Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Week 14 & 15 Assignment - Results

I know...I've done it again!  :(  I let a one week project get the better of me and it took two...but not exactly for the reasons you might think. For one thing, we've been trying to potty-train my almost 3-year old daughter and let me just say we've been less than successful!  I've always heard girls were easier to potty train than boys...guess the people who told me that haven't met my daughter!  :( She caught on to going #1 in the potty no problem, but two weeks in and she flat out refuses to go #2 anywhere but in her pants.  :(  We've tried every kind of bribery (stickers, candy, toys, and even trips to the zoo) and finally resorted to taking away all her "Princess Dresses" until she does it because "Princesses don't go poo poo in their pants!"  Any suggestions, friends??  In my spare time...the "crown molding" went up in one day and really wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be, but I never got around to painting it because I had another, much more time-sensitive mission on my plate - the Hubs' Surprise 40th Birthday Party!!!  For obvious reasons I didn't let you in on the secret until after we pulled off the coup of all coups, but I'm ready to share with you all the ups and downs of what went into planning my second most elaborate party to date (the first was my wedding!).

This all started 10 years ago at his 30th Birthday Party.  I threw him a surprise "Roast" and couldn't believe how many of his friends couldn't wait to embarrass him publicly!!  People created Power Point presentations, prepared detailed speeches, brought props (the blow up doll was my favorite!) and turned my little idea into an absolute blast.  So it seemed fitting to revisit the "Roast" for his 40th!!  I saw a pin on Pinterest with a party that had a Beer and Bacon theme and knew I had my muse!  It all started with the invitations, that I created through Heritage Makers.

In fact...I think I can say there are three reasons this party turned out as fabulous as it did...#1 - Heritage Makers, #2 - Pinterest, and #3 - The Queen of Party Planning, my good friend Amber!!  Not only did I make the invitations through Heritage Makers, I also made the cupcake toppers...

The food labels...

And the tags for the favors...

I won't bore you with the details...but if you want to learn more about how I made them just let me know!  :)

Now onto my #2 reason for my party success...Pinterest!!  Once I found my theme, Pinterest was an amazing resource for party ideas, recipes, and just plain old party tricks!  I did searches on "beer", "bacon", and "beer and bacon" and came up with a ton of ideas.  Couple that with pins Amber (my #3 reason for my success who should really be promoted to #1 now that I think about it) sent me and I was on a roll.  I will say I learned a VERY valuable lesson, if you are planning a surprise party for someone you live with...you may want to rethink using "bacon" as your primary food ingredient!!  It is almost impossible to cook bacon without them coming home and asking "What's that smell???"  :)  Luckily, with the help of some friends and family who prepared some of the main dishes for me, we were able to pull off quite a spread!  Here's the menu (everything contained either beer and/or bacon) we used in case you  are tempted to give it a try...

Bacon Popcorn - It's a good thing I didn't read HOW you make this until after I ordered the food labels or I probably never would have tried it.  It's basically popping corn in bacon grease...eewwww. But it turned out to be a huge hit and was actually pretty yummy!  And SUPER easy to boot!  I was a bit grossed out at the comments that suggested pouring melted bacon grease over the popped corn like you would butter...definitely didn't do that!!  I thought it was fine on it's own.  :)

Beer Dip and Pretzels - We added the 1 cup of shredded cheddar and doubled the hot sauce as some of the reviews recommended and it was FABULOUS!!  This was one of the dishes I farmed out...Big thanks to my sister-in-law for making 5 batches!!  :)

Bacon Wrapped Cheesy Crackers - I can't tell you how many compliments I got on these!  Super easy to make and really yummy!  Just take note that they have to bake for 2 HOURS!!

Bacon Wrapped Brats - These disappeared so fast, I only got one...but man was it tasty!!

Beer Mac & Cheese - Soooooo good!!  I think this is going to become my new go-to Mac & Cheese recipe...sorry Kerri's Grandma (the creator of my current go-to recipe)!!  Thanks to my mother-in-law for whipping up two batches of cheesy goodness!!

Bacon Potato Salad - I had so many people ask me for this recipe!!  They said it was the best potato salad they'd ever had...must have been because it was gone by the time I got to it!  :(  Super thanks to the Queen of Party Planning for whipping up a double batch of this one!!  I think I'm bringing it to my niece's birthday party later this month!!

Spicy Beer Beans - This was by far the easiest recipe on my menu...but everyone loved it.  I did have a couple of people say..."all it needs is some bacon bits"...which in hindsight would have probably made them even BETTER!!  This may be a summer cookout staple around here.  Especially since they can be served hot or cold.  And did I mention how easy they were?????

Beer Lollipops - Yes, you read correctly...BEER LOLLIPOPS!!  Everyone looked at me like I was insane - especially the guy down at our local home brew store where I bought the hops.  But I have to say they turned out great!!  Once again, the Queen of Party Planning came to the rescue and let me make her beautiful home smell like a brewery!  And when we didn't finish, she made the rest for me later in the week.  What a lifesaver!!!  There is NO WAY I would have been able to make these at home without the Hubs wondering what the #$*@ I was up to!  We used a really hoppy IPA (Stone Ruination) and "Amarillo" hop pellets.  Kind of a pain but definitely worth the effort!  If you want to give them a go, click on the website in the pin description...it was the only way I could pin it.

S'mores Bar with Beer Marshmallows - Since I finally had a permanent spot for the fire pit, it seemed like a perfect excuse for s'mores...but I wanted to stick with the Beer or Bacon theme.  Kudos to Amber for stumbling across this one on Pinterest!!  I just used the portion of the recipe to make the beer marshmallows and all I can say is WOW!!  They were amazing!!  I used my favorite beer, Blue Moon, and have to say they are probably the second yummiest thing I've ever made...#1 is coming up!!  To keep them from sticking together I just tossed them in a bag of powdered sugar after I cut them into squares and gave them a good coating.  And they were easy to make...definitely worth a try for your next campfire excursion!!  (Yes, I will be bringing a batch to Sequoia friends in case you missed them this go round!)

Guinness Jameson Baileys Cupcakes - Yep!  Why have only one alcohol in your cupcakes when you can have three???  That's just how I roll!  :)  These are by far the most delicious food I have ever made in my entire life!!  And don't let the terms "from scratch" or "ganache" intimidate you.  These cupcakes, although amazing, are remarkably easy!!  One little trick I found on Pinterest absolutely saved my life...if you haven't tried the saran wrap trick for filling frosting bags, DO IT!!!  I have always hated frosting cupcakes because I end up wasting a bunch of frosting and making a huge mess. This is soooo the way to do it!  I did it for both the ganache and the frosting and filled and frosted 72 cupcakes in under an hour.  That's a land-speed record for me!

Speaking of booze...in addition to a heathly selection of beer, I got a bee up my butt to make Bacon Habanero Infused Vodka!  (Thanks Zane Lamprey of "Drinking Made Easy" for introducing me to this little wonder!)  While the process was a little disturbing, the end result was phenomenal!  I found a recipe on Pinterest (of course!) for Bacon Infused Vodka and just added Habanero flakes when I put in the bacon.  I used a neat trick I got from Amber on how to cook bacon in the oven...way easier and less messy than on the stove!  I don't think I'll ever cook bacon on the stove again!  I used the Bacon Habanero Infused Vodka to make...

The Bloody Pig - Basically a Bloody Mary with Bacon Vodka, but the Bloody Mary Mix in this recipe is the bomb!!  I give it four hooves up!!  And once again, super easy to make but super impressive!  There's no shame in letting people think I worked harder than I really did, right??

The Dirty Pig - Basically a Dirty Martini with Bacon Vodka (the website I took it from called it the Pickled Pig...but I liked the name Dirty Pig better!).  I'm definitely not a Dirty Martini kind of girl, but I have to say this turned me around.  I don't know that I could drink a bunch of these, but I really enjoyed the one...okay two...that I had!  :)

I have to apologize now for the total lack of pictures of all these goodies...but I have to admit I had so much fun I totally forgot to take pictures once everything was set up.  In fact, I think I took less than a dozen pictures the whole evening.  Oops!!  But I guess the moral of the story is 10 packages of bacon + lots of booze + good food + tons of help + really good friends = an amazing evening!!  I really am not exaggerating when I say tons of help!!  When the first guests arrived I was no where near ready, but they swooped in and helped me look much more on top of things than I really was in no time at all!  I really REALLY couldn't have done it without you guys!!

Oh yeah...the "crown molding"!  Well, the long and the short of it is Tracy and I got it installed in about 3 hours and it was pretty easy going up.  Is it easier than "real" crown molding?  Definitely in the cutting, but the downside is you have way more seams to deal with, and it's pretty delicate.  I have a few finger dents from pushing it into place that I wasn't anticipating.  For a small room I don't think it's a bad option, but I definitely won't be doing this in my "great room"...I'd have a hundred seams.  Since I haven't finished caulking and painting it, I have no idea if the seams are going to be a pain or not...but I'll definitely let you know!  :)  In the meantime, here's what it looks like so far...

What do you think????

No comments:

Post a Comment