Thursday, October 13, 2011

40th Birthday Bash for Mr. Devilish Dish

A while back my husband hit the BIG 4-OH.  Much to his chagrin I wanted to throw a party.  I finally convinced him that it would be more of a "football watch party" than an actual birthday party.  (Damn I really wanted a pinata and pin the tail on the donkey.  Maybe when he's 50.)  He was born on an Oklahoma Sooners football game day, forty years ago.  My in-laws were on the way to hospital, my mother-in-law in labor when my father-in-law turned the car around and went back home.  Because he had forgotten his transistor radio to listen to the game.  And football great Greg Pruitt had an outstanding rushing game that day, while my mother-in-law was giving birth and my father-in-law was cheering on the Sooners.  And the baby was named Greg.  And he grew up and I married him.  And he turned 40 years old.  So it seemed only natural, in a family that bleeds Crimson and Cream that we should have an OU-Themed watch party in his honor.

Here's the birthday boy at half-time
loading up on Sloppy Joe Sliders,
Potato Chips and Beau Monde Dip.
Happy Birthday!!!

Decorating around here for an Oklahoma themed party isn't much of a stretch.  Since we're professional tailgaters, I have most of the gear.  AND since my favorite color is red, all I had to do was grab my regular dishes from the cupboards.  I even have red walls in my house.  But we needed a few extra touches, just to let everyone know there was a party.  AND that Greg was turning 40.  (Just a little reminder.)
Football Pennants around the front door.
I wanted to make it clear it was a
football party ;)
And you just can't celebrate a
40th birthday party without
saying this...
The football on my door was a housewarming
gift from my dear friend Michaela who
lives in Nebraska.  Needless to say it was
a "Special Order."  It was made by
Simply Swirls out of Nebraska.  You can
visit their Facebook Page
(And yes I have a purple front door!)
And hanging on another door...
The mantel...
I made a cute little Boomer Sooner garland
and decorated with OU pom pons and
some of his football party favors.
When I sent out the invitations, I requested no gifts.  I wanted our guests to come over and enjoy good food and good football.  And frankly I didn't want to write thank you notes for crap that said OVER THE HILL.  So I decided in lieu of gifts, that I would ask our guests to bring donations for the shelter where we adopted our Baby Ruth.  I set up our dining room table with a football-field tablecloth and used half of the table for the donations and the other half as a shrine to Greg.  When I decided to have the party I asked my father-in-law if they might have any pictures of Greg as a child in an OU shirt.  His reply was, "I'm sure we do.  He wore an OU Jersey every day."  So I framed the adorable black and white pictures in all kinds of red frames.  My mother-in-law was kind enough to blow up and copy the pictures for me so I had the cutest variety.  In the center was a framed, autographed Sports Illustrated cover of Greg Pruitt, who my Greg was named after.  This area was a hit. Everyone really enjoyed seeing his baby pictures.  Some of them I had never seen before.  They're precious!
Here's the dining table.  I displayed
Greg's baby pictures, footballs, invitations,
OU candy in an OU candy jar and
the donations to the shelter.
This was before the party.
You should have seen our dining room covered with
bags of dog food!
Here's the birthday boy
in about a million different poses.
All wearing either an OU shirt
or a football uniform.
Being born on game day just destined him
to be an OU football fan.
And here's a picture of Baby Ruth when she
was a puppy at her first OU Football tailgate.
She was wearing an OU jersey of course.
For party favors I ordered personalized mini
footballs that said,
"He's A Man!  He's 40"
and then happy birthday with my husband's name on them.
If you didn't already know this was a little jab at our
football rival, Oklahoma State and their head coach
who had an "outburst" a few years ago at a
press conference.  It made the rounds on YouTube.
I couldn't resist.  Below is video
of the famous/infamous "meltdown."

I sent out A LOT of invitations.  I think my husband was secretly starting to panic when everyone kept saying, "See ya Saturday."  My philosophy is, "The More, The Merrier."  But we wanted to make sure everyone had a great view of the television so we set up two watch areas.  One in our living room and one outside on our deck.  (We warned our neighbors ahead of time, that their might be some debauchery.  You only turn 40 once!) 
The deck, set up before the party.
We were so afraid it would rain,
we set up a tent.  Thankfully the rain held off
until after the party.  We put out tons
of folding chairs too.   The deck
  accommodatedquite a crowd!
(And yes our retro lawn chairs are painted
Crimson & Cream.)
Coolers everywhere. 
Neatly labeled with their contents.
The tv set up outside.
Since our guests were arriving before the game, and staying after I wanted to have plenty of food on hand. My original idea was to serve all of the things you get at the stadium concession stand like hot dogs, pretzels, nachos, Cracker Jacks.  BUT I didn't want Greg to have to spend his time standing at the grill turning hot dogs.  I wanted him to watch the game and enjoy his party.  So I stuck with the idea but went with a nacho bar for the pre-game festivities.  I got paper "boats" from Sam's to serve them in, and the true concession-style tortilla chips and cheese sauce from Sam's.  This turned out to be a great idea, because there was little prep. I kept the cheese sauce warm in the slow cooker.  We had tortilla chips, cheese sauce, jalapenos, salsa, sour cream, black olives, chopped green onions, and chopped chicken that I had marinated and grilled earlier.  This was a hit.  And so easy.  Even I got to enjoy the party without being trapped in the kitchen. I just kept re-filling the dishes from my giant Sam's-sized jars of jalapenos and salsa.  I made labels for all of the foods that looked like football fields with the names of players that played during the 1971 season.  It was funny how many of our guests figured this out, because some of them weren't even born then.  For example:  Greg Pruitt's Pickled Jalapenos and Gary Gibbs' Green Onions.  It was fun to research the 1971 team and the signs added a whimsical touch to the table.  I used my Sooners tail-gating tablecloth on my kitchen table and set up the nacho bar there.  It's the closest to the patio door leading to the deck.  Easy to grab more nachos during time outs!
Here's the nacho bar set up before the party.
Whenever I have a big get-together, I set up the
table ahead of time.  I figure out what dishes
I'm going to use and where I want them.   Then
I label each one with a post-it note so I can
remember what's going in there.  Not to mention
this comes in handy if someone else is in the
kitchen trying to help you.  They know
what goes where.
Don't mock me, I'm organized!
Here's the nacho bar all ready to go!
Tortilla chips, cheese sauce, grilled chicken,
sour cream, salsa, pickled jalapenos,
green onions and black olives...
Football napkins of course.
Here are the little table cards
I made.  Not only does this make me look
cute and clever, then people know what everything
is and I don't have to stand by the table and pretend
to be Encyclopedia Brown.
Ewww...Black olives.  Not my  favorite.
But I'm guessing some people like them.
For drinks we had various beers, sodas and bottled water.  One of my nephew's friends made Club Specials, which quickly became my new favorite cocktail.  I should have him do a guest blog with cocktail recipes.  We threw all of the drinks into coolers outside, and labeled them.  Then I made Bourbon Slushes, which were newly named, "Touchdown Tea" for the night.  It's a variation on the famous Vodka Slushes, but with a bourbon and sweet tea twist.  We sat up a little cocktail area for the folks that wanted Club Specials and Touchdown Tea.
Bourbon Slush A.K.A. Touchdown Tea
Only doing one cocktail, plus beers, sodas
and waters came in handy.  Plus I don't
usually associate wine or coffee with
football watching.  Hope my guests didn't either.
You can find the recipe for Touchdown Tea HERE.
At half-time, I brought out Sloppy Joe Sliders, served on sweet Hawaiian-style rolls, potato chips and Beau Monde dip.  That way everyone could grab a bite before the second half.  Just like at the stadium.  A mass exodus to get something else to eat.  The Sloppy Joe Sliders were such a hit, people were eating 6 and 7 of them at a time.  I made them earlier in the day and re-heated them in my Dutch oven once the game started.  They make a perfect party food. 
I put the Sloppy Joe Sliders, rolls, Beau Monde
dip and potato chips out on the bar.
It got a little hectic at half-time so I didn't get
a picture of the full dishes, but I DID get lots

of compliments.  Be sure and try the Sloppy
Joe Sliders.  You can find the recipes for
the Sloppy Joe Sliders HERE and
the recipe for the Beau Monde Dip
HERE.  Not only were these both
very well-received, they can easily be
doubled or tripled and made ahead.
You can't have a party without desserts.  Originally I thought about doing mini cheesecakes since Greg's favorite dessert is the New York Style Cheesecake that I make.  But then I decided that cupcakes were the way to go.  (He got a cheesecake the following night for dessert.)  I made red velvet cupcakes, and re-named them Crimson & Cream Cupcakes of course.  No party would be complete without the famous Crack Corn.  Only this time it was called, Sooner Sweet & Salty Popcorn.  I created a monster by serving this because now some of our new friends are in love with it.  I don't think it's possible to have a get together without some kind of chocolate dessert so I made my Simple From Scratch Brownies and cut them into football shapes.  As a true labor of love I made 4 batches.  I hope Mr. Devilish Dish loves me.  They turned out really cute, and I served them on a glass OU cutting board that looks like a football field. 
The dessert bar.
Not only did the little paper boats come in handy
for the nacho bar, they made perfect little containers
to hold the Sooner Sweet & Salty Popcorn.
I made the Red Velvet Cupcake recipe
in mini cupcake pans.  Not only does this
make them bite-sized, and easier to eat at a
party, but then you can eat a whole lot
more of them and it doesn't count.  See the
Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe HERE.
The gooey-good cream cheese frosting
went over REALLY well.  I found some
cupcakes that had the icing licked off.
Our daughter later admitted she was
the culprit.
The famous Crack Corn.
NO PARTY is complete without it.
You can find the recipe HERE.
To call this stuff "Addicting" is an understatement.
That's why we call it "CRACK" corn.
My Simple From Scratch Brownies
cut into little football-shapes.
They became BOOMER Brownies
to go with the SOONER Sweet & Salty Popcorn. 
You can't have a get together without chocolate.
These brownies are so good, and simple to make.
From Scratch.  You'll never use a box again. 
Try my recipe HERE.
Here they are on the cutest darned
football field glass cutting board
you've ever seen.  I never cut on this thing
like a true cutting board. 
I got it to serve cakes and such on.
Just because it's so cute!
I wish I had gotten a picture of all of the wonderful donations that people brought for the shelter.  We had huge bags of dog food sitting in our dining room.  All kinds of toys, water bowls, leashes and even cash donations.  It was really thoughtful of everyone, and meant a lot, because Baby Ruth is super special to us.  The following week Greg and I went out to Second Chance to deliver the treats to the animals.  We walked around the pens and talked to each and every dog.  Good thing I had on my sunglasses because I was crying the whole time.  Clearly I am not emotionally stable enough to be around homeless dogs.  They were all so glad to see us and they loved getting their picture taken.  It's like they knew we were bringing them some new treats and toys.  We left feeling great about asking for gifts for them instead of Greg.  Well Greg felt great. I felt like total Ca-Ca because I wanted to load up the back of my SUV with new dogs. 
This was the little thank you message
provided by Baby Ruth.
Here she is as a puppy.  Just a couple of
days after we adopted her.
(Which by the way was the single
best decision I've ever made in my life.)
Here's she is now.  She's 6 years old and
a real party animal, can't you tell?
I need to do a blog on how we came about
adopting her.  She was a little bit of a
surprise to Greg.
Here are some of the dogs we visited
at Second Chance.  I'm in love with that
boy in the background.  His name is Burt
and I've spent many hours persuading (begging)
Greg to let me go get him.  I think he kind
of looks like Baby Ruth.  And I'm sure he would
make an outstanding little brother.
These guys were all so happy to see us.
Greg swears the shelter has them trained to
jump up and down and look cute and needy.
But I know it's how they look naturally.
Thus the reason I cried all the way home.
If you'd like to donate to Second Chance Animal Sanctuary Inc. you can donate online through their website using Paypal, or you can print off a donation coupon and send a check or money order to:

Second Chance Animal Sanctuary Inc.
PO Box 1266
Norman, OK 73070 
All donations are tax deductible.  Or visit some pets at your local shelter and take them for a walk.  Or simply give them a treat or a hug.  And remember to have your pets spayed or neutered.  There are enough dogs and cats out there that need loving homes.  Let's find families for the ones out there first.  I'll get off my soap box for now.

I hope you all enjoyed the re-cap of the 40th Birthday Bash.  A huge thank you to everyone that came. Hope you enjoyed it too.  Thanks to everyone who donated to Second Chance. It is a cause that is extremely near and dear to my heart.  And Greg's too since he thinks Baby Ruth is HIS dog.

Happy Birthday Greg, I love you...

PS:  Boomer Sooner!


  1. Ok, I posted a comment this morning, but it's not here!?!? DUMB BLOGGER!!
    I think that you did an OUTSTANDING job on Greg's party! Everything looked AMAZING and hey, I am not even an OU fan!! ;) Well, unless you count you guys!! ;) Muah!

  2. Aww...Thanks! Wish you guys could have been here to celebrate with us!


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