weekend review: it’s getting hot in here

So I was a little anxious about doing a housewarming. I can’t even seem to hang pictures in the evening without getting a complaint, so the thought of being able to actually throw a respectably fun soiree that simultaneously didn’t tick off the neighbors seemed impossible. Unlikely. Unheard of. But I decided why not. I wanted to do it and what was the worst that would happen? The guard call and complain and we’d have to go elsewhere. No biggie. Evite was sent out and it was a respectably small crew — around the 20 mark. Good sized, but not ridiculous for a small and quasi-echoey alcove studio.

I never cook. But I do like to bake – a lot. Of course, this isn’t a useful thing when you live by yourself. What are you going to exist on? A stash full of cakes, pies, and chocolates? Um, no. But it is a perfect thing to pull out for such an event. Nothing was straight from the box. The line-up for the evening included my standard seasonal chocolate covered pretzels, the addition of some fabulous graham cracker balls courtesy of Zandria’s mother, sausage balls, pigs-in-a-blanket (homemade with kosher all beef franks wrapped in crescent rolls), baked brie, quesadillas, mini-turkey/cucumber/veggie spread wraps, hot spiced cider, and eggnog. The holiday season truly did make for a perfect time for the occasion.

My boss was fantastic and let me run out at 4pm to go home and prepare, which was great. When I set the 7pm start time based on the noise issue, I didn’t think of the logistics of me having to have everything ready by then. Oooops. Minor detail. New boss to the rescue. I ran in and immediately started throwing things together as rapidly as possible. Seeing as I wasn’t planning on wearing a potato sack for the occasion, I figured getting as much prep work done in advance would be key to not ruining anything remotely nice I might be contemplating wearing. I ran a list down to the Flirty Doorman so that he would know who to let in, which would prove to be crucial. It was enough to juggle hot items coming out of the oven, talking to guests, and letting people in the door. Adding the doorman calling every time to the process would have been a pain. He jokingly said he was going to ask them for ID, a joke which I heard he did proceed with on quite a number of the guests.

I was worried I’d have too much food. Oh no no. Not a problem. There were a few leftovers of the pretzels and graham cracker balls, but everything else was basically annihilated. I realized that having a fair amount of guys would mean it would be smart to opt for more options of the salty/meat variety. Check mark to that rationale.

The evening was so much fun though. I’d assembled a playlist on my iPod mixing in more upbeat holiday tunes with your standard party-esque blend. Loved it. Actually, it’s currently my favorite thing to pull up throughout the workday now. It was really great to have so many people show up in your place after having only been in the city since mid-October. When you leave one city in favor of another where the other is one where you truly loved the people, it’s always such a gamble that you won’t be able to find that in the new locale. While I definitely don’t have the same level of relationships with most of the people here as of yet, it’s something I see developing – and that’s a great thing. A common question was how I knew the mix of people in the room. One common theme came back to the great connection nature of the Fashionista, as I’ve met quite a number of people through her social network here in the city. Thanks again to her for sharing so many of her old (and some new) friends. There were of course the other connections – relatives (sister), a nice sized group I’ve met through my local sorority alumni group, and a friend from high school.

I learned the upside of an early start to a party is a reasonably early conclusion. Those who helped me to close down the evening in style by pondering some of life’s greatest and deepest questions (haha), mostly fellow Alpha Gams, left close to 1am. I assessed the damage – next to none – and was in bed asleep post-cleaning at 2am. I even managed to get myself to ballet the next morning, a nice contrast to the prior evening. What a fun night and what a fun part thus far of my holiday time here in NYC.

Not to change pace completely here, but based on the puzzled looks by many, I absolutely *MUST* stop and share the recipe for sausage balls for those of you who have never had them, never heard of them, whatever. So good. It’s a part of my family’s holiday traditions. Love them. I had a “you-know-you’re-not-in-the-South” moment when I tried to buy sausage to make the darn things. I was drug over to the Polish sausages. Uh uh… then I found myself pulled over to the hot dog selection. Um, no. Finally they said “ohhhhh breakfast sausage?” and I was lead to the one sole offering they had of breakfast style sausage. Not hot sausage (as the recipe calls for and which is FAR superior) and definitely not of the recognizable and distinguished brand offering (a la Jimmy Dean, whatever). Nonetheless, I did find the sausage. And did receive some girl-you-are-retarded looks. Sigh. BUT onto the recipe (delicious…)

Sausage Balls

1 pound hot sausage
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
3 cups Bisquick (biscuit) mix

Allow cheese to come to room temperature. Combine all ingredients (easier done by hand). Shape into one inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Serve immediately or may be frozen for future use. Makes 40-50 balls.

(LJ’s notes… so easy to freeze. I’ve been munching on some from the freezer post-bash. I think 40-50 balls is a bit steep on estimation. I think it made slightly less, but still plenty!)

Zandria’s Mom’s Graham Cracker Balls

2/3 box graham crackers, crushed
1 cup chopped nuts (mom uses walnuts, but she says pecans are good, too)
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
8 oz. shredded coconut
2 sticks butter, melted
1 lb. confectioners sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

Mix above ingredients together and form into walnut-sized balls. If the mix is too dry, add more peanut butter.

Paraffin wax (in canning section)
1 package semi sweet chocolate morsels

When the balls are all rolled, melt 1/2 cake of paraffin wax with the chocolate chips. Dip balls in the chocolate with a toothpick and place on wax paper to cool.

Enjoy 😉

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

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7 thoughts on “weekend review: it’s getting hot in here

  1. The sausage tidbit is making me laugh out loud. I go absolutely crazy down here trying to find decent sausage to cook pasta sauce with…I’ve all but given up! Apparently the North and South differs widely in what we consider ‘good’ sausage!

    I’m guessing your neighbors didn’t call and complain – good!!!

  2. Enjoy MmeMeow! Both are super easy (just don’t try to crush the graham crackers by hand, or so I’ve heard – haha). Pretzels are easy too. Too easy to warrant a recipe. Melt white chocolate bark. Bust out food coloring. And then we dip! 😉

    Annie, it’s so true! Thanks for confirming. I *knew* someone from the North would get the exchange. Somehow I knew it would be you!

    Yes, even my older next door neighbor seemed surprised there was a party going on behind the door. Thumbs up to the insulation in the building – score!

  3. I totally have to make these now that you have! It’s just not right that I raved about them but haven’t actually made them in like 15 years (and back them it was more like “HELPED make them”). 🙂

  4. Miss Scarlet – hmmmm. You might have to jog my memory on BrJones. Did she do a housewarming that went awry?? You’re making me want to watch it now out of curiosity!

    Zan – you definitely gotta make them. So long as you have a set audience to help partake in them. Me, I got stuck with the “clean up duty”. Clean up? Finally all done 😉 Pretzels? Still present, although still being bundled into goody bags.

  5. Pingback: sausage balls « grits in the city

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