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Cheesy BBQ Chicken Dip

Cheesy BBQ Chicken Dip

I am so, so behind! This year has become quite busy and I haven’t had time to keep up with everything. It’s been so hectic! Here’s what I’ve been doing:

  • I’ve gone on a couple of different short trips including: a trip to visit friends in San Francisco and a work conference
  • I got a promotion at work (yay!), which comes with more work
  • I’m volunteering with four different groups (Baha’i children’s classes, the team that plans the Baha’i holy day activities, and with two non-profits in the community)
  • I plan and host a monthly devotional and craft night with a friend
  • I have a fairly intense exercise regimen and, at the same time, am trying to be more calm and meditative
  • Lastly, I’m trying to keep up with all of our friends and, take some time for me!

Anyways, here’s the last of the recipes I plan to share back from our game night in November. (It’s May now and I’m recapping from November?! Whoops…)

Cheesy BBQ Chicken Dip

This was so easy to prepare and so, so, so delectable! I absolutely love dips and I love finding ones that are easy to make at home. It didn’t take long to make – probably about 45 minutes including chopping  and oven time. First I mixed the garlic powder, BBQ sauce, and softened cream cheese. (Low-carb/keto tip: Buy or make your own sugar free BBQ sauce!)

Cheesy Chicken Dip | Stone House Rock

Then I mixed in my shredded chicken. (Preparation tip: Cook a large quantity of chicken and shred it. Freeze it in smaller quantities for use in recipes. I thawed this overnight.)

Cheesy Chicken Dip | Stone House Rock

Below is a picture of the other ingredients, plus a can of black beans that isn’t pictured. I mixed these all in to the chicken mixture, transferred it into an oven-safe lasagna pan, and cooked it at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes – until it was golden on top and the cheese was bubbly.

Cheesy Chicken Dip | Stone House Rock

Lastly, I sprinkled the dip with the remaining onion, cilantro and BBQ sauce and served with chips! (Low-carb/keto tip: Serve with sliced vegetables like carrots or celery instead of chips.)

Cheesy Chicken Dip | Stone House Rock

Here is the link to the Cheesy BBQ Chicken Dip recipe that I used. (Low-carb/keto tip: Cut out the black beans to keep this very low carb!)

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Preparing an Appetizer Dinner for 25 Guests at Game Night

Preparing an Appetizer Dinner for 25 Guests at Game Night

My husband had a birthday last month! We have a habit of throwing a game night to celebrate. We love having people over, and most of the time we have everyone brings an appetizer while I provide an entree dish. This time, however, I decided to do it all myself! I had an idea in my head and wanted it to be perfect.

I spent much of the week preparing for it and this was the state of the fridge the day of the party:Preparing for 25 Guests at Game Night | Stone House Rock
Phew! That’s a full fridge! As you can tell from all the prepared food, my theme for dinner was:

Appetizers and Bites

The easiest appetizer to prepare was the cheese. I bought some crackers and cheese from Fred Meyer and set it out on my cute cheese plate.
Preparing for 25 Guests at Game Night | Stone House Rock
I also had a fruit salad with strawberry, pineapple and melon; chips and a cheesy BBQ chicken dip, caprese skewers, veggies and dip, bacon asparagus skewers, and jalapeno poppers. A good friend also brought some banana bread to share!
Preparing for 25 Guests at Game Night | Stone House Rock
Over the next few posts, I’ll share some of the recipes that I found for these various appetizers. They were SOOOO good! (Especially the jalapeno poppers.)

For dessert, I made a giant cookie in a cast iron pan. The ingredients were simply 2 of the pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough packs and 8 oz of chocolate in-between the two packs! It turned out so gooey and delicious.
Preparing for 25 Guests at Game Night | Stone House Rock
Both the cookie and the bacon wrapped asparagus recipes are part of this three-course Tuscan meal that I found here. Try it out and let me know what you think! By the way, the entree dish in the three-course meal was incredible too, though I made it on a different day that same week.

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Housewarming Party!

Housewarming Party!

We held our housewarming party earlier this month. It was a two-part party: open house in the afternoon and then board game night all evening long. Literally all evening, since the last game ended at 1 AM.

Dining roomI spent all week doing the final organization of the house, hanging the last picture frames on the walls, and so on. (Note the lightsabers on the wall in the photo above!) On Friday night and Saturday morning, I did a full house cleaning as all our little projects and moving in seemed to bring in a ton of dirt and dust!

Here’s the way the house looked for the party. As you can tell, we still have no blinds. We had the Bali Blinds book out to let people give us their ideas for blind colors. Living area

We don’t currently have a dining set (since our previous place had no dining room), so we’re happy with our folding tables and chairs for the moment. The rest of this area is so comfortable though, complete with the lightsabers on the wall! Yes, we do actually play with them… our neighbors say they’ve seen us have epic battles, as we have no shades yet, ha!

Anyways, going back to the housewarming – I had a lot of fun prepping all the food. We provided fruit skewers, chips and guacamole, veggie tray, tomato and mozzarella on bread, brownies, and chocolate covered almonds during the open house and then burgers and tater tots during game night.

Mmm food!

Here are some close-ups of the food:

Fruit SkewersGuacamole!Mozzarella, tomato and basilBy the way, these are the best brownies ever… the Ghiradelli brownie mix from Costco. Cook them for 5 minutes under what the recipe says and let cool. Best. Thing. Ever.

Ghiradelli brownies....Anyways, we had about 35 guests over the course of the day and evening and had a blast! I’m excited to continue to have people over, host more parties as well as smaller dinners or game nights with friends, and hosting more Baha’i events. Woohoo!

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Star Wars Movie Nights

Star Wars Movie Nights

Is anyone else getting excited for the new Star Wars movie? Well, my husband and I definitely are excited. We’ve hosted three Star Wars Nights (we have one more coming up in November) to prepare for the new movie. We started by watching 4 and 5 in August. We continued with 1 (for those who wanted to watch) and then 2 in September. We watched 3 just a few weeks ago, and coming up soon will be number 6.

Watching in the order 4, 5, 2, 3, 6 is called the machete order. You chop off number 1 because it’s not relevant to the other movies and you watch in this new order so that you don’t get any information from other films that mess up some surprises. For instance, if you watch from 1 to 6 in episode order, you’ll find out who Luke’s father is too soon. Read more about it here… but be aware that this explanation has spoilers in it!

We ended up adding in episode 1 for our friends who had never seen Star Wars and wanted to see it. The rest of our friends showed up part way through the movie night to watch number 2.

Anyways, I love a good movie night and party. I always try to create themed foods around whatever movie or theme we have for the evening. I looked at both Pinterest and “The Star Wars Cookbook” for inspiration. Here were a few of my favorite things over the past few months:

Han Solo in Carbonite (Jell0):

 Photo Aug 01, 5 13 30 PM

Please wash your Hans sign in the bathroom:

Photo Aug 02, 2 56 23 PM

Yoda Soda: This is definitely one of the biggest hits. You take carbonated water, lime (like 2 limes per drink OR just buy lime juice at the store… I figured that one out recently. Ha!), sugar, and lime sherbert. You want a lot of lime and a heaping tablespoon of sugar in your glass. Fill with water (not all the way full) and put a nice dollop of lime sherbert in on top. If you put the sherbert in first, it’ll fizz up too much as your mix the lime and sugar in the bubbly water!

Photo Aug 02, 2 37 44 PM

May the Forks be with You sign:

Photo Aug 02, 2 37 38 PM

Yodamelon: I bought two small watermelon and chopped one up, leaving triangle shaped pieces to attached to the other melon with toothpicks. I opened the back of the other watermelon and scooped out the watermelon, leaving its shell in tact. I then attempted to draw Yoda’s face on the front of the watermelon. I think I could’ve done a better job of drawing, but people got a kick out of it!

 Photo Aug 02, 2 37 31 PM

I’ve also made Greedo’s Burritos, Jawa Jive Milkshakes, Vader Taters, Tie Fighter Ties and more! What would you make if you were having a Star Wars party?

Halloween!

Halloween!

I absolutely love game nights, having people over and dressing up. So as Halloween approached, I insisted upon hosting a Halloween game night at our house. Hubby didn’t necessarily want to spend time setting up, but he’s always up for having people over and playing board games.

I went to the dollar store and found a ton of Halloween decorations and I began to set up our house. See all these decorations below? Besides the lantern (which I got at Costco for $15), everything was from the dollar store for about $25!20141109-100151-36111447.jpg

I started setting up in our backyard with fake spiderweb, as well as a skull, spider, crow and mini fence right next to our front door. It took some time to figure out how to make it look like spider web, but I think I did a pretty good job!

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I was happy to see that the spider web held up very well, even with the downpour we had the day before and morning of Halloween. Definitely an easy way to decorate and celebrate this holiday!

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I also decorated inside. You can see little “blood splatters” on the glass pane in the door. You can see the spiderweb that everyone had to get around to get up the stairs and, lastly, I had these fun paper rats that I taped onto the stairs. In fact… those are still there. I don’t know when I’ll get rid of them. Ha! 20141109-114619-42379658.jpg

To prep for the actual party I decided to go all out with the yummies. I bought a pack of Sparkling Ice from Costco and took off all the labels and put on the labels below.

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They ended up like this! I really enjoyed offering people “Vampire’s Blood and “Bat Brew!”

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The inside decorations included some hanging bats, random fake bugs (including a huge tarantula hidden under the toilet! I scared myself one morning because I had forgotten that I’d placed it there), the lantern and some creepy cloth.

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Another of my favorites from the evening were the mummies. I found them on Pinterest. All you have to do is get a pack of hotdogs and Crescent Roll dough. You wrap the dough around half a hotdog and put them on a baking sheet (making sure to spray non-stick oil beforehand). Bake them using the instructions on the Crescent Roll packet. Then I added dots of mustard for the eyes. How do you like my mummies?20141109-100256-36176060.jpg

The other Halloween-y food I made were hamburgers and veggie burgers with cheese cut to look like jack-o-lanterns and I made “dirt cups” in Red Solo Cup shot glasses. For those of you who have never had dirt, it’s a kid’s treat with pudding, crumbled oreos, and gummy worms!

Other food included bean dip and chips, cupcakes with a homemade frosting (people just ate these up!), veggies and dip, and mozzarella with basil. 20141109-100257-36177608.jpg

Here is a closeup of the yummy cupcakes. I figured I’d bring some to work the Monday after Halloween, but some of our guests had 3 or 4 cupcakes each because they found them so delicious! I guess I should do more baking. 🙂

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Lastly, we dressed up for the party, and most guests did as well. We had a couple come as the board game Operations (one was the doctor, one was the game board), another couple was peanut butter and jelly, a friend showed up as student debt (super creative – graduation robes and a ball and chain around his ankle), and many other fun costumes!

I was an ewok; here I am posing by the food!

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And hubby was R2D2. Doesn’t he look cute? He’s wearing the R2D2 hat I knitted him last year.

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I absolutely love Halloween and dressing up. I think we’re going to have to come up with something fun sometime next years that let’s us dress up without waiting for next year’s Halloween!