Saturday, December 29, 2012

Movie Night Gift Idea

Although Christmas has past, I thought I would show you the gift I put together for our Secret Santa at work. This gift also makes a good gift for your neighbour, friend, or a family member and is good for any occasion. 

I simply took a decorative box (the one I used is from Ikea, but you can also find some nice boxes throughout the year at your local dollar store), then I picked up a few things from Walmart including popcorn, popcorn seasoning, chocolate, mixed nuts, Twizzlers and other candy.
 I then used coloured tissue paper to line the bottom of the box and arranged all items to create a nice display. To finish it off, I scattered some Starburst throughout the box for an added touch.
Since the box was already decorative, I simply added ribbon and a bow to finish it off instead of using wrapping paper. These boxes are also practical and can be used again.
I have to say that this gift was one of the most 'stolen' gifts during our Secret Santa and was a big hit! The best part of course, is the fact that it all came in for under $20!

I hope you enjoy!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

So, we're well into the winter season now, and nothing warms my family up more than a nice hot bowl of homemade stew. This stew can be made in the slow cooker, which is my preference, or it can be made on the stove top.

It is chalk full of meat and vegetables, so it is good for every member of your family. Although I do have to admit that my toddler isn't a big fan!

I have adapted the original recipe I found here. Follow the directions below for a truly delicious meal. You will not be disappointed!

1 small bag of baby carrots. If they are too large, I cut them in half.
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes.
2 lbs of pre-cut stewing beef (1 1/2 sm. packages).
1 cup of beef stock
1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp on salt
1/2 tsp of pepper
1 tsp of paprika
1 sm. onion, diced
4 celery ribs, cut up
2 - 3 tbsp of Bisto Gravy Mix, Beef flavour :)

Place all ingredients, except the Bisto, in the slow cooker in the order listed above. Mix to ensure all spices are blended. Cook on slow for 4 - 5 hours (or longer depending on what slow cooker you are using). During the last 5 - 10 minutes, add the Bisto one tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add as much as you'd like depending on what thickness you like your sauce. I find no more than three tablespoons work. Without the Bisto, I find the stew to be too watery.

Remove bay leaf, serve with warm buns and enjoy! 

Please let me know how you like it!