I found this fantastic chalk board at Hobby Lobby on clearance right before Christmas. Last year, I printed out a menu and framed it but I like this so much better. Even if my handwriting is terrible!
I don't usually serve alcohol at parties because I'm cheap but this year I decided to try doing mimosas and bloody marys for my friends who enjoy that kind of thing. I have to say...I thought the bloody marys were pretty gross! But, the people who like them, really enjoyed the shooters I made. I used a Cook's Illustrated recipe and made it ahead of time. I garnished with little bitty celery sticks. So fun! The plastic shot glasses were way cuter than I expected they'd be, too!
Here's the Bloody Mary recipe! I doubled it for the party and had leftovers. Honestly, I don't think I'll do these next time!
From Cook's Illustrated:
Clamato or V8 juice can be substituted for the tomato juice. You can liven up these drinks by garnishing with dilly beans, colossal green olives, caper berries, pickled asparagus, or even chilled poached shellfish, such as shrimp or crawfish. This recipe can be doubled.
3 cups tomato juice
1 cup vodka
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Ice (for serving)
4 ribs celery, trimmed (for serving)
Lemon wedges, or lime wedges (for serving)
Whisk the tomato juice, vodka, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, salt, pepper, and Tabasco together in a pitcher or large bowl. Pour over ice and garnish with the celery and lemon wedges before serving.
To Make Ahead:
Bloody Marys can be refrigerated, covered tightly with plastic wrap, for up to 6 hours before serving.
The mimosas were another story! I've had them before and never liked mimosas much. So, I tried out something a little more than just champagne and orange juice. I tripled the Holiday Mimosa recipe from AllRecipes.com and had no leftovers! I'm happy with how the raspberry dressed up the, again, plastic champagne flutes. This is definitely a do again.
I will tell you this. There is no such thing as Too Much Bacon. I ran out last year so I literally quadrupled how much I made this year. I RAN OUT AGAIN. I saw people with entire platefuls of just bacon. The funny thing about it is that there isn't really a "recipe." I throw the ingredients together and it always turns out perfectly! One tip...don't do this with uncooked bacon because it's entirely too greasy. I'm sure there's a way to do it, maybe by pre-cooking the bacon yourself, switching to another pan and then adding the brown sugar.
Brown Sugar Bacon, Party Version:
1 Package Pre-Cooked Bacon (I prefer costco's kirkland brand)
Black Pepper (in a grinder is best)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place one layer of precooked bacon in a 9x13 dish. Sprinkle brown sugar over the slices, I usually pinch the brown sugar using all 4 fingers. Grind pepper over the brown sugar, 5 or 6 turns. Repeat layering as needed. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake 30 minutes. Keeps well in a chafing dish.
Use only one layer on a baking sheet, cook 10-15 minutes depending on preferred crispiness.
I always try something new at a party, mixed in with the old favorites. This year I did a toast bar! So fun! I put a basket of breads on a cart next to the toaster: multigrain, sourdough, and cinnamon raisin breads and plain and everything bagels. Across from the cart on the table, I had honey, nutella, cookie butter, cream cheese, apple butter, strawberry preserves, blackberry jam, and butter. Everyone loved it! And, even better? I had all of those toppings just anyway!
I actually have some more recipes to share but I just realized this is going to be long so I'll post them another time! I don't have photos of the quiches or the hash brown casserole so I'll have to make them sometime--yummmmm. Until then, this is the last food pic...the chocolate fountain! This is our party mainstay! Everyone loves the chocolate fountain and it's sooo funny because Mike's mom got this for Mike as a joke! He was wondering why anyone would ever need a chocolate fountain. Well. I think we've had this for about 7 years now and we use it at every party!
Of course, without proper supervision, the chocolate fountain becomes a clothing and face destroyer, hahaha. But really...parents....watch your kids when there's a chocolate fountain! Etiquette alert! We had a couple of visitors who came for the first time and their kids positively razed the dessert buffet (and no they don't read this blog so it probably wasn't *your* kids, friends who are reading!). I expect people to eat a LOT so I make a LOT. But...wow. I was positively shocked at how some people acted, like...like wild boars! At the same time, I shouldn't be surprised. I had to ask the same family to take the play swords back to the playroom and away from the china cabinet!!
Now that I have sounded like an old grump...I know I've posted photos of our decorations, but doesn't it look so much better with people added?? So much homier and comfortable!
How cute is this? We invite our neighbors and a good many of them usually come. For two years now, our neighbors in the cove have brought their daughters in traditional Korean New Year's clothing. So fun!
And, finally, the last photo I believe we will take as a family of 4. Too crazy!
:) Don't forget that Ken is still offering his podcast of "How Did You Become a Child of Mine?" I do have a fundraiser of my own ready to kick off on Monday! Stay tuned! Here's a hint: