Oscars 2014

I love the Oscars!  I have a long love of them and fortunately, Mike is a willing participant in my Oscar shenanigans.  I think this is due to the large spread of food, I love to create.  I've been celebrating Oscars since college or maybe even high school.  I started off simple with watching with my friend, Andy, and my sister.  We loved to print out score cards and see who could get the most picks.  I usually lost because I go for funny names and what I like, rather than what I think other people will like.  I remember a few Oscar parties in college- one with my friends, Becca and Maribel, where I truly developed my love of catty criticisms of Oscar wear and styles.  Another Oscar adventure had Andy and me at a lake house, dressing up, and cooking fancy foods.  Post college, there were a few more parties, some involving much travelling (not on my part), but the one thing that never changed was the excitement I felt.  This year was my 4th Oscars in Austin, with the first year being our visit to see if this city was right for us.  In hindsight, I could have probably had a party this year, but I wasn't organized enough.  So, I settled for making food, my comfy couch, filling out ballots with Mike, and having my phone ready for endless catty texts to and from my sister, who did a last minute ballot to compete with us.  Now, on to the food.  I made 6 new recipes this year, so I was busy up until the red carpet.  First, I started with Strawberry Sangria aka 12 Years a Sangria.  What's an event without a signature cocktail?  The most difficult item for this recipe was finding a strawberry liqueur.  I purchased the only bottle in Specs.  This recipe was great-strawberries, wine, sugar- all good in my book.  The recipe called for your favorite type of white wine, I choose pinot grigio, so it wouldn't be too sweet.  The only downfall was that many of the strawberries sunk to the bottom of the pitcher, so I didn't get to enjoy as many boozy berries.  For my next treat, I made some Cheddar Bacon Dip aka Bacon of Wall Street Dip.  This was any easy recipe to make and sounded like it would be delicious.  It had many of my favorite things- sour cream, cheese, bacon, and ranch powder.  It recommended letting it sit in the fridge for 24 hours, but I didn't have time for that.  So, I made it as one of my first recipes and figured that would have to do.  I served it with Doritos, as shown in the picture.  We used Baked Doritos for a splash of healthy.  I really wanted to like this dip, but it was way too salty.  This says a lot if you know who I'm related to.  (I'm looking at you, mom and Aunt Sallie).  I'm not sure if it was the bacon bits or the ranch dip that was too much, but after that night I did not eat any more.  Mike commented that he liked beer dip better and maybe I could just add a little bacon to that recipe. For my next recipe, I knew I needed something sweet.  I made 3 Musketeers Fudge Brownies aka Her Brownies. This recipe was time consuming, but worth it.  Step One, make the brownies from a box mix.  Step Two, let it cool and put a layer of 3 Musketeers bars.  I was antsy so I didn't let it cool completely and I also used the mini size instead of fun sized so I didn't have to cut them in half.  Step 3, make the fudge.  This was the most time consuming step.  I would have tried to melt the chocolate in the microwave, but this was during the broken phase so that was out.  Melting on the stove top made me think of the recipe for fudge.  I used 2 different dark chocolate chip types because that is what we prefer.  Once the chocolate was melted, I poured that on top of the 3 Musketeers layer and stuck it in the fridge.  These were excellent.  They were very rich and my favorite part was the fudge layer.  These will definitely be made again.   Next, I made some Saucy Asian Meatballs aka Nebraska Balls.  I made these ahead of time, with the intent to bake them right before the red carpet.  I made a few substitutions and changes with this recipe based on available ingredients.  I used beef for my meatballs and used my handy cookie dough scoop to help make my balls even in size.  In the meatballs, I used olive oil instead of sesame oil because that's what I had.  I also made my own hoisin sauce with BBQ sauce and soy sauce.  The meatballs were good, but they took forever to cook.  Even when we ate them, they were medium well at best.  They also really added some new odors to my fridge with all the garlic.  They were yummy though and I will definitely try these again.  Next up were some pretzel sticks aka Captain Phillips' Pretzels.  I was going to make them from scratch, but I was running low on time.  I had a pretzel kit from Auntie Anne's that took away the measuring step and seemed pretty easy so I used that instead.  It was still time consuming and definitely tested my patience.  The end result was pretty good, however, I still think the frozen ones taste better.  I served these with a few different types of mustard.  For my final recipe, I went with a turkey club wrap aka Dallas Buyer's Club wraps.  This was a quick and easy recipe.  I left out the tomatoes, as Mike isn't always a fan.  I also used bacon bits vs. cooking some bacon.  Again, I should not have used these bacon bits, as they were really salty.  However, this was really easy and could be done with a variety of different meats and cheeses.  Overall, I felt the menu was a little bit salty, so I was glad I made the sangria and brownies.  I did finish everything right as the red carpet started so I plenty of time to enjoy and eat.  Once again, I lost to my sister on the voting, but we still had a great time.  Next year, I hope to throw a bigger party and spread/share my Oscar love.