The first time we “entertained” (I really dislike that word) after our reno, was the time we hosted a Halloween Party for our daughter. It was on the small side but we considered it a great success. As fall approached last year we considered hosting another Halloween party. We decided instead to branch out and host a Masquerade Ball in the early spring. I thought as a nod to our time down in New Orleans, we could have a Mardi Gras party, but I was outvoted and thankfully so. We were shooting for early spring but it was May before it finally came to fruition….long after Mardi Gras.
We ordered invitations from Zazzle. It was our first time ordering from them. I initially just assumed I would order them from Etsy, but once I began to research I could not justify the price. I found the exact invites at a fraction of the cost. We were able to customize them to our specific needs and when they arrived they were perfect. We spent an evening sealing the black envelopes with gold wax seals.
We served sparkling cider in acrylic champagne flutes I purchased from A.C. Moore. Using clear rock candy as swizzle sticks, the glasses looked perfect all set up on a large, gold, heavy vintage serving tray I picked up at a thrift store. If you plan to use this idea at your own party, be sure to pour the sparkly into the flutes once guests arrive. The sugar in the rock candy will quickly dissolve if the sparkling cider sits too long. We draped some large strands of beads for added sophistication.
I ALWAYS go for things that give me the most bang for my buck. Oh yes, I see things all over the internet and magazines that I would love to make. But I definitely know my limitations and I only attempt what I am pretty certain I can achieve. There is nothing worse for me than preparing for a party and being stressed out because my results look nothing like the pictures on Pinterest! I am a realist no doubt!!! I consider the ease of preparing the item, the time it takes and how long in advance they can be made. Will the ingredients be readily available when needed. Will they make a good presentation? Will the guests like them enough to actually eat them, not just compliment their appearance? For this party I put together skewers with fresh strawberries, brownie bites and marshmallows. The berries luckily were in season. Deliciously red and plump, they looked tasty drizzled with chocolate. I had previously purchased a 3 tier desert plate with white porcelain plates and gold toned accents. It was meant for something super special but wasn’t sure exactly what. Then one day while I was browsing A.C. Moore for party ideas I came across these ChocoMaker Belgian Dark Chocolate Dessert Cups . Hmmmm. I had never used them before but I knew I could come up with something to make them look elegant…….I bought 3 boxes and the day of the party was ecstatic to find not one broken cup! I filled these with fresh raspberries and blueberries and topped them off with just the tiniest dusting of sifted powdered sugar.
We also served cheese cubes topped with a grape on a party toothpick. We filled a large apothecary jar with multiple boxes of the Ferrero Rocher candies purchased from Sam’s Club. These are pricey and I found that Sam’s Club has the best price for a large quantity. My daughter really, really wanted to use a fondue pot. Her idea was to make pretzel bites such as those served at Mellow Mushroom or Auntie Anne’s with warm cheese sauce for dipping. Thankfully I insisted that we make a batch ahead of time to see how they would taste after they sat a while, cause no way would I be able to pull off getting everything ready and making homemade pretzels all simultaneously. I am so glad we made the extra effort because they were yucky. I had a backup plan. I had been salivating over images of the Kings Hawaiian Sliders that were popping up everywhere as of late. This would be the perfect time to try them out. Oh and boy did I. They were delicious! I reviewed multiple recipes with all types of tweaks and found one that I kind of tweaked a little still and they were point on! The recipe I used is at the bottom of this post.
I bought a box of the frozen cheesecake bites (also from Sam’s Club), made a vegetable tray with Hidden Valley Ranch dip….Needless to say we had more than enough food. I found some gold plastic silverware (is it still silverware if it’s plastic?) at Target, tied with a thin black velvet ribbon. We sat one of the invitations on a tiny easel on the buffet bar. All in all I was very pleased with the results.
My daughter really really had her heart set on draping white tulle from the ceiling. I had to repeatedly remind her that this was not her wedding we were planning, just a little party for her and her 8th grade friends. Ultimately we did use white tulle lined with tiny white lights. We had limitations that were, well, very limiting! My ceiling and trim were not going to be riddled with tacks, brads or any other type of damaging adhesive. In the end we made it work but it was not easy. That was the one thing that I expected to be the easiest but turns out was the most difficult. Maybe because it was our house and not an event hall….
It was sort of at the last minute, but I realized the front door needed something! Thankfully this super easy decoration took all of ten minutes to complete. If I would have had the time to source out larger masks, I would have. But overall, think they turned out well.
As guests began arriving in their finest ball attire, music was turned up, lights were turned down, candles were lit and the sparkly began to flow.
It was a fun night enjoyed by all!
Now for that epic Pinterest fail that I promised!!!!!
HAWAIIAN HAM AND SWISS SLIDERS
2 Pkgs King’s Hawaiian Original Sweet Dinner Rolls
Deli Ham, Turkey, Swiss and Provolone
1/3 c mayonnaise
1 Tbs poppy seeds
1 1/2 Tbs dijon Mustard
1/4 C butter melted
1 Tbs onion powder
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
Slice all the rolls ( to make it easier, and so the rolls won’t mush up when slicing, I put mine in the freezer for 30 minutes or so and took them out right before slicing. Made it much easier)
Lay the bottoms of the rolls on a prepared baking sheet or cookie sheet. If you want them to be a little more toasted, you can omit the baking spray. Really squeeze the rolls together, as if making one large sandwich.
Spread mayo on the top of the roll bottoms.
Layer the deli meat and cheese (you can do this as thin or thick as you like) again, just do this as if you are making one large sandwich, after they are baked you will use a knife to slice into individual size rolls.)
Place the tops on the rolls
Mix the dijon mustard, worcestershire, onion powder and melted butter. Whisk good and pour or spoon over the entire top of the “sandwich”.
Cover with foil and refrigerate for an hour or so. This allows the flavors to really soak in. Some people say to leave in the fridge over night. I just left mine maybe an hour. Took them out, topped with poppy seeds and then baked covered for 20 minutes or so and uncovered 10-15 more. Bake until the tops are golden and the butter sauce is a nice glaze. You should be able to see the cheese all gooey and starting to melt.
Once removed from the oven, use a knife to cut into individual size rolls.
Play with this recipe for variety. I tried using honey mustard on some as I can eat honey mustard on ANYTHING, and honestly since the first time I made these it was for kids, I wasn’t sure how they would respond to the Dijon. Truthfully, the dijon was better in my opinion. They honestly couldn’t have turned out any better.