THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER

Hello and thanks for stopping in! Brad and I recently hosted a birthday dinner party for a dear friend. Sometimes we refer to him as a Zombie because he is a “Looper” or and ADR “Voice Over Actor” for the amazingly popular TV series, The Walking Dead and all of its offshoots. So, let me introduce you to our friend W.K. Stratton, The Zombie Who Came To Dinner.

THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | W.K Stratton | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

W.K, otherwise known as Dub to his nearest and dearest, has had an illustrious career in Hollywood, staring in a long list of hit shows over his decades long career. While you might not immediately recognize his face, you have undoubtedly heard his voice, as he is one of the most prolific voice actors in Hollywood. It was Dub’s birthday last week so we invited a few friends over for an intimate dinner party to honor our friend. We decided to teeze him a bit by renaming some of the hit shows he’s been in. So, as one of his birthday gifts, Brad and I made him this framed poster to add to his trophy wall. He got a real kick out of it.

THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | W.K Stratton | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

So come on along and join us on a warm summer’s night for the party.

THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Advance Planning and Preparation Pay Off

First let’s take a step back, because hosting a dinner party involves a good bit of planning and advance preparation. Let me show you how I got ready for the Zombie who came to dinner Dinner Party. For me, the advance prep work is what allows me to enjoy the party too, so I always start a couple of days ahead. This way I’m not rushed at the last minute. For this gathering I purchased some sweet little flowers and greenery at Trader Joes and set about making my flower arrangements at the sink in my Utility Room.

THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Tablescape | Flower Arranging | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Make Flower Arrangements

I have an inexpensive but invaluable pair of flower cutting scissors that make flower arranging so much easier. It’s one of those small things that, now that I own a pair, I wonder how I ever lived without. They are great for pruning in the garden as well. I use them for deadheading my roses.

THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Tablescape Flower Arranging | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

For vases I used about a dozen small glass milk bottles. They are perfect for a tablescape because you can make flower arrangements that are low enough so as not to block your guests view across the table.

THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Tablescape | Flower Arranging | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I also made a larger arrangement for the kitchen, and placed an arrangement in the powder room and on the bar.

THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Tablescape Flower Arranging | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Tablescape | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Setting The Table

I always set the table for my dinner parties a day or two before the event. That’s because it actually takes me several hours to do so. I wouldn’t want to take that kind of time away from cooking, etc., on the day of my party.

THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Tablescape | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

For the Zombie Who Came to Dinner I set my table using a long piece of 54″ wide beige ticking material. That’s right, it’s not a tablecloth. I use fabric as though it were a wide table-runner. I place a solid white tablecloth underneath.

THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Tablescape | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

My chargers came from Pier 1 way-back-when. They have similar ones for only $4.95 here. I love my little Log Placecard Holders. I purchased the Wicker Wrapped Glasses several years ago but you can get similar ones here. My beautiful Monogrammed Linen Napkins were a gift, but you can find similar ones here. By the way, to make the napkin tie as shown simply roll the napkin up loosely, starting at one corner. Then tie the napkin in a loose knot.

THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Tablescape | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Wrap The Gifts

I enjoy wrapping gifts and even have a wrapping station in my office. I think it shows you care when you take the time to wrap a gift rather than simply place something in a gift bag with tissue. For my tutorial on how to wrap gifts see these posts:

I have dozens of different types of ribbon and wrapping paper on hand. For these masculine looking gifts I used this Chevron Kraft Wrapping Paper from World Market, $4.99 a roll. The Ticking Stripe Ribbon comes in 2 widths and 2 colors and starts at $3.99 a roll.

THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Tablescape | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Menu Planning and Advance Food Prep

When I entertain I like to prepare foods that can be made in advance and require little last minute effort. Here’s the make-ahead menu I planned for the Zombie Who Came to Dinner…

Cocktails & Misc. Appetizers in the Bar

Twice Baked Potatoes

Peanut Cole Slaw

Variety of Roasted Vegetables

Fresh Caught Yellow Tail Tuna & Homemade Tarter Sauce

Ina Garten’s Chocolate Chevron Cake & Vanilla Ice Cream

Cocktails In The Bar

Our parties always start with cocktails in the bar and light appetizers. One of our Birthday Gifts to Dub were these cocktail napkins that he can use in his own bar. I purchased them from For Your Party where you can get your own personalized napkins too!

THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Cocktails in the Bar | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Make-Ahead Twice Baked Potatoes

My cheesy, make-ahead, Twice Baked Potatoes are simple to make, look impressive, and everyone loves them. They are a fun, unexpected addition to potluck dinners as well, so I often make them to take places when I’m asked to bring a side-dish.  And, they can be prepared a day or two in advance of your party.

To make them simply fully bake russet potatoes, slice them in half lengthwise, and using a spoon, scoop out the potato, leaving the skin intact. Place the potato skins on a low-sided baking sheet. Place the potatoes in a bowl, add salt, pepper, diced green onions and good quality butter to taste. Then mash them up using a potato masher.

THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Twice Baked Potatoes | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Spoon the mashed potato mixture back into the potato skins.

THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Twice Baked Potatoes | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Top with a generous amount of grated cheddar cheese. Cover them with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until about 20 minutes before you wish to serve them. Then just pop them in the oven, preheated to 350°,  and bake until the cheese is melted and the potato is warmed through.

THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Twice Baked Potatoes | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Roasted Vegetables

Another great make-ahead dish is to prep a variety of vegetables and lay them out on a low-sided baking dish, ready for roasting. I thinly sliced 3 colors of carrots and zucchini squash, washed a bunch of asparagus…

THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Veggies For Roasting | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

and thinly sliced an eggplant. Next I sprinkled them with salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil, and set them aside until I was ready to roast them at 400°. Do the roasting  about 10 minutes before serving time.

THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Veggies For Roasting | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

My Husband  Went Fishing

Brad had recently returned from a 3-day, deep-sea fishing trip to Mexico with his guy friends. He returned with a freezer full of some of the best fish I have ever tasted! We wanted to share his catch with our friends so all I did was add salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil and he grilled them up on the BBQ. YUM! I added homemade Tarter Sauce. One of these days I’ll have to share my simple Tarter Sauce recipe.

THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Yellow Tail Tuna | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

So, in case you are wondering, I did get very busy at serving time and forget to take pictures of the cooked food!! So, all you get is the prep photos this time.

Serve A Homemade Dessert

One of my mottos in life, that I’ve repeated here often is:

“You are never too busy for anything. It all depends on how you set your priorities.”

To me, nothing says, “I Care” more than to take the time, and make the effort, to prepare a homemade birthday cake.  So, I make it a priority to do so and simply find the time. Sure, one might be busy. Sure, it takes time and effort. But why not give a little of yourself by spending some time and effort to do something special for someone else? You are gifting your time and your effort, and what could be more meaningful than that?

THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Chocolate Chevron Cake | Ina Garten's Recipe | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

So, for our friend Dub, I prepared Ina Garten’s recipe for Chocolate Chevron Cake. The Chevron Cake also matched his Chevron-wrapped birthday gifts! I understand this recipe is one of Ina’s most favorite cakes, and is one she sold dozens of a day when she had her specialty-food store, Barefoot Contessa. I must admit it was rather labor intensive, but the results were great, and everyone was impressed with the professional style cake. I felt good that I had gone the extra mile and baked, rather than take the easy way out by picking up a store-bought cake. After-all, I don’t have a Barefoot Contessa style store in my neighborhood. And it even matched the table and gifts!

THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Chocolate Chevron Cake | Ina Garten's Recipe | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Ready For My Guests

By planning and working ahead I actually had enough time to get myself ready for the party without rushing.

THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Tablescape | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Just before my guests arrived we lit the candles and put on the music and I shot this little video.

Shop The Post

Like I always say…

To be copied is the finest flattery…

So, here’s where you can get the items I used for my “Zombie Who Came To Dinner” dinner party. Just click on the photos to take you to the resources.

THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Tablescape | Flower Arranging Shears | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comTHE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Tablescape | Flower Arranging in Small Glass Milk Bottles | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comTHE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Tablescape | Beige Ticking Fabric | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comTHE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Melamine Scalloped Charger | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comTHE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Log Placecard Holders | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comTHE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Monogrammed Linen Dinner Napkins | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com
THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Chevron Kraft Wrapping Paper | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comTHE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Ticking Stripe Ribbon | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comTHE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Natural Seagrass Tumbler | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comTHE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER | Cocktails in the Bar | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Flower Arranging Shears, Glass Milk Bottles, Beige Ticking Fabric, Scalloped Charger, Log Placecard Holders, Monogrammed Linen Dinner Napkins, Chevron Craft Wrapping Paper, Ticking Stripe Ribbon, Natural Seagrass Tumbler, Personalized Cocktail Napkins.

So there you have it: THE ZOMBIE WHO CAME TO DINNER

Thanks so much for dropping in!

Express Yourself!

No blog post is truly complete without a word from you. I’d be so delighted if you’d leave a comment below.

All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Unless otherwise noted, all photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ www.AfterOrangeCounty.com and may not be reproduced without specific permission. This blog post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  It’s what helps to make this blog possible. Thanks very much for your support.

Comments

logo

LET'S SOCIALIZE!

SUBSCRIBE

and be the first to see the latest & greatest from After Orange County

We hate spam and promise to keep your email address safe.