Friday, December 11, 2020

Snowman Themed Dinner Party

We are in the last month of 2020, and at least here in California, we are still in quarantine-mode with stay at home orders.  I am definitely ready to be back at work and life with people in general, but for now, my monthly dinner parties are continuing to be virtual.  For a little December fun, I decided to have a snowman theme for my monthly dinner.  I know...not a whole lot of snow to be found in sunny Orange County, but it was a super easy and fun theme to put together.

  I wanted to tie in that this is the last month of a hard year with COVID-19, so I decided to title our dinner, "SNOW, MAN I am glad 2020 is almost over" because I am SO glad it is almost over even though it's hard to see the new year changing much at least for a while.  I kept the invite simple and used a fun snowy font that was still easy to read.

Party Details:
As this was a virtual party, I did not decorate my house or table as I normally would, but I did create some touches to give to the guests when they picked up their meal.  My party favor was my favorite! (I know I don't usually talk about the party favor until the end of my posts, but I am just too excited about this one!). Since toilet paper is in such high demand right now because of COVID, I thought it would be fun to incorporate it into the party.  I made snowman favors out of it!

It is fairly simple to make these, and I love them so much I think I may make them for my kids' teachers at school to put with a gift card or even for neighbors.  A gift that is cute, but also able to be used after the holidays!  To make these, I used 2 rolls of toilet paper.  I put a piece of packing tape on top of the bottom one and one brown pipe cleaner across before adding the second roll so they were at least loosely attached. I tied a ribbon around the middle as a scarf and added the face and buttons.  I cut these out with my Cricut and just glued them on.  For the arms, I used a second brown pipe cleaner, wrapped it around the other pipe cleaner once and cut it to be the length of fingers I wanted.  For the hat, I bought mini plastic cups (8 per pack) at the dollar store and spray painted them black.  Then I attached them to the top of a black circle of cardstock.

The tag for my favor played off the COVID hoarding of TP!

Another party detail was for the wine.  I designed two wine labels - one for red and one for white.  

The label for the red wine matched the party invitation and read, "Let it Snow and pour the Merlot."  The white wine label also had a snowman.  It read, "Let it Snow and let the wine Flow."

To spice up my napkin, I simply added a snowman eyes, nose, and smile using my Cricut and cardstock.  These were so easy because I already had the parts for my party favor.  I just needed to resize them and glue them on.

  I had a bit of simple fun creating a menu to go with a Snowman theme.  I stayed simple since the meal is "to go" style and needed to be easy to transport.  We started with Snowman Stew.  This was delicious and very easy to make.  I made it on the stove and then baked it in a casserole dish.  

I baked the snowman separately and then added them to the top.  Here is the recipe.  I doubled it for 10 people, and there was zero left.  Wish I would have tripled it for leftovers.

1.5 pound ground beef
1 package (16 ounces) frozen vegetables
1 can (10-1/4 ounces) beef gravy
Potatoes (prepared with milk and butter)
Whole black pepper for the eyes

Instructions:  Brown the beef in a skillet on medium heat until pink.  Drained it and add the frozen vegetables.  Be sure to take out the number of peas and carrots you want to use to decorate your snowman before you add the vegetables to the beef.  After the vegetables thaw, add the gravy and mix well.  Then, pour the mixture into a casserole dish and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  You can top it with your snowman mashed potatoes before you bake it or bake them separately.  I did them separately because I needed to transfer everything after baking.  To make the snowman, I used an ice cream scoop for the lower portion and a butter scoop for the head.  I baked them at the same temp and time as the stew and then added 3 peas for buttons, 2 whole black peppers for eyes, and a sliced carrot from the frozen veggie bag as the nose.  You can add a red pepper or ketchup to make a scarf, but I ran out of time to do this.

I also served a salad that I called a Deconstructed Snowman Salad. It was lettuce topped with 3 mozzarella balls, sliced olives, sliced carrot noses, and pretzel sticks.  The pretzels were like croutons and gave the salad a yummy crunch. I served the salad with a creamy bacon ranch dressing.

For dessert, I made Snowman Bark.  This was so cute & would make a great gift for neighbors, friends, etc.  Super easy.  Here's is how I made it:

1 package while chocolate almond bark
30 (or so) candy eyes
Red M&Ms
15-16 miniature peanut butter cups, cut in half
Black edible marker to draw arms

Melt the almond bark on the stove according to the directions on the package.  Then pour it into a lined baking sheet.  Smooth it out.  Then place candy eyes, three M&M's for buttons, and the halved peanut butter cup as a hat.  After this hardens and cools, use the black edible marker to add arms.  Then heat a small knife to cut the bark into pieces to separate the snowman.  Go slow and be careful.  Some of my snowman didn't make it as the bark cracked and decapitated them or they lost an arm!

Everything was super easy and fun for this dinner party theme.  We had a great time on Zoom eating our meal and sharing our lives with each other.  Of course, it is more fun to be together around a table, but that time will come again soon.  For now, I am grateful to be able to at least see my friends briefly when they pick up their food and then on Zoom.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season!

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