Candace Rose: Do you have any tips on throwing a great summer party without breaking the bank?
Ceci Carmichael: "Well, I think that a really fun trend this year that is actually not very expensive, but I think a lot of people kind of shy away from is having a themed party. It really makes planning easy. Today we're having a summer garden party, so I've got a couple little sort of accents right there (shown below) and then you can have your guests dress in sort of a floral motif and they sort of get into the spirit of your party, so it's a great thing to do. And I think people also sort of bog down, they think how can I get everybody happy? Nobody likes everything, but I think I've got a lot of great products here that are pretty universally loved and there's a lot of variety in there starting with the chips- Stacy's Simply Naked Pita Chips, you don't need potato chips, you don't need crackers, this is the only chip you'll need because it's sturdy enough for a beautiful piece of cheddar cheese, a nice glass of white wine; oh I just made myself hungry and it sounds so good! And a dip on right out of the bag, which is usually how I eat these. They're just really natural, crisp baked with a little sea salt, they're perfect. They don't sort of fight for any of the other flavors and for dips – dips are a great thing to add a lot of variety into your menu. You can use a lot of different ones and that way you're sort of pleasing a crowd and Sabra dips are just so amazingly excellent, I have them at all my parties. They're delicious, they're healthy, they're made with authentic ingredients and they've got 11 or 12; over a dozen, I think kinds of hummus. They've got a brand new line of salsas, guacamole's, so they really have all the flavors of the world covered there and something will be there to please everybody and I think that's really great. And it goes well with vegetables, it goes well with your pita chips here, and if you go to Sabra.com, you can get a lot of great recipes there."
CR: What are some fast and easy foods we can prepare in no time?
CC: "You know what, all these things, basically. And thank God for Sabra and being able to just open it up because they can do it better than I can. You know desserts; desserts are time consuming to make and it's also like what do people want? Everybody loves ice cream, so this to me is a no-brainer - the new Blue Bunny personal lines of premium ice creams and all natural yogurts, they come in these wonderful little sort of 'just for me' sizes of containers with a little spoon already in the lid, so you don't even have to come up with cutlery and they come in tons of flavors. If you go to BlueBunny.com, you can get an idea of the flavors, something for everyone right there.
And another great idea – side dishes. I think people get sort of 'what do I do for a side dish?' Well, mashed potatoes are a classic. I adore mashed potatoes and for my money, I love Idahoan mashed potatoes. They're made from real potatoes, they've got a great homemade taste, they're convenient – right out of the cupboard and they are wonderful in so many recipes. I think people don't know that you can use them in like this recipe that I made here (shown below) which is a stuffed mushroom cap with a four cheese variety of Idahoan mashed potatoes; so easy 30 minutes in and out. I use it in a lot of recipes actually. I coat fish and chicken with it; put it in dips; put it in soups, so this is a staple in my pantry. Absolutely fabulous.
CR: Where do we find out about these recipes and these great products?
CC: "If you go to News2Know.com, is the website. You can get all these recipes; all the websites for these wonderful products and right here you've just got a party, this is all you need right here. You've got desserts, sides, dips, chips. What more do you need?
CC: "Wine, wine! You're brilliant. Absolutely!"