Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Recipe Factory

Happy Hump Day all!!  I cannot believe it's Wednesday, and for that I am thankful...halfway there!

This past weekend we had our Housewarming Party (~6mo's after moving in mind you!) and I based my menu largely on two categories: 1) previous party winners, and 2) Pinterest recipes I'd like to try.  The idea was to create party foods folks could just grab n go.  Here's what the menu boiled down to along with all the recipes, hence Recipe Factory...

  • Veggie Platter...sliced cucumbers, celery, baby carrots, grape tomatoes, broccoli florets, and sliced red/orange/yellow bell peppers.  All served with Ranch dressing (I meant to grab a hummus too, whoops oh well.)
  • Fruit Platter: seedless red grapes, fresh cut pineapple, and beautiful strawberries served with this cream cheese dip (my fav!)  Must make with dark brown sugar though IMO!
  • Deviled Eggs by good ol' Better Homes & Garden: recipe here! (the only variation: I used dijon mustard and i added s&p)  throw the filling in a piping bag and knock them egg white halves out in no time!  oh and a side of cooked bacon for those non-veg folks.  mmm...i love bacon!
  • Spinach Dip  from the Knorr packet...with sliced baguette.  I add the optional water chestnuts.  I accidentally bought the whole ones (after accidentally buying baby bamboo or something?!) and instead of chopping by hand, I had the brilliant idea to bust out my mini food processor.  It took NO time and just as good results, I was SO relieved and happy to save time.
  • For the first time ever, I made 7 Layer Dip!  I know I know, how did it take this long for me to finally make, but I just always asked someone else to bring it :) it was SO super easy!  I always read the reviews and get some ideas to modify to recipe... 1) Omit the lettuce layer and add in a layer of guac instead; 2) add tapatio to the bean layer for a little extra spice; 3) drain your salsa really well (i bought a 24oz jar of Safeway Select and wished I had a little more for a thicker salsa layer!); 4) use 1.5 cans refried beans (I bought Vegetarian beans so my vegetarian friends could enjoy); 5) i used a 4.2oz can of sliced black olives and it was fine.  The dish was demolished; SCORE!
  • I didn't have time to make meatballs, so I bought the Aidells Chicken Meatballs/Teriyaki & Pineapple variety, threw them in a slow cooker with a ton of Kinder's BBQ sauce, and let um warm up.  Those were amazing as always and pretty carefree!
  • I also put out a fancy cheese platter with crackers n bread.  Who doesn't love cheese?!
Mains (Andy was in charge)
  • 2-3pks of pork ribs; my dad baked one pack at home and brought with him, Andy smoked the others.  served with Kinder's mild bbq sauce...delish!
  • Beer Can Chicken...wtg babe!
  • Best Broccoli Salad this was a new recipe I'd never tried before and I was pleasantly surprised at the ease and tastiness of it!  Andy never tried it, so I may have to make again.
  • I had to have a couple shortcuts, so the first one was pimping out my Aunt for some KILLER baked beans, via crockpot.  Those were outstanding as always.  And the second one was premade Mac n Cheese from Costco...i really really wanted to make this recipe I'd found on Pinterest, but alas I just didn't have enough time. Plus I've always enjoyed the Costco deli variety.  OF COURSE the Livermore Costco's Deli is getting a flipping makeover and was closed June2-8, grrrrr!  Had to go to Danville Costco and then, they only had one out and were in the process of making more when I showed up.  Just, go figure...oh and of course, I bought some King's Hawaiian rolls, because they're everyone's fav.
  • I had every intention of adding two more sides... 1) grilled cheesy corn, and 2) spinach salad.  Bought the corn...the spinach...pre-sliced the tomatoes for the salad.  Alas, there just wasn't enough time and I didn't have the energy.  Oh well, we had them Monday for dinner with friends instead!!  NOTHING goes to waste in my house :)
And last, but certainly not least...
  • Tried out these triple chocolate cookies.  They were ok...i think they're missing something, but they were easy enough to make.  I would GLADLY take recommendations for triple chocolate cookies!  
  • The clear winner were these gluten-free peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies.  Everyone seriously loved these, but again something funny is going on with the's greasy, and never really comes together, it's weird and annoying.  But hey, who am I to deny someone's fav!?  They even bake off greasy...funky.
  • Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies were probably the least popular, but I felt the need to provide something that didn't have chocolate lol.  This is my go-to Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe...I love the clove in it!
  • From my prior blog post, I made the perfect dark chocolate brownie recipe because it was quick and tasty. Totally forgot the vanilla extract though, boo.
  • I made Muddy Buddies and TOTALLY FORGOT TO PUT THEM OUT.  So annoying!  Oh well, more for us to enjoy ;) kidding!
Cocktails! (and all other Beverages)
  • We had a fishing cooler full of beers... AVBC IPA and Winter Solstice (still waiting for the Summer to show up at costco...), Lagunitas Brown Sugga, Kona: big wave, longboard, koko brown (mmm), and fire rock pale, Coor's Light and Miller High Life. Plus some tasty offerings brought by others...
  • White Sangria i now have midori and a ginger liquer should anyone need to use these for a recipe lol.  next time i pick a sangria recipe i am steering clear of having to purchase liquers i'm never going to use again!  le sigh, hindsight right?  Thankfully I got the Moscato fo' free from my in-the-wine-biz brother, yay.
  • Pineapple Margaritas were pretty tasty IMO!  Made a single batch and it was perfect...a little on the weak side, but folks just added more tequila if they wanted.  I always worry if it's too strong people won't drink it.  You can always add, but you can't subtract...
  • Wine: chardonnay, sauv.blanc, and rose (most of which went untouched it seems).  Somebody opened a red wine they brought.  Who drinks red when it's 95F out?!
  • Water!  We're talking all kinds: sparkly, flavored sparkly, and regular bottled.  I think we cruised through 2+ cases easily.  So glad I grabbed 3!  Oh and 120# of ice later too.  In-sane.
  • Soda: got the 8oz cans of Coke/Diet/Sprite cause it was on sale and had a few leftover of course.
Alright I think that covers everything.  Clearly this was a huge undertaking, and it's all in the planning!  Though the week prior leading up to the party was stressful for me because I was up way past bedtime every night.  Prepping either food or the house...and it still wasn't where I would've liked it to be.  At least we have frames on the walls, yahoo!  And curtains installed since we have no closet doors.  Plus all new electrical outlets, switches, and plates.  Our house doesn't look as old as it looks, hello 1956.  Someday we'll paint the exterior...replace the garage door & roof, woof...get that side yard under control and make a nice herb/fruit/veg garden...and take out that HIDEOUS frontyard hedge crap.  Despite the heat, most folks made it out and it was so wonderful to see everyone!  The one thing I hate about parties is not being able to sit n enjoy it, plus only getting to briefly talk to attendees bc you have to try n talk with everyone!

I don't have any pictures to show for it really, bummer.  I bought a new Jawbone Jambox from Costco as a gift to myself so that we'd have a decent sound system for the party and our home in general.  I got it on coupon and apparently it's on Groupon right now too for about the same price.  I love it, it works fabulously and if anyone's curious, "It is so choice...if you have the means I highly recommend picking one up." Name that movie ;)

That's all this week, not so much recipe breakdowns, but just some solid recipes I use and recommend making if you're curious!


  1. dang girl, what an undertaking - sorry we missed it! :(

    1. no worries, maybe we can host the annual holiday dinner and you can see it then! :)