We host Book Exchange parties on a regular basis (kind of like White Elephant Gift Exchanges, but with books that you actually like instead of pranks). It started with everyone bringing a book and a snack to share. Then the food part evolved into a themed party. This last theme was by far my favorite to date: an Irish Pub Party! The food was fabulous! But then, how can you go wrong with an array of comfort food?!
Inspiration Behind the Irish Pub Party
Mini Corned Beef Sandwiches with Swiss, Sauerkraut or Slaw, Pickles, Horseradish, and an assortment of Mustards
Vegetable Tart by Rachel that featured an assortment of Potatoes, Parsnips, and Cheese, caramelized and baked to perfection! And it went well with the Loaded Baked Potato Soup by Ashley and Ben (not shown). Yum!
Toast with Pickled Beets and Soft Boiled Eggs, drizzled with a Dijon Dill Vinaigrette (recipe from the Irish cookbook) - apparently traditional, this was a surprising hit at the party.
Fresh Fruit brought by Daryl & Adrianne, used in combination with fresh veggies and bread for dipping in the Pumpkin Beer Cheese Fondue (not shown); the Fondue recipe can be found here.
Bread Pudding with Raisins by Catherine and Greg (perfect with a cup of coffee and some Irish Creamer) - I can't wait to add this recipe to my permanent file!
Are you inspired to host a themed party yet?! I highly recommend this theme. Remember, keep it simple and let your guests bring some of the food, so you can enjoy your guests during the evening and not have to spend the entire evening in the kitchen. So, do you have a favorite party theme?
Posted in Event Planning, Hospitality, Kitchen
Tagged beets, Book Exchange, bread pudding, comfort food, corned beef, horseradish, Irish, Irish pub, Party, potatoes, pub, sandwiches, themed party, toast, vegetable tart
Guest(s) of honor: Valerie (and Mini V)
My cousin Valerie and my twin sister Michelle and I are 8 months apart and grew up in the same class from nursery through college. We lived within 10 miles of each other most of our lives. And now she and her husband Jon are expecting their first baby – a girl – aka Mini V (until they reveal the name). So, we hosted a baby shower for her at my place. Michelle and I had a lot of fun planning the party and the turn out was great! I think we had 18 people here. See for yourselves:
The Table! Yum!
I made the tablecloth especially for the party (it went along with the invitations). Food display: Sweet Potato and Mashed Potato Martini Bar (everyone grabs a martini glass, picks a potato, and then loads it with toppings of their choice: brown sugar, pecans, butter, cheese, bacon, sliced olives, sour cream, green onions); chocolate chunks, chocolate chip cheeseball with graham crackers, cheese quesadillas and bbq chicken quesadillas (with sour cream and salsa), garlic cheese ball with parmesan and goat cheeses, served with sliced pears and crackers).
Pear-shaped cheeseballs with pear stem and basil leaves as decor: so cute!
Fruit kabobs and cappuccino trifle pudding!
Glasses for the Potato Bar (I picked these up at TJMaxx and the Dollar Store!) on top of my $30 piano I got at my first auction (yes, it works).
We had each guest self-address an envelope to make thank you cards easier for the guest of honor!
She got some really cute stuff, including this handmade dress and handmade shoes from our friend Nora (the one in green).
More gift opening...
Cousin Val and Sis Michelle
We started with food, then Michelle gave a short challenge about shepherding a child’s heart while God shepherds us as His children, then we opened gifts, and people went back for seconds (the great part about being brunch: it counts for 2 meals). It was a great time of seeing friends and catching up with old acquaintances. We love you, Val! And can’t wait to meet your precious little girl soon!
Need a fun party idea with minimal planning on your part? Try this!
We hosted a New Year’s Eve Book Exchange Party this year. It was so much fun, we decided it will have to be a tradition. We asked each guest to bring a wrapped book (we specify that it should be a book you’d like to own, not a prank). And we asked each guest to bring either an appetizer or a dessert to share. This way, it cuts down on your cost for the party and on the cleanup (as guests usually take their food with them when they leave).
We provided a loaf of bread and cheese fondue (recipe found in an earlier post) and 2 apple pies, coffee, tea, and punch. My husband makes the BEST apple pies! It’s just a simple recipe from Betty Crocker’s cookbook, but they’re delicious!!
As for the book exchange, we cut up a piece of paper with a number on each small piece, folded them up, and placed them in a basket (one for each book). If you brought a book, you pick a number. Player 1 gets to choose a wrapped book from the pile. Player 2 can either choose a wrapped book or steal Player 1’s book. If 2 steals from 1, 1 gets to pick a new book from the pile. You can’t steal directly back, and once the book has been stolen 3 times, it sticks with that player. Player 3 can then either choose a wrapped book or steal from any open book, and so on. It’s always fun to see the random books people bring. Don’t feel bad about stealing the book you want; that’s what makes it so much fun! I secretly enjoy it if the book I bring gets stolen at least once.
You can do this with other themed parties too: White Elephant Gifts, kitchen items, tools, etc. But whatever theme you choose for your party, remember to keep it simple and everyone will have fun.
Happy New Year’s!