Friday, December 16, 2011

Gingerbread Cookie Party: Chocolate Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

TeamBuilding Unlimited/Murder on the Menu offers lots of different types of Holiday Party Entertainment and team building -- from Mysteries to Charity Challenges to Culinary Team Events! Gingerbread Cookie Decorating is an all-time favorite.

TeamBuilding Unlimited provides the specially baked Gingerbread Cookies, Icing and Frosting, Tools, Decorations, and Technique instructions. You supply the Creativity! Your Gingerbread Men and Women can be whimsical, holiday oriented-- the sky's the limit! Last year one of our clients had a Gingerbread Decorating Throw-down!

Gingerbread Cookie Decorating is a fabulous way to 'spice' up your Holiday Party or Your Own Home Party!

 Because we're always DyingforChocolate, here's a Holiday Recipe:

Chocolate Gingerbread Cookie Recipe
This awesome recipe from Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito - Food & Wine Magazine

3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/3 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons sweet butter, softened
1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup molasses
2 ounces dark chocolate (65-85% cacao), melted and cooled

1. In medium bowl, whisk flour with cocoa powder, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat softened butter with the shortening at medium speed until mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Add brown sugar and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
2. Add egg tocookie batter and beat until incorporated. Beat in molasses and then melted chocolate. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, beating between additions. Divide dough into 3 equal parts. Shape each part into a disk, then wrap each one in plastic wrap and refrigerate cookie dough until chilled, about 2 hours.
3. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. On lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 disk of dough 1/4 inch thick. Using 4- to 5-inch cookie cutters, cut dough into shapes and transfer to prepared baking sheets. Reroll dough scraps and cut out more cookies.
4. Bake cookies for about 7 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking until tops are dry. Let cookies cool in pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining dough.

You can make Royal Icing or try this Recipe for Mascarpone Filling that doubles as Decorating Icing. Put it in a bag and pipe!  Or use Wilton Decorating Icing in the bottles.

Decorate your cookies. Let stand until icing dries, about 30 minutes.

Make Ahead: chocolate-gingerbread cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mini-Pies at Your Next Special Event

A few years ago, I mentioned on this Blog that Pies were taking over Cakes at Weddings (Wedding Pie: Make Mine Chocolate). Pies, especially Mini-Pies have been popping up at all kinds of special events! They're part of the "Small-Food Movement".

I grew up with Tasty Cake Cakes & Pies, so Mini-Pies are not new to me. What is new is that they have become the new Cupcake or Macaron. Call them what you will from personal pies to cutie pies to Pie on a Stick! They're delicious, fun, and versatile! They're making their appearance at the most elegant of parties! They also make great wedding favors!

With the holidays upon us, you might want to make them yourself. Mini-Pies are perfect for parties and holiday gifts.  Check out Dani Cone's Cutie Pies: 40 Sweet, Savory, and Adorable Recipes (Andrew McMeel 2011). Great recipes and tips for Mini Pies from Cutie Pies (single-serving pies baked in a muffin tin), Flipsides (handheld turnovers-pie on the go), Pie-Pops (pie on a stick), Pie in a Jar (baked in mason jars), Petit-5's (baked in a mini muffin tin), and full size pies.

Check out for a Recipe for Two Bite Chocolate Cream Pie

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Party with a Purpose: Philanthropic Holiday Events

TeamBuilding Unlimited is in the throws of holiday parties! Yes, our season begins on November 30 with a Trikes for Tots event. What a great corporate event.

In addition to Trikes for Tots, TeamBuilding Unlimited helps your team with many different Charity Challenges. Bears that Care, Murals, Operation Military Giving, Backpacks for Kids and so many more. One of my favorites is Rocking Horses. Not only does your team assemble high quality rocking horses, but they get to paint and decorate the horses.

For our next Rocking Horse Charity Challenge, the corporate teams will donate 10 rocking horses to Family/Child Centers in the North Bay. Sometimes the Rocking Horses are donated to Hospitals or Firestations or Toys for Tots. Whereever they go, the rocking horses are always appreciated, and your teams' efforts and creativity are enhanced by philanthropy and social responsibility.

What a great holiday season.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

MULLED WINE CHALLENGE: TeamBuilding for Your Holiday Party

Spice up your Holiday Party with a “warm” team-building event: The Mulled Wine Challenge. Mulled wine, the vine’s version of a classic hot toddy, is a traditional holiday beverage around the world.

TeamBuilding Unlimited will lead your party-goers in a Mulled Wine Challenge. Teams will make a very special holiday drink that includes Red Wine, other ‘potent’ beverages, holiday spices, oranges and other fruits, cloves, cinnamon and lots of other "secret" ingredients. Teams will be instructed in the basics of Mulled Wine before the culinary portion, but each team will rely on its own creativity to make the very best!

Our Facilitator will describe the history of Mulled Wine, a European holiday drink that takes different incarnations in different countries. Teams will be challenged to a trivia quiz to see how much information they have retained—and also to allow the winning teams to have an advantage of picking their ingredients first in the challenge portion.

This TeamBuilding Unlimited Mulled Wine Challenge will tantalize your taste buds while challenging your knowledge and creativity.

In addition to mixing and cooking lemons and lots of other fruits with wine, other beverages and "secret" ingredients, each team will develop a marketing plan for their drink, a new logo and slogan, a name for "their" winery and their specific holiday warm mulled wine and so much more!

Our knowledgeable facilitator will educate the group on the history of Mulled Wine. The final test, though, is up to your group! Start the holidays with this delicious event!

This is the perfect mixology team-building event!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Chocolate Challenge: Sweet TeamBuilding

I admit it. I'm a chocoholic. So it's no surprise that TeamBuilding Unlimited has a host of Chocolate Teambuilding activities. One of my favorites is the Chocolate Challenge! Teams are challenged to build a structure completely of Chocolate. How sweet is that?

The Challenge: Each event is 'structured' and customized for the client. Recently a group's goal was To Build New Offices out of Chocolate Products (M&Ms, Hershey Bars, Chocolate Graham Crackers and a lot more). A model, of course, but oh so sweet.

The finished office model had to stand up on its own and, except for the white cardboard base. It had to be completely edible. Teams were given time to design and build, and then they had to present the results. Half the fun was explaining why they built what they built and how they built it.

What a fun event! Did I mention that some teams' supplies of chocolate dwindled before construction? What a surprise!

Want a twist on this during the holidays.. Add chocolate to our Gingerbread House Building Competition. You can never have enough chocolate.

I never get tired of chocolate. Have a look at my blog,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

American Team Idol: Team Sensation

TeamBuilding Unlimited created and facilitated a sensational evening for an R&D company last night: American Team Idol.

American Team Idol is an incredible interactive event. Teams were given various melodies to choose from and then each team wrote a song about their group, their company, and their meeting. Everyone participated with people making choices about lead singer, back-up singers, costumes and dancers. Our trained facilitators and keyboardist guided the teams through the process, but it was their own creativity and spirit that made for some stellar performances.

TeamBuilding Unlimited, a division of Murder on the Menu, will bring this great activity to your next meeting, conference or special event. Teams compete to win prizes in several categories. Points are given for lyrics, style, and creativity.

TeamBuilding Unlimited/Murder on the Menu provides M.C., Judges, choreographer and a keyboardist to accompany the teams. This is rollicking fun and a great teambonding experience that can take place in the middle of a meeting, during dinner or just about whenever and wherever you choose.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sangria Challenge: Wine Team Building

The Sangria Challenge is the perfect team building activity to do towards the end of a day of heavy meetings... or it's great to begin the evening before or after a terrific dinner!

TeamBuilding Unlimited will challenge your teams to make a very special alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink that includes White and Red Wine and lots of other "secret" ingredients. Teams are 'instructed' in the basics of wine and Sangria before they begin to mix up their taste sensations. They are challenged to a trivia quiz to see how much information they have retained—but also to allow the winning teams to have the advantage of picking their ingredients first (the challenge portion).

This TeamBuilding Unlimited Sangria Challenge will tantalize your taste buds while challenging your knowledge and creativity. In addition to mixing lemons and lots of other fruits with wine and bubbly water and other "secret" ingredients, each team will develop a marketing plan for their drink, a new logo and slogan, a name for "their" winery and their specific sangria drink and so much more!

This is the perfect mixology team-building event!

Book the Sangria Challenge for Holiday Parties, Meetings and Incentives.. Raise a Glass!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blood Red Halloween Cocktails: Halloween or Vampire Party?

Halloween is fast approaching, and if you're throwing a party, you'll want to have some Bloody Drinks available. The following are a few awesome cocktails. Throw in some rubber spiders or eyeballs as garnish.


1 Part Tequila Silver
1 Part Strawberry Liqueur

Shake with ice, and strain into a shot glass.


1 Part Tequila Reposado
1 Part Grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into shot glass


1 part Iceberg Vodka
1 part peach schnapps
1 part Jagermeister
1 part cranberry juice

Chill all ingredients. Combine in a shaker with ice. Strain into a shot glass. shoot!


2 oz VeeV Acai Spirit
1 oz acai juice
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
Top with fresh champagne
lime wedge for garnish

Combine VeeV, Acai juice and fresh lime with fresh ice in a cocktail shaker and shake.
Strain into a chilled martini glass and top with champagne.
Serve with a fresh lime wedge.


3/4 ounce Scotch
3/4 ounce cherry liqueur
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
3/4 ounce orange juice
1 thin strip orange zest

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the liquids. Strain into a martini glass, then garnish with the strip of zest.
(recipe from Bank Cafe & Bar in Napa)


1 ounce gin
1 ounce Lillet (blanc)
1 ounce triple sec
Juice of half a lemon
5 drops of absinthe
1 thin slice orange

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the liquids. Strain into a martini glass, then garnish with the orange slice.

(Recipe from Epic Roasthouse in San Francisco)

VAMPIRE BLOOD PUNCH (Makes 6-8 servings)

4 cups cranberry raspberry juice (or cranberry juice cocktail)
2 cups natural pineapple juice (100% juice)
2 cups raspberry-flavored seltzer water
wormy ice cubes (optional)

Mix all of the ingredients together, and pour into a large, decorative punch bowl.
Serve the punch with wormy ice cubes if desired.


1 1/2 parts Corzo Silver Tequila
1/2 parts Campari
1 part fresh blood orange juice
1/4 parts blood (aka home-made grenadine) **
2 parts Jarritos Tamarindo Soda

Build all ingredients into a highball glass filled with ice. Add the “blood” at the end.
Garnish: Blood orange wheel and strawberry syrup

** Home-made grenadine: Add equal parts white sugar and POM pomegranate juice together and dissolve sugar over high on stove-top. When dissolved, add several drops of orange flower water, simmer on low heat for 10 mins., chill, and serve.

MIDORI MELON EYE-TINI (Rob Husted of Florida)

1 1⁄4 parts Midori Melon liqueur
3⁄4 parts SKYY Infusions Citrus
1⁄2 part Finest Call Agave Syrup
2 parts of Canada Dry Green Tea Ginger Ale
2 parts Finest Call Sweet & Sour Mix
3 Orange Wedges
2 Fresh Ripped Basil Leaves
Strawberry Sundae Syrup

 In a shaker glass combine Midori Melon liqueur, SKYY infusions Citrus, Finest Call Agave Syrup, 3 Orange Wedges and 2 Fresh Ripped Basil Leaves. Muddle ingredients together. Add ice and Finest Call Sweet & Sour Mix. Shake for 10 seconds. Add Canada Dry Green Tea Ginger Ale and roll drink back and forth between your mixing tin and shaker glass. Strain into a chilled martini glass drizzled with Strawberry Sundae Syrup to give an effect of a bloodshot eye.

Garnish: Chilled red seedless grape at bottom of glass (to look like an eyeball) and bruised basil leaf floated on top of cocktail for aroma.

For a Fabulous List of Halloween Cocktails, go to

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Killer Vampire Party

Halloween is right around the corner. Have you planned your Halloween Party yet? Penny Warner, author and party planner, shares tips for a Killer Vampire Party!

Penny Warner has more than 25 years of experience as an author and party planner and writes for party websites, such as She has published more than 50 books, including 16 specific to parties. Her latest books include LADIES’ NIGHT, HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY, and HOW TO CRASH A KILLER BASH. HOW TO SURVIVE A KILLER SÉANCE  and HOW TO PARTY WITH A KILLER VAMPIRE.


Vampire Parties are all the rage, thanks to books, TV shows, and movies like Twilight, True Blood, and Vampire Diaries. While plotting my latest Presley Parker, event planner mystery, I decided to wrap the plot around a Vampire Party…held in the local cemetery. So I had big-time movie producer Lucas Cruz celebrate his latest film release—a vampire parody—by throwing a lavish party in a graveyard. It’s a pretty gloomy venue for Presley, but she’s hoping to make it so much fun that partygoers won’t even notice there are more dead than living guests in How To Party With A Killer Vampire

Since Presley is a party planner, I thought I’d share her Vampire Party tips with you, so you can host your own “Got Blood” event—in a cemetery, a haunted house, or even your own home.


There are lots of vampire-related party supplies available, but you can easily make your own invitations and personalize them to your theme. For a Coffin Invitation, fold a sheet of black construction paper in half. Draw the shape of a coffin on the paper, making sure one side of the coffin is on the fold. Cut out the coffin and write “Do not open until midnight” or “Open at your own risk” on the front using a sparkly pen. Or you can type it up on the computer using a spooky font, print it, cut it out, and glue it to the front. Next find a picture of your favorite vampire on the Internet or in a fan magazine and copy it for each invitation. Open the coffin and glue the picture on the right-hand side. On the opposite side, write the party details. For added fun, cut out drops of “blood” from red paper and place them in the envelope. Or add a set of vampire teeth.


Ask your guests to come as their favorite vampire—or werewolf—past or present. When they arrive, offer them face paints, vampire teeth, and vials of fake blood to add to their costumes. Make simple capes out of black fabric and hand them out to guests.


Create a gothic atmosphere with helium-inflated black and red balloons. Tie the balloons onto furniture, to backs of chairs, and float them to the ceiling. Turn the lights down and light candles, or string holiday lights around the room. Replace regular light bulbs with black lights and red bulbs. Make a giant coffin using a large appliance box. Paint it black, add a string of garlic or a wooden cross to the top, and place it in the center of the room to use for setting out snacks.

Place vampire fangs, garlic, and plastic bats around the room or hang them from the ceiling. Cover your mirrors and black out your windows. Set the table with a black cloth and bright red paper products. Use vampire teeth as napkin rings. Make a centerpiece using a glass bowl, fill it with red tinted water, and float black candles. Make some personalized tombstones from cardboard or foam, and write epitaphs on them for each guest. Set them around the room. Play Clair de Lune, Muse, and Coldplay music in the background.

Games and Activities

Team Trivia. Divide guests into two teams and have them answer trivia questions about vampires and such from Twilight, True Blood, or Vampire Diaries.
Quote the Vampire. Write down quotes from the vampire books or shows and have guests try to identify the speaker.
Vamping Vampires. Write down scenes from your favorite vampire film, book, or show, and have guests act them out for one another to guess.
Vampire Shirt. Let guests make their own t-shirts with their favorite vampires or sayings on them. Print pictures of vampires and sayings on iron-on paper using the computer, and then let guests iron them on and decorate with glitter glue, sequins, and other embellishments.
Vampire Videos. Watch videos of your favorite vampire films or TV shows. Don’t forget the originals, such as Dracula, or the popular Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


Serve lots of red-colored food to satisfy that thirst for blood—red licorice, sliced red peppers, strawberries, red apples, red salsa with red tortilla chips, French fries with ketchup dip. Ask the bakery to tint a loaf of bread red, then make sandwiches with red jam. Cut out bat-shaped cookies, bake them, and spread with chocolate icing.

Offer a variety of red-colored drinks for the vampire guests, such as tomato juice, cranberry juice cocktail, red punch, red sports drink, etc. Freeze gummy worms in red water to make ice cubes for the drinks.
Make a coffin-shaped or tombstone-shaped red velvet cake, covered with chocolate icing.

Frightening Favors

Give the vampires plastic teeth, black capes, fake blood, posters of hot vampires, face painting makeup, videos of the shows, or other vampire related gifts—there are lots available!

If you have any creepy ideas for a Vampire Party, I’d love to hear them!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Murder in the Library: Murder on the Menu

Sleuths to gather Saturday at Scotts Valley library for murder-mystery fundraiser
By KIMBERLY WHITE -- Santa Cruz Sentinel

SCOTTS VALLEY (CA) - By the time the sleuths arrive Saturday night, only the victim's outline will remain at the scene of the crime, and the suspects who were there when the murder took place will have already been sequestered.

Someone's going to be "murdered" at the Scotts Valley library Saturday, and a murder-mystery fundraiser calls for patrons to don their sleuthing hats for the next several hours, taking cues from a detective to interview suspects and solve the classic whodunit.

But the event also includes an educational component. While talking about their relationships with the victim, and what they were doing at the library in the first place, the suspects will also provide information about the Children, Teen and other areas where they've been confined for questioning.

"For people who haven't been in the library before, they'll learn about the library and what's available in each of the areas," said Janet Rudolph, who founded Murder on the Menu, a professional, Berkeley-based company that designs mystery plots for meetings, fundraisers and other events.

Members of the Friends of the Scotts Valley Library will participate by leading the patrons to the different stations, but the detective and suspects are seasoned actors provided by the company.

"This is not a couple local people cooking up a mystery - these are people who make a living doing this," said Jim Reed, a city councilman and member of the Friends of the Scotts Valley Library.

Debra Van Bruggen, vice president of the Friends of the Scotts Valley Library, said the idea to host a murder mystery came up while members were discussing ideas for the group's annual fundraiser. They agreed to tie it in with this month's Big Read celebration of Edgar Allan Poe, the 19th-century author who penned classics such as "The Raven" and "The Tell-Tale Heart."

"We had this idea (for the murder mystery), and when we heard about the Big Read and how Santa Cruz County was featuring Poe, we thought he'd make a perfect character" because he was so mysterious, she said.

In fact, the tell-tale thump-thump of a heartbeat will indicate to the groups that it's time to move on to the next station, each of which will feature hors d' oeuvres, beer and wine. Just before the culprit's revealed, organizers will auction off several weekend packages, including a sleepover at the library that includes a pizza dinner, dessert and breakfast.

The Friends group hopes to raise $15,000, which will be used to construct a back patio, Van Bruggen said, thereby creating more usable space at the library.


WHEN: 7-10 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Scotts Valley library, 251 Kings Village Road, Scotts Valley
COST: $50 per person (adults only)
INFORMATION: Jim Reed at 707-4993, Debra Van Bruggen at 588-5401 or

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Operation Red Wagon: Philanthropic Team Building

TeamBuilding Unlimited loves working with companies on Charity Challenges. Here are two more philanthropic events for your team!  Contact us for more information. TeamBuilding Unlimited works with groups of 5 to 300. Anywhere in the World.

The Charity Challenge: Operation Red Wagon

The Red Wagon has become a symbol of American childhood. Teams work together to build wagons that will be donated to shelters, hospitals or child care centers. Our Red Wagons feature full-sized all-steel seamless body with no scratch edges, extra-long handle that folds under and steel wheels with semi-pneumatic rubber tires.

Each team will receive the same Red Wagon parts, and our trained facilitators will supervise the event. The reward for building the Wagons is the reward of giving back to the community. What a great teambonding activity for your team! In addition, each team will design and execute a child's t-shirt to go with the donation of the Red Wagon. An optional series of children’s games can be added to this event.

Everyone is a Winner in this Philanthropic Teambuilding Activity!

Operation Red Wagon II: Welcome Wagons

This is a twist on our traditional Red Wagon team building event. Wagons will be filled with various supplies depending on the receiving organization: Children or Families. We even have an optional Library Wagon that participants fill with Books!

Included in this event is everything in Operation Red Wagon I, with the addition that teams will also use their points from the “competitive childrens’ games to ‘shop’ for specific items to include in the wagons. In this format, the high-energy activity quickly shifts from competitive to collaborative while trying to fill all wagons to capacity. Red Wagons can be filled with household supplies or children’s toys, school supplies or a mixture.

Working together each team becomes part of an even bigger team that makes a difference by providing basic supplies for families in need.

Besides teambuilding skills, a lot of team bonding goes on during this meaningful and fun charity challenge!

Team Benefits: 
Give back to the community
Get to know your team
Build team spirit

Friday, October 14, 2011

Murder in the Library: October 22

The Friends of the Scotts Valley Library invite you to join them for their third annual fundraiser.... "Murder in the Library".

This engaging and interactive evening at the new Scotts Valley Library will be scripted and performed by Janet A. Rudolph’s Murder on the Menu. Appetizer stations will be woven around the murder mystery, a no-host bar will be offered, and a live auction for five “big ticket” items will be held just before the arrest of the guilty person that evening. Tickets limited, so don’t delay!

Solve the Mystery on: Saturday, October 22
Scene of the Crime: Scotts Valley Library
First Clue Time of Death: 7pm to 10pm

Tickets: $50 per person (adults only)

Available at: The Scotts Valley Library,
Please make checks payable to:
"Friends of the Scotts Valley Library"

Evening highlights:

Whodunit... you solve the mystery, play the game.
Gastronomical delights served progressive style
Murder's signature lethal potions
"Un-Silent" auction
Optional dress code - dress as your favorite sleuth
No host bar

Proceeds from this fundraising event will benefit the library's new back patio.

- Space is limited and tickets are available on a first come basis.
- If you would like to volunteer and help with this event email us.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sweet TeamBuilding: Charity Challenge Cupcake Decorating & Donating

TeamBuilding Unlimited is known for its sweet team events, but our Cupcake Challenge can be a great interactive and delicious activity that capitalizes on your team's creativity and sweet tooth. This is a great event to do before or after a meal and can be incorporated into your lunch, dinner or afternoon teambuilding treat. These cupcakes can be eaten by your group or donated to a local charity--or both!

Each team will be given paper to start, so they can create a Team Chef’s Hat! Individuals decorate their chef's hat with their team name and anything else they feel is appropriate..or not.

Then the real fun begins. Teams are challenged to Decorate their Cupcakes so that they symbolize the team itself, the company, the theme of the meeting, their positions at the company, or another theme.

In addition each team will be given materials to create a ‘DISPLAY’ in which they’ll be able to stack their treats into showpieces. Prizes will be given to best overall display!

Each team will be given Cupcakes that can be decorated or left as is. With a variety of cupcake design supplies, instructions on technique, tools and assorted decorating materials, your team will turn their concept into reality. Basics on cupcake decoration start the teams off, but very soon, your group's creativity takes over. After the cupcakes are designed, decorated and displayed, each team will create a ‘commercial’ to present their cupcakes to the entire group.

And last but not least, participants can enjoy or donate their creations--or both.

You can have your Cupcake and Eat it, too!

Contact TeamBuilding Unlimited for more information

Monday, September 12, 2011

Murder on the Menu/ TeamBuilding Unlimited: Readers Choice BEST nominee

Thrilled to announce that Murder on the Menu/TeamBuilding Unlimited  was nominated for California Meetings + Events Readers Choice BEST Award in the TeamBuilding Category.  We're over the Moon! We try our best, and we're so honored to be recognized. Murder on the Menu has been in business for over 28 years!

Read all the nominees HERE.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Green Team Building Challenge


TeamBuilding Unlimited is all about Being Green. Our Green Building Challenge has your teams use recycled materials to create a specific “product’ or building that reflects your group, the theme of your meeting or goals and objectives.

This Green Challenge addresses working within a timeline as well as utilizing material limitations. Design, create and build a new innovative Green Product or Building from the materials provided. The product need not function as a demo but must be explained to the group—What it does and How it Works. Product must relate to the company, the group, and the team. Customized prizes for the best invention.

Alternatively this might be a ‘Green Building Model’ with all the possibilities of the name. A model for the ‘perfect’ building? Utilizing the materials and tools and other materials and information provided. Company/Group/Goals and Objectives must be included in the final structure in some way.

Groups are judged on creativity, ingenuity, resourcefulness and other criteria involved in creative team-building. TeamBuilding Unlimited will work with your team on genuine Green Awareness and actions, teamwork, team roles and diversity, and cross-functional collaboration.

Contact TeamBuilding Unlimited for more information.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Chef Bon Vivant! Team Building Entertainment

Want to add Pizzazz to your Cooking Challenge?

"Chef Bon Vivant" provides interaction, facilitates humor, and dispenses great cooking tips while your guests prepare a meal.

Add a whole new 'culinary' element to your teambuilding event. 

Chef Bon Vivant partners with Cooking Schools, Caterers, and Home Chefs! He knows everything about your group ...

Chef Bon Vivant makes your Team Building event full of fun and laughter! Delicious and entertaining.

Contact TeamBuilding Unlimited for more information.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Chocolate Challenge: Sweet TeamBuilding

Who doesn't love chocolate? TeamBuilding Unlimited recently facilitated a Chocolate Challenge with a group of Biotech R&D folks on the terrace on the 30th Floor of the Hotel Vitale overlooking San Francisco Bay. The day was beautiful and overcast. Perfect for Chocolate "Building".

The Challenge: To Build New Offices out of Chocolate Products (M&Ms, Hershey Bars, Chocolate Graham Crackers & a lot more). A model, of course, but oh so sweet.

The finished office model had to stand up on its own and, except for the white cardboard base, had to be completely edible. Teams were given time to design and build, and then they had to present the results. Half the fun was explaining why they built what they built and how they built it.

What a fun event! Did I mention that some teams' supplies of chocolate dwindled before construction? What a surprise!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Back to School: Backpacks for Kids

(Corporate Social Responsibility )

TEAMBUILDING-UNLIMITED leads you in an amazing philanthropic team event: Operation Backpack: Backpacks for Kids because every child deserves to start the school year off right!
cake teambuilding
Teams create, decorate and fill backpacks with school supplies. These "stuffed' backpacks will be donated to school groups, specific charities, or children's centers.

Utilizing team building skills such as communication, collaboration, planning, resource allocation, and creativity, your teams will excel at this philanthropic event!

Working together each team becomes part of an even bigger team that makes a difference by providing essential school supplies for children who really need them. 

This teambuilding event begins with a combination of different types of competitive Children's Games. Teams earn points to choose essential school supplies to fill the backpacks. Besides teambuilding skills, a lot of team bonding goes on during this meaningful and fun charity challenge, as your employees relive their early school years through playing "children's" games and filling the backpacks!

TeamBuilding Unlimited provides all the supplies, backpacks, games and prizes. Your group supplies the skills and energy. Length and complexity customized to client timeline.

TeamBuilding Unlimited/Murder on the Menu
Other Charity Challenges: Philanthropic Team Building at your next Meeting, Retreat, Picnic or Conference! Give Back! The need is there all year round!

Monday, July 25, 2011

More Tips to Green Your Meeting

TeamBuilding Unlimited is a member of Green Meetings. As a member, we're always looking for more tips and ways to make our meetings and events green. Sacramento Convention Center’s Tips for Hosting Sustainable Meetings
  • Choose a sustainable venue that recycles, donates food, incorporates locally grown produce and organic food into its menus.
  • Choose a venue that is rich in ambiance, featuring floor to ceiling windows, great year round outdoor seating, stunning art work and sculptures throughout, thus requiring less decorations or enhancements which can help to save you money and reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Opt to use china and linen or biodegradable plates, cups and flatware.
  • Conserve paper by posting event materials to your web site or distributing them on flash drives.
  • Purchase name badges that are reusable and collect them at the end of the meeting for use at the next one.
  • Avoid dating promotional items and reuse overages at future meetings.
  • Have water served from pitchers rather than plastic bottles.
  • Encourage attendees to enjoy environmentally friendly activities including walks around the hotel or meeting site.
  • Encourage exhibitors to bring a realistic amount of promotional materials. Have them recycle unused portions rather than dispose of them.
  • Encourage exhibitors to use environmentally friendly packing materials (i.e. cardboard).
  • Do not provide handouts for the educational sessions. Instead place handouts on a website or on a thumb drive.
  • Send confirmations and information electronically.
  • Do not provide printed agendas. Instead have a dedicated monitor at the registration desk, or post agenda on electronic boards.
  • Request healthy meals using locally grown or organic food.
  • Any printed paper accumulated during the event should be recycled.
  • Ask the host property not to provide pads and paper during the educational sessions.
  • Collect name badge holders for recycling and reuse at all other events throughout the year.
  • All event signage should be recycled and/or reused. Stay away from polystyrene or petrochemicals in décor, packaging, or signage.
  • Event bags should be made from recyclable material, which can be reused after the event for groceries, etc.
  • Have a solid count of attendees to avoid wasteful over spending and excess.
  • If handouts are necessary, have them printed on both sides of the paper.
  • Partner with a local charity or community/environmental project and collect funds through a raffle.
  • Choose venues that are recognized as green properties.
Have any other ideas? Please comment!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bears that Care: Boxes of Love

Found this photo of one of TeamBuilding Unlimited's Charity Challenge: Bears that Care Events. All of our bears/animals are 'packaged' in gift boxes. No this is not a Food-to-Go Truck!

Thanks Intendis for donating 100 bears to the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas! TeamBuilding Unlimited was so glad to facilitate your event!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bears that Care: Charity Challenge Christmas in July

Last week TeamBuilding Unlimited/Murder on the Menu showcased our holiday events at a Christmas in July trade show at the lovely Oceano Hotel in Half Moon Bay (CA). What a great location!

Now's the time to start planning your holiday party. Whether you're looking for entertainment or some great philanthropic team building, contact us for creative customized ideas.

Bears that Care is one of our favorite events. After playing a series of children's team games, participants work together to stuff animals/bears. Each participant also decorates a t-shirt for both the bear and the child who would receive the animal. We provide red gift boxes and paper and markers for giftcards. What a great event for your holiday party.

Giving back to the community is welcome any time. The bears/animals are donated to a variety of charities including The Family Giving Tree, the Ronald McDonald House, oncology units, fire and police stations.

For other Charity Challenges, perfect for your holiday party (or any time), go HERE.

Contact us now, so we can provide you with the very best Charity Challenge for the Holidays

Saturday, June 25, 2011

TeamBuilding Cupcake Challenge

TeamBuilding Unlimited announces the addition of a new fun interactive and delicious activity that capitalizes on your team's creativity and sweet tooth. This is a great event to do before or after a meal and can be incorporated into your lunch, dinner or afternoon teambuilding treat. THE CUPCAKE CHALLENGE!

Each team will be given paper to start, so they can create a Team Chef’s Hat! Individuals decorate their chef's hat with their team name and anything else they feel is appropriate..or not.

Then the real fun begins. Teams are challenged to Decorate their Cupcakes so that they symbolize the team itself, the company, the theme of the meeting, their positions at the company, or another theme. 

In addition each team will be given materials to create a ‘DISPLAY’ in which they’ll be able to stack their treats into showpieces. Prizes will be given to best overall display!

Each team will be given Cupcakes that can be decorated or left as is. With a variety of cupcake design supplies, tools and assorted decorating materials, the group will turn their concept into reality.
After the cupcakes are designed, decorated and displayed, each team will create a ‘commercial’ to present their cupcakes to the entire group.

And last but not least, participants will enjoy their creations.

You can have your Cupcake and Eat it, too!

Contact TeamBuilding Unlimited for more information

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wacky Wine Games Team Building

Because so many of our clients hold meetings and special events at wineries and wine country properties or they like a wine themed event, TeamBuilding Unlimited has created a special "menu" of wine specific team building events. Great in wine country, but these events can take place anywhere.
Contact us if you're planning an event in wine country or want wine-themed teambuilding or entertainment at your next meeting or special event!

Perfect for high-energy team building fun in the Vineyards (or anywhere)! This series of Wacky Wine Games capitalizes on the locale! Games are customized to include the team, goals and objectives (to have fun!). Games might include: Wine Trivia Contest, Cork Building Tower, Harvesting Grapes (hilarious 2-3 person team event with catcher's mitts, grapes & more), Marketing Wine T-Shirt (creation, modeling & explanation), Golf Among the Grapes (funny spin on a Hole in One!) and many more! Prizes for the winning team? Wine, of course!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Zoo Scavenger Hunt: It's all happening at the Zoo!

Someone told me
It's all happening at the zoo.    

I do believe it,
I do believe it's true.

The monkeys stand for honesty,
Giraffes are insincere,
And the elephants are kindly but
They're dumb.
Orangutans are skeptical

Is your workplace a zoo?

TeamBuilding Unlimited will custom design a ZooQuest to navigate your team through the animal kingdom at your local Zoo.  TeamBuilding Unlimited will use creative anthropomorphism in our  ZooQuest to allow your people to see each other through animal eyes.

Creativity, efficient resource allocation, intensive problem-solving and effective time management will propel teams into the wild as they learn the secrets of the Animal Kingdom and their peers.

Any Legal Eagles out there? Perfect for your team. Contact us for more information. Groups of 5 to 300. Any Zoo in the U.S.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pie in a Jar: Wedding Favors

June is Wedding month, and I mentioned in 2009 that Pies were fast taking over wedding cakes and cupcake towers. But what about pies as favors and treats?  Pie in a Jar!  I have another blog: where I post chocolate recipes, reviews and news! One of the posts was for Kentucky Chocolate Nut Pie in a Jar. This is really a version of Derby Pie, and it's perfect for a Southern Wedding. Easy to make, store and the perfect take home treat!

One thing I changed in the original recipe is substituting Bourbon for the vanilla in the directions. You can always write vanilla (or Bourbon optional) on your recipe gift card. The following recipe is for big jars, but you can always do the small mason jars for the wedding! Adjust the recipe!


1 cup granulated sugar (or use half brown and half granulated)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup coursely chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

Pour sugar into a lightweight food storage bag. Tie bag and cut off some of the excess and fit bag into the bottom of a 1-quart wide-mouth canning jar. Pour in half of the nuts, the chocolate chips, and remaining nuts. Into food storage bag, add flour and pinch of salt. Tie with twine or ribbon and cut off excess plastic bag end, if necessary. Fit into the top of the jar then screw on top.

Directions for gift tag or label:
Kentucky Derby (Chocolate Chip Nut) Pie

Kentucky Derby (Chocolate Chip Nut) Pie Mix
1 9-inch pastry shell, unbaked
4 ounces (1 stick) melted sweet butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp Bourbon

Preheat oven to 325°
Remove the bag of flour from jar; set aside. Pour nuts and chocolate chips into pie shell, spreading evenly. In a small mixing bowl, whisk 2 eggs. Remove sugar bag and empty the sugar and flour bags into the bowl, stirring to blend well. Whisk in 1 teaspoon Bourbon or a splash more (or vanilla) and the 4 ounces melted butter. Blend well. Pour batter evenly over nuts and chocolate chips. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until nicely browned. Chill thoroughly before cutting. Serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.


Want to try a different type of Pie in a Jar? Not just flavor but actual ready to bake mini-pies in a jar?  Green Wedding Shoes did a post last year on DIY Pie in a Jar Treats. How fun would this be to do at a Bridal Shower or Bacherlorette party? Or maybe the wedding party gets together and makes these fabulous Pie in a Jar treats. These pies can be baked right in the jar! Of course, if you plan to make this for everyone at the wedding, you'll need to increase your ingredients.  The following recipe calls for baking in advance, but you can always give the unbaked jars with directions attached! Just a thought.


Pie Crust Dough (favorite recipe or pre-made)
2 12 oz. cans of cherry, apple or your favorite pie filling (I love all natural Chukar's Cherry Pie Filling)
2 Tbsp  sugar
1 large egg beaten

6- 4 oz. mason jars, cleaned with lids and labels removed
Heart shaped cookie cutter
1 Cookie sheet

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Press the unrolled dough bit by bit into the jars a bit at a time (not too thick!) until the jars are lined with the dough up to the rims. Reserve some dough for toppers. Next, fill jars nearly to the top with filling of choice.
2. Roll out reserved dough to roughly 1/8 inch thick and cut out 6-8 hearts. Place the filled jars on a sturdy cookie sheet and place into oven.
3. Bake at 325 degrees for roughly 30-35 minutes or until dough becomes a light golden color.
4. At that time, arrange the dough hearts on the pies, brush the hearts with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes until dough is golden brown all the way around the jars. If needed, place foil over the tops of the jars to keep the hearts from burning.
5. Remove and let jars cool on a rack. Decorate with ribbon, tags, or labels on lids as desired and give to your family, friends or wedding guests!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Environmental Awareness: Social & Green Team Building

Meetings FocusWest has a great article this month on environmental awareness--social as well as green ones. Focusing on San Francisco, Maria Lenhart quotes Teambuilding Unlimited in her article, "San Francisco Bay Area: "Green, Golden and Glowing". Here's a portion of the article. To read it in its entirety. Go HERE.
When it comes to environmental awareness in the broadest sense—social aspects as well as green ones—the San Francisco Bay Area has long been on the cutting edge. For anyone looking to hold a meeting where green practices, sustainable catering fare, eco-oriented venues and CSR (corporate social responsibility) opportunities are high on the agenda, the Bay Area is an ideal locale.

"The Bay Area is a place where people really think about sustainability. It’s important to most hotels and venues here—and they make it easy to do green events," says Janet Rudolph, owner of Berkeley-based TeamBuilding Unlimited. "There’s a real sense of responsibility."

According to Rudolph of TeamBuilding Unlimited, the Bay Area provides an abundance of settings and opportunities for team-building programs with a CSR and/or green focus. Among them is Project Green Thumb, an activity that combines green practices with community service, in which participants engage in tree planting and other activities at parks, community gardens and schoolyards.

"Tilden Park in Berkeley and Golden Gate Park in San Francisco are great locations for this, as are community pocket parks," she says.

Eco Adventures
The Bay Area brims with opportunities to learn about and experience nature. One option is a scavenger hunt organized by TeamBuilding Unlimited on Angel Island, home to an array of flora and fauna."People have to locate and identify plants and birds. At the same time they are enjoying incomparable vistas of the Bay Area," Rudolph says.

For more on Green TeamBuilding, go HERE.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Crowd Moving in a Hotel

Recently on one of the forums on LinkedIn someone asked a question about how best to move 400 guests from one area of a hotel to another. If the areas are on the same floor, it's pretty easy. Using elevators and stairs gets a bit more complicated, but can be done, even in a timely manner.

Crowd Moving Suggestions

* Make it a parade with a few characters or musicians going through the crowd, leading the way.
* Be sure and close the bars 5 minutes in advance
* Lower lights or dimming off and on
* Raise the music to at least 60 decibels - (so they cannot hear each other/kills conversation)
* Lightning, thunder special effects
* Conga line
* Samba/Zumba dancers
* Jazz band (start on stage and then lead the group): New Orleans funeral procession? leads the parade
* Barbershop Quartet
* Chimes
* While waiting for elevator: Disco Dancers performance.. get everyone involved
*Announce the move rules early in the day and assign some leadership responsibilities to key players who can gently nudge any stragglers.

I definitely like the Parade idea but if you can make it local it will be more fun and get the group's attention: Fog Horn if you're on the ocean, Bagpipes if you're in Scotland, Car Engines in Daytona. Embrace the locale.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Funny Wedding Cake Toppers

The meeting industry may be slowing down a bit, but the wedding industry isn't. Here are a few funny and unusual Wedding Cake toppers. What does your wedding cake topper say about you?

And my own Wedding Topper. Yep, Betty Boop & Dudley Do-Right: