Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hot Diggity Dog!

Often in adult rec. softball leagues there are very punny team names, such as Ground Rule Trouble or Hits for Brains. My husband's team decided to go in a different direction this year and go with the conversation invoking name, Is a  Hotdog a Sandwich? Totally random, nothing to do with softball, but it sparked a lot of conversation on and off the field. With the conclusion of the softball season, we decided to host a team banquet at our home and I thought it'd be fun for my friend Julie over at Sugar and Bows to co-host with us. And so began the planning of the tubular shaped meat themed party, the Is a Hotdog a Sandwich Team Banquet.

On the menu was beer cheese dip in the shape of a softball, pigs in a blanket in the shape of bats, pasta salad, tater tots, and hot dogs with a condiment bar. The condiment bar included the obvious ketchup and mustard, as well as onions, relish, pickles, sauerkraut, chili, and melted cheese sauce. And the grand finale was a hot dog shaped cake! We also had some party-goers contribute some delicious buffalo chicken dip and tiny corn muffins with hot dogs in the middle. These were a huge hit, I think my 2 year old consumed at least a dozen.
Beer cheese dip baseball with red pepper "stitching" and pretzels for dipping

Hot dog bats a.k.a. pigs in a blanket

Condiment bar 

Hotdog cake
There was not a whole lot of "from scratch" cooking that went on here, most of the dishes were semi-homemade. The chili was one of the exceptions and this recipe came from our family's favorite cookbook, The America's Test Kitchen Cookbook. It was a quick recipe that simmered all day in the slow cooker. The cheese sauce also cooked in the slow cooker, but this was just a good old fashioned block of Velveeta. I will share one recipe with you and that is my mom's famous pasta salad, and by famous, I mean that a lot of friends ask me for the recipe.

Crockpots of chili and cheese sauce
Mom's famous pasta salad

Mom's Famous Pasta Salad

One pound box of spiral pasta
One slice of deli provolone (ask them to cut it abut 1/2 inch thick) cut into cubes
One slice of deli ham (ask them to cut it about 1/2 inch think) cut into cubes
About 3/4 bag of frozen peas, thawed
About 1/2 to 3/4 of a red onion, chopped
About half to one bottle of Italian dressing
A couple tablespoons of dried dill

Prepare pasta according to package instructions. Drain and run under cold water to cool pasta. In a large bowl combine pasta, provolone, ham, red onion, and peas. Add about half a bottle of Italian dressing and about 2 tablespoons of dried dill. Toss to combine well. Taste and add more dressing and/or dill to your liking.

Hot Dog Decor
Oh how I love a good theme party! No party is complete without decorations. We went with a red gingham table cloth and red and white dishes and napkins, which just seemed to go well with the hot dog theme. We found these great printables to label the dishes at Hostess With the Mostess. And we sprinkled inflatable softballs and rubber hot dogs throughout the room.

Fun and Games
For the tiny party goers we put together a game of "Pin The Mustard on The Hotdog". The game was slightly advanced for our 2 year olds, who didn't love the idea of being blindfolded, but they had a good time strategically placing the mustard squirts on the poster anyway.

For the adults we had a fun team cocktail for everyone to enjoy. The type of cocktail that this group enjoys most is a cold beer so our drink, creatively called the "Is a Hotdog a Sandwich Team Cocktail", was simply a beer placed inside a hotdog bag. The instructions for "making" this cocktail are pictured below.

Finally, we thought it only appropriate for there to be awards given at the softball banquet, so we found these rubber hotdogs on, ran a lanyard though them, and wrote an individual award on them for each player. It was quite a sight to see a room full of thirty-somethings wearing hotdog necklaces and holding a drink in a hotdog bag!
Hotdog team awards
Our captain's hotdog award was presented in a hotdog bag on a golden platter.
This party was huge hit and I had so much fun collaborating with one of the members of the Sugar & Bows team to put it all together. I look forward to next year's softball season, but until then the question remains, IS a hotdog a sandwich?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Chocolate-Covered Oreo Cookie Cake

We recently went to a friend's house for dinner and I volunteered to bring dessert. I love baking, mainly because I love sweets, but I try not to do it very often because it makes losing the pregnancy weight rather difficult. So when we are headed to a dinner or an event, I love to volunteer to bring dessert because it gives me the opportunity to try new recipes. It can be a little risky making a new recipe for an event, but I like to think that our friends and family like us enough that they would forgive me if dessert was less than perfect. So, I went to my Pinterest dessert page and decided to make this beauty

Chocolate Covered Oreo Cookie Cake

I mean, with a title like that, how can you really go wrong? This recipe is from Kraft's website and it is easy as pie, well, easier than pie in my opinion. Enjoy! (we sure did!)