Roll Out the Barrel: Oktoberfest Party

Oktoberfest Party: Photo Booth

It was one of my best friends birthday recently so we decided to throw her a birthday party with an Oktoberfest theme. Whats not to like, beer, costumes, and German food.

To start I decorated with some beer and fall things I had around the house, empty bottles, beer steins, burlap runner, dried wheat and fall leaves. I also bought a blue and white harlequin tablecloth ( the official Oktoberfest pattern) from a party store and hung it over a curtain rod in my family room to make a back drop for a ” photo booth”. I had props like steins, lederhosen, German signs and Oktoberfest bibs from the party store. I set my camera on a tripod in front of it and tried to get shots of all the party goers.

I am also very lucky that I have some home brewing friends who made a keg of beer especially for our party, delicious!  But this is a great time to taste some of the fall varieties of craft beers like Oktoberfests and Pumpkins.

For appetizers I set up a “Pretzel Stand” I had assorted flavors, shapes and sizes of pretzels and dips to go with them. I even made some homemade Pretzel Bites by following this recipe. http://www.snixykitchen.com/2012/10/24/pretzel-bites-with-four-distinct-dipping-sauces/. I made the dough a day ahead of time and covered it tightly with plastic wrap. then boiled and baked the pretzels the next day. I also found that I needed to add about 3/4 c more flour than the recipe called for to get the dough to be the right consistency but I live in Florida and baking here can be weird.

Oktoberfest Party: Homemade Pretzel Bites

Oktoberfest Party: Pretzel Stand

For dips I made a Sweet and Spicy Mustard Sauce

1 c mayonnaise

3/4 c coarse mustard

2 T  jarred grated horseradish

2 T honey

Oktoberfest Party: Sweet and Spicy Mustard

a Chocolate and Toffee Dip

1 brick cream cheese softened

1/2 c brown sugar

1/4 c white sugar

1/4 c cocoa powder

1/2 c toffee chips (Heath)

1 t vanilla

Mix all ingredients together in a mixer on low until combined.

Oktoberfest Party: Chocolate and Toffee Dip

I also made Beer Cheese Dip using an Oktoberfest Beer instead of an IPA.

To make all of the food seem more festive I labeled them with German names on the tables.

For the main course we had Brats braised in Beer, Rouladen, Oma’s Potato Salad, Saurkraut with beer and apples, and Homemade Cucumber Salad

Oktoberfest Party: Rouladen

Cucumber Salad

4 cucumbers peeled and sliced thin

1 cup sour cream

2 T sugar

2 T white vinegar

1 t dried dill

1 t salt

1/4 t black pepper

Slice cucumbers and place in a colander to drain for 20 minutes, then mix all ingredients together in a large bowl

Oktoberfest Party: Cucumber Salad

Last but not least, everyone’s favorite, cupcakes. My friend made 3 different kinds for our Oktoberfest themed party. Apple Strudel, German Chocolate and Bavarian Cream. ( I will try to get the recipes to post on here)

Oktoberfest Party: Cupcakes

Fun was had by all, the food, beer and company was all delightful. Go on try some of these ideas at your next Fall party and share your tips below.

Graduation, A Broken Tooth, and a Chip and Dip Bar

My oldest child is officially a High School graduate and I couldn’t be prouder. We have looked forward to this for weeks, months, years. Everything was going smoothly, I thought I had everything under control and my niece was on her way to our house to share in the festivities. I was getting the linens from the top shelf of the closet for her when something hit me in the mouth.  Suddenly my mouth was filled with tiny pieces of grit, which after thinking for a moment I realized must be my tooth. An alarm clock had fallen out of the closet and hit me in the exact angle that shattered my front left tooth. It was 9pm and my sons graduation, the day we had been counting down to, was the next morning at 8 am. I had a melt down, and not a small one. I was too afraid to look at the damage, it took me a while to be brave enough to look in the mirror. It was in a word hideous.

I thought about not going to his graduation, I thought about canceling our upcoming trip, I thought about calling it a life and never leaving the house again. None of those were viable options. I put on my best tight lipped smile and made it to graduation. I did a mean Geisha impersonation covering my mouth with my hand when I had to speak. It was the right call, tears came to my eyes as I watched  my oldest child take the field with his classmates dressed in his cap and gown. I saw him with new eyes, he was a man now, we had done our job, his whole future was ahead of him. A moment I could never get back or recreate.

Graduation was done, straight to the dentist and 5 hours later I emerged with 2 new front teeth and a huge list of things to do to get ready for a graduation party. I had pre-planned but losing so much time due to injury caused me to reevaluate my list and make some cuts. One thing that made the cut was a chip and dip bar, chips happen to be one of his favorite foods. I bought various types of chips and used different sized bowls and plates to display them, them made a variety of dips to accompany them. This was a big hit and is perfect for a cocktail party, teen birthday or graduation.

We made labels for the different dips, and the nice part is that most of them could be made the night before. One of the crowd and teens favorite was Bacon Horseradish Dip.

1/2 c mayonnaise

1/2 c sour cream

1/2 lb sharp cheddar cheese grated

1/4 cup grated horseradish, I used the jarred variety

6 slices of cooked bacon chopped

1 t worcestershire sauce

Mix ingredients together in a medium sized bowl, chill until ready to serve, top with shredded cheese and chopped bacon.

For a festive touch roll white napkins diploma style and tie with black ribbon, stack and place on buffet tables.