Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Lucky New Years Foods

New Years brings with it some fun, and some odd, superstitions.  But one thing is for sure; there are some great lucky foods that are worth a try!  We’re all familiar with the tradition of pork chops, black-eyed peas, collards and applesauce for dinner on New Years day, but did you know that donuts and bagels are lucky too?  Here are some of my favorite lucky New Years foods that I shared with Page Crawford on WNCN Today this morning:

     Lucky Fruit.
o   Grapes.  Grapes are considered a lucky fruit and in some cultures are used as a predictor of the coming year.  You can eat 12 grapes at midnight and every sweet grape is an indication of a good month, while every sour grape denotes a not so lucky month in the year ahead.  So add a few frozen grapes to your drinks in lieu of ice or create grape kabobs for everyone to munch on.

     Coming Full Circle.
o   Circular Foods.  Much like a wedding band is a symbol of unending love, circular foods like donuts and bagels are considered lucky and symbolize coming full circle.  So here’s another fun excuse to make a trip to the donut shop on New Years Day, or make bagel pizzas for dinner.  And don’t forget there are plenty of healthy options too, like baked banana donuts or a zucchini bread bunt cake.

     A Fun Twist on the Traditional.
o   Black-eyed Peas.  Why not have some fun with the age-old tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Years by mixing up some Texas Caviar, a fabulously sweet and tangy black-eyed pea dip.  You can make your dip today and munch on it all New Years day while you’re watching football.

Texas Caviar
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen or fresh corn
1 small jar pimentos
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
Salt and pepper

In a small pan over medium high heat, bring vinegar, oils and sugar to a boil and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool.
Add all the veggies in a large bowl and pour the liquid over the top.
Cover and refrigerate overnight. Stick a spoon in there and mix it around every so often.
Before serving season with salt and pepper if desired

When it comes to New Years, a little decorating goes a long way.  A big thank you to our friends at CelebrateExpress.com for the fun New Years decorations and hats!

And a big Clueless Chick thank you to our friends at the Krispy Kreme in Raleigh, NC for providing donuts for this mornings show!  As always, you can find me at Krispy Kreme on New Years Day getting some lucky donuts for my boys.

Happy New Year!

Until next time,
aka Chick #1

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Crafty Christmas Breakfast

Many of us will be spending today cooking, spending time with family and maybe opening a few gifts.  Some of us will even be up until the wee hours of the morning waiting for Santa.  When it comes time to make breakfast Christmas morning, I’m sure you will want to keep it simple.  Today I shared some of my favorite DIY Crafty Christmas Breakfast tips with Page Crawford on WNCN Today.

     Dressing up Donuts.
o   Snowman Donuts.  Making a snowman donut is easier than you may think.  All you need are mini powdered donuts, mini chocolate chips and orange candy like Mike & Ike or Jelly Beans.  Simply arrange 2 mini chocolate chips, pointy side down, as eyes and 4 mini chocolate chips as a mouth.  Then add 1 orange candy as a nose and voila, you’ve got an adorable snowman donut!

o   Reindeer Donuts.  An adorable reindeer donut is almost as easy to make as snowman donuts and twice as cute.  Grab a bag of mini chocolate donuts, small pretzels, marshmallow bits and red candy (Skittles or M&Ms are perfect).  Now comes the hardest (or at least most frustrating part) – cut your pretzels in half so they look like antlers.  If you are having trouble cutting your pretzels without breaking them, simply warm them in the microwave for 30 seconds prior to cutting.  Insert your pretzel antlers in the top of the donut, add marshmallow bits eyes and a red candy nose smack dab in the middle and you’re done.

     Fruity Santa Hats. 
o   Strawberry Santa Hat.  With all of the Christmas treats loaded with sugar, it is nice to have a healthy alternative the whole family will love.  You will need fresh strawberries, washed with the stem removed, small banana slices, mini marshmallows, green grapes and a toothpick.  Place a strawberry on top of each banana slice, insert a toothpick through the center, and a single grape beneath the banana and place a mini marshmallow to the top of the toothpick.

     Festive French Toast.
o   French Toast Trees..  Who doesn’t love homemade French Toast for breakfast?!?  One of the easiest ways to turn any breakfast treat into a delicious Christmas treat is with a cookie cutter.  Simply make your favorite French Toast recipe and use your favorite Christmas cookie cutter to turn them into festive shapes.  TIP:  Don’t waste the scraps!  Instead, cut them into bite size pieces, drop them into a small baking dish, add a little butter pour over your favorite syrup and you have the perfect French Toast casserole.

You can of course find all of my fun breakfast, brunch and general party tips in Party Planning tips for the Clueless Chick.

Have a wonderful, safe, healthy and yummy Christmas! 

Until next time,
aka Chick #1 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Go Fast, Turn Left! {Race Car Birthday Party}

Race Car Birthday Party

When I asked my now 5 year old what he wanted to do for his birthday party he said "I want to have race cars, LOTS of race cars!"  Done.  A race car theme is easy, right?  Well, maybe.  You have to take into consideration that we had just thrown a "By Air, Rail and Road" party for my 3 year old so I would have to get extra creative to be sure that it didn't feel like the same party.  Now don't get me wrong, I reused as much as I could - the car sandwich punch to make sunbutter and jelly sandwiches, red, yellow and green stop light plates, and mini checkered flags.  After all, this Chick likes to save a few bucks :-)

So how did I mange to make this party fun and unique?  I called my good friends at BirthdayExpress.com (how lucky am I to have friends in high places?!?).  Boy was I thrilled with the ideas they gave me!!

So let's break it down, we got crafty, repurposed the unusual and threw in the perfect accents from BirthdayExpress.com:

Gettin' Crafty!
With a house full of 5 year olds, it is critical to have engaging activities to keep them entertained.  At a race car party, what could be better than making your own race car? All you need are banker boxes (or really any box), pens, crayons and a few stickers.  Really, it's that easy.

Cardboard Race Car

Cardboard Race Cars
1.  Pick up a package of banker boxes at the office supply store or grab a few plain boxes from your local grocery store's recycling pile (boxes from the liquor store are also free but not quite as appropriate for a little one's party...).

2.  Cut the bottom out of the box so the kids can step into it and use the side handles to hold it up.  If you're feeling extra crafty, only cut the bottom on 3 sides, leaving one of the longest sides attached.  Then fold the flap towards the inside of the box, 6 in up to make a mini windshield.  Be sure to tape the flap to the inside of the box so that it stays put while they are decorating.

DIY Cardboard Race Car Craft

3.  Collect pens, crayons, stickers, etc. for the kids to use to create their personalized race car.

Personalizing Their Race Cars

4.  Create a race track in you driveway, backyard, or hallway.  Simply lay down painters tape for your start and finish line.  When the kids are finished creating their cars, line them up and let the races begin!

Starting Line (safety first!)

5.  For a super fun finish line, add a balloon drop from BirthdayExpress.com.  This was a HUGE hit at our party!

Finish Line Balloon Drop

Repurpose the Unusual
You know that this Chick loves to repurpose just about anything.  I LOVE to hear someone say "Wow, what a great idea! I wouldn't have thought to use X that way!".  It is especially flattering when X was just laying around the house.  Free decorations are the best.  So what was my repurpose of choice this go around?  A race car track of course.  Can you think of a better way to display cupcakes and Twinkie race cars than on a race car track?  I mean come on, it's perfection!

Cupcake Race Track

I dressed up each cupcake with a toy car that each guest got to keep and I made Twinkie race cars to boot.  They are super easy, all you need are Twinkies, peppermint patties, jelly beans and toothpicks. 

Twinkie Race Car

Twinkie Race Cars:

  1. Insert a toothpick in the center of the front and back of each Twinkie (as if they were the car's axles)
  2. Place a peppermint patty on each side of the toothpicks and cap with 1/2 of a jelly bean
You know that I don't like to go overboard when it comes to theme decorations, a little bit goes a long way.  So when it came time to throw in a few race car decorations I turned to my friends at BirthdayExpress.com and boy did they come through!

Race Car Party Favors

There was the finish line balloon drop which was not only a hit with the winners of the race, but also all of the little brothers and sisters who negotiated with mommy and daddy to take home as many balloons as they could carry :-)

Balloon Drop Finish Line
Little Man Absconding with Balloons

Then there were the racing helmets and pit passes.  I mean really, what could be more fun than your own racing hat and pit pass to make you feel like a REAL race car driver as you're cruising in your cardboard race car?  I of course had to personalize the helmets and pit passes with cute little name stickers that the kids just loved.

And finally, there were these awesome road cone cups.  Yes, cups.  The kids went nuts over the road cones (and the parents thought they were pretty cool too).  They are easier than you would think to disassemble, wash, etc. and so much fun.

Given what a LEGO fanatic my little man is, I also had to send the kids home with a race car LEGO set.  For a number of our guests this was their first LEGO set and the kids loved them.  I've gotten quite a few pictures of little ones putting their cars together.  Nothing warms the heart more than a text the day after the party with a picture of your guests playing with their favors and a note that says "we had a fabulous time!".

LEGO Race Car Favors 

Well, there is one thing that warmed my heart more.  At dinner that night I asked my 5 year old if he had fun at his party.  His response?  "Mama, this was the BEST day EVER!" :-)  And that my friends is what it's all about!

Until next time,
aka Chick #1

p.s. A HUGE Clueless Chick thank you to BrithdayExpress.com for the awesome samples!  They all get a Clueless Chick thumbs up :-)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

GooseWaddle and Clueless Chick Giveaway

Boy do I have exciting news!  We've teamed with my favorite and most luxurious baby blanket company (which just so happens to also be based in NC) to bring you a fabulous giveaway!  That's right, you can enter to win a GooseWaddle Gift Set and your favorite Tips for the Clueless Chick books!  That's a $115 value!!

You may remember these fabulous GooseWaddle blankets from my 12.10.13 appearance on WNCN Today when I told you all about how GooseWaddle is making a difference in the community through their Buy 1, Give 1 campaign. For every blanket they sell, a receiving blanket is donated to a child in need.  Is there anything better than giving a beautiful blanket to your favorite little one and a blanket to a child in need?


Or maybe you remember the Charlotte Today segment on 11.21.13 when I gave you my favorite tips about taking your little ones favorite GooseWaddle lovie and blanket when you travel.  Did you know that the smell of home will help your little one sleep better?


Enter early and often ;-)


Good luck!!

Until next time,
aka Chick #1

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Gifts that Give Back and Take you Home Again

We are always searching for those perfect holiday gifts for everyone in our lives, and hoping that they won’t be returned.  Today I shared some of my favorite holiday gift ideas with Page Crawford on WNCN Today.  They include some old favorites and new favorites that give back to charity and the best gifts from or inspired by your hometown or favorite team.

     Gifts that Give Back.
o   GooseWaddle.  GooseWaddle, our favorite and most luxurious baby blanket company (which just so happens to be based in NC) is making a difference through their Buy 1, Give 1 campaign. For every blanket they sell, a receiving blanket is donated to a child in need.  Is there anything better than giving a beautiful blanket to your favorite little one and a blanket to a child in need?  Sounds like the perfect reason to buy two.

o   Bumbo Cares.   We all know and love the Bumbo Floor Seat, but did you know that a portion of ever purchase worldwide supports the underprivileged and special needs children in Bumbo’s hometown of Pretoria, South Africa.  Since 2005, they have donated more than $10 million to their Bumbo Cares non-profit program, providing food, shelter and education for more than 1,200 South African children.  If that’s not enough great news for you, you can now pick up an adorable Bumbo Floor Seat Cover for just $9.99.

     A Little Piece of Home 
o   Fanatics.  For the sports fan in your life, there is nothing better than ANYTHING from their favorite team.  Enter Fanatics.com, the perfect place to pick up just about anything for the sports fan in your life.  From t-shirts for the whole family, warm and crazy winter hat to a Tackle Buddy the whole family will have fun with on Christmas morning.

o   BirdAve Prints.  For friends who are far from home, and local sports fan, BirdAve has the perfect solution.  These cool prints of your city’s skyline and your schools iconic landmarks are just $20.  You can even have a print framed for and extra special gift.  There are over 700 cityscapes to choose from and countless quotes and sports stadiums in just about any color you’re looking for.

There is of course nothing the women in your life would like more than a Tips for the Clueless Chick book under the tree ;-)

Until next time,
aka Chick#1 

p.s. Contact us for an exclusive Buy 1 Get 1 FREE book offer info@cluelesschick.com