Sunday, October 19, 2008

california knows how to party?

Screw that! Germany knows how to party! Or at least this California girl knows how to party in Germany.

The Event:

The Guests: All of my neighbors and friends who I hadn't seen in 11 months, and some I had never met before.

The Menu:
The Devilish stuff:
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups flour
1 cup oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup solid pack pumpkin (canned pumpkin)
1 cup (or an entire bag) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. combine flour, oats, soda, cinnamon, and salt. Cream butter, gradually add sugars. Beat until likght and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Mix well. Mix in flour, alternating with pumpkin. Mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake about 17 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack.

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes (square bars)
**my notes: These were GOOD. Like, almost too good and they better be good for the amount of cottage cheese they will put on your butt. I can certainly see why these got such awesome reviews. But, I could have done with about half the powdered sugar and a little more spice flavor. Next time I think I'll try that.**

Apple- Toffee Tartlets (round things on the green plate)
**my notes: I didn't use toffee. I could only find Heath bars and I didn't want to spend 20 minutes scrapping the chocolate off the bars, so I ditched the toffee and added a little more brown sugar. I made a double batch and used 2 Granny Smith apples and 2 Honey Crisp apples for a little variety. I made these the night before and refrigerated them. Before the party began my friend K pour caramel sauce over the apples and they were scrumptious! These will be made again for sure. **

Cheese Plate
- cheddar cubes
- pepper jack cubes
- fresh mozarella
- Babybel assortment
- Table Water crackers
- 7 Grain Kashi crackers

Apple Zucchini Crostini (the pieces of bread w/ the green and white stuff ontop-- on the green and white plate)
**my notes: These were good and I've never been big on goat cheese. I should have baked the bread a little longer so it wasn't as chewy, but overall I really liked these and the apple zucchini mixture tasted really good the next day.**

The lowfat stuff:

No Bake Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake
**my notes: This was just... meh. It would have tasted a lot better had I remembered to add the pumpkin pie spice. Sorry people who tried it. For me, it had too much orange flavor and not enough pumpkin flavor... but that could have something to do with the fact that I accidentially forgot about the orange juice/ gelitan for about 15 minutes...**

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
**my notes: At first glance at the recipe, you are going to say, "Why on earth is this in the 'lowfat' section??" Um, because I could only make one full fledged Paula Deen recipe in good conscious. I don't want to be responsible for my guests corinaries. So I modified this one. Instead of using the oil, I used applesauce and I replaced half the sugar with 1/2 cup of honey. I also used probably a cup more zucchini than it called for but I'm not sure because I didn't measure it all. I just used 2 medium sized zucchinis. This came out good, but was a bit too orangy for me.**

Hot Chocolate Bar
(Hot Chocolate recipe modified from a few different sites)
- 1 gallon of milk
- 1 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- a little vanilla
- 3/4 cup hot water

Combine cocoa, sugar, salt, vanilla and water in a sauce pan and heat on the stove, stirring constantly, until the stuff looks like chocolate syrup. Then cook it a little longer, maybe a minute or 2 until it bubbles, but don't boil it. Turn your crock pot on high and pour the syrup into your crock pot and then pour the milk in. Stir to combine the milk with the syrup and let it sit until it gets hot (about 90 minutes in my crock pot).

Cut up Heath bars and Milky Way bars, crush peppermints or candy canes and place in bowls. Put out some mini marshmallows and whipped cream and let your guests go wild.
**my notes: I didn't want the chocolate to be too strong or sweet so it wouldn't be too overpowering once people added the fixings to it**

Hot Apple Cider
-2 gallons of good apple juice or apple cider
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- the zest of 1 orange
- 6 whole cloves

Pour apple juice/ cider into a stock pot. Add cinnamon sticks, orange zest and cloves. If you are lazy like me, you should put the orange zest and cloves into some cheese cloth or put it into a tea ball and tie it to the handle so you don't have to strain the cider once it is hot. Let the cider simmer until hot then remove the cinnamon sticks, cloves and orange zest. Serve with caramel sauce and whipped cream, if you want.
**my notes: I think it would have been a little better if I had added some brown sugar to it, maybe 4 or 5 tbsp. Also, be sure to remove the cinnamon sticks! OOPS! Forgot to do that and it was way too strong by the end of the night.**

Ghoul's Punch
**my notes: the frozen hands were a little too much for me, so I went just froze cranberry juice in icecube trays instead. When the juice cubes melt, it makes a really pretty autumn inspired colored drink. This was a favorite for sure and would work well for any time of year**

Food that didn't make it to the table:

Garlic Salami and Pepper Salami for the cheese plate -- Totally forgot to put it out!

Pumpkin Spiced Ginger Snap Truffles
-- I found these in Better Homes and Gardens October issue and thought they sounded good and they were easy enough to make. However, I decided to taste the chocolate to make sure it was ok. I'm not really a chocolate person in the first place... I tasted a little of the chocolate, like 1/4 teaspoon, and it triggered the worst migraine I have ever had. But I had to get them rolled before the chocolate set and was useless so I powered through until I had to stop because I was almost doubled over. Most people would love to have a gooey chocolate mess in their hands but honestly, I would rather mix meatloaf with my hands than deal with chocolate. I'm weird that way. To me, this stuff was so strong that even the smell of the leftover chocolate in the bowl was enough to make me sick all over and I had to tie a cloth over face when I did the dishes. So the truffles went in the fridge and stayed there until last night, when I finally worked up the courage to throw them out. And I'm not going to lie when I say I just tossed them, container and all, into the outside trash. I didn't want to risk the smell triggering another headache. I'm getting a headache just reliving it!

If anyone wants the recipe, even after my glowing review, let me know and I will post it. I'm sure they are great, if you like chocolate and strong chocolate at that.

The sign of a good party:The food was pretty much gone. Despite the farmers deciding to fertilize the acreage behind our house no less than 2 hours before the party started, the house spelled darn good, but was a huge mess. Crumbs and toys were everywhere; I was finding extra socks and sippy cups for the next 3 days. It was perfect and could not have been better. A clean house at the end of a party would be a bad sign! Messy means people had fun and that is exactly what I want.

I am so glad that everyone was able to come and those who couldn't make it were missed. We had a good time and I hope that we are all able to get together again soon.

PS. If your kid is missing a pair of socks, a sippy cup, a burp cloth or a book, they are here. And if you are missing a black scarf, it's on my coat rack!


Anonymous said...

awwwwwww looks fun. Im happy you have a live there, but I wish you would set up your ichat and have a life with me. The food looks delicious...num. I want some!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for this post - I just gained five pounds reading it!
Seriously, AMAAAAAZING. Obviously it was a great party. Congrats - glad it went so well. Great pics.

Imcombobulated said...

OMG. I haven't had breakfast yet and now I don't want anything in my house. I want your party food! I am dying here!

Jenni said...

Wow! Look at all that food! I love your invitation too! Sounds like you had a great time! I need to come to one of your parties! You're like the hostess with the mostess!

Anonymous said...

PS...I almost forgot. Please go immediately out to the trash, retrieve the too-chocolaty-chocolate, proceed directly to the Post Office and send it to my address.

Anonymous said...

omg, I am STARVING now! That all looks sooo good. I may have to attempt a little baking myself now! I've got a ? for you: do non-dairy butter substitutes bake well? I think L. may be allergic to milk and I'm trying to keep myself dairy free for her.

mommy-medic said...

OMG you are such a domestic diva (that made ya cringe, didn't it?). That looks amazing. I don't see how you managed all that AND had children running underfoot. unless you have lots of benadryl :)

Jessica Ryan said...

Do you ever stop?!!!! I am SO glad you posted your pumpkin cookie recipe. I had misplaced it and had a hankering for them! YAY!

Anonymous said...

NANNA I MISS YOU... you better miss me too, or I might fly over there just to torture you.

Jessica Ryan said...

oh... and you have been tagged... stop on over to see what to do!