Hosting… lots of work, but totally worth it

Last week we celebrated my husbands birthday at our home. He wanted to be surrounded by his family and friends for his birthday. It was the first time 90% of our family and friends have been to our home since we were married over 7 months ago. I was raised with the thinking that your home should be presentable, and welcoming to all, and have really tried to make it that. This party was just one of hopefully many more times that I can open my home to family and friends.
There was a lot of prep work that needed to be done the week prior with many projects around the house needed to be finished. I used the motivation of over 50 people would be in my house to get me moving. I finished all the bedroom projects that I had been working on for months (I will post all that entailed soon). I also had a ton of ‘brandi-izing’ as my husband calls it, I call it cleaning, organizing, and arranging, to make our house a home! However, when Saturday rolled around, and the party was only one day away, there was so much to be done for the party, as I took it upon myself to provide all the food (well except the baked ziti so wonderfully provided by my father-in-law). I called in reinforcements, my friend Brooke! We cooked from around 1pm till after 6pm, and I continued later that night and the next morning.
The menu consisted of:
~Pigs-ina-blanket: little sausages wrapped in crescent rolls and cheese (cut each triangle in 3s and sprinkle cheese and roll the sausage, back at 350* for 15-20 minutes until golden).
~Cheese dip: Velveta* cheese block and a can of Rotel* diced tomatoes, heated till melted.
~Roasted Eggplant & White Bean Humus: Roast cubes of eggplant in oven (350*) drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper, in a food processor blend the cooled roasted eggplant, 1 can of white cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed, 2 garlic cloves, 1/3 cup fresh parsley,3 tbs lemon juice, and add olive oil for thick creamy consistency as you blend/process. Best if let sit in the refrigerator for flavors to set it.
~Frito pies: A bed of Fritos* topped with chili, cheese, and any other preferred chili toppings. I made the chili by browning 2 lbs of ground turkey and 1 onion chopped. Then added 1 large can of crushed tomatoes, 1 can of stewed tomatoes, 1 8oz jar of salsa, 1 can corn drained and rinsed, 2 cans kidney beans, 4 tbs chili powder, 1 tbs garlic powder, oregano, paprika, basil and sugar (brown or plain). You can add red or green peppers also, as well as any other peppers if you like it a little spicier. Cook in crock pot for about an hour.
Sweet Potato Burritos: (these can be made with larger tortillas to accommodate the hungriest members of your family!) Start with 4 cups cooked & mashed sweet potatoes, Saute 4 cloves of garlic and 1 onion chopped till soft. Stir in 6 cups of kidney beans (drained) then mash, add 2 cups of water gradually and heat till warm. Add 3 tbs chili powder, 2 tsp ground cumin, 4 tsp spicy brown mustard, 1 pinch cayenne pepper, 3 tbs soy sauce (allow a few minute to cool for handling). Divide mixture of beans and sweet potatoes evenly between warm flour tortillas, top with shredded cheddar cheese, fold tortillas burrito style (fold end in, then fold over and roll up). Bake on baking sheet for 12 minutes (350*). Serve warm. Can be frozen and reheated, they taste amazing still!
~Quesadillas: made by my good friend Bill, a recipe that I cannot share myself… sorry!
~Chocolate and regular Rice Krispies Treats
~Strawberry confetti cake: I tried to make my own cake from scratch, but used wheat flour causing the cake to be heavy and tasted like corn muffins, not cake!! It was the worst thing I ever made… So I resorted to the Betty Crocker Strawberry Supreme cake mix that I add sprinkles to. Turned out very moist! I topped it with orange icing to make a basketball for my husband, his favorite sport. Poor thing was having so much fun he didn’t even get a piece of his own cake 😦

Overall, the party was wonderful and so much fun being with so many friends and family! It was worth all the work that went into it just to see my husband have a wonderful day! Happy Birthday Joe!! I love you!!

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