2016 Oscar Inspired Appetizers

The 2016 Oscar nominees were announced a few weeks ago and I’m getting excited for this year’s awards show. I still need to see most of the best picture nominees. I’m a procrastinator about things like that. The way this month’s schedule is panning out, I may end up just re-watching all eight trailers the night before. Whomp whomp.

Since we all can’t afford VIP tickets to Elton’s John’s Oscar party, I’ve always enjoyed planning themed appetizers and drinks for a slightly less glamorous at-home Academy Awards party. Themed parties are so much better than regular parties, am I right?
Last year, Mil and I watched the festivities together while munching handfuls of truffle popcorn. This year, we’ll be in North Carolina, so I’m not sure how my plans will shake out. Whatever I end up doing, I can guarantee you that I’ll be going snack happy on this year’s round of Oscar inspired appetizers.

2016 oscar party appetizer the big short movie

Bubble Bursting Meatball Bites

Serves 6-8

1 can flaky biscuits
10 frozen fully cooked Italian meatballs (thawed)
1/2-3/4 cup shredded Italian four cheese blend
2 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp garlic powder
1-2 cups marinara sauce to serve

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Separate each biscuit in half, this should be easy thanks to all those flaky layers.

Cut thawed meatballs in half. Place 1 meatball half and a pinch of four cheese blend into the center of each biscuit. Wrap dough around it and seal edges to form a ball. Depending on how generous your pinches of cheese are, you may need a little more than a 1/2 cup.

Mix the Parmesan, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder together in a cup or small bowl. Dip the tops of your biscuit balls into the seasoning mixture and place seam side down on a baking sheet. Bake 15-18 minutes or until nice and brown. Serve warm with marinara sauce.
Recipe inspired by Joyful Scribblings


2016 oscar party appetizer beef carpaccio recipe academy awards

Hugh’s Beef Carpaccio

Serves 3

1 (12-ounce) piece beef tenderloin
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups lightly packed fresh arugula
1 ounce good shaved Parmesan (none of that powdery stuff)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Optional: 1 tbsp chopped capers or kalamata olives

Tie the beef tenderloin with kitchen twine to help it keep its shape, then freeze until frozen (this ensures that the center will stay rare when you cook it). Once frozen, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy cast-iron skillet over high heat. Remove the frozen beef from the freezer and rub all over with salt and pepper. Add beef to your hot skillet and sear on all sides, about 4 minutes total. The beef should be seared on the outside but should remain rare on the inside. Freeze the beef again until it is almost frozen, about 1 hour, to make it easier to cut into thin slices. Using a large sharp carving knife, slice the beef as thinly as possible. Arrange the arugula and Parmesan shavings on a serving platter and lay the beef slices on top. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, adding capers and/or kalamata olives for an added pop of briny flavor. Serve with panache.

Recipe inspired by Giada De Laurentiis
2016 oscar party appetizer the martian movie matt damon academy awards

Martian Mashed Potato Puffs

Makes 24 mini puffs

2 cups mashed potatoes
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup diced cooked bacon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Sour cream or Ranch dip to serve
Heat the oven to 400°F and lightly grease a mini-muffin tin.

Whisk together the mashed potatoes, eggs, 3/4 cup cheese, green onions, and bacon. Season with salt and pepper. If you want to go full on astronaut, use boxed mashed potatoes, otherwise make sure to prepare your potatoes ahead of time and let cool. If your mashed potatoes are too hot, the eggs will cook when you combine everything together.

Mound a spoonful of the mixture in each muffin cup. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until your potato puffs are set and are nice and brown on top. Let cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then use a knife to gently pop them out. Serve immediately with a little dollop of sour cream or Ranch dip on top.

Recipe inspired by The Kitchn.

The connection between The Big Short and the first recipe is pretty obvious. The other two recipes are based on moments in the movies themselves, so if you haven’t seen them, get on it!
Here’s to happy eating and happy watching during this year’s Academy Awards!  Are you hosting or attending a get together this year? Note, if you’re hosting I always recommend doing a test run of any new recipes a week before the actual party. That way you’re stress free when it really counts. Plus more appetizers for you!
For more fun Oscar themed food and drink ideas, check out last year’s recipes:

Photo sources: 1/2/3/4/5/6


5 Fall Decorating DIYs

5 Fall decorating DIY projects do-it-yourself

This weekend I had big plans for a new DIY decorating project. I had empty wine bottles piling up in the kitchen, a bag of dollar store goodies, and cans of spray paint at the ready. And you know what, it just didn’t happen. Do you ever have one of those weekends where you start out with the greatest intentions and then slowly dial back to accommodate for a few extra hours of cuddles in bed? #worthit

So instead of sharing my own DIY project, I thought I’d do the next best thing and share a few of the fall projects catching my eye this season. Refresh your seasonal decor with these creative yet simple ideas.

Mud-Cloth-Pumpkins-DIY decorating fall

Painted pumpkins are huge this year, which is great because they last so much longer than the carved variety. This mud cloth design idea from Homey oh My is an updated take on the typical fall color palette. 


fall DIY wreath craft decorating

Living in the South, I developed a love for wreaths. They’re a homey touch that adds creates a sense of warmth from your guests first knock at the front door. This gold spray painted leaf wreath from Wild Ink Press is elegant but not outdated. 


fall pumpkin craft diy thanksgiving

Love this idea to use painted pumpkins as a chalkboard to share your dinner party menu. Thank you Better Recipes! I don’t really want to host Thanksgiving at our house this year, but this DIY almost makes me want to.



This floral fall wreath project from A Night Owl looks slightly easier to execute than the leaf wreath and adds a nice punch of color to a plain Jane door.


Fall-Pumpkin DIY project

Confession: I love succulents, but I struggle to keep even these durable guys alive. Enter the magic of faux flowers and plants. This pumpkin and succulent arrangement from I Heart Naptime is right up my alley. Plastic is impossible to kill.

How do you decorate for fall? Do you recycle the same decorations or do you prefer to refresh every year with natural elements: winter squash, leaves, etc.? One of my friends in Arkansas has been hanging the same wreath on her front door for more than 20 years. It’s not Halloween in her ‘hood until the witch wreath comes out!


Halloween Recipe Roundup

Given my predilection for party planning, Julia’s love of costumes, and our shared obsession with sweets, it’s a little surprising that neither of us is actually throwing a Halloween party this weekend. But that’s not about to stop us from daydreaming about amazing Halloween-inspired treats! From the adorable to the downright gruesome, we’ve got you covered. I’m especially excited about the Bloody Red Velvet Cake (ideally served with a machete)…







If you’re throwing a Halloween party this year, do you have any spooky snacks planned? Or are you keeping it old school with loads of candy?

♥ Mil

P.S. Once Halloween’s over, don’t forget to put that leftover candy to good use!

Oscar Party Essentials: Cocktails & Truffle Butter Popcorn

Oscar party

Who else is excited for Oscar night? We’re super pumped for hours of red carpet commentary this Sunday, not to mention placing our bets on the nominees! Jules has already planned out some creative Oscar-themed appetizers, and I have taken it upon myself to create the perfect cocktail for your Oscar party: the Red Carpet Sparkler. A variation on the Kir Royale, it’s sweet but not overpowering, and sure to be a crowd-pleaser. My two selfless taste-testers and I loved it (thanks for the assistance, ladies!) and we all have very different preferences when it comes to alcohol. Read on for the recipe!


The Red Carpet Sparkler


2 oz. champagne

2 oz. St. Germain

Pomegranate juice


Pour a little bit of Chambord into the bottom of a champagne flute. Add equal parts champagne and St. Germain (about 2 ounces of each), then top with a splash of pomegranate juice. Garnish with fresh raspberries and enjoy!


If you ask me, popcorn is mandatory for any event celebrating movies. This truffle butter popcorn is not only easy to make, but insanely, sinfully flavorful. Be sure to make extra, because you will definitely eat a lot of it before you make it out of the kitchen…

Truffle Butter Popcorn

3/4 cup popcorn kernels

1/2 stick butter

1/4 cup truffle oil (or truffle-infused olive oil)

Garlic salt

2 tbs. fresh rosemary, chopped

Cook the popcorn on the stovetop as normal (if you’ve never done this, it’s so easy and tastes so much better than the microwave stuff)! Dump into a large bowl and set aside. While the pot is still warm, melt your butter over very low heat and once it’s liquefied, add the truffle oil. Then stir in a generous heap of garlic salt, along with the fresh rosemary. Let it sit for a minute or two so the mixture has a chance to absorb the rosemary flavor. Drizzle it over your popcorn and toss vigorously. Serves 3-4.

popcorn 2

Do you have plans for Oscar night? If you’re hosting a party, you can download printable ballots for your guests here. What’s your pick for Best Picture? More importantly, who do you think will be best dressed?

♥ Mil

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