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


Oscar Inspired Outfits

Now that we’ve covered the appetizers and the cocktails, the last piece in the Oscar party puzzle is the outfit! I thought it’d be fun to pull together a few outfits inspired by characters in this year’s Oscar-nominated films. The key to a good ensemble is to balance accuracy with wearability. You want to look enough like the character to be recognizable, but should also feel cute and comfortable hanging out in it all night. Here’s my version of toeing that line with Fletcher from “Whiplash,” Cheryl from “Wild,” and Sam from “Birdman.”


Dress like Fletcher from Whiplash

In “Whiplash,” J.K. Simmons plays Terrance Fletcher, an aggressive and driven band director. He spends most of the movie in the classic musician uniform of black on black. I thought this comfy black v-neck tee combined with a modern cut blazer, skinny black jeans, and a “rock” necklace created a female version of Fletcher’s look. I was tempted to finish it off with black Converses, but jazz musicans are little classier than that, so kitten heels it is! (Image source)



Dress like Cheryl from Wild

Reese Witherspoon plays Cheryl Strayed in “Wild,” spending most of the film walking up and down mountains in scruffy clothes and boots. My version of hiker chic involves the classic plaid and khaki combo, just with nicer cuts and materials than what I’d actually wear on the trail. Current Elliott plaid shirt + Grey t-shirt + Zara khaki pants + Smartwool socks + Free People boots = Cheryl, the hiking hottie. (Image source)



Dress like Sam from Birdman


In “Birdman,” Sam is the daughter to washed-up actor Riggan Thomson. She is a former drug addict with a leaning towards to the punk end of the fashion spectrum. I think the classic combination of black shirt, plaid skirt, fishnet stockings, and Dr. Martens does the trick nicely. I just love this Madewell plaid skirt, as it can easily be dressed up and down. Punk today, preppy tomorrow. (Image source)


This year, I think I’m going to let Cheryl Strayed inspire me, mostly because I wear my hiking socks on the regular anyway. If you could dress-up like a character in any of this year’s nominated films, who would you choose?



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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