Thursday, October 9, 2014

Survivor Party

I host a Survivor party every week where I invite some known Survivor fans over to my house to watch the most recent episode and then spend the next two hours gossiping about it like we personally know every single person in the show. Wednesday nights during Survivor season are easily my favorite.

They also put me on a schedule of weekly party-host anxiety spells. I have this issue that probably stems from some kind of insecurity that I don't have the time to see a therapist about right now because TV. The issue is that I feel a LOT of pressure to make my house the hippest place in town. When I invite people over, I do so under the cloud of overly-dramatic daydreams in which I imagine those people leaving my home DAYS LATER, with tears of joy in their eyes, saying things like "I never thought I would walk again." Or some other nonsensical but inspirational thing. Then they leave a super good review on Yelp and nominate my hair for employee of the month at Shakee's.

So every single week I try to win the hearts of the Survivor-Party attendees through the universal language: FOOD. And every single week, I fail. I don't know what my problem is. But I can't seem to put out treats that people will actually enjoy.

It's not like they complain about it. They are too polite for that. Well most of them are (AHEM . . . KYLE). The problem is they just graciously pick at things and then they decline when I aggressively offer them more for the next three hours.

The really sad thing is that I fail in the exact same way every single week and can't seem to learn my lesson. You guys. I'm a one trick pony on Survivor Party treats.

Every week I make brownies and put them out with hummus and pita chips. And every week this is not as popular as I think it's going to be.

And I know that yesterday I asked you for input on something but I need to ask for input again. (Oh look! Another one trick pony example!)

You guys seem like you use what the kids are calling the Pinterest. I think a lot of you ended up here BECAUSE of the Pinterest. So you probably have some good insight to this question.

Can you please share an easy and perhaps even creative treat you have provided for informal gatherings of less than ten people? Keep in mind, the ultimate goal here is exceptional popularity and perhaps eventual world domination.

Also, as usual, I'll gladly take your disaster stories as well. Especially if they involve diarrhea.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. Hmm...are you wanting to feed them dinner? Or rather, was that somehow something that ought to have been what you were probably doing, and brownies and hummus/pita isn't really sufficient? (Also, hummus is not exactly appealing to a lot of people. It's an acquired taste that many have not acquired.) If you're aiming to feed them dinner, it's getting into fall, so perhaps soup? Or maybe macaroni and cheese? Those are easy. Although, I don't think they'll help you with world domination. Perhaps world domination through food bribery isn't necessarily the way to go? Don't worry, you'll get there eventually!

    1. World domination through food is the perfect way to go! As long as you're giving it and not taking it...

    2. I think it more depends on whether your goal is to rule through love or fear

  2. I totally found your blog because of Pinterest. And that was when the snuggie post first came out, you've had me hooked for a long time.
    As for food, a lot of people like munchies because you can pick out what you like and leave the pretzels. I dont cook and am in college so that's all I've got. Good luck!
    Oh! Cupcakes and then celery for when they start to feel bad about the cupcakes... That's what I do on Saturdays.

  3. anybody that doesn't like hummus and pita chips is a communist. sorry, eli: your friends are communists.

    1. This is completely true.

      ...wait. I don't like hummus and pita. *hides Communist party papers...whistles innocently* What?

  4. If you're going for appetizer-ish foods, baked Brie usually goes over well with my friends - brie, a little jam on top (something a little tart is usually good - raspberry, and apricot have worked well for me), crescent roll crust wrapped around whole thing, and baked (you can find specific instructions easily online). I usually serve it with sliced up baguette pieces that I've lightly toasted in the oven. You're going to want to serve it right away so that the brie is still warm and gooey and the baguette slices don't get hard. Also, a friend of mine makes this amazing buffalo wing dip with pretzel crisps. You'll have to look the recipe up online, but it's really really good. She usually runs out. Now I'm hungry. Good luck!

    1. I was totally going to suggest baked Brie - it's a favorite of mine!

      Eli... you could ask them to bring things. That way you're responsibility free & they have to stress over what to bring! :)

      - MJD

  5. Homemade chex mix is the best. The bagged stuff doesn't even come CLOSE. also, homemade rice crispy treats are always a crowd pleaser. I've been a baker and a cook for more than 20 years, and i find that when feeding more than a few people, always and forever keep it simple. the rare exception to that is if the food is the star, not a television show, and you KNOW the people are adventurous. Another great choice is Bruchetta. Crispy italian bread sliced thin and toasted with a bright mix of tomato, basil, garlic, salt and pepper on top. Find basic recipes and stick to them. Don't try to be fancy the first couple of times. Make it perfect, then make it yours. Hope this helps. :)

    1. I second ALL of this! Lauren, can you please live in my pantry so I won't have to worry about party foods ever again?

  6. I say apple slices and caramel dip in the fall for super simple and delicious. You could have a hot cocoa bar where people can add what they like: marshmallows, whipped cream, caramel, mint, cherry, etc. email me if you want more instructions on how to do this. Good luck!

  7. My friends and I have had a few Pinterest parties where we all make some food item that we have seen on Pinterest. It's great because then one person isn't stuck making all of the food and you get to try out different things that you may not have seen or thought would have been good. Then you know everyone will at least eat their own dish and everyone will be full and happy. This would also be a good way to get a good idea of the kinds of things they each like.

  8. my friends call this stuff crack because it's super-addicting. it's pretty rich, but it's amazing. a friend of mine gave me the recipe -

    Use the below recipe to cover corn puff things but you could probably put it on anything (I've used pirate's booty)

    2 cubes of butter
    1/2 cup of karo syrup
    1 1/2 cups of sugar

    Combine and melt down. Continue to stir or else the sugar will stick to bottom and burn. Once it is all combined, let boil for about a minute (Until it comes to a soft ball stage) then pour over the corn puffs and stir so everything is evenly covered.

    or, another favorite is almond cake (unless you have a nut allergy, then this will kill you -

    1 1/2 c. sugar
    3 eggs
    1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
    1 1/2 c. flour
    3/4 c. melted butter (not marg.)
    1 tsp. almond extract
    1/2 tsp. salt

    Blend sugar with melted butter. Beat in eggs. Add almond and vanilla extract. Add salt and flour. Don’t over-mix - stir only until flour disappears. Batter may be slightly lumpy. Spread batter into a greased 9-in round pan. Sprinkle with sugar and almonds (if desired).
    Bake @ 350 for 25-35 min.

    Good luck!

  9. I'm not a Pinterest user, but I am an accomplished food blog stalker. And I also share a bit of your host/entertainer anxiety, so I've accumulated a repertoire of favorite finger food recipes. One of my favorites and one that seems to get rave reviews are these buffalo chicken bites: I like them a lot because you can make them ahead of time whenever you've got a free second, pop them in the freezer, and then just take them out and bake them before your guests arrive. I tend to make a double batch of these at a time so I can have them on-hand and then just bake whatever amount seems appropriate for the number of people I'm having over. Just makes things easier. And for something sweet, I've had really good results with this cake batter dip The recipe is written with really specific ingredients (special cream cheese and yogurt and specific gluten free cake mix), but I just use standard products (including regular cake mix) because that's just the way I roll. Buuutttt, you could make it with the gluten free mix in deference to your gluten free friend you've mentioned and it wouldn't impact the taste at all. And, as an added bonus, you can serve the dip with sliced apples and bananas and other fruits and trick people into thinking it's kind of healthy! Now, as far as disaster stories, I don't personally have any, but I do remember this one time that I was on a family camping trip (yikes) and one of my cousins had a bad experience with our grandma's chili. I won't go into all the gory details, but I'll just say this: my cousin pooped the air mattress. That we were sharing. Like three times. I had to keep bailing out of the bed to avoid the splash zone, so to speak. It remains one of the most traumatic experiences of my young life. But I think that particular disaster had more to do with my cousin's intestinal fortitude than my grandma's chili. Because that chili is delicious! But anyway, I hope I was able to help (with your recipe conundrum, not by the sharing of the poop story) and your next gathering goes well!

  10. I'm confused. Shouldn't your guests be bringing YOU treats? If it's any consolation, your guests are still coming to your parties, despite the pitiful fare.

  11. GUACAMOLE. It's the best food group around, and if your "friends" don't like it, then you know they were never your real friends in the first place.

    Also, "no-bake cookies" are a good choice. Peanut butter, chocolate, and very easy. Just google the name to find plenty of recipes.

    1. There we go, I was waiting for someone to mention Guac. Guacamole and tortilla chips to dip into the guac. Almost everyone loves the guac. As long as you make it right. My 6 and 8 year old wolf it down whenever we make it.

    2. Guac FTW. It's impossible to make enough guacamole, no matter how big the group. Get a couple of those Trader Joe's four-packs of avocados (slightly soft if using right away, harder if you are shopping a few days in advance; put them in the fridge when they start to go soft), some salsa verde, cumin, and blue organic chips (and/or yellow if you prefer). Mush up the avocados in a bowl (slightly chunky is fine or you can stick blend or food process if you prefer), add some salsa and as much cumin as you want, maybe some salt and pepper. Divine!

    3. Really? Cumin? How much do you put in if you're only using one guac? I want to try that. Normally we just put salsa (sometimes garden tomatoes as well during the summer), salt, a bit of garlic and onion powder and a drop of lime. Sometimes we use some guac spice mix from Epicure instead along with salsa.

  12. Avocado Tortilla Roll-Ups
    My friends love these!!! I never have any leftovers. Also, if i want to make it a little more "hearty" You can just add sliced turkey to them and they are like little mini sanwiches. Yum!

  13. Crescent rolls + tiny wieners = pigs in a blanket. WIN!

    1. I can not make these without burning them. I've tried several times and they always end up burned!

  14. Do a taco bar. Everyone likes tacos. And if they still don't eat, then you'll know they're not human!

    1. I did a spin on this once and it was a hit. Nacho bar!

  15. Pickle Roll Ups - Duh! Get some pre-packaged deli ham, some pickles and a package of cream cheese. Soften the cream cheese, spread some on a piece of ham, put a pickle on it and roll it up. After you do a bunch of them, stick them in the frig to firm up. Take them out and slice them and put them on a tray.

  16. GOOEY BUTTER! This stuff is sure to win your guests over!

    Melt 1 stick of butter
    mix in 1 egg
    mix in 1 box of yellow cake mix
    press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan


    beat together a block of cream cheese, and 2 more eggs
    add 1 lb (3 3/4 cups) of powdered sugar
    mix until smooth, and pour over the cake mixture

    bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Everyone who lives within a mile of you will be knocking on your door asking to taste the heavenly scent for the rest of the day. Seriously.

  17. Our office does a "potluck" type snack day for birthdays. There are 9 of us so 8 of us usally bring stuff. And I hate being the one that brings something everyone politely takes one of and then I have to take home a huge bowl of something I can't finish by myself unless I eat just that for every meal for a week. So I have practiced and learned over the last ten years what works and what doesn't. Cocktail weenies - winner, Cheese balls - loser , Summer sausage and cheese with club crackers - winner, veggie tray - loser, fresh fruit plate - winner (but don't go overboard and stick to the best seasonal fruits), blt dip ( with Ritz Flipsides - winner (although i hate it because it seems like way too much sour cream and not enough topping, but it still gets eaten up). sausage rotel dip with tortilla chips ( - winner (I saw someone scraping the crockpot with a spoon last time, and it wasn't me, but I wished I'd thought of it.) Mini cup cakes - winner (they have to be small enough for one or two bites, any bigger and people feel guilty) store bought cookies - loser, brownies - loser, pretzels - loser, egg salad croissants - winner (strangly these were served with bread and butter pickles on the side and they disappeared before I could get a second one!) Marian's Cookies - winner (Unfortunately for you there is only one Marian and she works with me. She has not made a cookie yet that hasn't been gone first, no matter the flavor. Some people are just like that!)

    I know it goes against the grain of being an awesome host, but for one night only, why don't you have them all bring a snack (like a potluck) and see what they bring. That will better tell you what they like to snack on and then you learn from that what each one favors and you can better plan what to make. As much as I love brownies - they never work at our snack days...***sigh*** ...hmmm... but cheesecake ... I may try cheescake next time... Don't forget to let us know how your next party goes!

  18. Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Wish there was an edit button but...

      Damnit, everyone is mentioning my Great minds I guess.

      Those were my 2 choices. Guac and nacho chips, or cheese and crackers. I would actually add some kind of sausage to that cheese and crackers. Start off with just some cheddar and gouda. Then if things go well you could get fancy and try some nice italian cheeses like a nice block of Parmigiano Regiano or Fiore Sardo. Then get 1 or 2 types of crackers and 1 type of sausage and cut it up into slices (I like garlic sausage but whatever floats your boat). They'll burn through that before the show is over.

  19. I totally found your blog through Pinterest.

    One of my party favorites is chilli cheese dip. You take 8 oz of cream cheese, soften it up in the microwave for a minute, then dump a can or two of hormel chili on it and microwave it until it's warm, then you cover it all with shredded cheddar cheese and microwave it until the cheese melts and then stir it all together and oh my gosh it's like eating chili heaven.

  20. Totally not healthy in any way... but a block of Velveeta diced up and a can of Rotel in the slow cooker (or you can microwave it if you don't have a slow cooker) Cut up bagels in bite sized pieces and use them for dipping!

    1. Love this...but add sliced up Lil' Smokies. :)

  21. A block of cream cheese, one stick of softened butter, 1cup powdered sugar and a bag of miniature chocolate chips all mixed up. Use Graham crackers to dip. It's addictive if you like cheese cake!

  22. hmm. I think people like chip dip, also just have some munchies like peanut M&M's or cinnamon bears. They'll just subconciously eat them.

    Now For the Killer Clam Dip recipie, for use with Ruffles or Wavy Lays
    1 package cream cheese
    1 tuna fish sized can of minced or chopped clams
    1 bunch of green onions

    beat cream cheese with a hand mixer, drain the clams, but save a little of the juice. Mixed in clams and a few teaspoons of the juice to taste. also mix in the chopped green onions.

    stick in the fridge for an hour, or more, could be all day


  23. Ok, I never comment but party food is my jam. Try to serve at least one meat/protein option, a simple fruit or vegetable platter, at least one salty/starchy food, and a dessert. Finger foods are best. Seasonal foods are great. And this might be a personal preference, but I love a good dip (easy to make and you can serve with fruit, veggies, chips, even as a dessert).

    So a simple, week-night party spread might be:
    Sliders (any kind-- people love tiny sandwiches!)
    Fresh veggies and pita chips with avocado ranch (or hummus)
    Home-made party mix, or chips & salsa
    Apple slices w/ caramel dip
    Cookie-dough dip w/ graham crackers (or mini cheesecakes if you have the time)

    1. gonna go over and help him with this? Cuz that is ALOT of work!

  24. Once, for book club, we read "Into the Wild." I was outvoted on the book choice, because I hate that book. Anyway, I hosted the talking and eating part of the book club, and all I served was plain cooked rice and raw carrots. Thats it.

    1. ok. that gave me a good laugh. that'll teach 'em! you're my book club hero.

  25. Nacho dip. Brown 1 pound of sausage ( we like bob evans hot sausage...not sure if you have that is your parts). Drain grease. Melt one entire block of velveeta cheese in the pan...I cube it up first. As it is melting add 1 can of rotel (Diced tomatoes, peppers, and onions in a can). Throw the sausage back in. Stir gently until it's all melted together. If you want to keep it warm put it in a small crock pot on warm or super low. Serve with tortilla chips. Soooo good. The tomatoes, peppers, and onions make it eat as much as you want.

  26. A block of cream cheese, a stick of butter, a package of sugar cookie mix--cream it all together, sprinkle sprinkles on top and serve with vanilla wafers! Yummy!

  27. Soften a block of cream cheese, add a can of drained chicken breast chunks, a twenty ounce can of crushed pineapple with all the juice squished out, a packet of ranch mix and blend it all together with your hand held mixer. Refrigerate for about an hour and serve with ritz crackers. Yummy!

  28. Ooooooh! And finally...

    Core about fifteen jalapeño peppers and scrape the membranes out. Cut a block of cream cheese into sticks and stuff the peppers with the cream cheese. Then (wait for it...........!!!) wrap the stuffed peppers in..........BACON!! Secure the bacon with toothpicks and grill them until the bacon is done. O. M. G.

    But this involves fire when cooking them. Be careful, Eli.

    And it can also involve fire the next morning if you don't scrape the membranes from the inside of the peppers reallllllllly well.

    Just be careful.

    And don't rub your eyes.

    Or scratch your nose.
    For like a whole day after.

    Not that I'd know any of that from personal experience or anything.

    1. Also wash your hands really well before using the restroom. You don't want fire down there either!

  29. This is off topic but I recently watched an episode of Brooklyn nine nine and a lady on it was wearing a sweatshirt with LEOTRX on it! Look it up on you tube.

  30. Prosciutto wrapped asparagus! Looks fancy, tastes amazing, and it's easy. Google it!

  31. You. Are. Welcome.

  32. Some of these. Because it sounds funny when you say it. I'm all about the entertainment value of food.

  33. These snicker doodle bars are unbelievably easy and always, I repeat always, result in compliments and asks for the recipe.

  34. Best Bean Dip Ever - it's a party favorite with my friends

    on the stove mix one can of refried beans and one package of cream cheese on medium heat for about four minutes. Then mix in one package of taco seasoning. Pour it into a small glass dish (I use a pie plate) and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake it in a 350 degree oven for 12 minutes. And Voila, beautiful bean dip :)

  35. I hope no one on your mom blog find out that you are a terrible party host! Sooo shameful that you can't effortlessly make healthy, yet delightfully whimsical snacks that are so tasty that everyone wants you to adopt them. What would June Snapple say?!?

  36. Cowboy caviar is awesome! 1 can each of black eyed peas, kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, whole kernel corn, all drained and rinsed. A few cloves of garlic and a small onion, diced/minced. A chopped up bell pepper. A can of rotel, or a can of tomatoes drained, with chopped chiles or fresh chopped jalapeño. Toss all of this in a bowl and pour on a small bottle of zesty Italian dressing. Salt it to taste. Chill for an hour or two. Serve with tortilla chips.

    We love this stuff!

  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

  38. I host Thanksgiving every year for my family and Christmas every year for hubbies. Mini-hot dogs/mini-sausages in BBQ sauce, heated up served with toothpicks are always a big hit, I add a little brown sugar to whatever BBQ I use. Spinach dip with ritz (look up recipe on pintrest) also big hit and the one that goes over best and is easiest take a jar of mild salsa and add a tub of sour cream and mix in two cups of shredded cheese, serve with scoop corn chips. Also puppy chow is always eaten up with no leftovers and is easy (google it or go here: )

  39. One of my favorite things to bring to potlucks, especially this time of year, is pumpkin dip. It's delicious, you can make it ahead of time, and most importantly, EASY.
    16 oz cream cheese (regular or Neufchatel), room temperature
    15 oz canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
    2 cups powdered sugar
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp ground ginger
    Beat cream cheese until smooth, add pumpkin and mix until combined. Add sugar and spices and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve with fresh fruit, graham crackers, gingersnap cookies, toasted mini bagels, etc. My daughter and nephews even like it with celery sticks, though I think the celery is more of a vehicle to get the dip into their mouths without sticking their fingers in it, lol

  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

  41. These two are some of the easiest to make, don't really take that much time (which is the way to go). The eclair dessert is good if you can make it the night/morning before and let it sit. I only skimmed the comments, so if these are repeats, meh:

  42. Found this on

    Crock Pot Bacon Wrapped lil' smokies

    What You’ll Need:

    1 pkg. Bacon {16 oz.}
    1 pkg. Lit’l Smokies {13 oz.}
    1 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
    What You’ll Do:

    Pour 1 cup of Brown Sugar on the bottom of your Crockpot.
    Cut strips of bacon into thirds.
    Wrap each strip of bacon around 1 little smokie, then poke a toothpick through to keep it in place.
    Place Bacon-Wrapped Smokies into Crockpot.
    Cover smokies in crockpot by sprinkling on remaining 3/4 cup Brown Sugar.
    Cook on high for approx. 3 – 3.5 hours, or until bacon is completely cooked.
    Occasionally move smokies around in Crockpot to ensure they cook evenly.

    1. My sister-in-law does these in the oven and they involve pineapple. They are amazing.

  43. Pinwheels (you can really add what ever sounds good as long as you have a good foundation)

    2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
    1 (1 ounce) package ranch dressing mix
    2 green onions, minced
    4 (12 inch) flour tortillas
    1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
    1/2 cup diced celery
    1 (2 ounce) can sliced black olives
    1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

  44. Bacon Wrapped Smokies w/brown sugar

    1 package of lil' smokies (sausages)
    1 package raw bacon
    Lots of brown sugar

    Cut bacon package into thirds, or fourths (just long enough to wrap around the smokie once). Wrap each smokie in a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place in baking dish and sprinkle generously with brown sugar.. I mean LOTS of sugar.

    Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 min, or until bacon is cooked. HUGE crowd pleaser.

  45. A cheese ball, but you cover It in baco-bits!

  46. Bear with me, this is going to be long....but trust me, it WILL BE worth it!! I have several go-to recipes that will have your friends begging for more and never wanting to leave. Every time I make any of these recipes I have people beg for the recipe. So without further ado, here are my favorite things to make.

    Lemon Bread. (By far the best lemon bread I have ever tasted)
    1/2 Cup shortening 1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 Cup sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 eggs, slightly beaten 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (optional) (I usually leave these out)
    1/2 Cup milk Grated rind from one lemon (save juice for topping)
    1 1/4 Cup flour

    Cream shortening and sugar together and add eggs. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt and add alternately with milk. Add nuts and grated lemon rind. Bake for 1 hour at 350. Remove from pan and pierce slightly with a skewer. Top while hot with 2 to 3 Tablespoons lemon juice mixed with 1/4 Cup sugar. Cool before serving.

    Bacon Wraps (you can NEVER go wrong with bacon)
    2 cans water chestnuts
    1 pkg bacon
    1 1/2 Cup ketchup
    2/3 Cup sugar
    juice of 1/2 lemon
    cut chestnuts in half, cut bacon in thirds. Wrap chestnuts with bacon and fasten with toothpicks. Bake 1/2 hour at 350 and drain grease. (I have found using a turkey baster works best for that). Mix sugar, lemon juice and ketchup together and pour over bacon. Bake 350 for 45 minutes.

    1. French Breakfast Puffs
      3 Cups all-purpose flour 1 Cup sugar
      3 teaspoons baking powder 2/3 Cup shortening
      1 teaspoon salt 2 eggs
      1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 Cup milk
      2 sticks butter melted
      1 1/2 Cups sugar
      3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

      Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside. Cream together the sugar and shortening. Add the eggs and mix again. Alternate adding one-third of the flour mixture and one-third of the milk to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. Fill the muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Remove the muffins from the pan and set aside. to make the coating, melt the butter in a bowl or glass pan. In a separate container, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Dip the warm muffins in the butter, coating thoroughly. Then roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Don't be afraid to really coat them up.

      Triple Layer Brownies
      Preheat oven to 350. In a muffin pan, smoosh 1 square of break-apart refrigerated cookie dough into the bottom of each well. Place Reese's Peanut Butter cup upside down on top of cookie. Top with prepared brownie mix, filling 3/4 full. Bake for 18 minutes.

      Wookie Cookies (Not made from real Wookies.....sorry)
      2 1/4 Cups all-purpose flour 1 Cup packed brown sugar
      1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 Cup granulated sugar
      1 teaspoon salt 2 large eggs
      1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
      1 cup butter at room temperature 1 Cup milk chocolate chips
      1 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

      Preheat oven to 375. Mix flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix together butter, brown sugar, and sugar, beat until creamy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and stir until blended. Add the chocolate chips. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes

    2. Sand Pudding (For extra fun get a small sand bucket and shovel. It really does look like a pail of sand, but it's the best pudding you'll ever taste)
      1 pkg Vanilla wafers 2/3 Cup powdered sugar
      3 or 4 Oreos 2 small packages French Vanilla pudding mix
      8 oz cream cheese 2 3/4 Cup milk
      1/4 Cup butter 12 oz Cool Whip

      Crush Oreos and Vanilla Wafers in a food processor. In a separate bowl, cream together softened 8 oz cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar. In another bowl, mix pudding with milk. Add to cream cheese mixture. Fold in cool whip. Layer into buckets with sand (crushed cookie mixture) and pudding.

      Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

      1 box of 12 ice cream sandwiches
      1 tub of Cool Whip
      Magic shell caramel
      Magic shell chocolate

      Oreo Cookies (crumbled in pieces)
      Candy bars (diced into pieces)

      Unwrap all of the ice cream sandwiches and stack them layer by layer but each layer is faced an opposite direction as the one before. Drizzle magic shell between each layer. This provides the glue to hold the layers together. Spread the Cool Whip on the top and sides of the cake. Drizzle magic shell all over and sprinkle on any extra goodies you desire.

    3. Snickerdoodles (this one is a bit different from most recipes. Instead of just adding vanilla extract, you add almond extract as well. The added almond extract just rounds out the flavors nicely.)

      3 3/4 Cup all-purpose flour 1/4 Cup milk
      1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
      1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar 1 teaspoon almond extract
      1/2 teaspoon salt 3 Tablespoons white sugar
      1 Cup butter (softened) 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
      2 Cups white sugar 2 teaspoons brown sugar
      2 eggs

      Sift together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Stir in the eggs, milk, vanilla, and almond extracts. Gradually stir in dry ingredients until fully incorporated. Cover bowl and chill for 1 to 2 hours. Preheat oven to 375. Grease cookie sheets. In a shallow bowl or saucer, stir together the remaining brown sugar, white sugar, and cinnamon. Roll the chilled dough into 1 inch balls, then roll the balls in the sugar mixture. Place cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for about 8 minutes.

      Peach and Pear cobbler
      2 (15.25 oz) Cans of sliced peaces, drained (reserve liquid)
      2 (15.25 oz) Cans of sliced pears, drained (reserve liquid)
      1 stick butter, softened
      2 cups sugar, divided
      2 cups all-purpose flour
      3 teaspoons baking powder
      1 teaspoon salt
      1 1/2 Cups evaporated milk (you can substitute milk)
      2 Tablespoons corn starch
      1 teaspoon nutmeg
      1 teaspoon cinnamon
      1/2 teaspoon allspice
      1 cup syrup from canned peaches
      1 cup syrup from canned pears

      Preheat oven to 350. Drain peaches and pears reserving liquid. Lightly grease a 9X13 baking pan. Spread fruit in bottom of pan. Cream together butter and 1/2 cup of the sugar in mixer until light and fluffy. Turn mixer down and add the flour, baking powder, salt, and evaporated milk. Turn mixer up to medium and mix until well combined. Spread the batter over the fruit with a spoon. Whisk together remaining 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice. Sprinkle sugar mixture over the batter on the fruit. Combine the peach and pear juice in a glass measuring cup. Bring to a boil in the microwave and then pour over the sugar mixture in the baking pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes.


  47. I've seen so many hopeful men and women fail their aspiration for world domination based on their lack of success with their snacks. Don't worry the pinterest gods have prepared my fellow strangers and I to assist you in obtaining the perfect snack. My suggestion is the easy recipe for bacon wrapped squirrell legs. Obviously this dish was devised by an evil genious because it's dangerous collecting legs from squirrels, but they're just so darn delicious. I myself feel too guilty killing squirrels so I employ my friend Mr. Fitzwilliam Catsy(yes he is of the feline species). I slip him some milk and he brings back parts of his squirrell catch for me. All of this is, of course, done in a legal legitimate manner. I then wash the legs to prevent the slobber from Mr. Fitzwilliam Catsy from contaminating our food. I then wrap about 6 slices of thick cut bacon around each leg(please note a layering technique is important) , pour a bear over it then bake it for 20 minutes. You get about 3 and 1/2 legs each time and my guests always love it. We're I hoping to achieve world domination, trust me, I would have achieved if by now with my snack making skills for my own Firefly parties. Good Luck my friend.

  48. So I have a couple of thoughts, none of which involve actual food suggestions. The first is: what is wrong with your friends? If I came to your party you'd have to go into the kitchen halfway through the episode to bake more brownies and refill the hummus dish.

    1. Second, have you asked your friends themselves what they'd eat? Third: what time is the show on? Maybe everyone has just eaten dinner when they come over? Make them come over earlier.

  49. For being the only one who ever complains about food, I actually love your brownies, pita chips, and hummus. I seem to be the only one who goes back for seconds and thirds and fourths, and then I start feeling guilty for being the only one eating all the food, so I stop. Makes me feel like a pig. Asking for this advice was a good idea.

  50. Two words-- PUMPKIN CUPCAKES!!! Everyone loves cupcakes and everyone loves pumpkin this time of year!! Here's a super easy 2 ingredient recipe.: Take a box of yellow or spice cake mix. Mix in a can of 100% pumpkin and nothing else. Scoop into muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Top with cream cheese frosting if you want to make them even more amazing!

  51. I have no idea what is wrong with hummus and brownies, but I have an AMAZING BLT dip recipe (well, there's no lettuce, so I have no idea why it's called BLT dip.) It's super easy too.
    The recipe:
    1/2 cup of mayo
    12 pieces of cooked, crumbled bacon
    2 small or 1 medium tomato, diced
    1/2 tsp. of dried mustard (in the spice aisle)
    Mix them all up, chill and serve with crackers, cubed french bread, or any other bready things. It's amazing.

  52. I didn't read through all the comments because, hello, 69 comments. But, jalapeno poppers are the bomb, if it hasn't been mentioned. Cut jalepenos in half, spread cream cheese in the middle (like PB in celery style), wrap with a piece of bacon. Bake for 30ish minutes, until the bacon is cooked. YUM.

  53. A favorite at our bachelor/bachelorette watching parties is always whole strawberries which we then dip in sour cream followed by brown sugar. Sounds weird, but SERIOUSLY so tasty. Don't knock it til you try it. Also, sliced pineapple is a popular favorite. Both are easy ideas in addition to being healthy and delicious - triple win ;)

  54. I make this all of the time, and it's ALWAYS a hit, and everyone asks for the recipe and thinks it's harder to make than it actually is and they bow down at my feet and tell me how lovely my hair is.

    Hot Ham and Cheese Dip
    One block of cream cheese (softened)
    One 16oz package of finely shredded cheddar
    1/2 lb of thinly sliced deli ham, chopped
    Garlic salt to taste

    Mix all ingredients together and place in a pie dish or some other oven safe dish and bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes until bubbly. I serve with Ritz, but any cracker will do.

  55. Well personally I think that if brownies aren't winning them over then it's probably a lost cause, but just in case there is a shred of hope left I suggest you make puppy chow and popcorn... but not together, well maybe together, chocolate is good on popcorn so puppy chow would probably work with it, and maybe you need to do something unique to entice your friends... throw some ice cream in there as well, if that doesn't work then they're the problem not you.

  56. um, you live in the land of God bless America where there are a million and seventy pre-packaged, easy to serve frozen treats. Do you people have M&Ms (the frozen food store, not the candy covered chocolate)? Buy a pack of pot stickers, heat, and serve with plum sauce. People attack that business like they haven't eaten in weeks. And 1 hour later they're hungry for more :)

  57. My crowd favorite is a caramel apple dip with sliced apples on the side. Recipe is:

    - 1 pkg cream cheese softened & 1/2 cup brown sugar <-- Mix together
    - 4 or 5 skor bars, crushed (leave chunks - you're not going for powdered skor) - sprinkle this on top of the cream cheese/brown sugar mix
    - drizzle whole thing generously with caramel sauce (I buy the pre-made kind for ice cream)
    - 6-8 medium granny smith apples sliced and sprinkled with lemon juice

    Seriously so good - I often double the recipe because it is so popular. Plus the leftovers are AMAZING.

  58. The most delicious dip ever:
    16 oz cream cheese
    1 packet ranch seasoning
    1 can corn drained
    1 red bell pepper diced
    1 jalapeno diced

    Whip the cream cheese, add everything else, stir. Serve with Wheat Thins.

  59. Pretzel Hugs ♥

    Buy a bag of Hershey Hug Kisses (white and brown swirl Hershey Kisses) and and a big bag of pretzel snaps (the square pretzels that look like a tic-tak-toe box).
    1. Preheat oven to 300.
    2. Lay Wax or Parchment paper on a baking sheet
    3. Lay one pretzel down for every Hug and top each pretzel with a Hug.
    4. Pop in the oven for 2 min, just until they are glossy and softish.
    5. Remove from oven and let sit for 1 more minute, to continue the softening process.
    **This is the only step you can make a mistake on – by laving them in the oven too long they will completely melt and run through the pretzel and all over your sheet and you won’t have a sandwich, just a mess.
    6. Now top each hug with another pretzel pushing down gently, so it sticks together.
    7. I pop the baking sheet in the fridge for 20-30 min. to cool them off



    1. Grab a hot dog and slice down the middle from top to bottom midway.
    2. Stuff that sucker with cheese
    3. Wrap a strip of uncooked bacon around the hot dog and secure it with toothpicks at each end and the middle.
    4. Put on the grill and cook until bacon is done.

  61. Ask everyone to bring a dish of their choosing so it could be a potluck!

  62. I wish someone invited me over and made me brownies and hummus! Yum!! You don't need new food, you need... dare I say it... more appreciative friends!

  63. Homemade guac, hot ham and cheese dip, turkey pinwheels???? This is Survivor you're watching! Give 'em some uncooked rice, a whole coconut and a safety pin. Dinner is served!
    Or......breakfast for dinner is always fun. Pancakes, syrup, cocoa when the weather turns cold. Aw, hell...NO. Don't succumb. Give them assorted Tic Tacs and call it a day!

  64. First, I agree that your guests should be bringing some treats themselves, that way they can have what they like and the burden isn't entirely on you. However, you can still provide some treats and I would recommend the following as a first choice. It is always a hit at parties and the first thing to run out:

    1 container sour cream (don't be silly, use the full fat kind)
    1 packet of Lipton onion soup mix

    Mix together. Serve with potato chips (I like the wavy kind because they are sturdier and can hold more dip)

    Also, one of my favorite things that we do for girls movie nights is to buy a few rolls of pillsbury cookie dough - you know, the premade refrigerated kind that comes in a tube. Cut a hole at the top and serve on a platter with some knives and spoons and voila! you have yourself a crowd pleaser.

    Honstly though, I don't know what kind of freaks you have for friends if they don't like hummus and pita or brownies. That's just weird!

    1. The Lipton Onion dip is to die for. We make it for family gatherings and it's always gone long before anything else is. Also, it's ridiculously easy.

  65. I second the cream cheese/brown sugar/Skor bar/apple dip. SO GOOD. Here's my contribution:

    1 package dry Italian dressing
    3 Roma tomatoes, diced
    2 Large avocados, diced
    1 can black beans, drained
    1 can hominy, drained
    1 package dry Italian dressing

    Mix the Italian dressing according to the directions on the package, but use only half the oil. Add all the other ingredients. Add cumin to taste. Serve with tortilla chips.

    I love this salsa. It's easy and yummy, and it still tastes good if you have leftovers for a couple days. I've been known to eat it plain, without chips.

  66. Wrap butter crackers in a piece of bacon and bake until the bacon is cooked. YUM.

    I'm also a fan of bacon wrapped dates.

    See a pattern here?

  67. These ( My roommates and I ate the ENTIRE recipe in a matter of days. There are six of us total.

  68. Caramel & Pretzel Rice Krispie Treats.

    I don't really have a recipe for this, but if you buy a bag of pretzels, smash them up, line the bottom of a 9x13, make rice krispy treats (One stick of butter, melted slowly in a pan, combined with one bag of large marshmellows, mixed with enough rice krispies that it's not ridiculously messy, but few enough that it's still extremely goey. NO MICROWAVES)

    Then if you make some caramel. Which is essentially brown sugar and karo syrup.

    Then you spread a thin layer of rice krispy treats on top of the smooshed preztels. Drizzle caramel. Spread smooshed pretzels, drizzle caramel, another layer of rice krispy treats. Repeat until satisfied.

    It's heaven.

  69. This comment has been removed by the author.

  70. Google the Pampered Chef: Apple Taffy Pizza. It's amazing!

  71. 92 Comments? I'm impressed, Strangers obviously have their priorities straight! (That's not sarcasm. I love food.)

  72. A package of cream cheese, pour some salsa over it. Dip tortilla chips. Delicious.

  73. I would eat your brownies!

  74. I just read all of these hoping for diarrhea stories....however, enjoyed the jalapeno and itching nose story.

  75. I have found that when guests don't eat brownies, hummus and pita chips it is generally a utensil/plate issue. Maybe they're not comfortable balancing a plate with a dessert that, let's face it, falls apart easily. Or something that has to be dipped. Make sure you have sturdy, full-size plates. Or try a dessert that is easier to eat, like cookies. And salty snacks that are more contained, like a flavored chip or Doritos. No dips needed. Because really, what are the chanced that all of these people do not like brownies, hummus and pita chips?

  76. Marinated cheese served with crackers

    Brown sugar bacon wrapped sausages

  77. Well, as someone who used to come to the Survivor parties clear back in high school... I say just have some popcorn ready! I love popcorn.

  78. You're all making this far more difficult than necessary. Order a ton of Panda Express Orange Chicken, take it home, put it in your own serving tray, put little toothpicks with the colored frills at one end in them, and pretend you made them yourself.

  79. M&Ms. Especially peanut and peanut butter, if allergies are not a problem. Or popcorn. NOT microwave--air popped. With butter and salt, of course.

  80. Just put out a huge container of Nutella and a few spoons.

  81. Here are some from-scratch brownies (don't be scared!) that I used to make my husband's birthday cake with one year. They turned out AMAZING. Plus, I just figured out how to make links in comments LOOK HERE IS A LINK!

    Any time I invite people over we either order pizza or I make it a potluck. I'm spending all day cleaning my house - I do *not* have time to prepare delicious food items for everyone.

  82. My dad's favorite appetizer/snack could definitely help you with world domination, as it is similar to playing russian roulette with your tongue. Fill half of a jalepeno with cream cheese and wrap it in bacon. Broil it in the oven for however long you want (depends on how crispy you want the bacon to be, so naturally, about 1/2 an hour). They're awesome, because, you know, bacon, but if you get a seed or seed juice on your jalepeno, don't expect to feel your tongue for a long while. Just hide the milk and your guests will be begging to serve you for the rest of their lives in return for the cool relief of the milk.