Sunday, February 3, 2013

An Early Spring, Badger Brew, and Buffalo Cauliflower

Now that I've paused from stuffing my face with fun Super Bowl food (Go Ravens. Except Ray Lewis, who can suck it), I will recap our weekend festivities.

First, we took time out from our weekly Saturday morning scramble to check in with the Groundhog. Did you know there are TWO official groundhogs? I did not, until yesterday. But there are, apparently, and both Punxsutawny Phil and Staten Island Chuck seem to agree that there will NOT be 6 more weeks of winter. Do we attribute that to lack of a shadow, or global warming? Don't know, don't care - it's been cold enough around here that I'm happy either way! Though I must say that I'm probably not the only one who would welcome an early spring - my poor daffodils have been quite confused by the whole oscillation between ridiculously warm and ridiculously cold, and I think I can see the new green shoots they recently put up actually shivering. It's sad.

Saturday we readied ourselves for a party in honor of the Grand Opening of the Badger Brewery, aka the inaguaral showing off of M.'s home brew skills, aka an excuse to have friends over and drink beer. I made lots of food, we tidied up the house, and Lucy put on a party dress. I went a wee bit overboard with some of the smaller details - sort of ran with a whole "theme," as you'll see in a moment. I got sucked into the Pinterest-inspired madness of Baker's Twine (it's just so damn cute), and tried my hand at DIY cake stands with near disastrous results. Let's just say that I very nearly spray painted a significant portion of our dining room and outside deck with red spray paint. I ended up with two functional, cheap, and cute (if you don't look to closely) cake stands, but I'm not sure the trade-offs were worth it. DIY projects are much easier when it's not 16 degrees and dark outside... Anyway, on to the photos:

The moniker "Badger Brewery" is inspired by M.'s alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, and the school colors are red and white. Home brewed beer is bottled into plain brown bottles, so to dress them up a little and give us the option of keeping track of the type of beer in a given bottle once we have more than one made, I ordered some custom hang tags from My Own Labels:

The tags (tied on with red and white baker's twine) say "EST. 2013" on the first line and "BADGER" below. Kind of cute, right? Plus, they are reusable, so I think of this as more of an investment than a frivolous party detail ;-) (I don't, really).

Then I got even more rididulous, and ordered matching napkins and coasters from For Your Party:

I covered the tables with brown Kraft paper and decorated with red, white, and yellow flowers in mason jars and beer bottles:

Again with the baker's twine. I'm hooked.

For drinks, we had M.'s beer (of course), some wine that went pretty much untouched, sparkling water, and juice boxes for the kids. The party began at around 5, so we had a pretty hearty spread - Crockpot BBQ chicken with rolls and coleslaw, mini hot dogs in mini buns for the kids, spinach balls (Nat! I used your recipe!), little spinach and artichoke tortilla crisp appetizers from Wegmans, cream cheese and hot pepper jelly (Stonewall Kitchens) with crackers, homemade soft pretzels, and fruit.

And finally, hiding in the back there on the fateful cake stands, were two types of cupcakes: Chocolate Guinness cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, and Blue Moon cupcakes. Yes - beer flavored cupcakes. I changed the recipes a little bit by leaving out the beer that was called for in the frosting - even though it was only a small amount, it seemed unwise to feed that to kids :-). I didn't worry about the beer in the cake mix, since the alcohol gets cooked out. They were awesome. I've eaten too many:


The party was lots of fun, and I got a chance to catch up with some friends I hadn't seen in a while. The kids (there were 10 including ours) all got along pretty well, and happily made a mess of our basement level. Which was MORE than fine with me, as it meant they were relatively occupied. M. and I crashed soon after the last guests left, as Lucy had deemed it necessary to wake us up about 6 times the night before.  She then repeated the feat on Saturday night, too, so M. and I spent a lot of today absolutely exhausted. Turns out she has a cold, and as of tonight, possibly an ear infection, too. We may be making a trip to the doctor's office tomorrow...

Exhaustion aside, we rallied enough to follow the American tradition of eating food and watching the Super Bowl tonight. I fed the kids leftovers from last night's party, and M. and I scarfed an entire plate of something I've been wanting to try - Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites. I'm a fan of the buffalo flavor, something I discovered long after I stopped eating meat when I happened to try the delight that is Buffalo Shrimp on a vacation in Florida. M. is a wing fan, but rarely orders any since he's always the only one that eats them. I've been seeing various recipes for Buffalo Cauliflower on the web, and finally got around to trying one. I used the one from Skinnytaste, and it was fan-freaking-tastic. I ate so much of it that I'm going to poop fire tomorrow. You've been warned.

M. already has a second beer fermenting as we speak - I'll need to think of some way to top myself when we crack in to that one. Whatever I do, I'm sure there will be baker's twine involved.


  1. Looks awesome! I bet the beer and cupcakes were both fantastic. :-)

  2. Such a fun party. I love the theme! And beer and cupcakes are two of my favorite things. I will have to try the buffalo cauliflower, sounds tasty!

  3. I am super impressed! I'm trying to order the hubby custom beer caps for V-day (romantic, right) but I like the custom labels too...