Monday, October 17, 2011

{Parties} Fall Happy Hour

Our Fall Neighborhood Happy Hour was on Friday evening and went off without a hitch. The weather wasn't the greatest, and we were forced to host the party inside, but it all worked out for the best. The kids had a blast playing together in our family room and the adults were able to hang in the dining room & kitchen {where the food & adult beverages were ;-}. And we finally had a chance to talk to everyone and get to know our neighbors a little bit better!

My favorite detail of the night was our signature cocktail, a spiked cider. It was served warm, which made it a great treat on a cool fall night.

Spiked Cider Recipe ::

Ingredients ::
- 3 oranges
- 3 tbsp cloves
- 8 cups apple cider
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 1/2 cups rum

Directions ::
1. Stud the oranges with cloves and place in punch bowl
2. Put cider and cinnamon sticks in a large pot on stove and bring up to a simmer
3. Pour mixture in punch bowl over oranges and add rum
4. Serve warm

**I doubled this recipe and had plenty for my guests. I even had a big pitcher left over, which I brought to our Gourmet Night on Saturday night!

Stripy & dotty straws from Shop Sweet Lulu added to the fallish flare of the happy hour. And I got them on sale, which was an unexpected surprise!

There really wasn't a theme to this party, but I did focus on a mostly white and black color palette. The previous owners of my home left me some amazing old finds in our garage when they moved out. There were old doors, windows, chairs, etc. {anyone that knows me could tell you that "a kid on Christmas morning" doesn't even begin to explain my excitement!}. An old black chair left behind in my garage became the display for the spiced cider. It has a dark lime cushion that is worn and ripped {the older and more worn, the better!}.

The pillow, feather wreath, and twig tree with hanging crystals were all items I pulled from my basement. They added a hominess and warmth to the set up.

Little bags of Johnson's caramel corn sat on the buffet, which I had already decorated weeks before with lanterns and pumpkins.

The three tiered galvanized tray from PB has a new owner ;-} My friend Amy read my post about the tray a few weeks ago and just happened to spot one {last one in the store} on sale for almost 50% off a few days later. She was so thoughtful to pick it up for me, and it became home to all of the desserts I served that evening. Thanks again, Ame!!!

I filled an old mason jar with candy corn and a tealight and added some more caramel corn bags to the top tray.

The second tier was filled with mini tootsie pops, cookies, and...

...marshmallow pumpkins. A picture I spotted on Pinterest was my inspiration for this treat -- I simply inserted a popsicle stick in the marshmallow, dipped it in orange candy melts, let it dry on wax paper, and then added ribbon for the stem.

The bottom tray housed vanilla cupcakes with homemade toppers. Using black ric rac and sparkly black craft balls that I already had, I glued/tied them to the sticks and inserted them into the cupcakes. Easy.

Last but not least, I made mini candy corn puddings for the little ones. I bought miniature clear cups at the dollar store and used left over mini spoons from my Wigs & Wine dinner party last year. Then I made one box of vanilla pudding, halved it and added yellow and orange food coloring to each half. After scooping a layer of yellow and then orange, I added whipped cream on the top and a little candy corn as a garnish.

Appetizers were mini cheesesteak egg rolls, buffalo chicken dip in the crockpot, a hot black bean dip, and fresh cut veggies with dip. No pictures -- it was a busy night!

**GREAT weekend -- I soaked in every second of the beautiful fall weather we had!
**Maura's "Apple of my Eye" party is this Saturday -- details soon!
**A new fall soup is coming your way tomorrow.
**Happy??? Monday ;-}

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