Parties

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

At the beginning of the summer, Clint and I took the plunge and bought a house. I spent the first week before we moved in painting the walls from a questionable orange and yellow to calming shades of blue and grey. It was definitely a good call. We celebrated tricking people into thinking we are high functioning adults by throwing open the door of out newly acquired home and inviting all our friends to eat a table full of treats and sing late into the night.   Thank you to my trusty Milk Bar cookbook for all the tasty desserts. The centerpiece of the food display was my slightly famous nacho bar. I spent the day slaving over my crockpot, watching the pork shoulder slowly become pulled pork. It’s hard work, but someone has to do it.  I realize that the list of ingredients for the rub might seem excessive, but after years of trial and error, this is definitely the best combination I have come across. Feel free to change things up and make this rub your own. Oh, quick note. Make sure you USE KOSHER SALT!!! I can’t stress this enough. Using table salt in this recipe will result in a sad, salty mess. And nobody wants that. I...

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Elegant Pirate Party

If you like this party set, click here to purchase the files for your own party. Is it just me, or are lists taking over the internet? You know the ones I’m talking about –15 things to do before you turn thirty, 10 things to do before you settle down, etc. — these lists seem to be exploding on popular blogging sites everywhere. Well, I came across one of these lists the other. I don’t remember exactly what it was titled, but it was something along the lines of 20 things you need to stop doing in your 20’s. While it contained a few good ideas, I found myself disagreeing with one bullet point with every fiber of my body. Themed parties. If anyone ever tries to tell you that themed parties are just for kids you need to rethink your relationship with that individual. Trust me, you don’t need that negativity in your life. In a world where so much time is spent plugged in to technology and stuck in a daily grind, what’s wrong stepping back from the real world and exercising your imagination for a bit? Costume parties are a great way to let loose. It’s fun to take on a new persona for a few...

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Did Someone Say Brunch?

Whoever invented brunch deserves a medal. It’s a great concept. Sweet and savory food, good friends, and an excuse to drink in the morning. What’s not to love? Waking up early to prepare all the food, that’s what. My secret to a great brunch is doing as much as I can the day before. This way I don’t have to wake up hours before everyone to make sure the food is ready at a decent hour. I love feeding people, but I like sleep more. So, if you are interested in hosting a fun and easy brunch, here are a few tips to point you in the right direction. Tip number one, no boring bread. Muffins and scones are a must in my book (along with butter and assorted jams). Most scones can be made a day ahead, shaped, and refrigerated. This way, all you have to do is pop them in the oven. I’ve also got these French Toast muffins that I make. They are a cross between French toast and bread pudding. I make them a day ahead and bake them in the morning. I’ll try to make them this weekend and post the recipe soon. My second tip, don’t overdo the sweets. While a mountain of...

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Winter Cookie Exchange

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, it is officially the beginning of the Christmas season. I have been working on a few Christmas-themed blog posts over the last few weeks and have had the house decorated since the beginning of November. I promise I’m not usually one of those people who decorates for Christmas before Thanksgiving… Lucky for me, I have great friends that are willing to dust off their holiday attire and humor my crazy by joining me in a Cookie Exchange a little early in the season (thanks guys). We had a great time watching Elf, eating cookies, assembling gift bags, and getting in the Christmas spirit in the middle of November. I set up two separate areas for the party — a cookie buffet so that we could all taste and vote on the cookies that everyone had brought and gift assembly area for guests to put together their goodie bags. Click here to see the full set. For the tasting buffet, I decided to play around with the idea of milk and cookies and give it a bit of an adult twist. I checked out a few milk-based cocktails and opted to make something special just for the night. While I was experimenting, I noticed...

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Halloween Party + Witch’s Brew Recipe

It’s November. Boy, did October fly by. I’m slowly talking myself into taking down my Halloween decorations. I was able to stretch the season a few days longer since my Halloween party was this past Saturday. I tend to plan my Halloween party for the weekend after Halloween for two main reasons: I have an excuse to leave the decorations up I can hit up the stores for half price party supplies This year, I decided to create an elegant but haunted feel for my theme. I covered the house with spider webs, crystals, and lights. The buffet table was set up with lots of treats, both sweet and savory. A big thank you to everyone who contributed food for the party. The next morning, there were only a few sad cupcakes and cookies left over (and I might have eaten a few for breakfast). Along with all the edible treats, I made a big bowl of Witch’s Brew. I was honestly surprised by how much of a hit this ended up being! Sweet and tangy, this punch is great right out of the bowl but subtle enough that it lends itself well to the addition of a shot of your favorite liquor (I recommend rum, vodka, or tequila)....

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Elegant Black Cat Halloween Party

Halloween is just around the corner and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve already made several trips to the craft store to assemble the pieces of my costume and apologized to Savannah for roping her in to this year’s theme. She was a pumpkin last year. While I know that pictures of Savannah dressed up as a pumpkin could fill up the blog, I actually have an important announcement to make: The final part of my website is live. That’s right, my online store is open! Check me out on Etsy: CarissaDesignsShop. CarissaDesigns was already taken. Go figure. I only have one set for sale at the moment, but I will be adding many things over the next few months. This means that I will be baking a ton of cupcakes for these upcoming photo shoots (and sending them to class with Clint so I don’t end up eating them all). My first pattern set is just in time for Halloween. It’s an Elegant Black Cat party. The set includes cupcake toppers, cupcake wrappers, table cards, treat cones, thank you treat bag decorations, and a Happy Halloween banner. The files are all high quality PDF’s and will be available to download once payment has been processed. Files can be...

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