Category Archives: Parties

Hostess with the Mostess & My Lumberjack Party

Last call to enter my giveaway for a free $25 Wagamama gift card!

For the last few years I’ve been reading a great resource for party planning – Hostess with the Mostess – so I was tickled pink (or maybe in this case I should say plaid) that they featured the Lumberjack Party I threw earlier this year!

hostesswiththemostesslumberjackCheck it out here!

I’m currently perusing Hostess with the Mostess for some Thanksgiving dinner decoration inspiration. I’m hosting this year for the first time – so it will be an adventure!

The site if full of inspiration – like these adorable doughnut hole acorn treats.

Loads of adorable inspiration details for fall parties.

And these delicious looking Apple Pie Pops
(when a regular pie just feels too conventional).

And while Harry Potter isn’t exactly Thanksgiving themed (although most fans agree they feel the urge to re-read the series in the fall) this amazing HP themed birthday party looks so fun!

Or this unique Duck Hunting birthday party!

The inspiration is endless! And I’m thrilled to be a part(y) of it.

HAPPY FRIDAY ALL!!

I have three Thanksgiving dinner celebrations this year and the first one is this weekend! Here’s to loads of pumpkin pie, gravy and cranberry! What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?

Top 9: End of Summer BBQ Accessories

Must have Summer BBQ Party Accessories

As summer is winding down to an end (and since we have deck renovations on our brains) it’s time to start thinking about squeezing in as many summer BBQs as possible before it’s time to make apple pie and eat Halloween candy!  We love to host parties, and when you can add in a little summertime weather and food on the grill – well, that’s just perfection.

Here are my Top 9 accessories for that End of Summer BBQ!

1. These Heat Resistant Corn Holders are colorful and fun! We have some golf ball corn holders, but these would be a fun change!

2. I love these drink dispensers from Crate and Barrel. Something like this drink dispenser feels excessive and something too large to store. But I still love them! And it’s nice for large parties even just for water, instead of needing to refill the water pitcher several times throughout the night.

3. Adding lanterns, twinkle lights or globe lights adds a little extra whimsy to the ricketiest table, burned hamburgers, and even helps you deal with the mosquitoes a little bit longer.

4. Every backyard party needs a good yard game! Ladderball is one of our favorites! (Other acceptable options: Croquet, Bocce, Kan-jam)

5. We have the Butter Boy! People always laugh and wonder what is sitting on the table. But it’s so much easier to butter corn with it and it’s a cute little man in overalls! How can you go wrong?

6. You can’t look too far without seeing another mason jar craft / trend / decor idea. But let’s get back to what mason jars were originally used for – catching fireflies!! I have so many memories of summer nights catching fireflies after dinner. Take your BBQ back to the basics and see how many you can catch (and let go – of course).

7. Every party needs some good tunes! We have a Soundfreaq – a portable bluetooth music player. You can charge it when it’s plugged in, sync it to your iPod, and haul it around the party, the yard, wherever you go!

8. These DIY Slipknot Rope napkin rings from Lemon Tree Dwelling would dress up any old napkin!

9. BBQs call for big platters to pile on hotdogs, piles of corn on the cob, or for the spread of burger toppings. I am always drawn to the melanine platters by FrenchBull because they are so much fun! Everything a BBQ should be.

What’s your favorite thing about BBQs? What do you put on your hot dog? I’m a ketchup girl.

Check out the end of summer party I posted on last year!

Top 9: Farewell Party to Summer

Farewell Party to Summer

Recipe Post: Pancake Cookies

Pancake Cookies for a Lumberjack themed birthday party

Earlier this spring we had a Lumberjack themed birthday party for my husband. I promised a tutorial on the pancakes cookies and had completely forgotten until a reader left me a friendly note requesting it.

The pancake cookies are extremely simple.

Warning – I am not a food photographer and made these at night! The light from my oven does not make for beautiful photographs. : ) Also, as I’ve said before I’m not a food blogger, most of my recipe tips do not have specific measurements. It’s just the way I cook. Sorry! It drives my husband crazy too.

The Cookie:

Pancake Cookies for a Lumberjack themed birthday party

Start with any cookie base of your preference. I started with a classic Betty Crocker sugar cookie, recipe. You could also try molasses or gingersnap. Anything that will give the cookies that pancake color.

To get the cookies to bake nice and flat, I rolled the cookie dough into a ball in my palm and then I squished it so it resembled a Peppermint Patty. Sorry, no photos for this step! My hands were covered in cookie dough!

I baked them according to the recipe and let them cool completely. If they look like they are getting too puffy in the oven while they are baking, give them a pat with a flat kitchen tool (like a flipper) to flatten them back out.

The Maple Syrup Frosting:

Pancake Cookies for a Lumberjack themed birthday party

To create the maple syrup I created a runny chocolate frosting.

In a double boiler, melt some chocolate chips (About 1/2 a bag) and a tb. butter. Add the butter at the very beginning before the chips are melted. Adding it later can make your melted chocolate get a weird texture.

In my mixer, I made a basic buttercream frosting recipe (modified from this recipe). Instead of vanilla extract I added real maple syrup. Then I added my melted chocolate chips. Mix thoroughly. Add tiny bits of water until the icing easily runs off a spoon.

At this point, things can get a little messy. I laid my cookies on wax paper for easy cleanup. Then proceed to spoon the runny chocolate frosting on top of them. The frosting should naturally pool in certain directions, giving you a maple syrup effect.

Due to the runny frosting, it will take longer than usual for the frosting to firm up. I wouldn’t recommend stacking them either because they frosting never sets to a hard frosting – I’m sure a better cook would be able to solve this problem.

Frosting Butter Pad

Pancake Cookies for a Lumberjack themed birthday party
For the pad of butter, I created a very thick frosting. Combine confectionery sugar and milk in a bowl with a fork. Continue to add confectioners’ sugar until you have a very thick, non-spreadable consistency (similar to Play-doh). Add a few drops of yellow food coloring and use the fork to spread the coloring throughout your mixture.

Scrap the frosting from a bowl on to a piece of waxed paper and fold it over so the frosting is in the middle. Use a rolling pin to flatten it out until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick. Place in refrigerator.

After the yellow frosting has been in the refrigerator for sometime and feels very stiff take it out and cut into small 1″ x 1″ squares immediately. Don’t wait, it must be cold or else it will not cut smoothly. Place on top of the maple syrup frosting and there you go!

Pancake Cookies for a Lumberjack themed birthday party

Dinner Menu for a Lumberjack Party

A Lumberjack Birthday Party

If there is any “rule” in my book to hosting a dinner party, it’s don’t make it too complicated!

What’s the point of preparing and hosting a get-together if you’re going to miss it all?

For our Lumberjack Party I knew I wanted a hearty menu to live up to the ruggedness of the theme. What’s a universal man meal? Meat and potatoes.

Lumberjack Menu: All Recipes/Links in this Post

  • Turkey Chili
  • White Chicken Chili
  • Baked Potatoes
  • Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread
  • Maple Bacon Cupcakes
  • Maple Flapjacks Cupcakes
  • S’mores on a Stick
The best part of this menu? I made most of it 1-2 days before the party to minimize day-of preparation craze.
A Lumberjack Birthday Party
I made two pots of chili – a traditional tomato based chili with beans and ground turkey. I also made a white chili broth-base with chicken and cannellini beans.

Turkey Chili Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb ground turkey
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 3  15oz cans kidney beans
  • 2 15oz cans black beans
  • 1 15oz can Mexicorn
  • 60 oz diced tomatoes
  • 30 oz tomato puree
  • 30 oz water
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 5 tsp taco seasoning
  • 4 T sugar
  • Tabasco to desired taste

Brown the turkey, garlic and onions first, then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes.

White Chicken Chili Recipe:

Modified from the Tennessee White Chili at FoodRepublic.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds diced chicken breast
  • 3 15-ounce cans cannellini beans
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 15oz can Mexicorn
  • 1 15oz can black beans
  • 1 container chicken broth, to desired consistency
Saute the chicken, garlic and onions first, then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes.

Baked Potatoes

Baked potatoes were the easy solution to the potato part of the meal. After I scrubbed some yellow potatoes, I wrapped them in aluminum foil. I cooked them on a cookie sheet at 300 degrees for 90 minutes.

Since I made the chili two days in advance, an hour before the party, I stuck the chili on the stove and the potatoes in the oven. Everything was self-serve.
A Lumberjack Birthday Party

I created a toppings bar on the sideboard of our dining room:

For the Toppings Bar

  • sour cream
  • shredded cheddar
  • chopped up bacon
  • black beans
  • diced chives
  • assortment of hot sauces.
A Lumberjack Birthday Party

Cornbread

I rounded out the meal with some Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread. I made Jiffy Cornbread, adding 2 de-seeded, diced jalapenos and 1/2 cup shredded cheddar per box of corn muffin mix. (For our party I made 3 boxes). Cook per box directions.

A Lumberjack Birthday Party

Beverages

I had several bottles of water on the table and several bottles of pop in the fridge. I also picked up some fun drinks: Maine Root Handcrafted Soda-Pop in Blueberry and Mandarin Orange (YUM! The Blueberry is my favorite. We discovered it at my cousin’s Maine wedding this summer!), Angry Orchard Ciders and some Summer Shandy (hopeful thinking – it’s almost summer, right?)
A Lumberjack Birthday Party

Maple Bacon Cupcakes

Recipe modified from The Fresh Fridge – for in-depth directions, check out her tutorial.

Maple Bacon Cupcake Batter: (This recipe yielded 24 cupcakes)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened (I replaced 1 tb with bacon fat)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

**NOTE: Keep an eye on these cupcakes while baking. I over-baked mine just a touch. Due to the maple sugar/brown sugar consistency it’s harder to tell when they are finished.

Maple Frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar

Candied Bacon

Fry bacon as usual in a frying pan – add brown sugar to pan while frying. Watch carefully to prevent burning. When finished separate bacon to dry and harden. I chopped into smaller pieces for the cupcake topper. I used 8 slices of bacon.

I sprinkled the tops of the cupcakes with cinnamon and plopped the cooled-down bacon on top.

A Lumberjack Birthday Party

Maple Flapjack Cupcakes

I’ll post on this separately – basically it’s just sugar cookies and maple chocolate frosting. I’ll share my technique later!
A Lumberjack Birthday Party

S’mores on a Stick

(This time I used chocolate chips and crushed graham crackers.)

Suffice it to say, we were all stuffed…. and candied bacon is dangerously easy to make.

Could you eat a bacon cupcake? Everyone was freaked out to try it, but I think they liked them!