Sunday, May 5, 2013

Update: Keurig Vue House Party Was a Success! - May 5, 2013

So it turns out that I am OK at throwing parties. While I spent a bit some a lot of time feeling overwhelmed at the sheer number of people in my house at one time (15, not including me, my husband, and our kid - but including other people's kids - that's a LOT for me!), I think I mostly did well managing the chaos. The kids played, the adults chatted with one another, and I spent a lot of time in the kitchen making coffee (hot and iced), iced tea, and hot cocoa for the gathered guests with my Keurig Vue. The kitties were banished to the office - I'm waiting for them to forgive me...

Ridiculous selfie - me with my apron on while I was baking. More about those coffee cups in a minute.
Taken by my friend. Me showing off the Vue. Awkward outfit looked cute in person, not in pictures, I think.
Since I never entertain this many people, I tried to go out of my way to do a few things that were special - beyond what House Party had sent me to throw the party. See the white coffee cups in the background of the selfie above? Those are from my wedding china. Which I have never used, and my 10th wedding anniversary is this August. 20/20 hindsight - I probably shouldn't have registered for china. But at the time it seemed like it was what one was "supposed" to do, so I did it. I thought I might someday host Thanksgiving or Passover - not realizing I was eventually going to move hundreds of miles away. So it just seemed like it was time. However, the cups only hold 6 ounces, so they really were more suited for decoration than actual use. Still, they got washed and they saw the light of day - it's a step! (I do think the pattern is nice - very simple. But if I had it to do over again, no, I would not register for china. I see plenty of fancy plate sets at Goodwill and other thrift stores...that says lots of people feel as I do and that it's easy enough to get a set for cheap if you really want one.)

The other thing I did was bake. I really like cooking and baking, but I never do it. My husband does most of the family cooking - it's just easier and it works well for all of us. But I love cookbooks and recipes (and, if you know me, books about food in general - ha!) and I like trying new things. Coincidentally, Snack Girl posted a recipe for baked donuts about a week before the party. I had been considering going to Revolution Donuts to buy some but instead, I made my own. And my good friend Kate has Amazon Prime (in which I probably should invest at this point) so I sent her money and she bought me a heart-shaped donut pan that arrived within a day. I made Snack Girl's donuts as well as these chocolate ones (though I used butter instead of olive oil, which seemed weird, and I skipped the glaze because I can't find my double boiler - er, not broiler, as the recipe says - and the last time I did the pan-on-water trick, I fused the two together and yes, eventually they came apart but I just didn't have the energy SO they were plain).

Oooh, Instagrammy goodness. And cute heart-shaped donuts.
And a week ago I made vanilla simple syrup with real vanilla beans and vanilla sugar with the rest of the beans, just to be fancy. I bought milk - 2%, whole, and half and half - and made sure I was stocked on Almond Breeze too. And I put out my array of Torani syrups too.

I forgot to take a before picture - this is sort of a halfway-through picture.
Then I put out Goldfish crackers and m&ms, and the rest of the party was from House Party - they really send a great party pack. I had Mrs. Fields cookies, mints, and coffee. Plus plastic and paper cups that I used for iced drinks, for the kids' hot cocoa (with Dandies vegan marshmallows!), and for when I ran out of my own mugs - which I did.

I think that my guests tried at least one of everything. Despite the fact that it was disgusting outside - pouring rain, 50 degrees - some chose iced drinks (my party pack included Nantucket blend iced coffee - the blend takes into account that it will be brewed over ice and thus diluted - I think my cold-brewed coffee is way better, but this is much faster and with milk/simple syrup, it's not bad at all - and also Southern Sweet iced tea, which I loved in a K-cup and loved even more in a Vue Pack - you can really taste the tea as well as the sugar, rather than just a cup of sugar...).

I also made vanilla lattes (fancy and fun!) and plain old coffee (Donut Shop and Barista Prima Italian Roast) and hazelnut coffee (which I really like). The hot cocoa I made was from Whole Foods - I just used the hot water from the Vue to make it. And I didn't manage to grab myself a cup of coffee for the entire party, but it was best that I wasn't overly caffeinated, I assure you.

The Vue, by the way, was a workhorse. It easily brewed 30 cups of whatever, all within a few hours, and had no issues. I like how it's quieter than my Keurig Special Edition was - it made it easy to stand in the kitchen and chat while I was overseeing the brewing process. I don't know if I would have bought one on my own - my regular Keurig was working just fine for me, K-cups are less expensive, and I'm a pro at my Ekobrew - but now that I have one I'm not sure I'll switch back. I probably will buy the Solofill reusable refillable filter (after coupon, it should be about $15 at Bed, Bath & Beyond), though I might wait to see how Keurig's official filter compares if/when they release it.

And I survived the party! And I now kind of want to do another one of these - I have my eye on the upcoming SodaStream HouseParty. Pick me! Pick me!

The aftermath - all headed to be recycled.
Don't forget - until May 11 you can get 40% off the Keurig Vue V500 brewer with my coupon code, and from May 12 through May 31 you can get 25% off. Register your brewer once you get it and you'll get a coupon code for buy-two-get-two-free Vue Packs. After that, I recommend BB&B for your Vue Pack needs - with a 20%, $5-off-$15, or $10-off-$30 coupon you can bring the price down to something very reasonable for the quality and convenience of Vue Packs, and right now it's one of the few stores that actually stock a good selection of flavors and types.

In the end, I will say that I recommend two things: House Party (though you may not get any parties for years - it's worth it when you do get chosen for one!) and the Keurig Vue V500 brewer. Hooray!

This post includes referral links - I get a small percentage from Amazon links and my Keurig Vue coupon gets me a credit to But other links - Dandies, BB&B, etc. - are just because I want to share things. Thanks!

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