A Tea Party

We went to my parents' house last weekend so my Hero could be their hero and set up their surround sound.  I personally think it's hilarious that my parents even have surround sound, but whatever; I just hope they don't find the one button out of 2700 that will cause the surround sound to stop working and then press every button to fix it before they call us for tech support.  Oh wait, that already happened.  But I digress.

While we were over there, my mom (who happens to be the best mom on the planet :) ) found these:

They're from my play kitchen when I was little!  How cool is she for saving these for, what, 25 years?  (Ok, could I feel any older right now?) {Sigh} My dad's a chef, so my mom wanted all my play kitchen stuff to look real, because that's just how cool she is.  Would you check out those strainer spoons, how CUTE are those??

I have all the flatware and even tiny cookie cutters. 

I was so excited about these that I showed them to my neighbor and she totally flipped over them.  She told me that her little girls have a whole tea set made out of real china, but they don't get to play with it much because, well, it's made out of real china.  Within 90 seconds we were completely inspired to throw a surprise tea party.  We'd make little finger sadwiches with itty bitty bread and the girls could bake tiny desserts in their Easy Bake ovens to bring to the party!  Can I be seven again?

Valentine's Day was the perfect occasion but it was only a week away so I didn't have a lot of time or a lot of money.  Believe me, if I did I would have been seriously dangerous!  I did decide to make invitations so the girls would feel like the party was really special.  They loved them!  I even got a handmade card back from the Princess that said I was "so so so so so so so so cool" for inviting her to a tea party, before we even had the tea party.  Isn't she sweet? 

I made favors with some wedding bubbles I found at Dollar Tree, 9 for $1, and dressed them up with rhinestone hearts and pink tissue paper.  I even found doilies that were the perfect size for mini placemats.

I searched the house for things I could use and came up with THE perfect thing for a tiny cake.  I think this was my favorite part of the whole party.  I keep this dish on my nightstand to put my jewelry in at night.  And is it not perfect for this beautiful cake?  I can hardly contain myself with its cuteness!

I had to put a real sized fork in the picture just so you could tell how small it is. Adorable!!  But wait, look at this table....

Do you see those teeny sandwiches?  They have teeny tomato slices on them!  A tower of heart-shaped marshmalllows, pink rose petals, it doesn't get more girly than this.  The girls were in heaven! 

It was such a special party and they loved every minute of it.  I think they'll remember it for a long time!


Easy-cheesy Superbowl Snacks

We had no plans for Superbowl Sunday, so my Hero invited our neighbors to stop by.  Totally impromptu, last minute thing, and we had such a great time!  I really couldn't have asked for a better night.  I was thrilled to death that they enjoyed the food so much, because it was so simple and everything could be done ahead of time.  We had a pretty standard-type spread but since it was only the four of us and their kids we kept it simple; we put out bunch of cold cuts ("lunch meat," for the southerners) for a do-it-yourself sandwich bar, cocktail shrimp, and I made six-layer dip and chili.  They flipped over the dip and the chili, and I'm telling you they're both so easy, I almost felt like I cheated.  I shared the recipes with her, and now I'll share them with you.  Unfortunately, I didn't think to take any pictures of the food until it was half gone.  Sorry!  Next time.

6-layer Dip (seven if you like guacamole*)
My aunt taught me how to throw this one together in two minutes.  Okay, ten.

1 can refried beans
1 c. sour cream
1/2 packet taco seasoning
small can of chopped or sliced black olives
green onions, chopped
shredded four cheese mexican blend, or whatever cheese you prefer

Spread refried beans onto a platter. 
Add 1/2 packet taco seasoning to sour cream and mix well.  Spread over beans.
Create a layer with each of the remaining ingredients.

Done!  Just make sure you have plenty of tortilla chips, cuz this stuff will go fast!

*I've never made mine with guacamole, I guess you can add that before the sour cream layer? I don't think it matters too much where it goes :)

Now, I hope I don't offend any "real deal" chili makers out there with this recipe, but everyone who's tried it loves it.  Even I was never a huge chili fan, but this stuff is good!  The recipe came, believe it or not, from a Marlboro Cookbook of 50 Winning Chili Recipes.  I'm not recommending that anyone start smoking, but I do strongly suggest you try this chili!

Lazy Man's Chili Soup with Beans
by Bart Edwards, Athens, OH

2 lbs. ground beef
1 package ranch dip mix
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 can (10 oz.) tomatoes & green chilies (mild), drained
2 cans (14.5 oz./ea.) tomatoes with onions
1 can (12 oz.) chili beans
1 can (11 oz.) golden, whole kernel corn, drained
1 Tbsp. Tabasco sauce
1 package (8 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
1 package (8 oz.) sour cream
1 bag corn chips

Brown the ground beef in a large pot.  Drain the beef and return it to the pot.  Add the ranch mix, taco seasoning, drained tomatoes and chilies, tomatoes with onions, drained chili beans, drained corn and Tabasco sauce to the pot with the beef.  Cover and cook on medium to medium-low heat for 35 minutes*, stirring occasionally.  Remove pot from heat and spoon into individual serving bowls.  Add 1-2 oz. of cheddar cheese and 1/2 -1 Tbsp. sour cream.  Serve with corn chips.  Serves 8-10.

*Just a note from personal experience: the chili is a little soupy after the recommended 35 minutes, so if you want it thicker, just cook it longer.

Oh yeah, and the football game?  What a great game!!  Not that anyone has any less respect for Indianapolis, but what a great story for New Orleans huh?  First time to the Superbowl and they win!  I love watching history be made.  Congratulations Saints!!