The Hip Hostess

Menus, tips and ideas for hosting with style!

Betting Squares Pool {super bowl party game} February 3, 2012

Give fans the opportunity to get invested in the game (literally) by providing a betting squares pool. Print a pool grid from a template online or make your own on a piece of poster board. Draw a 10-by-10 grid and write the name of one team on the top of the grid and the other team on the left-hand side. Invite contestants to buy squares for $1 to $5 per square ($1 per square puts $100 in the pool; $5 per square makes it $500), filling in their chosen squares with their initials. After all the squares are filled, draw numbers (0 to 9) out of a hat and assign each number one at a time, moving from the left to right along the top of the grid, and top to bottom down the side of the grid. The object of this pool is to have the combination of numbers that match the last numbers in the score of the game (i.e., if the score was 21-17, then the person whose square is located at the intersection of 1 and 7 would win). Give payouts at the end of the first quarter (10 percent of the pool amount), at half time (15 percent), at the end of the third quarter (10 percent), and at the end of the game (65 percent).


“Turf” Centerpiece February 2, 2012

football field

Make your table into a football field feature by setting up a mini field as your centerpiece.  Use a flat of wheatgrass or an Astroturf doormat (unused, of course) as the “field.”  Place the turf in the middle of your buffet and decorate it with mini plastic footballs or toy football players. Use white electrical tape for making lines on Astroturf, or white paint if you’re using wheatgrass.  Wheatgrass can be ordered through a florist or purchased from a health food store with a juice bar, or at some local farmers markets.  Astroturf doormats and remnants are available at many home improvement stores.


Green Pea “Guacamole” February 5, 2011

A friend of a friend shared a recipe for green pea “guacamole” with me after I mentioned my love of cilantro.  I made a few variations and came up with this recipe, which is really a very tasty Mexican flavored dip.  This “guac” has a nice, bright flavor from the cilantro, a bit of tang from the lime and a little kick of heat thanks to the chipotle chilis.

Serve it game-day, as you would a regular guacamole.  I like to serve it with tacos as a topping – even with breakfast burritos.  It’s also a great topping for fish or grilled chicken.

Green Pea “Guacamole”

1/3 medium red onion, finely chopped

4 Tbs. olive oil

Juice of 1 lime (about 4 Tbs.)

1/2 bunch cilantro, stems removed

½-1 tsp. chipotle chilis in adobo sauce or 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded

10 oz frozen peas

½ tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. salt

Chop onion in food processor until finely chopped.  Place onion in a medium bowl and set aside.  Combine oil, lime juice and cilantro in food processor until roughly pureed.  Add chili, peas, cumin, salt and blend until almost smooth (should be some chunks left).  Stir in red onion.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with a bit of chopped red onion.  Serve with tortilla chips or toasted pita.

  • You don’t need to defrost or cook the frozen peas before pureeing them, but I do let the dip sit at room temperature for about a half hour before serving.

Mini Hamburgers July 8, 2010

Don’t save small bites for your tapas or cocktail party – serve mini hamburgers and other mini grilled items (hotdogs, chicken sandwiches, pulled pork sandwiches, etc.) at your next BBQ.  Mini burgers are easy to make, quick-cooking (watch them – you don’t want them overcooked and tough!) and just so cute.  Even those with bigger appetites will enjoy them – just be sure to make enough. 

Make the mini burgers all the same or serve different flavors.  Make Fiesta burgers by adding cumin, cilantro, chopped onion, jalapeno and red peppers; make Asian burgers by adding fresh ginger, scallions and soy sauce;  or add Guinness to make super moist Irish-inspired burgers (see recipe index).  The possibilities are endless.  Ground lamb or turkey are also great options for mini burgers.

Looking for those cute little buns to house your mini burgers?  I’ve seen packages of them at several grocery stores.  Target sells whole wheat mini burger buns in their grocery aisle.  If you aren’t able to find pre-packaged, use a round biscuit cutter to make your own cut-to-size buns out of larger rolls.


Etch-it Cups Giveaway February 10, 2010

The fun people over at Etch-it Cups have supplied two sets of their great party cups and 6 packages of their Etch-it tags (15 per package) for this Hip Hostess Blog giveaway.  Three winners will be chosen for this giveaway (2 winners will each receive a package of Etch-it cups; 1 winner will receive the Etch-it tags).

I’ve blogged about these cups before – they are great for keeping track of your drink.  Each cup has a little “chalkboard” on it.  Simply remove the protective cover, then etch your name or a cool design with your finger and your cup is personalized.  Never Lose Your Drink!

For info. of where to buy Etch-it Cups online, visit their site at

To enter the Hip Hostess Blog giveaway for the Etch-it Cups and Tags, click on the link below.  Winners will be randomly selected at 10pm EST on February 12, 2010.  Winners will be notified via e-mail.  One entry per person.  Good luck!


Football Burgers or Meatloaf February 6, 2010

I saw this fun football shaped meatloaf in Whole Foods.  Whether you like meatloaf or burgers, this is a great idea for game day.  Make your favorite meatloaf or burger recipe, altering it by shaping the raw meat into the shape of a football.  Use a football shaped cookie cutter to help form the burgers or shape them freehand.  Cook as usual.  Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut strips of deli sliced cheese into long narrow strips.  After meat is done to your liking, place strips of cheese in a lace pattern on top of burgers or meatloaf.  Don’t melt the cheese if you want the lace pattern to stay visible.  To make the perfect size bun for your football shaped burger, press the same football shaped cookie cutter to into large rolls (press through each piece of the roll separately for a cleaner cut).  Serve the football burgers with the buns on the side.  Enjoy the game!


Football Cocoa Krisy Treats February 1, 2009


They key to any super bowl dessert is to make it bite-size so it can be eaten without looking away from the game.  These krispy treats fit the bill.  Whip up a batch of these quick-cooking treats for your super bowl party tonight.  Serve them for dessert or wrap them individually in cello bags and give them as party favors.  These football treats are also great for a kids’ sports theme party.

Football Cocoa Krispy Treats

3 Tbs. unsalted butter

10 oz marshmallows

5-6 C. cocoa krispies

1 C. crushed cocoa krispies, reserved

Nonstick cooking spray

vanilla frosting in a piping bag or a tube* fitted with a pinpoint piping tip

1.  Melt butter is a large sauce pan over low heat.  Once butter is melted add in marshmallows and stir until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat.

2.  Add 5-6 cups of cocoa krispy treats to marshmallow mixture (until desired consistency), stirring to mix.

3.  Crush reserved cocoa krispies in the bowl of a mini food processor to form fine crumbs or crush by hand in a ziplock bag using a rolling pin.  Place crumbs on a plate.

4.  Coat hands with a few sprays of nonstick cookie spray and rub hands together to coat them with spray.  Grab about 3/4 C. of cocoa krispy mixture and form into the shape of a football.  Place bottom of the football on the counter and press down to create a flat side.  Reshape if necessary.  Roll football in crushed cocoa krispies to coat (you are creating a smoother surface to pipe the frosting lacing).  Repeat until you have used up all of the cocoa krispy mixture.  One recipe should make 10-12 footballs, depending on how large you make the footballs.

5.  Place footballs on a cookie sheet coated with waxed paper.  Using a fine piping tip, pipe a straight line lengthwise in the middle of the football.  Pipe arches along each tip of the football.  Let the frosting dry so the laces are easier to pipe.  Once the first frosting lines are dry, pipe short perpendicular lines across the middle line to create “laces” on the football.  If the edge of each lace is not completely even use the tip of a sharp knife to even them out (wipe the tip of the knife after each cut to remove extra frosting and prevent smudging).  Let frosting dry and serve.  You can make these up to 1 day in advance.

*Wilton makes vanilla frosting in a tube that is available at most grocery stores in the baking aisle.  Couplings and assorted tips are usually available in the same aisle, or pick them up at a cake decorating store, Joanna Fabrics or Michaels.


Game Day Menu January 26, 2009

Hosting a super bowl party is one of the easiest events to host – the center of attention is a game and casual food is expected.  Don’t let the ease of the party ruin your imagination for hosting a hip game-day party.  Here are a few ideas for a hip super bowl spread that will score you some major points.


Super Bowl Menu



Maple Spiced Nuts*

Texas Caviar or Black Bean Dip*

Sweet Potato Fries with Chipotle Ketchup



Turkey Chili

Chili Topping Bar   

-shredded pepper jack or cheddar cheese

-sour cream or Greek yogurt

-diced tomatoes

-diced avocado

-hot sauce

-pickled jalapeños

Pepper Jack Cornbread Muffins

Romaine Salad with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette



Espresso Chocolate Chunk Cookies*

Bite-size Brownies

Fruit Skewers


Thirst Quenchers

Super Bowl Theme Drink

Assorted Beer


*See index for recipes


Other Menu Ideas:

Soppresetta, Arugula and Goat Cheese Paninis –

Guinness Cheese Burgers –

Mini BLT Hors D’oeuvres –

Kickin’ Black Bean Dip –

Black Bean Enchiladas –

Hummus –

Coffee and Chili Steak Rub –

Black Bean Pizza –


%d bloggers like this: