I've got a little pre-Thansgiving treat for you today. Presenting....*cue trumpets*...our November Table for Twelve! Come Black Friday it's all Christmas all the time, so I knew if I didn't sneak this guy in today it would be too late. I like to think of this particular Table for Twelve as my little "lemonade out of lemons" friend. Thanks to the incessant rain over the last week, I had to change the date, time and location quite a few times and even tweak the core of the party itself to fit the new parameters. Originally, I had a backyard bonfire on the docket, complete with popcorn, a full hot chocolate bar and more options for s'mores than you've ever seen. After the bonfire idea was (repeatedly) rained out, we re-grouped. Since my Aunt's brand new house (more on that later) has the loveliest covered porch, she graciously allowed us to set up shop there (so that- in the event that it started raining again- I could avoid having a panic attack). You would think no bonfire would mean no s'mores, but fortunately we don't give up that easily. Have you ever made a s'more in the oven? I have. Just last night actually. And it was delightful. So thanks to a few strokes of genius (mostly of my Dad's doing) some much appreciated generosity (I'm looking at you, Aunt Sandi) and the hard work of a few of my best friends (special shout outs to Nina, my right hand gal every step of the way and Courtney who always manages to find a way to help) 'Plan B' ended up coming together after all...just one more thing I have to be thankful for!
First, lets talk marshmallows. I went on a bit of buying spree and ended up with nine different varieties, figuring they were useful for both s'mores and hot chocolate. We had your standard fluffy white marshmallows (in small, medium and large), mint chocolate, German chocolate, strawberry, cinnamon bun, and four artisan marshmallows I ordered through Steph's Candy Kitchen (chocolate, chocolate almond, butter rum and lemon). Out of all the options the chocolate almond was, by and large, the crowd favorite (and, as a side note, not a bad option for a holiday party or special treat).
I kept the graham cracker options pretty limited (just your standard honey grahams) but provided a few choices for the chocolate portion of the s'mores. I stuck with Ghirardelli and went with their dark chocolate, extra dark chocolate, white chocolate, chocolate truffle, milk chocolate caramel and, my personal favorite, dark chocolate and sea salt (seriously, scale of 1-10, how badly do you wish you were at this party). I also put a little Nutella and peanut butter out in case folks wanted to give that a go as well (they did). Once s'mores were assembled, we Plan B-ed them right into the oven. Worked great.
The more I think about it, the more I realize how stressful this party must have been for those who don't like making decisions. There was no shortage of options for the hot chocolate, including flavor (dark chocolate, salted caramel, white chocolate mocha and s'mores), topping (chocolate syrup, caramel syrup and whipped cream) and garnish (cinnamon, peppermint, shredded coconut and- get this- chili powder, crystalized ginger and lavender). I put heated milk into pitchers and let folks mix their hot chocolate to taste, which worked out quite well. Since I wanted a uniform look, I went ahead and covered all the packaging. It didn't take long and added a really nice rustic vibe to the table. A good move if I don't say so myself.
I used some of the remnants of 'Plan A' to decorate (and since I may try and re-use the idea another time, that's all the details I'm gonna give about that). It wasn't exactly what I envisioned, but it really did look quite lovely. Since the party was originally supposed to be the day after my brother got home from tour, I gave it a touch of a 'welcome home' theme. I wrote a special message to the boys on the popcorn bags and put out a few seasonings I knew they'd love (white cheddar, cinnamon toast, buffalo, kettle corn and sea salt and vinegar).
After all was said and done, our re-imagined party was a resounding success. My favorite thing about it is that it's so do-able! Sure, I took the idea to it's extreme (it's what I do, people), but it made for a rather inexpensive, super fun, very memorable evening.
Oh! And I forgot to mention! We got to see the most gorgeous sunset. Check this out.
Not bad, Plan B. Not bad at all. For more information on this party or any other Table for Twelve (Tuscan Night, Fancy Shmancy Dinner Party, Garden Tea Party, Pool Party,Sugary Sweet Goodbye Party, Picnic in the Park, Royal Wedding, Breakfast at Tiffany's,Valentine's Day) or to find out about Design-Muse's party planning services, contact me here.