Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Clueless Chick’s Black Bean Chili

There is nothing better than a hot bowl of delicious chili made with Sweet Josie Brown Ale.  Throw in some Sweet Cornbread Muffins, a dollop of sour cream, and sprinkle with shredded cheese – YUM!

Black Bean Chili

3 Tbsp Vegetable oil, divided
1 lb. Chorizo or Kielbasa, halved and cut into ½” slices
2 lbs. Ground beef
1 ¼ lbs. Mild Italian pork sausage
3 cups onions, chopped
2 large green peppers, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
5 Jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
15 oz. can tomato sauce
6 oz can tomato paste
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup vegetable stock
1 bottle Sweet Josie Brown Ale (LoneRider’s 2010 Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal Winner)
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
(2) 15 oz. cans corn kernels

Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add chorizo/kielbasa and cook about 10 min, stirring frequently, until browned.  Transfer with slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain.

Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in the same pan over medium heat.  Add ground beef and sausage, cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently until meat is no longer pink.  Transfer meat to a large pot.

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp of oil in the same pan over medium heat.  Add onions, green peppers, garlic and jalapeno peppers, cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently until onions and peppers are softened.

Add onion and pepper mixture and chorizo/kielbasa to the beef and sausage.  Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, vegetable stock, Sweet Josie Brown Ale, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined.  Cover and cook over medium heat about 1 hour or until flavors develop.  Stir in black beans and corn, cook 15 minutes longer.  Serve garnished with sour cream, cheese, and Sweet Cornbread Muffins.

Note: Cooled leftovers freeze very well.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Very Christmas Cocktail Party

Are you tired of the same old humdrum Christmas Party?  Then spice things up with A Very Christmas Cocktail Party!  To add a special personalized touch, add your name – A Very Mathews Christmas Cocktail Party! The beauty of having a party during the holidays is that your house is already decorated so you only need a few additional touches for the party.  In order to ensure that her party didn’t conflict with other holiday parties, this hostess chose to have her party on a Friday night – the turnout was great!

Decorations and Favors:
  • Personalized Dish Labels to mark each yummy dish and pre-mixed drink
  • Personalized Festive Drink Recipes displayed in a rotating picture frame
  • Personalized “Did you enjoy the party a little too much?” cab company listing
  • Personalized Snowflake Ornament Favors for each guest
  • Bartender Cookbooks displayed on every counter in case guest are feeling super adventurous 

  • Christmas Trivia
  • Classic Christmas movies and football playing in the background
  • Christmas music playing in the dining room

    • Pomegranate Champagne Punch
    • Irish Coffee
    • Whiskey Sours
    • Dixie Cups
    • Spiced Apple Cider
    • Eggnog
    • Wine
    • Liquor and Mixers
  • Baked Brie
  • Mini Crab Cakes – served in mini Christmas cupcake wrappers with Remoulade sauce and an appetizer fork
  • Spinach Dip in a Sourdough Bread Bowl
  • Mocha Pudding Cups
  • Strawberry Shortcake
  • Banana Pudding
  • Veggie Tray with Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
  • Meat and Cheese Tray with Crackers and Breadsticks
  • Cookies, Cookies and more Cookies!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Golf Monkey 3rd Birthday

If your little monkey loves golf then a golf monkey party is exactly what you need!  Sock Monkeys complimented the theme perfectly, but nothing was as big of a hit as the Golf Caddy Set Favors!  Yes, that is right, we gave 28 3 year olds golf clubs – believe it or not, nothing was broken and no one was hurt.  This Golf Monkey 3rd Birthday Party is definitely in The Clueless Chick Top 5 Best Parties!

Decorations and Favors:
  • 3 Hole Mini Golf Course
  • Golf Caddy Set Favors personalized with luggage tags for each guest (Thank You!)
  • Baby Sock Monkeys personalized with luggage tags for the younger guests
  • Personalized Golf Scorecards and Crayons
  • Sock Monkeys!  Hanging from the light fixtures and as table centerpieces
  • Golf Monkey Wreath filled with Sock Monkeys, golf tees, golf pencils and practice balls on the front door
  • “Welcome to the Carter Cup!” poster

  • Golf, golf and more golf!
  • 3 Hole Mini Golf Course (Par 3, 2 and 2)
  • Driving Range – a driving range net with an auto-fed tee

  • Monkey Cupcakes – easy to make and a huge hit with the little ones
  • Juice Boxes
  • Ice Cold Milk
  • Watering Hole – water flavored with fresh orange slices
  • Snack Cups filled with Gold Fish, Animal Crackers, and Pretzels
  • Spinach Dip in a Sourdough Bread Bowl
  • Hummus and Pita Points
  • Applesauce Cups
  • Fruit Salad
  • Cake – decorated to match the adorable party theme

A HUGE Clueless Chick Thank You to Justin at Enor Corporation for finding us all of the Golf Caddy Sets we needed during the off-season!

Free Stickers for the Little Ones!

Have you ever thought, “what am I going to do with all of these free return address labels I get in the mail?”  Here is the perfect solution! 

  1. Cut the small graphic off the left side of the labels
  2. Use the return address labels on bills, thank you notes, etc.
  3. Add the small graphic stickers to your little one’s Arts & Crafts supplies and get ready for hours of free sticker fun

Thanks for the great idea Aunt Susan!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Super Easy Mint Chocolate Brownies

These are my new favorite brownies!  Not only are they delicious, they are also SUPER easy to make.  I was craving brownies the other night and when I grabbed a box of brownie mix in the pantry I noticed a bag of Andes Baking Chips calling my name.  Since mint and chocolate, like peanut butter and chocolate, simply belong together I grabbed the bag and threw them in.  After all, what’s the worst that could happen – the brownies aren’t very good and I have to eat them all by myself??  That was a risk I was willing to take.  1 hour later The Clueless Chick’s Mint Chocolate Brownies were born!

The Clueless Chick’s Mint Chocolate Brownies

1 package Brownie Mix
1 package Andes Baking Chips

Prepare brownie mix as directed, stir in ¾ package of Andes Baking Chips.  Pour brownie mix into baking pan, sprinkle remaining Andes Baking Chips on top.  Bake as directed.

Allow the brownies to cool before cutting to avoid a melted mint chocolate mess.  Enjoy!!

Note: If you prefer a solid layer of mint chocolate on top of the brownies, mix ½ of the chips into the brownie mix and sprinkle the other ½ on top.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Football Star 1st Birthday Party

For this little sports nut, a football themed 1st birthday party was really the only option!  Between the inflatable noise sticks, mini footballs and personalized koozies, guests of all ages had a blast!  The birthday boy and his big brother both wore adorable football jerseys to compliment the party theme.

Decorations and Favors:
  • Footballs, footballs and more footballs!
  • Inflatable goal post
  • Personalized drawstring backpacks filled with personalized megaphones, football shaped bubbles and mini foam footballs
  • Personalized 1st Birthday koozies for all of the grown up guests

  • Regulation size Autograph football for all guests to sign
  • Inflatable pool filled with football shaped beach balls – the perfect alternative to a traditional ball pit
  • Photo Cutout – an adorable football scene with a cutout for the little one to stick their head through for a priceless party keepsake photo
  • Inflatable Receiver with a basket of small foam footballs for little guests to toss

  • Football theme snack cones filled with football shaped pretzels, animal cookies and Chex mix
  • Veggie shots – veggies served in ranch filled shot glasses
  • 7-Layer dip and chips
  • Cookies, cookies, and more cookies
  • Snack cups filled with gold fish
  • Applesauce, Mandarin oranges and raisins displayed in upright megaphones
  • Bite size ham and cheese sandwiches labeled with personalized toothpick flags
  • Cake – decorated to match the adorable football invitation 

Damask Bridal Shower

This lovely Bride-to-be was planning an exquisite Classic Vegas Wedding designed around her love of the timeless Damask pattern.  Her wedding style quickly became the theme for this perfect Saturday afternoon bridal shower.  Black and White with a hint of Turquoise made for a very classic style with just enough bling to compliment the Bride-to-be’s wild side ;-)

Decorations and Favors:
  • Personalized Hersey Kisses
  • Personalized favor cones
  • Personalized Damask bud vases adorned with ribbon and favor tags designed to match the beautiful invitations

  • Signature Photo Mat – the perfect passive activity for all guests that the Bride-to-be and her hubby can cherish for years to come

  • White Sangria
  • Shrimp Cocktail Shots – cocktail shrimp served in square shot glasses filled with cocktail sauce
  • Cookies, cookies and more cookies!
  • Chocolate pretzels presented in personalized favor cones
  • Tropical fruit with sweet yogurt dip
  • Chicken salad cups
  • Pasta salad
  • Veggie Tray
  • Cake – designed to match the beautiful Damask invitations

Ni Hao Kai-lan 4th Birthday Pool Party

This adorable 4 year old wanted nothing more that all the Ni Hao Kai-lan we could stuff into a pool party!  Miss Kaitlyn complimented the decorations perfectly in her cute Ni Hao Kai-lan swimsuit and matching hair style.

Decorations and Favors:
  • Yellow and Red!  Balloons, tablecloths, beach balls and favors
  • Ni Hao Kai-lan Happy Birthday sign
  • Personalized cupcake toppers
  • Personalized beach buckets filled with temporary tattoos, sunglasses, candy necklaces and bubbles, topped with a beach ball and arranged on the table around the hidden dragon

  • Ni Hao Kai-lan temporary tattoos applied to each little guest during the swim break
  • Pool games

  • Delicious snacks and cupcakes provided by the unmatched Country Club caterers 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Casual Co-ed Baby Shower

Is Daddy-to-be feeling a little left out of the baby excitement?  Why not include him by throwing a Casual Co-ed Baby Shower!  This fun twist on a traditional baby shower was a hit with all of the guests, but most importantly Mommy and Daddy loved it.  By skipping traditional shower games and activities, guests have more time to hang out and enjoy a fabulous party.

  • Backyard games – Ladder Ball, Frisbee and Kubb
Decorations and Favors:
  • “Pick Your Side” Gummie Bear & Red Vine favors inspired by the couple’s Boston Red Sox & NY Yankees Cookie wedding favors
  • Fresh flowers, potted flowers and decorative flower pots in honor of baby “Clover”
  • Individually potted flowers in Pet Pots adorned with “Plant this flower before the day is over in honor of baby ‘Clover’” favor tags
  • Oreo cake with milk, chocolate milk and soy milk served in small wide-mouth mason jars for easy dunking
  • Grilled chicken and asparagus
  • Grilled steak and potatoes
  • Grilled mushrooms
  • Black Bean salad
  • Fresh salsa and guacamole
  • The Mommy-to-be’s favorite cupcakes

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cooking Class Bridal Shower

A Cooking Class Bridal Shower is perfect for your foodie friend who wants more than just your run of the mill bridal shower.  With a professional chef performing cooking demonstrations and 30 of her closest girlfriends, the Bride-To-Be could not have been happier with her unique bridal shower and the guests all raved that they had never been to such a fun and unique shower!

  • Professional cooking demonstration
  • Guess the Spice – a fun, passive shower game for guests to participate in at their leisure
Decorations and Favors:
  • Menu cards designed to match the adorable invitations
  • Personalized place settings for each guest
  • Kitchen Towel Cake
  • Kitchen Utensil Arrangements
  • Personalized gable boxes filled with an apron, shower recipes, heart-shaped measuring spoons and pan scraper
  • Bride, Mother of the Bride, and Mother of the Groom aprons for the guest of honor and her mothers
  • Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce
  • Sweet Potato Dip
  • Fillet of Beef and Fillet of Chicken with Herbed Butter
  • Almond Basil Pate
  • Shrimp Cocktail
  • Veggie Tray
  • Pita pints and hummus
  • Strawberry Pink Lemonade Signature Drink – served in mason jars over frozen strawberries
  • The Bride-to-be’s favorite cake adorned with bride and groom rubber duckie

Pretty in Pink Baby Shower

When Mommy-To-Be is expecting a little girl, what is more fun than showering her with a Pretty in Pink Baby Shower?  This baby shower was the perfect girlie day for an excited Mommy-To-Be and her closest girlfriends.  From the guest of honor’s favorite cake, to the Strawberry Pink Lemonade and mini Fruit Kabobs, every last detail was fun and girlie.

  • Read Mommy-To-Be’s mind – a fun word association game where guests guess how Mommy-To-Be finished statements such as “Baby’s First _________” or “Daddy’s ________”.
  • Parenting Advice – each guests leaves their parenting tips for Mommy and Daddy – these are perfect keepsakes for the baby book
Decorations and Favors:
  • Custom yard sign designed to match the adorable invitations “When a baby arrives, a Mommy is born”
  • Pink tissue pom poms hung from the ceiling
  • Pink and Purple bubble bath roses in mini terracotta pots, adorned with personalized favor tags
  • Strawberry Pink Lemonade Signature Drink – served in mason jars over frozen strawberries 
  • Mini Fruit Kabobs in adorable pink shot glasses
  • Tea sandwiches, pasta salad and veggie tray
  • Bite size brownies
  • Neapolitan cake decorated to match the adorable invitation

Beach Monkey 1st Birthday Party

What 1 year old doesn’t like monkeys?!  This Beach Monkey 1st Birthday Party was a huge hit.  From the beach ball pit, yummy mini cupcakes, custom decorations, to the personalized beach bucket favors, there wasn’t a single detail of this 1st Birthday party that was overlooked.

  • Inflatable kiddie pool filled with small beach monkey beach balls – a fun alternative to a traditional ball pit
  • Art center filled with coloring books and materials to make handprint Christmas tree ornaments
Decorations and Favors:
  • Beach blanket table cloths
  • Custom “Happy Birthday” sign
  • Custom cupcake toppers
  • Personalized beach buckets for each guest filled with a shovel, happy birthday rubber duckies and beach monkey crayon sets
  • Toddler friendly snacks – snack cups filled with Cheddar Bunnies/Cherrios/Animal Crackers, apple sauce, individual milk cartons and plenty of sippy cups and toddler spoons
  • Finger sandwiches, veggie and fruit trays, etc. for moms and dads
  • Mini cupcakes