Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bacon Themed Outside Dinner Party

Hi All! Spring is Here! Well, not today, it's raining here today.
This looks like a fall post, but, it's an outside party and that's what's on my mind! Soon it will be time to take my dinner parties outside again and I can't wait! These parties are a little less formal. I have room for more people and I don't usually have place cards. My last outdoor dinner party last year was on Labor Day Weekend. I went to the Dollar Store with my awesome helpers Sage and Sierra and tried to figure out what theme we could use based on what was currently stocked. They had already moved on to fall so, we went for a fall theme. I decided to use my glass plates this time although sometimes outside we go with paper. I picked up these large leaves, several for a dollar to use to decorate under the plates. The Dollar Store also had cute foam leaf confetti. I already had the fall leaf garlands and was able to place them down the center of the table with the logs and apples.
I found some very cool logs in the yard and with the help of my husband I used a Forstner bit to make space for tea lights. I also wanted to use apples to decorate and tried using the bit to clean out the apples but that didn't work. So I planned to core them out by hand right before the party and put tea lights in them. They turned out great but I'll probably never core out an apple again. Forty minutes before party time with Sierra looking on I was trying to make just a little more room in an apple and ended up splitting the web of my hand open with the paring knife. It still makes me shutter. Poor Sierra! She was calm and cool though. With the table not yet set and some people already on the way we had to have mom come get Sierra and we had to run to the urgent care. Should have had a stitch, but the doctor on call didn't do stitches. Boy did I bully my way through that visit. Yep! I just kept saying "my party is about to start and people are already on their way!" "I need to get patched up and get out of here!" Anyway, I got back to the party and quickly set up with everyone's help and one hand. Now I know what it takes to get out of doing the dishes after one of these and for the next 3 weeks!
It's very important to me that everyone be able to sit together. So I asked my husband to put a table together for me out of saw horses and plywood. He gathered 3 saw horses and two very large sheets of plywood and used screws to hold it all together. That's it! We just used the yard chairs and camping chairs we had and covered the table with tablecloths. I buy my paper (with thin plastic backs) tablecloths 7/$5 at Costco! And I've been able to keep the table out and have used it many times, including for my outdoor crafting!
At the time, I was trying to set up my Etsy Shop and I desperately needed professional photos. Que Julie Jenks and Liz Young, two very good friends and excellent photographers! They took the above photos and many, many more of my Glittered Wine GlassesChalkboard Glasses and Wine Glass Tags.
I haven't even told you about the food theme yet! Thanks to it's popularity on Pinterest I was bombarded by Bacon everything and I kept pinning Bacon recipes so we went with...Bacon! for the theme! Bacon everything! I had to replicate this poem floating around Pinterest. And, we smoked a sausage stuffed, bacon latticed pork tenderloin.

 I made Bacon Vodka from a recipe on Instructibles, which is really easy to make. I thought we would just have Bloody Mary's but I found so many recipes that called for bacon vodka. My favorite of which was the Pizza Shot! So good! It calls for Bacon Vodka, Tomato Juice, Pineapple Juice and a little Salt and Oregano. Very Yummy! (And a much needed medicament for my aching hand.) I also did the desserts with bacon. I candied the bacon, I chocolate covered the bacon, I tried to make mini caramel apples with candied bacon and even tried to make chocolate, caramel, bacon cookies. These last two...fails! You cannot get caramel to stick to wet apples! I tried drying them first and got them all covered, dipped in candied bacon pieces and into the fridge but came back and the caramel had completely slid off the apples. So I put the apples in a container and scrapped up all the caramel and bacon bits and saved it. I tried to just add candied bacon and caramel bits to my chocolate chip cookie recipe but of course there was too much fat in them and they just spread out in the oven. So those also got scrapped up in crumbs. My save? Vanilla Ice Cream with cookie and bacon/caramel topping! Lucky save!
So my after dinner plan was to use my dry erase board on it's home made easel to play Win, Lose or Draw. However, just as we sat down to eat it started raining! No rain was called for and we don't get rain in early September in Northern California! But we did that day. Thankfully, everyone was in great spirits and the rain felt pretty good in the heat so we just went ahead and ate in the rain. But by the time we finished eating our plates were starting to puddle with water.  As some people started leaving we just played games on our XBox Kinect inside and that was fine. I find that I need to be flexible and not as ridged as my head tries to be. I've learned with time and age that being flexible makes you a much better host. One day we will play Win, Lose or Draw and the ladies WILL win!
What are your favorite outdoor dinner party ideas? Please comment below. And be careful with those paring knives! (As I shutter again.)

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