Party Newsletter – November 2011

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November 2011
In This Issue…

Fun Thanksgiving Dinner Décor

Thanksgiving decorIf you’re lucky enough to be hosting Thanksgiving Dinner this year, then you’re in for some fun decorating. The Fall Season is full of so many rich colors to decorate with-deep reds, burnt oranges, and bright yellows, just to name a few. Leaves, Indian corn, pumpkins, acorns, and gourds of all shapes and sizes are also favorite decorating items of the season. Here are just a few crafty ideas for how to make your Thanksgiving Dinner Table a bit more festive this year:

  1. Instead of the turkey being the centerpiece, display a cornucopia bursting with Fall themed items in the center of your table. You can purchase a cornucopia, well, anywhere during the Fall! Fill it with gourds, Indian corn, miniature pumpkins, acorns and leaves. It will be a beautiful centerpiece for your table, although probably not as mouth-watering as turkey!
  2. If you have a chandelier or hanging light fixture of some sort over your dining room table, decorate it with all different colored leaves. Use thread or fishing line to make a long garland of leaves you’ve gathered from your yard and then weave it in and out of your light fixture, allowing strands of leaves to hang down.
  3. Fool your guests by originally setting the table with decorations as food. Set out plates and bowls of leaves, acorns, Indian corn, pinecones, mini pumpkins, etc. Tell everyone to “dig in” and try to hold back your laughter! Once you break the news to them that you are not, in fact, not crazy, move these bowls and plates elsewhere and they’ll just become more of the décor.
  4. Using construction paper, silly eyes, glue and scissors, turn your dishes into animals! Make them look like turkeys, deer, pheasants, raccoons, foxes, and other animals associated with early winter. These decorations will be fun for your guests to see and even more fun for you and your kids to create!

Check out all Thanksgiving party themes

Unique Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes

Pumpkin TrifleThanksgiving is definitely about tradition. But as comforting as comfort foods can be, sometimes we want something different, something with a twist, something a bit more unique. So here are a few delicious recipes for those of you who are daring enough to take the chance and try something that’s not on your usual Thanksgiving Dinner menu:

Oyster and Mushroom Stuffing

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 (12 ounce) package fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 cups dry bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 pint shucked oysters, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Melt margarine in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook and stir the onion and celery until the celery is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook and stir until they are tender and release their juice, 5 to 8 minutes.
  3. In a bowl, mix the bread crumbs, egg, and oysters together, and stir in the cooked vegetables with juices and margarine, chicken broth, poultry seasoning, sage, salt, and black pepper until well combined. Place stuffing into a 2-quart casserole dish.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until the stuffing is hot, the oysters are cooked, and the top is browned, about 45 minutes.

Fried Breaded Cauliflower (my fav!)

Ingredients

  • 1 lg. cauliflower
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 1 1/2 c. bread crumbs, Italian seasoned or plain
  • 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Cut cauliflower into medium pieces and steam partially through.
  2. Mix eggs and milk. Beat slightly.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix bread crumbs, cheese, salt.
  4. Coat cauliflower in egg mixture, then bread crumb mixture.
  5. Fry in 1/4 inch oil, turning each piece regularly.
  6. Drain on paper towel.

Pumpkin Trifle

Ingredients

  • 1 package (14-1/2 ounces) gingerbread cake mix
  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • 1 egg
  • 4 cups cold fat-free milk
  • 4 packages (1 ounce each) sugar-free instant butterscotch pudding mix
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon each ground ginger, nutmeg and allspice
  • 1 carton (12 ounces) frozen reduced-fat whipped topping, thawed

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, water and egg, beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Pour into an ungreased 8-in. square baking pan.
  2. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. When completely cooled, crumble the cake. Set aside 1/4 cup crumbs for garnish.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Stir in pumpkin and spices until well blended.
  4. In a trifle bowl or 3-1/2-qt. glass serving bowl, layer a fourth of the cake crumbs, half of the pumpkin mixture, a fourth of the cake crumbs and half of the whipped topping. Repeat layers. Garnish with reserved cake crumbs. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving.

All recipes can be found at cooks.com, allrecipes.com and tasteofhome.com

Have a Bad Movie Night

bad moviesI don’t know about you, but I definitely have a few favorite movies that are so unbelievably bad, that they’re amazingly good! On a cool November night, a few of my friends and I like to get together and watch some of these movies and just make fun of them the whole time. Throw in some movie theater snacks and drinks, and you have Bad Movie Night.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a comedy, a drama, or a thriller, if the acting is terrible, the plot is way over the top, and your friends and you have a great sense of humor, you’ll have a blast!

Oftentimes we just mute the movie and take turns making up what we think the characters are saying (Can anyone say “Mystery Science Theater 3,000”?) This is a fun way for everyone to express their own sense of humor—and for some really funny inside jokes to be born!

This theme is wonderful if you’re looking for something ongoing. You can have bad movie night once a month, each of you and your friends taking turns picking out the movie and hosting for the evening. Past movies included Catwoman, Barb Wire, anything from Ed Wood (though the movie with Johnny Depp was fantastic), Battlefield Earth (on second thought, don’t. We all fell asleep, it was so boring!), Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (and the sequel, which was, believe it or not, one of George Clooney’s first staring movie roll!!), and my favorite, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

And the theme will never get old. I mean, let’s face it, Hollywood manages to turn out some pretty awful movies on a regular basis. You and your friends will never be in short supply of comedy material!

Yikes, Christmas is Right Around the Corner!

SantaWith Christmas fast approaching, many of us are probably finding ourselves scratching our heads and thinking, “I have no clue what to get Pam!” I’ve found that nothing helps compound this issue more than waiting until the last minute to do my Christmas shopping.

For the last few years, I’ve made a conscious effort to start shopping for my loved ones a couple months in advance – and I suggest you do the same! Just as Santa draws up a list, so do I. I actually start in the summer, writing down the names, then gradually thinking of gifts. Once, one of my friends said “Oh, man, if only I had a *****!” I wrote it down when I got home, and four months later, he received it. (I asked his wife first, of course, just to make sure she wouldn’t get it. Her response was, “Oh, yeah! Sure.”)

Many people are under the impression that “the good sales” don’t happen until “Black Friday” and after, but merchants know that more and more people are beginning to shop earlier in the season in order to avoid the craziness that is the last few weeks right before December 25th. Because of this, these merchants start offering fantastic sales as early as late October.

Each year I do my homework by looking through the weekly circulars and checking out major department stores websites on a weekly basis, looking for the best deals. When I see the perfect thing for that hard to buy for person, I buy it! I don’t wait, hoping for a better deal; if you know it’s perfect for them, don’t hesitate.

In addition, looking through the flyers and websites gives me ideas for gifts I never would have thought of, ultimately making it so much easier to buy for those I love.

And yes, in the whole scheme of things I might spend a little bit more money than I would have if I had waited until the last minute to get the best deal(s), but I’m telling you, it is so worth it not to have to put up with those crowds, traffic, stress, etc.

So this holiday season, give my method a test-run and see what you think. I bet you’ll have a more fun holiday season with a lot less stress!

Theme Party of the Month: Turkey Bowl Thanksgiving Party

Turkey Bowl Football Party SuppliesThanksgiving and football have gone together since….well, since there’s been both! Why not combine the two this year? Have an awesome (and oh so yummy) Turkey Bowl Thanksgiving party.

Great Foods for Game Day: Planning Your Party Menu

It’s Thanksgiving, so do serve plenty of traditional eats; just give them sports-style nicknames and present them to guests with a football flourish. A great way to do this is to print the names of the party foods on a sheet of paper, cut out, glue or tape to a toothpick and place at jaunty angles into your yummy dishes. Here are some suggestions:

  • Blitz biscuits (dinner biscuits of your choice, home made, baked from pre-rolled in the refrigerated aisle at your local supermarket, or purchased bre-baked and then reheated at home)
  • Blitz bread (an alternative to blitz biscuits above; sliced multigrain bread — make your own if you have a machine, or purchase from a great local bakery)
  • Sideline sausages (cook these with onions and green peppers, tailgate party-style, and put out as appetizers, or as a side dish)
  • Second String beans
  • Mash-You-Up potatoes(mashed potatoes, any variety; try adding a little garlic and rosemary, mmmm)
  • Quarterback sack stuffing (sausage stuffing, traditional bread stuffing or cornbread stuffing)
  • Super (Bowl) salad (salad of your choice)
  • Pack a Big Punch (berry juice with sparkling water or with clear-colored soda such as 7-Up or Sprite; add alcohol of your choice for the grownups if you wish, or keep it non-alcoholic and family friendly)

Read more ideas for this party, including how to play Touch Football …

Sales and Coupon Codes for Online Party Merchants

Celebrateexpress.com – coupon code gobble15 – Save 15% off any order size. Discount is applied before taxes, shipping or duties, and can not be combined with any other offer. Use coupon code at checkout. Good through November 20, 2011

Shindigz.com – Coupon code WSNFX4 – Save 15% on orders $85 and over! Order is for ground shipping in the continental US, and can not be combined with any other offer. Expires at the end of December, 2011.

Next issue in early December. See you then, and happy Thanksgiving!