Tag Archives: cupcakes

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!

Katie Spade, I love you

I’m fairly inept when it comes to fashion designers. Like, really inept.

I like what I like and never really pay attention to “what’s new”.

Except for the miniscule fact that Kate Spade has weaseled her way into my pysche and refuses to budge.

And that’s okay.

Girlfriend’s got style.

She’s colorful.

She takes all the things I loved about Lisa Frank pocket folders in second grade but makes them socially acceptable for adult to publicly admit to liking.

She’s quirky. She doesn’t take her business too seriously.

We share a deep bond of communal love for polka dots.

She’s classic.

This bag is called the Beantown Bag. Kate, if that means you need someone in Beantown to test the waters… sign me up.

She’s got a sense of humor.

And her storefronts are my ideal playground…. I wonder if they do birthday parties…

And she minds her manners.

Kate, when you are ready to release some products at a deep discount, I am oh-so-ready.

Until then I will just lovely look at until unicorns and rainbows are dancing before my eyes.

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For my fellow Boston friends, if you are looking for a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, make your way down to Newbury Street. After scoping out the fabulousness that is the Kate Spade store, stop in at Sweet Bakery, also on Newbury Street (although they have several Boston locations).

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We tried out the Sweetcake, Cookie Dough and Blueberry Pancake cupcakes.

The Blueberry Pancake cupcake with Maple frosting definitely took the cake.

Pun intended.


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Happy President’s Day!

I hope you are also enjoying a fine vacation day today!

DIY Project: Cupcake Flags

Maybe you haven’t heard, but cupcakes are the new black.

You must be living under a rock if you haven’t experienced the cupcake fad explosion over the last few years. There are now whole stores devotes to selling cupcakes (Read about some tasty cupcakes I got for my birthday here) and The Food Network even has a new show, Cupcake Wars, devoted to the trend.

However, it’s “trend” status is morphing into “tried and true staple”. Many have questioned when the cupcake fad would end, but lately I’ve been reading how many event and catering specialists are now thinking it is here to stay. (Which I am personally quite glad to hear.)

Brides have been trading in the classic tiered wedding cake for trays of cupcakes in all colors and flavors. One wedding I went to this summer even had a “Cupcake Bar” (E – they were delicious by the way!).

Then the cupcake flag was birthed. See this beautiful example from (Hostess with the Mostess) below.

How did this begin? Perhaps hostesses wanted to combat the informality of the cupcake? Perhaps brides who had foregone the traditional “cake topper” wanted something special?

Just like “how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop,” the world may never know.

Martha Stewart has downloadable templates for these flags, which are fine and dandy if you find one that works for you. But, what if you want your name on it? Certain colors? A theme? You might get some strange looks if the cupcakes at Cindy’s baby shower have wedding rings on them.

What’s a gal to do? Custom flags of course!

Many vendors on Etsy can create custom beautiful flags for you. BUT, I would recommend trying to make your own.

I made my own flags for our wedding. Moose wasn’t feeling the cupcake suggestion, so we ended up serving cheesecake. But visions of wedding cupcake flags had already infiltrated my crazy bride brain, so I invented…. cheesecake flags!

The best part about making your own is that you can have as many different kinds as you want. An Etsy vendor will likely charge you per design. With color and text variations, I had about  27 different kinds of flags. (Overkill? Yeah. I know.)

The other, and probably more enticing, reason to make your own is the fact they they are very inexpensive!

I made 150 of these flags. Can you guess how much I spent?

Toothpicks = $3
Hot Glue = $3
Printing Costs = $5 (This is if you go to Staples and not print them yourself.)

TOTAL COST = $11

I was able to fit 27 flags on a sheet by flipping half of the triangles around to create square shapes.

I used Adobe Illustrator. If you don’t have that you could probably use Microsoft PowerPoint or Publisher (it’s just triangles people! There are also lots of nice rectangle flags, like the one I posted above if triangles scare you.)

After that, I cut them out and hot glued a toothpick to the back. Bada boom. Three episodes of Smallville later, I had 150 cupcake (er, cheesecake) flags ready to go.

No one noticed that the back was blank. (*Seriously, wedding guests. Did you notice?) Heck, I wouldn’t have noticed. After I pulled that puppy out I would be eating that dessert with glee.

I hope this helps you make your cupcake involved event a little more celebratory and a little less expensive.

Cheers : )

Pssst… Images from (Hostess with the Mostess), and (FoodNetwork.com)