Sunday, April 3, 2011

37 Things: Throw a Fundraiser

When I got the idea to put throw a fundraiser on my list of 37 Things I Want to do Before I Turn 38, I had an image of an art show at a gallery with maybe wine and snacks, but not much more than that. Definitely not at my house. And I definitely did not envision myself cooking for 8 hours.

Well, of course things change. When the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan last month, like most people, I was shocked and saddened. And then I bolted into action. Why not have a fundraiser where I make a fancy brunch for people and they come and donate money and we'd have a silent auction and a raffle and raise money for the Japanese Red Cross? Bingo! It also worked out nicely to have the party on my husband's birthday so that we could ask for donations instead of gifts.

And so yesterday we had a great party and really, really generous donors. We raised over $2000 and I have a friend traveling to Japan in a couple of weeks that can have the money matched by an organization in Tokyo. Yay! $4000! Not too bad for 2 weeks of planning time.

Unfortunately, I did not get a lot of photos of the planning and none during the event itself. There was too much going on with silent auction tables closing and raffles to give away and food to get out of the oven and good, good friends to talk to. Next time I will recruit someone to document for me.

But here's a quick peek: A good chunk of the food purchased for the event. Feeding 21 people takes a lot of groceries! I was smart and ended up with all the booze (sparkling wine for Mimosas and vodka for Bloody Marys) donated. Also, having a brunch means people will drink less so it is easier to plan ahead.

This shot is less than 3 hours before the party started! I planned the food so that over half of it could either be prepared or prepped the night before so it was mostly assembling and cooking off in the morning.

I tried Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread for the first time and it was a big hit. The recipe was a little funky and I was afraid it wouldn't turn out, but with a little added kneading and mixing, it came out great. This is right before the second rising.

My other go to favorite for brunches is Pecan Nut Rolls. These cinnamon rolls are super easy to prepare; they just seem complicated because letting the dough rise does take some planning. I made all the doughs the night before and put them in the fridge after the first rise so it was pretty easy to get going the next morning.

Here's getting the rolls ready for the second rise. That's melted butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup with chopped pecans that makes the yummy glaze. When you take them out of the oven you invert them directly onto a plate and they look fabulous.

Ribs. You can never go wrong with ribs. The only thing hard about slow cooking ribs is getting up early enough to brown the ribs and get them into the crock pot! Not shown was the Waldorf salad, the bacon wrapped dates, the mushroom and spinach puff pastry pinwheels, the cream cheese artichoke dip, and the chocolate sheet cake. My friend Doug helped me out by bringing a nice big green salad at last minute too; I was worried there wouldn't be enough food!

A few of the raffle items. The raffle was so successful, I had to keep adding more items! Those cool bottle stoppers were made by my friend Joel. Gorgeous. I was sad to see them go.
Ah, cleaning. We are pretty good at getting the dishwasher going right at the end of the party so clean up was a snap.

In the evening after everyone was long gone, we celebrated by going out to our favorite wine bar and toasting to Trevor's birthday and our fundraiser. I am starting to think that every birthday of his and mine we should have a fundraiser of some sort. We all have so much, really. It is easy to forget how easy we have it most of the time (even if I do feel broke with all our home repairs!)

Now I feel like taking a nap.

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