Sunday, February 25, 2018

Girl Scout Cookie Dinner Party

Have your bought your Girl Scout cookies yet this season?  Chances are, you've had a young Girl Scout come to your door or ask you at the supermarket to buy some of those yummy Girl Scout cookies.  It may have even been my daughter!  Since my house is inundated with boxes of Girl Scout cookies my daughter is selling, I thought it would be perfect theme for this month's dinner party.

Invite: I designed this invite on PhotoShop using simple images. My daughter is a Brownie currently, but most people know green as the major color of Girl Scouts, so I used green and brown as my color scheme for the dinner and invite.

Entry Decor:  Making this tower of empty Girl Scout cookie cases was so easy. I stacked them up and used a little tape to keep them in place.  I cut the Welcome letters out with my Cricut and glued them to the front.  Then just set them next to my front door.  On the actual door, I hung two hangers with my daughter's Brownie and Daisy vests and a large Caramel Delight cookie cutout I painted on poster-board.

Table Decor:  I set the table with a green tablecloth and added Girl Scout touches through the centerpieces, napkin, and place card.  I stayed fairly simple and just added some creative touches here and there.

Michaels sells ceramic pieces, and I just happened to find a cookie jar that would work perfectly as a centerpiece. I found the Cookie time image online and printed it on vellum, then stuck it to both sides of the cookie jar.  The GS symbol I printed on cardstock and taped to it the handle.  Then I just placed a brown piece of cardstock under the cookie jar and surrounded it with boxes of various GS cookies.

I love my place cards, and honestly, they were not difficult to make.  I bought the brown foam pieces from Michaels and cut them into sashes.  I got 2 sashes out of each piece.  For the badges, numbers, and patches, I found images online and printed them on cardstock.  The troop/names I just used my Cricut cutting machine.  I tried to choose badges that applied to the theme or the dinner, but any badge would be fine. (I'm just a detailed oriented person!)  The place cards made fun photo props too...

I printed the GS symbol to glue to the front of brown napkins just to add another touch of the theme.

The wine charms were simple.  I printed out photos of each variety of Girl Scout cookie and tied them onto the stems of the glasses.

I made my wine labels on PhotoShop.  There's several websites online that pair wines with Girl Scout cookies.  Chardonnay is said to go well with Shortbread/Trefoil cookies, so I designed one label with that.  For my red wine, I just found a funny badge that had wine and cookies -- the ladies and I definitely earned this patch tonight!

Menu:  I wanted to use Girl Scout cookies in all aspects of my menu.  This proved to be rather difficult, but I included them somehow in most of them.  I started with an Asian Sesame Salad to which I added cut up Lemonades.  The dressing was delicious, and I enjoyed it on my salads at work for several days after the party.  The salad itself was romaine lettuce, mandarin oranges, wonton strips, sliced almonds, and cilantro.  You can add chicken, but I already had chicken in my main dish, so I did not.  Here's the recipe for the dressing:

1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 whole cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds 

Place the rice vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat and allow it to just come to a gentle boil, add the sugar and garlic cloves and let the sugar dissolve.  Remove the rice vinegar mixture from the stove and discard the cloves.  Put the rice vinegar mixture in a mason jar and add the sesame oil, canola oil, soy sauce and sesame seeds.  Allow the mixture to come to room temperature.  Screw on the lid and give it a good shake until the dressing mixes together.

For the main dish, I served Do-Si-Dos Peanut Thai Chicken.  I didn't really have a recipe for this. I just brushed teriyaki glaze on chicken breasts and put them in the oven.  I added a Thai Peanut sauce the last 10 or so minutes.  After the chicken was tender and ready, I pulled them out, added a little more peanut sauce to the top and then sprinkled crushed up Girl Scout Do-Si-Dos to the top.  I think I used about 8 cookies that I had crushed with a rolling pin.

These Sesame Peanut Butter Noodles are amazing!  LOVED THEM!  I didn't actually use the Girl Scout Peanut Butter Patties in this recipe, but I did use peanut butter.   You can add whatever veggies you want. I chose to add strips of red pepper, edamame, and shredded carrots.

6 oz. of your favorite Asian noodles (I used ramen)
2 tbsp. sesame oil
1 1/2 tbsp. peanut butter
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger root

Cook and drain the noodles according to the package directions.  In a medium bowl, add the sesame oil, peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger.  Whisk until well combined (it should be smooth).  Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss to coat. Add sesame seeds and cilantro as a garnish as desired.

Any Girl Scout cookie lends itself to an amazing dessert, but I chose to use Thin Mints.  I found a recipe for Thin Mint Cheesecake bars that I thought wouldn't be too heavy.  Delicious...

34 thin mints (or a generic store brand)
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg (at room temperature)
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 drops of green food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 8x8 baking pan with nonstick foil.  Add thin mint cookies, sugar, and butter to a food processor or blender and pulse until blended.  Press mixture evenly into the bottom of your pan.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.
For the cheesecake layer, whisk together the egg and sugar until light and foamy.  Add cream cheese, vanilla extract, and food coloring and mix until smooth.  Pour mixture over crust.  Return to oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until cheesecake layer is set.  Allow pan to cool on wire rack for 10-15 minutes, then transfer to fridge to finish cooling completely.  Cut into bars, drizzle with chocolate syrup, and add a dollop of whip cream and half a thin mint.

Favor:  The Thanks-A-Lot cookies make an easy favor to thank guests for coming.  I made favor bags/boxes out of Girl Scout cookie boxes just cutting them with scissors.

I added a tag that said "Thanks-A-Lot" for coming tonight.

Inside the box, I had a favor bag with 2 Thanks-A-Lot cookies and I made chocolate suckers in the Brownie symbol.

This was a super cute theme, and would be fun to do aspects of this party for an end of the year girl scout event.  We even used the Welcome cookie boxes for the Girl Scout meeting following this dinner.  Comment below to let me know your thoughts.  Thanks for reading.

Monday, January 15, 2018

PUN Party = Fun Party

Who doesn't love a good pun?  Puns -- play on words - make small jokes exploiting the various definitions of words we have in the English language.  As an English teacher, I love a good pun...gets me giggling every time!  So January's monthly dinner theme was all about puns, and I had so much fun coming up with puns for the decor, the food, the place cards, the favors, and anything else I could think of for this party.

Invite:  I wanted to incorporate as many puns into my invitation as possible. I think I got 4 in this one.  I chose the blue shades and burgundy as a color scheme because these were colors used in the toasting plates image and the "Pun Party" banner images I found online, but any color scheme would work perfectly for this party.

Entry Decor:  The night of the party it was raining, so I had to bring most of my outside decor inside. If you follow my blog, you know that our last party was a HO HO HOme Depot party where guests made a wooden Santa or a Snowman.  This is the snowman I made at that dinner party.  I just added a pun to it.

On the door, I used my Cricut to cut letters to spell Dumble (as in Dumbledoor from the Harry Potter series).  I put the his symbol from the novel as well.

This sign would have been outside as well.  To "whale"-come or welcome guests to the party.

Table Decor:  I had a lot of fun with the puns for the table.  I started with a centerpiece of four different puns.  I created speech bubbles with the puns to attach to each item so guests could understand the pun.

My favorite was the loaves of french bread that I cut to look like slippers/loafers.  These were super easy to create.  Just cut off half for the back of each loafer, and then scrape away the inside where the toes would go and a bit of the entire bottom. It's true...I love "loaf-ering" around with these ladies.

Also in the centerpiece was a bouquet of "carnation" flowers. I bought Carnation instant breakfast packets and some fake flowers.  I took off the flowers and replaced them with Carnation packets.  A pun with the French thank you - merci beaucoup became Merci Bouquet.

I also bought a small watermelon and a bottle of Heinz ketchup.  The watermelon for the pun "You're one in a melon (million)" and the ketchup for "Great to Ketchup (catch-up) with you."

On each plate, I made a small insert that I printed and placed in the center.  It encouraged guests to "eat your heart out."

For placecards, I wanted to come up with a pun with each guest's name.  This is a huge challenge.  I only had 6 ladies able to attend this party, so it was easier than trying to do it for a huge crowd.  Here's some of the ones I came up with for my friend's names:

When thinking of puns to go with guest names, you may need to try both first and last names.  I even had to do one friend's nickname because I couldn't think of any good puns for her first or last name.

For napkin rings, I used ring pops and carrots to create "one carrot (diamond) rings."  My kiddos enjoyed eating the ring pop suckers.  Then I washed the rings, carved a hole in a carrot with a screwdriver, and then put the carrot onto the ring.  You could add a diamond cut out of card stock under the carrot which might make the pun even easier to understand.

I made this small sign on PhotoShop to put on the drink table.  Parties are great chances to "wine (wind) down and (gopher) a drink".  I had a little clock next to the sign, but it kept disappearing...gotta love my kiddos!

I designed these wine labels for the three wines I served.  The red wine one "well red (read)" has open books designed behind it.  The chardonnay one is lyrics from a popular song right now.  "Now watch me Sip on Chardon-NAY NAY" instead of "Now watch me Whip; now watch me NAE NAE" song.

For wine charms, I made FACEcards.  A facecard is the Jack, Queen, and King in a deck of cards.  To make the pun, I just used Photoshop to put a photo of each guest's face in place of the queen's on each card.

Menu:  There are so many puns that go with food, so coming up with my menu was pretty easy.  I made menu tags to match the invites and other party decor.  For food, we started with a simple salad - romaine lettuce, cucumber, corn, bacon, and shredded cheese.  I used a "salad (solid) gold" pun as well as a "lettuce romaine (let us remain) friends forever" pun.

I made Cool Ranch Chicken for the main dish.  This is super easy to make and yummy (even my kids like it).  Alongside the chicken, I had a bottle of Ranch dressing that I added sunglasses to make it "cool".

For sides, I served green beans and cilantro lime rice.  "Thanks for bean-ing (being) great friends" and "Lime (I'm) glad we're friends."

For dessert I made a fruit tart with strawberries, kiwis, and blueberries.  It's Nilla wafers and butter for the crust, vanilla pudding and whipped cream for the middle, and fruit for the top.

Favor: Each guest took home a cheese grater I found at Dollar Tree.  I used a cookie cutter to cut a slice of cheese into a heart to attach to each grater.  I attached a tag to the front that read "I know it's CHEESY, but I am GRATE-ful for you!"  The girls loved them.

All in all, we had a PUN (fun) night.  Most of the guests came dressed up as a pun.  Pictured here from left to right:  Hawaiian punch, baking soda, chip on your shoulder, Freudian Slip, and Sugar Mama (she's got a bag of sugar wrapped in that baby blanket).

Hope you enjoyed this post!  Would love to hear your comments!