Celebrations, Parties, Recipes, Savory, Sweet

Recipes for a Harry Potter Feast

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In my opinion, food is the most important element at a party. I love picking menu items that reflect my party theme and are something a little out of the ordinary for my guests to try.

For my Harry Potter party, I wanted foods that were reflective of the great feasts described in the books and shown in the movies. I kept it to finger foods, but chose items with a British twist.  My menu included mini chicken pub pies, mini beef wellington’s, barbequed chicken wings, individual spinach salads, a Kahlua baked brie with toasted baguette and grapes, warm crab dip with tortilla chips, stuffed mushroom caps, guacamole devilled eggs, a mashed potato bar and a variety of pastries and cake.

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French Onion Stuffed Mushroom Caps

These were a bit of a last minute addition and one of the biggest hits on the food table. I normally do mushroom caps stuffed with a breadcrumb mixture, but I was looking for a good option for my party guests with gluten issues.  The Pioneer Woman uses grated gruyere in her original recipe, but I kept it simple by using pre-sliced swiss cheese.

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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 7 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • Splash of red wine
  • 3 sandwich sized slices of swiss cheese
  • 24 whole white mushrooms
  • minced parsley (optional)

Directions

  1. In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.  Saute onions in the melted butter, 15-20 minutes until soft.  Add in the wine, beef broth and Worcestershire sauce and cook for another 5 minutes.  Once liquid is cooked down, set aside.
  2. Clean mushrooms and remve stems, then spread on a cookie sheet.  Fill each mushroom with some of the cooled onion mixture and top with a small piece of the swiss cheese.
  3. Bake 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees.  If desired, place under a broiler for the final minutes to brown the cheese slightly.
  4. Sprinkle with minced parsley and serve warm.

 

Kahlua & Pecan Baked Brie

Melty, gooey and oh so tasty! This was my favorite and is definitely a recipe I will be repeating. It is only 4 ingredients but the end result is both impressive and delicious.  The original recipe, with much prettier pictures then my lopsided mess, can be found at My Life as a Mrs.

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Ingredients

  • 1 large wheel of Brie (13.2 oz)
  • 2/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons Kahlua
  • Choice of dippers – crackers, apple slices, toasted baguette

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Use a sharp knife to score around the top edge of the brie and remove the entire top circle of rind.  Place in brie baker or center of an oven safe platter.
  3. Mix the pecans, brown sugar and Kahlua in a bowl.  Spread mixture over the top of your prepared brie.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 8 – 15 minutes.  The brown sugar mixture should begin to bubble, but the cheese should still be holding its shape when done.
  5. Serve warm with your dippers.

 

Guacamole Devilled (Dragon) Eggs

This was my least favorite recipe to prepare due to the fact that I still haven’t found the perfect way to take the shells off a boiled egg.  The guacamole filling was a prettier green a couple hours before the party when I prepared them and put them in the fridge, so I would recommend making these up last minute to serve to guests.  They were a nice change from the traditional devilled egg and the color worked with the Dragon Eggs label I gave them.  The original recipe was found on Simply Recipes.

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Ingredients

  • 6 hard boiled eggs
  • 2 ripe avacados
  • 1 Tbsp lime (or lemon) juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro, plus several leaves for garnish
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced finely
  • 1 Tbsp green onion (or chives)

Directions

  1. Peel the hardboiled eggs and slice in half lengthwise.  Carefully coop out the cooked yolks and arrange the egg whites nicely on a platter.
  2. Cut the avocado in half, removing the pit and scooping out the flesh.  Place in a bowl and roughly mash with a fork.  Mash in 2-4 halves of cooked egg yolk into the avocado.
  3. Sprinkle with lime juice and salt.  Stir in the sour cream, chopped cilantro, jalapeno pepper and green onion.
  4. Fill the egg whites with the avocado mixture, using a spoon or piping bag.  Garnish each with a cilantro leaf.

 

Mini Spinach Salads with Strawberries, Candied Almonds and Homemade Poppyseed Dressing

In the past I have always just bought bottled poppyseed dressing for my spinach salad because it seemed like something that would be complicated to make.  Because of my guests with gluten issues, I opted to make my own this time just to ensure all ingredients were gluten friendly.  I was shocked how easily this dressing recipe from Dine & Dish came together and how delicious it was.  I don’t think I will be buying bottled poppyseed dressing again!

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Salad Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds
  • 1 bag of fresh baby spinach
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 carton of fresh strawberries, diced

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds

Directions

  1. For the candied almonds: On the stovetop, pour 1/4 cup sugar into a heavy skillet and slowly melt over low heat.  Once it has liquefied, add almonds and stir to coat.  Spread the coated almond mixture onto a foil sheet to cool and then break apart if necessary.
  2. To make the dressing: Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, finely chopped onion, dijon mustard, and salt.  Once thoroughly combined, gradually add in the canola oil and then stir in the poppyseeds.
  3. To make the salad: Layer the baby spinach, chopped strawberries and sliced onions in a large bowl or individual dishes.  Top with a small handful of candied almonds and pour on the poppyseed dressing to taste.

 

Mashed Potato Bar

This is not really a recipe, but I am sharing because it went over so well at the party. My co-host was kind enough to prepare a large batch of mashed potatoes and I provided a variety of toppings for guests to use to dress up their potatoes. We served the potatoes from a large plastic cauldron and small plastic bowls from Dollar Tree worked perfect for the individual servings of potatoes. Our toppings included gravy, sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onions and bacon bits but I have seen other more elaborate examples of potato bars that include items such as grilled shrimp and sautéed mushrooms.

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Desserts

Of course there were also plenty of desserts.  My co-host brought delicious pumpkin pasties and cauldron cakes, while I baked up Pumpkin Fudge and the Treacle Tarts.  We also had “Hogwarts Cookies” which were simply the Celebration brand cookies that come nicely imprinted with a castle image right in the chocolate!

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Treacle Tarts

My treacle tarts recipe comes from the Kitchen Magpie.   There are many different treacle tart recipes out there, but I knew I needed to try this one when I saw she was another local Edmonton blogger.  She also has some other great Harry Potter party ideas, so be sure to check her out.

I was expecting something close to a buttertart, but they have more of a creamy lemon flavor.  I didn’t make it to the British import store to buy the actual treacle and corn syrup recommended in the recipe, but I think they were still authentic enough to pass for my Harry Potter party.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of golden corn syrup (Lyle’s golden syrup is recommended)
  • 1/4 cup half and half cream
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fancy molasses
  • 1 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 24 mini tart shells (2 inch)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the corn syrup, half and half, lemon zest, lemon juice, molasses, melted butter,egg and bread crumbs.  Mix thoroughly.
  3. Place the tart shells on a cookie sheet and fill each to the brim with the syrup mixture.
  4. Bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes, until the tarts shells are lightly browned and the mixture is bubbling.
  5. Enjoy either warm or cold, with or without whipped cream on top.

 

These, and other Harry Potter food ideas, can all be found on my Pinterest planning board.

And if you haven’t already seen all the details of my Harry Potter Wedding shower, please click here.

 

 

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Celebrations, Parties

A Very Harry Potter Couple’s Wedding Shower

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I love the idea of a couple’s wedding shower!  I’ll admit that I was a bit confused and unsure when my brother first suggested that is what he and his wife-to-be would like, but now that it is done and over with I think it is a wonderful idea.  The couple gets to celebrate their upcoming marriage together with family and friends – because isn’t being together really what an engagement is all about?  They will each have their separate stag and stagette parties, but I love that this gave them the opportunity to celebrate with their collective friends.

The Harry Potter theme was something the bride-to-be requested and, even though I have never read a Harry Potter book, I was happy to oblige.  I  love me a good themed party and my lack of Harry Potter knowledge just gave me a little extra challenge in creating the perfect party.  There is no shortage of Potter party ideas on pinterest so it proved fairly easy to pull things together and the hardest part became figuring out when to stop!

I, of course, began with the invites.  You can see the full details on the invites here.

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I loved the way the invites turned out, so I decided to carry the imagery across to my party décor and designed these large banners to hang behind the food table.

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I used the same graphic style for a sign which greeted guests at the front door.  I always dislike not knowing if I am in the location for a party so I like to have some sort of wreath or sign on my front door indicating to people that they are in the right place.

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Inside, I transformed my front foyer into Platform 9 3/4 with the help of some wrapped cardboard boxes, a dollar store owl, a Harry Potter Scarf and glasses, a broom and a lovely birdcage borrowed from my sister.

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The drink of choice was Butterbeer and it was served out of a barrel my sister crafted from some plastic dollar store plant pots and ribbon.  The actual butterbeer was made following this great recipe from Just Sweet & Simple that included a delightful whipped topping.

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There were also alcoholic choices at our Three Broomsticks stand including a couple varieties of Elf Made Wine, Ogden’s Old Firewhiskey, and a bottle of Butterscotch Schnapps, which made a delicious addition to the Butterbeer.

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Drinks were served out of adorable “Magic Potion” paper cups I found on Oriental Trading.  They have a whole line of Wizard Realm products so I ended up ordering the cups along with napkins, paper dessert plates, spellbook treat boxes, mini cauldrons and plastic Harry Potter glasses.  They were well suited to the party and I carried their color scheme throughout my labels and pintable’s.  It just so happens that the wedding colors are also blue and purple so I don’t think it could have worked out more perfectly!

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The main food table was layered with purple and blue plastic table cloths and then decorated with candelabras, cardboard books, and fresh cut flowers displayed in upcycled blue glass beer bottles.  The brick background was also bought off Oriental Trading and DIY floating candles created from battery operated tealights and paper were hung on fishing line above the table to add the finishing touch to my “great hall”.

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I served a variety of British inspired finger foods, worthy of the finest feast in the Great Hall at Hogwart’s.  The food included individual chicken pub pies, mini beef wellington, barbequed chicken wings, spinach salad, guacamole devilled eggs, Kahlua and pecan baked brie, warm crab dip and a mashed potato bar.

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We also couldn’t forget all the great Harry Potter sweets, so platters were filled with treacle tarts, pumpkin fudge, cauldron cakes, pumpkin pasties and Hogwart’s biscuits.

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And just in case that wasn’t enough sweets, we had our very own Honeyduke’s stand right off the main food table.

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I love creating candy displays so I was very excited to learn about Honeyduke’s in my research and come up with all the different candy I could incorporate into a display.  Party guests were invited to fill their small Honeydukes branded paper bags with everything from Bertie Bott’s Beans, Drooble’s best blowing gum and chocolate frogs to long gummy Slytherin snakes, rock candy wands and golden snitches.

Speaking of snitches, the one shower game we did have was Quidditch Pong.  The Maid of Honor did a wonderful job creating the hoops and balls that we displayed on a folding table covered in an artificial turf tablecloth.

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Their wasn’t much drinking happening at the shower, but I do know the kids sure had a fun time trying to get the balls in the cups!

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It turned out to be an amazing, laid back day celebrating my brother and my soon to be sister-in-law.  I got to meet their lovely friends, we all got to eat some great food and I was excited that all my close family members were able to come share in the happy occasion.

I will be sharing more detailed photos of the Honeydukes candy display and a food post with recipes in the upcoming days so please be sure to check back!

And if you’re still looking for more Harry Potter party ideas?  Visit my pinterest board to see some other great parties and inspiration.

 

Celebrations, Parties

Hangin’ With My Gnomies Bridal Shower

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I had the pleasure of being my sister’s Maid of Honor last August – my first time being in a wedding party!  I was thrilled to be part of my sister’s wedding day and excited because it meant I got to plan a Bridal shower.

When my sister first told me she wanted a gnome themed Bridal shower, I wasn’t quite sure if she was serious about it or just pulling my leg.  After confirming that was indeed her choice of theme, I began designing and acquiring gnome related items.  She was very specific about the style of gnome she wanted so while I found plenty of gnome statues, none of them quite fit with her vision.  In the end, I designed my own gnomes to use on her invites and as cardboard cut-outs for table decorations.

The invite:

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The main food table was decorated with mushrooms, fake grass and plants, and a white picket fence.  A banner with the Bride and Groom’s name was strung across two topiary trees and cardboard cut-outs of gnomes were placed throughout.

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I think that food is one of the most important aspects of a shower, so I spent a lot of time scouring the internet for finger food recipes.  The final menu I made included bacon wrapped dates, baked brie pops, mini twice baked potatoes, veggies and dip in small flower pots, stuffed mushrooms, and chicken salad rollups.

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Other guests were kind enough to bring the amazing fruit bouquet, mango salsa with tortilla chips, and a fruit salsa with cinnamon chips.

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Desserts included s’mores bites and a beautiful cake with adorable toadstool cupcakes made by our friend Katy.

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Drinks were a non-alcoholic watermelon punch and red wine sangria, as well as layered cherry jello shooters.

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For favors and an activity, I had a flip flop decorating station.  The guests were asked to RSVP with their shoe size and favorite color and I picked everyone out a pair of flip flops when Old Navy had their $1 flip flop sale.  Glue guns, ribbons, beads and flowers were provided and guests went to working adding a little extra pizazz to their new sandals.  It ended up being a lot of fun to see what everyone came up with and guests then had a pair of comfy shoes to bring to the casual camp themed wedding.

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Another component of the shower (as seen in the invite above) was donating to the underpants gnome.  Guests each brought a pair of fun new underwear for the bride-to-be and we strung them on a line in the living room.  They were paired with an advice card and the bride had to guess who had given them based on the advice written and the style of underwear chosen.  She had a lot tougher time guessing then I would have expected and there were many laughs shared with the crazy marriage advice and the gag underwear that were about 5 sizes too big.

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Finally, I also made a few gnome themed props from foam core and posterboard to take some fun photos of the bride-to-be and her guests.

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Even though we were stuffed from all the appetizers, we finished the evening off going for dinner and then out dancing.  I had a ton of fun planning  this shower and providing a special day for my sister and now can’t wait to one day be able to plan a baby shower for her!

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