their nickname for him since his last name is a long one!) and the parents just love him!  

Well that's all for this crazy fun weekend! Not sure what will be up next as we have some leftovers to finish up, reducing my weeknight cooking duties (always a relief!) and next weekend we are heading to Miami for the Miami v. OU football game and the O.A.R. concert!


No comments:

Post a Comment