Monday, April 18, 2011

Weekend Report: Bridal Shower, Jalapeno Cheddar Hummus and Buffalo Chicken Dip

First things first - HAPPY MARATHON MONDAY!!! My good friend Chris is running the Boston Marathon as I type. Everybody think him some good luck thoughts! 

Alas I am here in DC, not cheering like a maniac on Heart Break Hill...thus is life. 

Anyway, you may remember from Best of the Week #15 that my roommate is getting married. Well, this weekend I scored major adult points by hosting her shower! (Adult points can also be gained by doing taxes, vaccuuming, remembering to pay bills ontime...and can be lost by activities like eating chips and salsa for dinner, losing a credit card and not replacing it for months, forgetting major holidays, etc...)

If you haven't been to a bridal shower (before yesterday I hadn't either), they are awesome. It's like a kid's birthday - games, presents, food - minus the kids! Two of my friends helped with the hosting, and it went really well.

I started the weekend with (among other things) 3 blocks of cream cheese and 5 sticks of butter, and ended it with a whole lot of dishes. But it was totally worth it. On Saturday I prepped throughout the rainy day. I grocery shopped and baked between running and yoga. Then on Sunday, after an 11-mile run early morning run, I food prepped and decorated and got everything ready to go (I put those 3 years of catering experience to good work!). 

Thanks to this country's bridal industrial complex, there are ample materials online to help you plan a shower. Martha Stewart gave me a few pointers, and of course I asked the Google "what do people do at bridal showers?" a few times...

The party started at 3 pm on Sunday, a good time for snacky foods. 

Bridal Shower Menu:
  • Jalapeno Cheddar Hummus (recipe below)
  • Buffalo Chicken Dip (recipe below)
  • Chips, salsa, pita bread, pita chips, carrot, celery, and red bell peppers for dipping.
  • Lemon Lime Punch
  • Red Velvet Brownies
  • Lemon Filled Cupcakes (recipe to come!)
The Plan:

1. Guess the Celebrity Couple Game
Prepare by writing or printing out names of famous couples on paper or notecards (i.e. Maid Marian and Robin Hood, Victoria and Beckham, Adam and Eve).
To start: When your guests arrive, stick the paper or tag (without them seeing the name) on their back.
Rules: The objective is to work out who you are. They have to guess the couple on the tag by asking other guests YES and NO only questions about their character. When they guess it they can put the name tag on the front of their shirt.

2. Make a Recipe Scrap Book for the Bride
For the two I’ve lived with her, Jeni has survived on a steady diet of tacos. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but we thought it would be nice to make her a recipe book as she starts a new (potentially taco-less) phase of her life.

We asked guests to bring a couple of their favorite recipes. Then we gave everyone a scrapbook page, laid out tons of craft supplies, and let them at it! The bride’s friends are artsy interior-design types, so give them glue sticks and markers and fancy Paper Source paper and they’ll be amused forever. I was very impressed by the results!

3. Open Presents
Umm duh. Shower = shower of gifts! Everyone ate cupcakes and brownies and watched Jeni open many a box from Pottery Barn.

We had another game planned (the Make a TP Wedding Dress game) but the crafting took a while, so we didn't get to it. As all the guests left, I breathed a sign of relief - Bridal Shower SUCCESS! 

Jalapeno Cheddar Hummus (adapted from Eat Live Run)

2 14.5 oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped and seeds removed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup warm water (add more water as needed to make a creamy smooth hummus)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ lemon lemon juice (about 2 tablespoons)
1 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
Combine the chickpeas, jalapeno pepper, olive oil, water and salt in a vita-mix or food processor. Process until smooth (adding more water if you desire to thin the hummus out a bit).
Add the cheddar cheese and cumin and lemon and cayenne pepper and process again until everything is well combined.
Serve with pita and/or veggies. 

Buffalo Chicken Dip (adapted from Eat Live Run)

*This is not dainty bridal shower food. But it is good, so who cares?


1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts
8-oz Frank's Hot Sauce
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 ounces (half a bottle) Ranch dressing
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Bake the chicken breasts at 350* for 25 minutes. Cool completely and then pull meat apart with a fork.
In a nine inch casserole dish, spread out the chicken and pour the wing sauce over. Mix well and spread out, covering the entire bottom of the dish.
In a medium sized saucepot, combine the cream cheese and ranch dressing.  Whisk while heating until smooth. You don't want any cream cheese clumps!
Pour the cream cheese mixture over the chicken and spread out. Sprinkle the celery on top. Bake for fifteen minutes at 375*.

After fifteen minutes, sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top and continue baking for another ten to fifteen minutes, or until the cheese has melted and is bubbling. Remove from oven and let sit for ten minutes. 

Serve with chips, celery sticks and buffalo chicken wings.