Tuesday, February 12, 2013

DIY Valentine's Day Gift

This year I decided to make my own Valentine's Day gift for my 2 year-old son's daycare. I chose something that wasn't candy because I didn't want to step on any parent's toes in case they don't allow their children to have any. Instead, I went with the almighty Goldfish. A favourite toddler snack in my opinion. I've never met one who didn't like them!

This particular gift is so easy and very cheap to make. I think altogether I spent about $3  - $4 on each one.

Here is a list of supplies you'll need:

  • Cracker Goldfish
  • A small take-out container from Michael's (only $1.29 each), or a small container of your choice.
  • Glue or double-sided tape
  • Printer
  • Scoop/Spoon
  • Ribbon
  • Bowl
I find that the take-out containers from Michael's work best because they have handles that are perfect for little hands.

Using MS Publisher, I made 1.5 inch label rounds in blue that say "will you o'fish'ally be my Valentine?". If you would like the template, you can access the blue one here. I also made it in pink, which is available here. You will notice that on my son's gift that I typed in his name, but I left that part blank in my templates so you can input any name.

Now for the very easy instructions:
  1. Print the templates above (or use your own); cut them out.
  2. Wash out your take-out box (or other container).
  3. Glue your printed rounds onto the front of the take-out box. Let it sit for a few seconds to ensure it doesn't fall off.
  4. Fill the container with Goldfish. Have your kids to help - they will love it!
  5. Once the box is closed, wrap a ribbon around it and ensure there is a bow on top.
That's it! How easy is that?

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that it inspires you. If you have any idea's you'd like to share, let me know and maybe I can feature them on the blog.

Oh, and just remember - try not to eat all the Goldfish before you have to use them!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

In my household, we're big pasta fans. Any pasta will do really, but we're pretty big on homemade sauces. I found a recipe from www.allrecipes.com, but after making it a few times I've finally adapted it to our taste.

This recipe makes a large batch; enough for an army of 8 to 10. We are a family of 3. We eat a lot of pasta - just don't tell my new personal trainer that.

Having said that, it is pretty healthy. It has a ton of veggies and we use ground turkey instead of ground beef. Delish.

Here is the recipe (from memory :) )

Stove top: Use a Wok or other large skillet, cook time: 1.5 hours

2 tbsp of oil
1 whole green bell pepper
2 cups of chopped celery (about 4 stalks)
2 cups of chopped carrots
2 cups of chopped mushrooms
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 450 g pack of ground turkey
Pinch of thyme
Pinch of basil
1 can of stewed tomatoes, 14.5 ounce/796 mL
2 cans of tomato sauce, 15 ounce/680 mL
2 cans of tomato paste, 5 ounce/156 mL

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute carrots, celery, green bell pepper and garlic in oil until the peppers are tender. Add the mushrooms, ground turkey, thyme, basil and ground black pepper; fry stirring frequently until the turkey is done.

2. Add the can of stewed tomatoes with liquid and reduce heat; simmering until the tomatoes are soft and begin to fall apart. Add the tomato sauce and stir; add tomato paste to thicken. Simmer on very low heat for about 30 minutes or longer depending on how crunchy or soft you like your vegetables, stirring occasionally. Serve over you favorite pasta.
Preparation is key!

Fresh vegetables, yum!

After adding the stewed tomatoes.
Finished product.

I really hope you like this as much as we do. Of course, it can be made without meat and you can use any vegetables you would like. This also freezes well so if you only use it for one meal, freeze the rest for later use.