Thursday, November 07th, 2013 | Author:

 

The weather is cooling down so that means that food for Bunco games is heating up. There is nothing like hot, delicious food such as  dips to share at Bunco.  I live in the Southwest, so in the summer I try to avoid using the oven. Now that the temps are in the mid 70s here (that is cool for us!) it is time to make some comfort food.
One of my favorite resources for delicious Bunco snacks and appetizers is The Bunko Junkie Appetizer Book.  It is available via free download here.  With 150 delicious appetizers, it is your one stop for finding a yummy food item to take to your next Bunco game.  Below is the recipe for one of my favorite appetizers from the book, Appetizer Surprise.  It is a creamy artichoke dip with lots of Parmesan cheese.  One of my favorite flavor combos!

Appetizer Surprise

Appetizer Surprise

14 ounces Can artichoke hearts

1 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup Mayo
nnaise

1/2 cup Sour cream

8 ounces Cream cheese

Garlic salt — to taste

Dill weed — to taste

Paprika

Drain and chop artichoke hearts finely and set aside. Mix remainingingredients until smooth and creamy. Add artichoke hearts and mix well.Place in long shallow dish that has been greased or sprayed with non-stick spray. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 375 F. for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until bubbly and brown.  Serve with Ritz crackers, or dipping cracker of your choice. Keep warm while serving.  A little dipper slow cooker would work perfectly!

Another book called, Dice with Spice would make a great gift or prize for a Bunco Babe.  Each recipe takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.  It is a time saver and the recipes are delicious!  Since the holidays are upon us, check out the video tutorials by The Bunco Game Shop for Winter Wonderland Cocktails and Chocolate Cherry Hot Fudge Cake.

What is your favorite snack or appetizer to make for Bunco games around the holiday season?  Let me know on The Bunco Game Shop Facebook Page.  While you’re there, enter our monthly GIVEAWAY!

Keep Calm and Play Bunco,

Bunco Betty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013 | Author:

Photo Originally Published in Family Fun Magazine

I started my Bunco group 3.5 years ago, I didn’t know anyone at that game. Now, quite a few of those players are friends of mine. Our very first game was a Hawaiian theme.  It still comes up in conversation occasionally, it was really fun.  Of course everyone needs to wear a lei, the hostess can provide one at the door or each person can wear their own. A Hawaiian shirt or grass skirt is a nice touch too.  There is always the fun-loving Bunco Gal who will wear a coconut bra!

Food is also key for a successful Hawaiian Bunco.  Think tropical: teriyaki, pineapple, coconut, macadamia nuts (chocolate covered please!), even SPAM.  Drinks are important as well.  The Blue Hawaiian, a frosty alcoholic concoction is festive and delicious.  For those guests that do not drink alcohol, here are some recipes for some mocktail treats such as Pina Coladas, Mai Tais and Sunny Hawaiis.  Don’t forget the mini umbrellas for the drinks!  I made these Sweet Sandal cookies to our Flip Flop Bunco and they were a big hit!

Some fun variations of a sunny tropical Bunco theme include Flip Flop Bunco and Beach Blanket Bingo Bunco.  For Flip Flop Bunco have guests wear their most blinged out Flip Flops, the most bedazzled pair wins a prize!  We had some very creative ladies with mad glue gun skills at our Flip Flop Bunco night!  For Beach Blanket Bingo Bunco we played Bingo along with our Bunco game.  There were prizes for both games.  Of course for any tropical theme Bunco, ladies can wear beach attire (floppy hat, shorts, tank top, etc.).  To make this theme even more fun, you can switch things up and hold a tropical theme Bunco in the winter!  I live in the desert, so winter is the best time of year here. In other parts of the country, ladies may need to wear a jacket over their shorts or wear boots and change into flip flops at the party.  It is a great diversion from winter and a reminder of what’s to come in the future.

Has your Bunco group had a warm weather themed Bunco party?  If so, let me know about it on The Bunco Game Shop’s Facebook Page.

Keep Calm and Play Bunco,

Bunco Betty

 

 

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013 | Author:

Cute Bunco Dice Bags!

Bunco is a great way to get out of the house and socialize with friends.  It is also exciting that there is a chance to win a prize!  In my group we have many ways to win both cash and non-cash prizes.  I have played with two different groups in the last eight years.  My former group had a $11 pay-in for the cash prizes and the host provided one non-cash prize and another was provided by the person who received the prize last month.  When I started my own Bunco group I dropped the cash pay-in to $5.  We typically play with 19-24 people so the cash prizes are still decent since we have more than the usual 12 players.

Cash Prizes in my group:

MOST BUNCOS:$20

MOST WINS: $9 + $1 for each player over 12

MOST THREE OF A KINDS (aka Baby Buncos): $9 + $1 for each player over 12

MOST LOSSES: $4 + $1 for each player over 12

50/50: $4 + $1 for each player over 12

MOST 123s (we keep tally marks for 123s rolled): $4 + $1 for each player over 12

Loser Lottery:  Three names picked randomly from ‘Losers’ and person that rolls lowest # wins $5

1st Bunco: Person who rolls first Bunco wins $5

Non-Cash Prizes:

First Bunco

Snake Eyes

Last Bunco

Loser Lottery (3 players)

Small Prizes for those with special colored Bunco scorecards

For non-cash prizes I try to purchase things that go along with the monthly theme.  I also try to keep the prizes between $8-$10. For our upcoming Animal Print themed Bunco in November I found really cute animal print pens and pads of paper at a local craft store.  I also purchased adorable zebra and leopard print bags and tissue paper to keep with the theme. To create even more fun ways to leave with a prize, I print the Bunco scorecards on different colored paper. Players who have that months color receive a small prize.  For our animal print Bunco, these cute napkin and plate sets will be the scorecard prizes. Thinking ahead, for our Christmas White Elephant Bunco this year I will be using these adorable bags.

Is your group creative with prizes?  If so let me know on The Bunco Game Shop’s Facebook Page.  I always love new ideas to make Bunco even more fun!

Keep Calm and Play Bunco,

Bunco Betty


 

 

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013 | Author:



If you have played Bunco with more than one group, chances are each group had its own rules.  Most groups play with the main Bunco rules and prizes. Bunco being when three of a kind is rolled in the Round of a specified number, i.e. triple threes rolled when rolling for threes.  The typical Bunco prize categories are Most Buncos, Most Wins, Most Losses, Most Three of a Kinds (aka Baby Buncos) and 50/50.  We also award prizes to first and last Bunco, three losers (second chance drawing), whoever rolled the most 123 (we keep a tally throughout the game) and Snake Eyes.

What is Snake Eyes you ask?  Well, Snake Eyes is what our group does to shake things up a bit.  If you roll triple ones when not rolling for ones it is a Snake Eyes.  What happens next?  Well, you and your partner lose all of your points in the round you are currently playing.  You then yell, ‘Snake Eyes!!’ and the person with the fuzzy die throws it to you.  Whoever has the fuzzy die at the end of the game wins a prize.  In my current group I provide the prize but in my previous group the person who won Snake Eyes brought the prize for next months game.  I have played with a group who used a fuzzy die for ‘Traveling’.  When someone rolled triple threes when not rolling for threes they were given the fuzzy die and whoever had it at the end won a prize.

Another difference from group to group is who moves to what table after each round.  According to The World Bunco Association, The winning team from Table 2 goes to the “Head” table and the winning team from Table 3 goes to Table 2. The losing team from Table 2 goes to Table 3 and the losing team from Table 3 stays at the table, but one player moves over one chair so they will have a different partner. This is too confusing for me!  For the last three years my group has just had the losers move to make things easier.  Well, lately people have been complaining (and rightfully so) that the winners should be moving closer to the head table.  So, last night I made up some cute Pink Ribbon themed table signs to let people know where to move for our Bunco this month.  It was so fun, I may make some each month to go with our themes!  Hopefully I will have some happy Bunco Gals this month!

What are your groups rules?  How do you move from table to table?  Do you have a topic you’d like me to cover in a future blog spot?  Let me know on our Facebook page.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Keep Calm and Play Bunco,

Bunco Betty

 

 

Tuesday, October 08th, 2013 | Author:

Salted Caramel Cake Pops

I asked our Facebook followers to let me know what their favorite fall themed Bunco ideas were.  There were some very creative ideas!  The most popular fall themes were Pink Ribbon and Halloween Bunco.  Some groups do a variation of Halloween theme, such a Howloween and Buncoween.  A group does Halloween with a Pink Twist.  That sounds so fun!  I think I will give that a try next year since I already have our Pink Ribbon Bunco planned for this month.

One Bunco player said that she hosts a Football Bunco each fall.  How fun!  I have seen some cute football themed plates, napkins, bowls, etc. at discount stores.  Guests can wear their favorite football jersey, t-shirt, hat or colors.  It would also be fun to have a game on in the background (perhaps your hometown team).  The best thing about Football themed Bunco is the food!  You can’t go wrong with dips kept warm in mini slow cookers along with some tortilla chips and crackers.  My favorite dips to make (and eat) are Spinach and Artichoke and Buffalo Chicken.  Both are really easy to make.  However, I have a sweet tooth and my favorite food at a Bunco game is usually dessert.  Salted Caramel Cake Pops would be a delicious addition to any fall Bunco theme (or any time of the year!).

Salted Caramel Cake Pops

1 Yellow Cake Mix baked in 13×9 pan according to package and cooled

1/3 cup canned vanilla frosting (or homemade)

1/2 cup salted caramel (I used Trader Joe’s brand)

1 bag chocolate melting wafers

1 cup white chocolate melting wafers

1 cup caramels (such as Kraft) unwrapped

1 tsp. water

Sea Salt for topping

32 lollipop sticks (available at craft stores)

styrofoam block (available at craft stores)

Shred the cooled caked and add frosting and salted caramel, mix well.  Shape mixture into balls.  Meanwhile, melt 1/2 cup of chocolate melting wafers in the microwave in 30 second increments until melted.  Dip a lollipop stick into the melted chocolate and then stick it into the cake ball.  Line small cookie sheet with parchment paper and put all 32 cake pops on the cookie sheet (use two if you need to).  Put cake pops into freezer for about an hour.  When you are ready to dip the cake pops, put the remainder of the chocolate melting wafers into a microwave safe bowl and microwave at 30 second increment until desired consistency is achieved.  Dip the cake pops one at a time into the chocolate mixture.  Stick the dipped cake pops into the styrofoam block and let dry.  Microwave white melting chocolate at 30 second increments until thin consistency.  Put a small dollop of white chocolate on each pop.  Next, put caramel and 1 tsp of water into microwave safe bowl and stir every 30 second until smooth.  Drizzle on top of the cake pops.  Finally, add a light pinch of sea salt onto each cake pop.  Enjoy!

Do you have a sweet tooth?  What is your favorite dessert to make (or eat) at a Bunco game? If you prefer savory food, what is your favorite? Please share your answer on our Facebook page.  Let me know if you make the cake pops!

Keep Calm and Play Bunco,

Bunco Betty

 

Tuesday, October 01st, 2013 | Author:

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

It is the perfect time of year to throw a Pink Ribbon Bunco party.  A party such as this can be held as a fundraiser or as your monthly Bunco group’s theme.  Your Bunco group could decide to forgo it’s winnings this month and donate.

I have been to both types of Pink Ribbon Bunco.  Bunco for Breast Cancer is an annual event held in my city.  It is held on the patio of a Mexican restaurant and there are hundreds of players.  It is so much fun and great prizes are given away.  I won an amazing Pampered Chef basket one year and another year  set of neckties for my husband.

My Bunco group has also had a Pink Ribbon Bunco theme in the past and we are planning another one later this month.  Everyone gets into the spirit and wears pink!  I will be decorating my chandelier with these adorable pink ribbon lanterns.  Our Bunco sheets will be printed on pink paper (of course!) and each player will have a cute Pink Ribbon pen on a rope.  The head table will be playing with novelty pink ribbon dice .  I can’t wait until the ladies see these!  Also, a friend of mine who sells awesome organizational products will be  at our Bunco game. There will be prizes such as pink key fobs and lanyards wrapped in mini Pink Ribbon bags.  One lucky player will go home with a prize from a giveaway!

No Pink Ribbon Bunco party would be complete without  some pink drinks like pink lemonade or a pink lady cocktail.   Bowls of pink treats would be fun to snack on.  Think pink candy coated chocolate pieces, pink malted milk balls, licorice, etc.  Pink paper plates, napkins , cups and tablecloths are a must too.  Pink Lemonade cupcakes would be a festive addition to the dessert table.  I made these cupcakes for a baby girl shower and they were both pretty and delicious.

My group uses two Bunco necklaces  during our games.  The necklaces change depending on the theme.  For October Bunco we will be using these fun Pink Ribbon Bunco necklaces.  They are sturdy and will be fine being tossed across the room.  They can be used again at next year’s Pink Ribbon Bunco game! If you get the first Bunco you get to wear a necklace throughout the game and you get your money back.  The other necklace we pass around each time someone gets a Bunco and the person with the last Bunco wins a prize.

Are you going to have a Pink Ribbon Bunco this month?  Have you had one in the past?  Let me know about it on our Facebook page.

Keep Calm and Play Bunco,

Bunco Betty

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013 | Author:

Fall is officially here.  Pumpkin flavored beverages and desserts are already everywhere.  Even though I live in the desert and the weather is still quite warm, thoughts of fall bring hope of cooler weather and fun get-togethers with family and friends like Halloween and Thanksgiving.

This will be the fourth fall that my Bunco group has been together.  We have played  Harvest Bunco, Halloween Bunco (twice) and had an Apple themed Bunco.  I always coordinate the color of our Bunco sheets according to the monthly theme.  For Halloween Bunco I use orange and green paper, for Apple themed Bunco, red and green and for Harvest Bunco, gold, light brown and green.  This time of year there are cute fall paper products available: plates, cups, napkins, etc. which add to the festive atmosphere.

Another fun thing about fall themes are the endless food and beverage possibilities.  For Harvest Bunco we had mulled wine (check out these cute wine charms), for Apple Bunco we had hot spiced cider and for Halloween Bunco the hostess put dry ice in the punch and it looked like witches brew.  We have potlucks at our games and the ladies are very creative!  One of my favorite recipes for fall is a pumpkin dip I found on Allrecipes.com.  I made it for my Brownie Troop last week and one of the girls asked if she could lick the bowl!  Best of all it is inexpensive and easy to put together.  It tastes great served with apple slices, ginger snaps and/or Nilla Wafers.

Pumpkin Dip

Ingredients:

1 (16 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix

1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin

1/4 Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

In a large bowl, mix together instant vanilla pudding mix, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Fold in the thawed frozen whipped topping. Chill in the refrigerator until serving.

Prizes for Fall Bunco are fun to coordinate with the theme.  Some of my favorite prizes are seasonal dish towels, candles, welcome signs and aprons.  This Halloween Dice Bracelet would be a perfect Bunco prize!

What Fall Bunco Themes (Halloween, Harvest, etc.)have you done with your Bunco group?  What are your favorite prizes and recipes for Fall Bunco themes?

We have been having technical issues with leaving comments on the blog, so please let me know your thoughts on The Bunco Game Shop Facebook Page

Keep Calm and Play Bunco,

Bunco Betty

 

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 | Author:

Brown paper packages tied up in string these are a few of my favorite things!  We all know that beloved song which is an inspiration for my My Favorite Things Bunco theme.  I am planning a My Favorite Things Party for my 40th birthday.  I am finding out how hard it is to know exactly what my favorite things are.  There are so many times when I compromise because I am sharing food with someone or because I am a mom and I put others needs before my own.  Well, this party is for ME and I am having fun planning it!  Of course we are going to be eating my favorite appetizers, main dishes and deserts.  We usually have Bunco potlucks but I will be providing the food since it is based around things that  I like.  Also, my mom will be visiting and she will be making some of my favorites for the party (baked ziti and cabbage rolls, yum!).

A My Favorite Things Party is more than just having the guest of honor’s favorite foods, colors, etc.  When you invite your friend’s to your Bunco party, you will ask them to each bring a wrapped item that is one of their favorite things.  You can set a price limit ($5, $10, $15) which works best for your guests.  Before you play Bunco, write each guests name on a slip of paper, fold it over and put into a bowl. These pens would be perfect to use for your Bunco game! After you are done playing Bunco, or whatever time works for you, gather your fellow Bunco players and start the gift exchange.  The way it works is that each person will choose a name from the bowl.  Whichever name the person chooses is the gift she gets to take home.  It is so fun to see what everyone’s favorite things are!  You can have each guests bring more than one gift if you like.  You would just add each person’s name according to the amount of gifts that were brought.  If each person brought three gifts, their names would be put into the drawing three times and everyone would leave with three items, fun!

At my party, I will be sending everyone home with one of my favorite things.  M&M Cookie Mix in a Jar.  One of my favorite childhood sweets was the sugar butter cookie with M&M’s.  You know, the giant one’s sold at the mall. I used to go to the mall a lot as a tween!  Here is an awesome recipe to make your own cookie mix in a jar from the blog Organized Christmas.  My favorite colors are green, pink and orange, so I incorporated them into the jar packaging.

Have you ever been to a my Favorite Thing Party Bunco?  If so, tell me about it in the comments.  If not, what would you bring if you were invited to a My Favorite Things Bunco Party?

Keep Calm and Play Bunco,

Bunco Betty

Monday, September 09th, 2013 | Author:

A Bunco Game Shop Facebook follower threw an amazing surprise 91st Birthday Bunco Bash and it got me thinking of one of my favorite Bunco themes: Birthday Bunco!  In February a friend of mine in my Bunco group turned 40.  So, we held a Gold Lamé Soirée Bunco which was a fun 1970s theme.  We took it seriously!  The ladies in my group all wore sparkly gold shirts and of course there was Disco music in the background.  I bought  everyone  a disco ball necklace and we rocked them!

Usually we have a potluck but I decided to make the food since the theme was so fun! I immediately thought of the quintessential 1970s food: fondue. But after talking with the birthday girl, came up with doing a salad bar and soup.  I found an inflatable salad bar online and filled it with ice so that it kept all of the salad fixings cold.  I had everyone’s favorite toppings, lettuce, pasta salad and a variety of dressings.  I also made one of my favorite soups, Fire Roasted Tomato (see recipe below).  It is easy to make the day before and then warm in the slow cooker a few hours before the party starts.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon  olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 cans (14.5 oz each) fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can can (14 oz) reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

1/2 cup whipping cream

In saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, broth, 1 tablespoon of the basil, the sugar and pepper flakes. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes.  I use an immersion blender and blend the soup directly in the pot. If you are using a regular blender, let soup cool before blending, about 15 minutes.  After blending, add soup back to pot, stir in cream and remaining 1 tablespoon basil.  It tastes great with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese on top!

After playing two rounds of Bunco in which the birthday girl wore this cute tiara, we took a dessert break. We had the birthday girl’s favorite cupcake, homemade German Chocolate.  One of our players brought some gourmet ice cream to go with it.  Delicious!  As a nod to our 70s theme we had punch, both spiked and not, with sherbet floating on top.  Classic!

My 40th is coming up in a few weeks and I am throwing myself (with some help from friends) a Bunco Birthday Bash!  It is a fun Neon Tea Party theme.  I am having fun planning this event!  I found some cute neon pink, orange and yellow water bottles.  I will be tying neon balloons on some and making flower arrangements in the others.  I also plan on using these dice for some extra fun! I am really looking forward to it.  I will post pictures and let you know how it went!

A Bunco Game Shop Facebook follower, Charlyn, sent me some awesome food pictures from one of her bunco parties.  I am posting them here.  I am sure they will provide inspiration for many.  I think I may make the cupcakes for my Bunco Birthday (using carrot cake–my fave!).  The cream cheese appetizer with adorable spreaders looks amazing too!

What is your favorite Bunco theme?  Do you have any ideas for a Birthday Bunco Bash?  If so, I’d love to hear from you.  Leave a comment below.

Keep Calm and Play Bunco,

Bunco Betty

Tuesday, September 03rd, 2013 | Author:

I love party planning and playing Bunco.  My group has themed Bunco parties which are so much fun to plan.  However, I am not naturally a crafty person.  I need things that are simple to execute and not time consuming.  The picture that I have posted here shows a few easy touches that will take your Bunco decor to another level.

First, notice the cute chalkboard sign that says, Strawberry Lemonade.  Nice touch, right?  Well, it is super easy and inexpensive to make.  I use mine all the time for things other than Bunco: Girl Scout functions, church hospitality, etc.  At a craft store pick out some wooden shapes that you like.  There are many shapes and sizes, pick the ones that work for you.  They range in price from about 79 cents to $2.00 or so.  Next you will need a can of chalkboard paint.  You can get it at the craft store but it is much cheaper at the hardware store.  You will also be using masking tape.  Place tape around the outside of the wooden shape.  The next step is best done outside on newspaper: spray with chalkboard paint and let dry according to directions on can.  Easy! I place them on small easels that I purchased at a discount store. Now you have cute chalkboards that can be used to label your Bunco food items!

Next, notice the table runner.  I made that myself!  All you need is about a yard and a half of fabric, fusible web (stitch witchery), scissors and an iron. Decide how wide you want your runner to be and then add an inch on each side to allow for the seam.  Once your fabric is cut, it’s time to iron. You will need a hot iron which is on the steam setting. Fold an inch of fabric along the long edge of the runner and press with iron to make a crease.  The fusible web will go inside this crease.   Fusible web is a fiber which melts when heated (so you don’t have to sew!).  It usually comes in a roll and can be purchased at craft stores.  Press according to the instructions on the package and be sure to do it on both sides of the runner.  It will look like the runners you buy in the store only much cheaper!  You will love telling everyone that you made it yourself!

As you may have noticed the picture is of a drink table.  It was a Bunco Baby Shower so we had non-alcoholic beverages that night.  The strawberry lemonade was a hit, especially when served in Mason jars with cute pink straws (It was a Girl!).  I added flags with each person’s name to the pink-striped straws so that everyone knew which drink belonged to them. It’s simple touches like these that take Bunco decor up a notch. This drink idea would be super cute for a Pink Ribbon (Breast Cancer) Bunco theme.  Check out these great products that would be perfect for a Pink Ribbon Bunco Party.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and my group will be having a Pink themed Bunco.  I can’t wait!

How have you been crafty with decor at your Bunco parties?  Let me know!

Keep Calm and Play Bunco,

Bunco Betty