Anyone who knows me knows the way to my heart is through dogs. So when my husband’s fantastic and generous cousin Sandi offered to throw a Stella and Dot fundraiser for Secondhand Hounds, I was in. What is better than wine, food, friends, and jewelry all for a good cause?!
Outside of loving this get together’s theme, I was excited to try some fun and cute but healthy(ish) recipes on the crowd (unfortunately summer is coming, it is time to shed the winter coat and get back in shape). The party was on a Thursday night so I needed to make things that could be prepared in advance and quick to prep day-of since I work full-time. The start-time was also 6:30pm so I wanted some hearty options as well since this was likely dinner for the ladies.
Here is the menu I chose:
- Spinach and bacon stuffed mushrooms from Skinny Taste
These were colorful and very healthy/easy to make! I made these in advance and froze which worked just fine.
- Seven Layer Greek Dip from Our Best Bites
My aunt introduced me to this dip – I love it because it is light but also very flavorful, and a good change of scenery from the typical cheese dips.
- Chicken Satay Skewers from The Spruce
Admittedly I didn’t have all of the ingredients for these (lemongrass, turmeric, white pepper) but they still turned out great (despite having fish sauce in them, I HATE cooking with fish sauce, the smell is awful). I served them with store-bought peanut sauce as well since I was afraid I had sacrificed some flavor (they actually turned out good!). I prepped and skewered these in advance and froze as well.
- Parmesan Crusted Crab Cakes from Home is Where the Boat is
These were actually easier to make than I had anticipated. Some of the Parmesan crust fell-off when I removed them from the pan but they were still tasty. These were actually the crowd favorite! I made these the night before and heated them up in the oven with the rest of the food for about 10 minutes.
- Buffalo Chicken Bites kind of made-up by me
I have made various versions of these before, but this time my goal was to use-up what was in my refrigerator. I cut crescent rolls into about 2″ squares and placed them in a mini muffin pan, so they made little cups. Bake for about 10 minutes, until golden brown then add the buffalo chicken: 1-2 cups of shredded chicken with frank’s red hot sauce and ranch dressing mix. I started with 1/4 cup hot sauce and 1 tablespoon of the seasoning then adjusted based on flavor. Place back in the oven until warm, about 10-15 minutes then top with blue cheese and green onion. These were also made ahead of time and frozen!
- Veggies and my mom’s famous Dill Dip
Carrots, broccoli, and snow peas served with my favorite dill dip (recipe in this blog post)
- Fruit Skewers with Peanut Butter Dip
Layered strawberries, pineapple, and cantelope onto wood skewers (that I cut in half) and served with a super easy but yummy peanut butter dip (also known as crack dip in my book club) – just two parts vanilla greek yogurt to one part creamy peanut butter. I have been known to shamelessly eat this with a spoon by itself 🙂
- Mini Protein Donuts from Cookbook Project
These little buggers another new favorite dessert party trick of mine. They are SO CUTE and different than anything I have ever made. The base is Kodiak Cake Mix which is higher in protein and lower in fat/sugar than a lot of other cake mixes. My great neighbor Brie introduced me to these and gave the tip to add a tsp of almond extract to the recipe for added flavor. I used a mini donut pan so the only time consuming part is waiting for the multiple batches to bake. You place the batter into zip lock baggie and pipe into the donut pan. For the mini donuts I baked at 350 degrees for 6 and a half minutes – it doesn’t take long so be sure to watch the first time and see what works best for your oven! Also per Brie’s recommendation I went with a powdered sugar glaze. I just dipped the little guys into the frosting and they were SO CUTE. TIP: I made these the night before and stored them in the fridge, when I took them out for the party all of the frosting had soaked into the donut. They were still very tasty and a big hit, but not up to my visual standards so I would recommend frosting them the day-of.
Outside of food, here are some other fun things I did for the party:
- Paw Print Wine Glasses: My mother-in-law Roxie helped me pull this detail off last minute! She cut circles out of black paper and hot-glued them to the plastic glasses as little paw prints for people to write their initials and keep track of their cups!
- Dog Treat Party Favors: As a thank-you to my friends for coming, I filled clear/gold cellophane bags from target with dog treats and tied with pink tulle with the note “Thank you for Coming, Love Reuger.” Full disclosure I was going to hand-make the dog treats but ran out of time. My friends still thought it was cute and it got the point across!
- Shout out to Total Wine: So this isn’t something special, but in preparation for this party i took my first trip to Total Wine. MIND BLOWN. This place is a drinker’s heaven! I walked-in in total awe, then immediately got overwhelmed. Have no fear their CRAZY FRIENDLY staff is there to point you to their favorite wines of each type all which were under $10! As you can tell I’m obsessed and wondering why I never checked this place out before.
Reuger (our current foster pup) got dolled-up for the occasion with a bath and “adopt me” bandanna. He was definitely a hit with the ladies and made some new friends, which is encouraging for when he is ready to be adopted!
It was so fun getting my girlfriends from different groups together to chit chat and support a good cause! Thank you again to Sandi for supporting Secondhand Hounds and to all of those who joined. I have an amazing group of women in my life 🙂
If you are interested in Stella and Dot, a portion of your purchases via this link will go to Secondhand Hounds through the 23rd of March 2017!