Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pinwheel Party - Ella's First Birthday

Walking through Target a month before my daughter Ella's first birthday, my darling angel was on the verge of losing her marbles from being so tired.  I quickly picked up the closest thing I thought would interest her and handed it to her hoping it would buy me the few more minutes I needed to finish my shopping.  That "thing" happened to be a pinwheel, and Ella was captivated.  That 99 cent pinwheel saved the day. Not only that, it provided the inspiration for my daughter's first birthday party...a Pinwheel Party!
I wanted the theme to be very vibrant, but still have the little girl aspect to it. This is why I decided to make the color scheme pink, yellow, lime green, and a little touch of purple.  Of course this choice made it impossible for me to use the cheap red and blue pinwheels Ella had found at Target, but we'll get to that later.
I decided to make my own invitations with cardstock I bought at Michaels and Tall Mouse.  I used solid color paper as well as paper with pocadots.  I folded the paper to make a pocket so the invite details could be pulled out and used a brad to attach a pinwheel I made with cardstock. The live version is much better, but this photo at least gives you the idea.

I elicited the expertise of my mom to sew Ella her party dress.  I even found pocadot fabric make the pinwheel on the front.
The party was outdoors, so I wanted pinwheels to decorate the lawn and tables. I looked online, but pinwheels were either not my color scheme or just way to expensive for my taste.  I decided to make my own. There are several websites that show you how to make pinwheels with easy instructions.  For mine, I bought 3/8" dowel poles from Michaels which I cut into 12" sections and painted with the colors of the party.  My husband drilled a hole at the top, and I bought a thin dowel pole which I used to hold the pinwheel. A wooded peg/bead (that I painted as well) was attached to the end of that.  While this looked great, the pinwheel did not spin, and I wanted them to be able to twirl at the party. I ended up cutting a straw to fit over thin dowel.  This is slippery enough to enable the paper pinwheel to spin.  I placed these pinwheels in the grass bordering the party as well as on the tables.  I found the vases in my party colors at Michaels as well.

I decided to serve cupcakes and made mini pinwheels in the same colors as the larger ones. I attached the pinwheels to colored toothpicks. I also make a cake for my daughter to dig into (it's tradition right?).  This was a plain white cake, but I designed a pinwheel out of frosting on the top.  Above the cake table is a banner I made using my Cricut.  It was a windy day, so it blew letters around a lot.  If I were to do this again, I would use thicker cardstock and affix it to the ribbon.  For this one I only just hole punched it and fed the ribbon through not thinking about the weather.
To thank everyone for coming to celebrate with us, I made chocolate pinwheel suckers in the party colors.  Super cute, but very time consuming.  The contrast color I painted on which took a long time. I also had bubbles for the kids to play with at the party.  The pinwheel napkins I randomly found at Target.

This was such a fun birthday theme and although it took time to hand make all the pinwheels, it really did not cost that much. It made a great theme for my little girl. I think it would be a great theme for a baby shower (just change color scheme for a boy) as well.  Maybe with the saying, "Cannot wait for the wind to blow you into our lives" or something cheesy like that.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cookin' Up a Top Chef Themed Dinner

Interested in hosting a dinner party, but not worried about doing ALL the cooking yourself?  Then host An Episode of Top Chef themed dinner!  This was an amazingly fun dinner for everyone and super tasty too!  If everyone only has to bring one thing and its their specialty, then of course the menu is going to be amazing!  For the invite to this dinner, ask guests to sign up for which category they would like to enter (appetizer, side dish, or dessert.) I had 3 slots in each category, so I could make sure I had each category equally represented.  I also asked guest's to email me the recipes so I could create a recipe book for each guest as a parting gift.  I provided the main dish.
Decor: I used a black tablecloth and made a centerpiece out of a stack of cookbooks, a cloth chef's hat (purchased at Party City), and a green pepper and onion.  Basically anything cooking related. I also created a sign modeled after Bravo's Top Chef logo and listed the "Cheftestants" as well as the date of the party as the episode air date.  At each place setting, I created "Rate the Plate" sheets for each course in which guests were to score each dish.  I also made chef hats out of white poster board and tissue paper which I wrote the "Cheftestants" names on as placecards/ party fun!  You can find tons of tutorials for this online.

Menu:  Since the focus of this party was yummy food, I'll get right to the recipes...

Appetizer:  Rustic Roma Calzones
 1 package shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 tube Pillsbury pizza crust

Spray baking sheet with Pam.  Spread pizza dough and roll it out and cut it into squares.  Add mozzarella, pepperoni, and spaghetti sauce. Fold the dough into a triangle and roll up the corners.  Bake at 425 degrees for 9-13 minutes.

Appetizer:  Pigs in a Blanket
Mini Hot Dogs
1 can crescent rolls

Cut crescent roll dough into small strips.  Wrap strip around  hot dogs and place on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake in 350 degree oven until dough is slightly browned.

Appetizer:  Goat Cheese Brushcetta
French Baguette
Goat Cheese
Bottled Bruschettas from Trader Joe's

Slice bread and lightly toast in oven. Spread goat cheese on toasted bread and top with a spoon full of brushcetta.
Main Dish: Poulet a la Marguerite
9 chicken breasts
16 ounce whole berry cranberry sauce
8 ounces French salad dressing
1 envelope onion soup mix

Mix cranberries, French dressing, and onion soup together.  Place chicken side by side in a 9 x 13 pan and spray with cooking spray.  Spoon sauce over chicken.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1½ hours.  Remove foil near end of cooking time.

Side Dish: Taco Soup
1 lb.  ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
Taco seasoning packet
1 can of black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can corn
1 can crushed tomatoes
Small jar of salsa

Ground the pound of ground beef, add onion and taco seasoning packet.  Mix the remaining ingredients in a large pot or crock pot. Add the cooked meat mixture and simmer for at least ½ hour.  Optional garnishes: sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, cilantro chopped olives
(optional) serve with corn chips

Side Dish: Grandma’s Amazing Cheesy Potatoes
6 White Rose (may be called White New Potatoes) Potatoes , Boiled (Cool and Shred course)
2 cups cheddar cheese (grated)
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup green onions (chopped)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cups sour cream (room temp.)
2 tbsp. butter melted (dot on top)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Add the cheese to the potatoes first, then add other ingredients.  Bake uncovered 25- 30 minutes or until center is hot. I usually make a double or triple batch for the family.

Side Dish: Vegetables with a Dijon-Basil Dressing
Hariot Covert thin green beans
1 red pepper, sliced into strips
Button mushrooms. Quartered

(in blender)
4 cloves of garlic
1 bunch basil leaves (20-25 leaves)
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste

Boil green beans.  Saute peppers and mushrooms in olive oil.  Drain after cooked. 
Blend and drizzle in olive oil until it becomes a thin consistency.  Pour over vegetables.

Dessert: Magic Cookie Bars
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
½ cup margarine, melted
1 cup chopped walnuts
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
¾ cup butterscotch chips
1½ cups flaked coconut
1 1/3 cups sweetened condensed milk.

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  In a 9 x 13 inch pan, pour in melted margarine. Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs evenly over the margarine. Next place the chopped nuts over the crumbs, and spread the chocolate and butterscotch chips over the nuts. Add the coconut over all, and pour the milk evenly over the top.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly brown on top. Cool at least 20 minutes then cut into desired sized bars.

Dessert: Chocolate Dipped Oreos
½ package melting white chocolate
10 oreos
10 chocolate chips

Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler on the stove.  Drop oreos one at a time into chocolate to coat.  Use tongs to remove oreos and drop on wax paper.  Refrigerate.  Melt milk chocolate & swirl on top of oreos with a spoon.

Dessert: Peanut Butter Chocolate Crunch
Use leftover melted chocolate from previous recipe
2 large spoonfuls of Peanut Butter
¼ cup mashed peanuts
3 caramels

Melt and mix together all ingredients.  Put on wax paper & refrigerate.  Then drizzle with chocolate & refrigerate again.  Break into pieces before serving.

After we were full as can be and scores were tallied, we announced the winners.  I made ribbons in each category for the winners.  Everything was delicious though...I would make any of these recipes again for sure!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Added Touches for a Disney Dinner

To celebrate the 3 year mark of hosting my monthly dinners, I decided to throw a typical 3-year old birthday theme in October of 2009.  I looked up common themes for 3 year old parties, and Disney was top on the list.  Hence, the Mickey Mouse theme which I titled Three Years of Fun.
Decor:  I used a red tablecloth and Minnie Mouse stuffed animals as the centerpiece. (I chose Minnie because these dolls were given to my daughter when she was born, so I didn't have to purchase anything). I wanted it to really look and feel like a little kids party, so I bought the Mickey party plates, cups, and party hats from Party City. I blew up red, yellow, and black balloons to have at the front entrance.  The place card and the Mickey head on the napkin are actually paint swatch cards from Home Depot!  There is a Disney Cricut cartridge that can make things like this, but I don't own it, so I improvised.
Home Depot swatch!

Menu: Serving an elegant meal would not have fit with my little kid theme, so I decided to do something typical, but spice it up a bit...hence, Mickey Mouse hamburgers! I just shaped the burgers with Mickey ears before I grilled them and then used pickles and olives for the eyes, a tomato for the nose and ketchup for the mouth.  I served these with my mom's recipe for potato bites (super easy & yummy), and finger jello in circles and stars.
 No birthday party is complete without a cake.  I made the Mickey Mouse cake pictures at the top of this blog using 2 sizes of round cake pans - one for the face and the other for two ears.  I piped on the frosting to create Mickey's face.

As a parting gift, I wanted to give the girls something to remember our 3 years of Monday dinners.  I had been saving the corks from our wine bottles since the first dinners, so I decided to make each guest a wine cork trivet.  Very easy to make...just used hot glue to adhere the corks together in a square. I wrapped them in Mickey Mouse wrapping paper to tie it with the theme.

Friday, October 14, 2011

House of Horrors

Although I am not a huge fan of Halloween, the second monthly dinner I ever had with my friends was a House of Horrors theme.  I asked all guests to wear black rather than do the costume thing.  It didn't have all the creative flair that my current parties have, but the main activity/menu was super fun.  If you are throwing any kind of Halloween dinner party, you have to do this!  Instead of making a formal invitation for this party, I simply sent out a "menu" to guests and asked them to chose their courses and implements (a.k.a eating utensils) for the evening.  Of course, guest's had only their best guesses as to what they were really ordering or would be given to eat with.
Menu: The food for this one can be almost anything.  It just needs to be able to be made ahead of time. Some of the items I served (each as a different name on the list) were:
*  spaghetti                     * split pea soup              * green beans
*  ice cream sundae        * chicken drumstick        * deviled egg
*  meatballs                    * brownie                       * eyeball cupcake
The fun part of this is that your guest's do not know what they signed up for, so it is all a surprise!  They may have signed up for the cupcake and green beans as the first course, while another guest's first course could be a chicken drumstick and a deviled egg.  The same goes for the implements which have to be strange things.  Some of the implements I used were:
*  extra large serving spoon         *  mini cocktail fork       *  tongs
*  chopsticks                              *  celery stick                *  toothpick

This made the meal even more hilarious because guest's were eating split pea soup with tongs, mashed potatoes with a celery stick, or a brownie with a toothpick!
The only thing to keep in mind if you want to host a dinner like this one (and I highly suggest it if your numbers are under 15), is you definitely need a cheat sheet as well as an extra helper in the kitchen to get items on the plates correctly. Remember, each plate is different for each course depending on what the guest filled in as their menu.  The guest's also had drink choices.  For these, I designed simple labels for the wine bottles.

Decor:  I didn't do anything super crazy with decorations for this one.  Lots of cobwebs, spiders, skulls with candles on the table, etc.  Basic Halloween stuff.  I bought one of those 100 packs of tealight candles to darker the room. I played haunted organ music in the background. I carved out a pumpkin and filled it with ice to chill the wine.

As I said, this was only the second monthly dinner I had, so it had not evolved to the type of dinners I have now, but it was super fun and brought us lots of laughs.  If I were to do a Halloween theme again, I would definitely give these Hershey bar favors I found on pinterest.  They are from which has great ideas for a mummy-themed birthday party!  These Hershey favors are so easy to make & look how adorable! Check it out!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Twilight to Eclipse

Nothing like a book full of teenage drama and vampire escapades to pick for a monthly dinner party theme.  As a high school English teacher, I felt it was my responsibility to read the Twilight book series since it is so popular among my students.  I did actually enjoy the books, so I decided to theme a monthly dinner after the series, From Twilight to Eclipse.  The invitation for this party could be a movie ticket (the girls and I did go see the movie together on a different night).  You could also make the invite a flyer for a Forks Town Hall Meeting (it takes place in Forks, WA) to discuss warnings about wolf attacks.  The best part about this party is the decor which is one reason it was voted Favorite Decorations by my friends.

Decor:  At your entry, create a sign that says Welcome to Forks with arrows pointing one way for Werewolves and the other way for Vampires.  I also set out the Twilight book with a real apple on top to make the cover 3D.  For the original party I threw in July of 2010, I also had the favors set out on the entry table.  One was Bandaids in a small clear party sack with "From the Office of Dr. Carlisle" on the tag.  The second favor was a pack of Eclipse gum with a quote from the Eclipse novel.  At the Top 5 After 5 Favorites party, I didn't need the Twilight themed favors, so I added a wolf scarf (borrowed from my mom) and some red vases with candles.
The table was amazingly beautiful.  I used a black tablecloth with a burgundy runner I bought at Target.  The centerpiece was a cake platter with apples arranged on it as well as 10-12 pillar candles.  I borrowed a few candlestick holders and got the rest at the Dollar Tree. I also set out a side table with more candles and the remaining two books - New Moon with a dying rose (like the cover) and Eclipse with a red ribbon. To play up the blood theme, I bought bottles of sangria at the grocery and covered the original label with these printable vampire bottle labels I found online.  As a place card, I printed each guest's name on white paper and stuck a mini fork through the paper and into a red apple. 

Menu: After doing some research online, I found out that ravioli is Bella's (the main character) favorite food, so this is what I decided to serve. Here is the yummy recipe I found online...

Ravioli with Sun Dried Tomato Sauce

1 pound frozen meat or cheese ravioli
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes in puree
8-ounce can tomato sauce
1/4 cup red or white wine
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried
1/2 cup heavy cream
Grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to the boil for the pasta.  Add salt and the ravioli and cook according to package directions.  Drain well and return to the cooking pot to keep warm. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a large skillet or saucepan and cook the onion over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes until softened.  Add the sun-dried tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, wine and pepper.  Cook gently, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring often.  Stir in the basil and cream and cook 5 minutes more.
I paired this with my mom's yummy recipe for garlic bread, a vegetable medley, and a Caesar salad.  I stuck a toothpick in each guest's food with Team Edward or Team Jacob just for fun.

For dessert, I made werewolf cupcakes! These cupcakes are very simple to make.  You simply take chocolate frosting and frost a cupcake trying to leave jagged edges and forming two ears at the top. I then used two green M&Ms for the eyes and one brown M&M for the nose.  The mouth I piped on with red and then white frosting in a tube.

This was a fun theme to do.  All the candles created a mysterious atmosphere and added to the ambiance of the party.  Of course, if you decide to do this theme now in 2011, you would need to add on the final book, Breaking Dawn. This would mean adding a white chess piece (again like the cover of the book) some where in your decor.  Your parting favor or an addition to your dessert could even be a white chocolate chess piece.  The possibilities are endless! 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Survivor Soiree

Television shows make excellent party themes. I realized this back in June of 2008 when I flipped on the TV one evening and saw a clip from a Survivor episode.  While I am not really a huge fan of living for months in dirt and eating cockroaches, I do love challenges and the thrill of competition.  This is what I decided to bring to my Survivor Soiree monthly dinner (not the gross bugs).  A cute invitation for this would be to send guests an application similar to the application someone would fill out to be a contestant on the CBS's Survivor.  You can find this on the Survivor website.  You just have to change the info to reflect your event.  Another idea would be make your invitation look like a torch or send a bandanna or map with the party details written on it. In my invitation, I asked guests to dress in camouflage, but only a couple did.

Decor:  Set up tiki torches on the walkway leading up to your door.  If you can get palm tree branches or other shrubbery, this just adds to it.  As guests enter they are given a colored bandanna or strip of fabric to symbolize which team they will play on.  I gave them out as guests arrived alternating colors, so the teams were random, and I wouldn't be accused of stacking my team with good players!  My table was set using a black tablecloth and coconuts as the centerpiece. The coconuts are actually drinking cups I found at Party City which is where I also got the camouflage napkins.  I also added leaves to the centerpiece to add more jungle theme.  My place cards were handmade torches with each guest's name printed on them.  I saved toilet paper rolls and covered them with the paper from brown paper lunch sacks.  I then crumpled red, yellow, and orange tissue paper as a flame.  The bottom of the flame was held together with safety pin.  This gave guests something to grab a hold of when it was time to "extinguish" their flame (see activity section). 

Activity:  This party was the winner for Favorite Activity at our Top 5 After 5 party.  Just like the television show Survivor, there were several activities which pitted the red team against the yellow team.  I set the party up to have an elimination after each challenge.  To do this, I put each guest's name on a strip of paper and placed it in the coconut designated for their team.  If the red team won a challenge, I would pull a name out of the coconut designated for the yellow team.  That player would then "extinguish" their torch (yes..that means pull the tissue paper flame down into the toilet paper roll!).  Even though players were eliminated from being the Ultimate Survivor of the evening, everyone still participated in all the challenges. There were a total of 7 challenges:

Challenge #1:  Memory Tray --  large tray with camping/survival items on it.  Give guests a couple minutes to memorize items. Then take the tray away and have them make a list.  Team with highest number wins.

Challenge #2:  Target Practice -- create a large target using butcher paper and red paint.  Each team member must shoot a toy bow & arrow at the target.   Two shots, best score counts.  Team with highest score wins.

Challenge #3:  Tent Set-Up -- time which team can put up a tent the fastest
 Challenge #4:  Puzzle -- I created two puzzles each with a collage of photos from past monthly dinners.  I just did mine on the computer and printed them on card stock.  It was too much money to have them done professionally.  Team that puts both puzzles together the fastest wins.

Challenge #5: Survivor Guess -- Quiz with clues of survivor movies, tv shows, and books. 
Team that has the most correct wins. 
Challenge #6:  Can Tower -- Two members of each team are blindfolded and have to stack empty soda cans into a tower.  The other two members have two marshmallows each & can use these to try to knock down the other team’s tower.  Tallest tower at the end of 2 minutes wins.  This game is SOOOOO fun!!

 Challenge #7:  Paper Chain -- Use blindfolds to tie all members wrists to another team members.  Give cut paper strips and tape to each team.  Team that works together to create the longest paper chain
in two minutes wins!

Food:  Unfortunately, this is one of my parties that I cannot remember what my main menu was.  I do, however, remember the appetizer and dessert.  These were the only "bugs" allowed at this Survivor Soiree!! As an appetizer, I served spider crackers. I simply cut green olives into slices for the eyes and created a sandwich with cheese and Ritz crackers.  I then used 8 Chinese noddles to represent the spider legs.  The dessert was also a spider.  I frosted cupcakes with chocolate frosting and made eyes by piping white frosting onto the cupcake.  I used red hots as the eyeballs and cut thin black licorice into strips to use as the 8 legs.  I looked everywhere for thin black licorice and finally found it at Sweet Factory.

This party was so much fun because it was active. It would make a great game night or a fun birthday theme for someone who is outdoorsy.  I have also used some of the game ideas as leadership lessons to play with my high school student leaders.  They are fun, but also involve teamwork and overcoming obstacles.  Definitely one of my favorite dinners that involved an activity!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


In the category of Favorite Dessert, the cake from our May-Pole Day Dinner in 2010 was the winner.  As you will see, this is not necessarily because of the taste (although it was yummy), but because of the comedy.  This is a dinner theme that took some bravery on my part, but turned out a huge hit.  I started out with a simple pastel invite which read:
May Day is typically May 1st...
a day to celebrate the arrival of
Spring and weave the beautiful ribbons
around the Maypole.
Let's celebrate this day with an
evening of ribbons and dancing for a...

"May Day Dinner"

Arrive wearing you favorite dancing shoes, a colorful ribbon in your hair, and an appetite for merriment.

Little did guest's expect, but they arrived in their pastel shirts and hair bows to see this poster on the front of my door...
Decor:  Oh yes, conservative little me hosted a stripper themed party!  After entering, guests were immediately giggling at the metal shower rod with a blow up stripper doll on it!!  There were also dollar bills spread out on the table to add a little more fun, and I wore some black lingerie with tall boots to play up the theme even more!
Notice the guests in their pastel shirts & ribbons!  So funny!
Oh, and let's not forget the placecards.  I used bright red straws I "borrowed" from Jack in the Box and found images of strippers online.  I cut out the strippers and glued them to the straw replacing the image's face with the face of a funny!!

Food: As is typical with my parties, I tried to find menu items I could link to theme.  Here is what I came up with...
  • Herbed "Strip" Steak with Balsamic Sauce
  • Silver "Dollar" Potatoes
  • Asparagus "Poles"
  • "Stripper" Cake
As I mentioned at the start of this post, the cake is what won for Favorite Dessert!  It is a simple vanilla cake baked in a 9 x 13 pan and then cut with a knife in the shape of a body.  You need two cupcakes as well.  The entire thing is frosted with peach frosting and then I piped on the stars in red and the blue stars for the bikini.  The belly button I made just by sticking the bottom end of a wooden spoon slightly into the cake.  The cake was a huge hit.

This is one of the parties that is still talked about by my friends because it was so unexpected.  If you are brave enough, it really is a fun Ladies Only party.  There are even pole dancing fitness classes offered in many cities that would be a fun (and funny) fieldtrip!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fond-of-You Fondue

In the category of food, the girls voted the Fond-of-You Fondue party as their favorite.  This was our party theme back in January of 2009.  If you've never had fondue, you really should give it a try.  It is absolutely amazing.  Just know it can get very expensive depending on what cheeses, meat, and fruits you buy.  One way to make it less expensive is to ask your guests to each bring part of the meal.  An invitation for this party could be a fondue pot with the event title on the outside and a fork coming out the top.  Make the pot like an envelope so the fork can pull out and put your event details on a strawberry or piece of meat/cheese (paper of course) that is on the bottom of the fork.

Decor: This party was all about the food, so there were not many decorations.  You need a lot of fondue pots, so these become your centerpiece.  Just remember, you are using hot oil, so you'll need to protect your table.  This is why I used a plastic tablecloth over another old tablecloth. You can also play up the Fond-of-You part of the theme by writing fond wishes on the plastic tablecloth.
The placecards at this party were fondue pots made out of cardstock with the party title on the front.  The fork in each pot matched the fondue fork colors the guest would be using for the evening, and the guest's name was written on the paper fork.  Upon arrival, all guests were given small slips of paper with the name of each guest in attendance printed on one of the papers.  It also had the words, "I'm fond of you because...".  The task was to fill in the rest of the sentence with a positive comment, fold it, and place it in the fondue pot placecard.  This was easy for our group to do because we had been having monthly dinners together for over  2 years when this party took place.
Food: This party was voted favorite menu for the food.  Here are the recipes for some the fondue we made that night.

Dipping Items:

 French bread

Veggies – carrots, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.

Top Sirloin Steak, cubed

Fruits – strawberries, bananas, berries, apples, etc.

Cakes – pound cake cubes, lemon cubes, etc.

Classic Cheese Fondue

 2 loaves French or Italian bread – get unsliced

1 pound Emmenthaler cheese, diced (or use Swiss)

2 tablespoons flour

1 clove fresh garlic

2 cups dry white wine

1 tablespoon lemon juice

¼ cup Kirsch (or Rum)

Nutmeg and pepper or paprika to taste

Cut bread into 1” squares with crust on one side of each square.  Place cheese in a bowl and sprinkle with flour.  Mix so that each piece is coated with flour.  Rub casserole and wooden stirring spoon with cut clove of garlic.  Pour wine into the casserole and place or moderate heat until small bubbles rise to the top (simmering; not boiling).  Add lemon juice.  Add cheese one handful at a time, stirring constantly until each handful is melted before adding another.  Continue stirring until mixture starts to bubble lightly.  Add Kirsch and spices.  Stir until well blended.  Put on table over warmer.  Serves four.


Fiesta Fondue

1 10¾ ounce can cheddar cheese soup

1 8 ounce package sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup salsa

1 cup whole milk

Mix together over low heat.


Hot ‘n’ Spicy Dipping Sauce

 1 cup chili sauce

½ cup chopped onion

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons salad oil

1 teaspoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons vinegar

1 clove garlic, crushed

½ teaspoon tobasco

¼ teaspoon dry mustard

¼ teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in saucepan.  Heat to boiling; simmer 5 minutes.  Serve warm or cool.  Makes 1¼ cup.

Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce

 ½ cup sour cream

¼ cup crumbled blue cheese

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

¼ teaspoon salt

Combine and refrigerate.  Makes ¾ cup.

Chocolate Mocha Fondue

 1 bag semi-sweet or mild chocolate chips

1 can sweetened condensed milk

2-4 tablespoons of instant powdered coffee granuals

Whole milk or more condensed milk as need

Melt one bag of semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips in a fondue pot. Stir in one can of sweetened condensed milk and 2-4 tablespoons of instant powdered coffee granuals, to taste.  Add whole milk or more condensed milk as needed to achieve desired thickness.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fondue

4 (1 ounce) squares of unsweetened chocolate

1 cup light cream

1 cup sugar

¼ cup peanut butter

1½ teaspoon vanilla

 In medium saucepan, combine chocolate and half and half. Cook over low heat until mixture is smooth and blended, stirring frequently. Add sugar and cook 2-3 minutes longer, until sugar is dissolved. Add peanut butter and vanilla and stir until blended. Remove from heat and pour into fondue pot or chafing dish. Serve with slices of fruit, angel food or pound cake, and marshmallows for dipping. 6 servings