MyMemories Suite

MyMemories Suite
Digital Scrapbooking Software

Monday, October 20, 2014

20 Minutes or Less Menu Planner From The Cherry On Top

Welcome to this week's menu planner.  I'm on #31.

I'm eating one of these meals as I'm typing this up.  Ha!  The Cherry On Top's Menu Planners are all about efficiency and healthy cooking.  In most menu's you'll find them to be very easy to cook.  You'll also note that most ingredients are easily accessible at a typical grocer and inexpensive as well.  For most people, we want it fast.  I choose healthy first, but with fast a very, very close second.

This week I've got seven, healthy, easy to prepare meals that will be ready in 20 minutes or less.  The average for these meals are between 13-18 minutes.  Isn't that awesome?!

Yes!  Let's dive right into it, shall we?

Monday:  shrimp scampi with pasta

I could not believe how easy this was to make when I made it for the first time. As a teenager, it was my all time favourite dish and my family today really loves it. If shrimp ain't yo' thang, then add some cubed chicken or fish or go vegetarian and add some cherry tomatoes.

A key ingredient, that you should always have on hand is fresh pasta.  Do you know that fresh pasta takes 2-4 minutes to cook?  It tastes incredible, too.  I wouldn't blame you at all for not going back to the dried assortment.

I've got a recipe for ya, but you could go mega basic and just sauté olive oil, garlic, your shrimp or meat and herbs.  Really, that's it!


 recipe

Tuesday:  potatoes and blue cheese soup

Even folks who do not like blue cheese go crazy over this recipe.  This soup is one of my most famous recipes and I'm asked to make it over and over again.  It's really easy to make and there's nothing better to comfort and nourish you on a cold autumn or winter's day.  I serve this with fresh baked bread and butter. For you bacon fans, you can always fry some up and sprinkle it over the top when it's ready to eat.

In a medium sauce pan combine 3 medium potatoes (peeled if you like and chopped, keeping in mind, the smaller they are chopped, the less time they will need to cook), 1 cup of water, 1 small chopped onion,2 teaspoons instant chicken bouillon granules and some black pepper.  

Cover this up and let it simmer until you have the table set and while you're making this:

Combine 1/2 cup of milk and 2 tablespoons of flour into a shaker and start shake'n.  Check your potatoes for doneness.  When they are how ya like'm take your hand held potato masher and gently mash it all up a bit, add your milk mix to the sauce pan.  Check out your consistency.  If it's way too thick, slowly add some more milk until you get it just how you like it.  I like this soup a little on the thick side, like chowder.  Let your liquid cook in and warm through then add the crumbled blue cheese.  How much you add depends on just how cheesey you want your soup.  My hubby is crazy about blue cheese, so I add quite a bit.  start off with 1/4 cup and keep tasting and adding until you get it right.  I also like this soup with a lot of black pepper.

To make it easier for you, I've created a nice recipe card.  Click on the image, download it and print or take your tablet to the kitchen and start cook'n.  Hey!  Why not print out a couple of these cards and give them to people who you think will love this recipe, too?!


 free recipe card





If you're want'n a fabulous fresh bread recipe. Click here and get THE most awesome bread recipe you will ever find.  Seriously!  Hehehe...


 best bread recipe


Wednesday:  sausage, potatoes, veg

I'm asked to make this meal every single week.  My kids go ga ga over mashed potatoes.  I realise that not everyone can whip up a meal like this, from scratch in 20 minutes.  My best time is 18 minutes for this one.  I have a gas stove and I'll tell ya, there ain't nothing better.  My water is boiling in a jiffy and the control of your fire just dosen't get better.  If you really want to save time in the kitchen, having the right appliances can have a huge impact.

I have a few suggestions to save you some time on this one.  Keep on hand, frozen potatoes.  I'm a client of one of those freezer food delivery services.  I only buy frozen potatoes, vegetables and croissants (they are better than the bakers).  This is a huge time saver and the food is frozen fresh.  You can get a lot of these products at the grocery store as well.

Save time by not making a sauce.  This used to be my time suck, but not any more.  I've made it so many times, I could do it blind folded.  In Belgium, folks eat their potatoes with mayonnaise.  I use this as my sauce at times or ketchup.

Frozen vegetables are also something you should keep on tap at all times.  Though not THE healthiest way to eat veggies, they come darn close and they are ready in a snap.  Canned corn is without a doubt, the fastest veg to whip up.

Click here to go back to another week and get a gravy tutorial and check out the day's menu for chipolata, stump en in sausje.

Thursday:  tortellini and creamed herb cheese

Get ready to be blown away with how fast this meal is ready!  Choose any kind of FRESH tortellini.  Boil it the typical 3-4 minutes.  While it's boiling, grab a sauce pan and put in a nice pad of butter in.  No more than 2 tablespoons.  Take a package of your favourite herbed cream cheese or two and slowly stir as it melts.  If it's too thick, add a tea spoon of milk at a time until you get the consistency you like.  Your pasta is probably already finished, strain it and add it to your sauce.  Voila!  This meal literally takes 5 minutes!!!

Fun Food Friday:  super nachos

Grab your biggest oven pan (lightly cover in olive oil), put your bag or two of tortilla chips on it, choose from cooked bacon, cooked hamburger or to save even more time, use chopped chicken or turkey that's already cooked,sprinkle a variety of cheeses over it and voila!  You could add some jalapeños too.You only need to bake them about 8 minutes which is just the right amount of time to grab your sour cream, salsa and guacamole to put on the table with the rest of your table setting.

Click on this image to go to another week's menu and grab the recipe if ya need it.


 tcot


Saturday:  grilled ham and cheese

Don't forget how easy this is to do!  Don't bother trying to spread butter on your bread.  Put your pad of butter right in the pan, grab your slice of bread and sop it all up that way.  So much easier and faster.  If you want it even faster, use a toaster to toast your bread, slap in your sliced cheese and ham and bake it or nuke it for a couple.

Think of other kinds of meats you can put in there, too.  Sliced chicken or turkey or maybe some Serrano ham and Manchego cheese.

This image is linked up to some incredible sandwich recipes.


tcot


Sunday: fish, couscous and veggies

Another fabulous benefit of seafood is how fast you can cook it.  I learned to buy moderate size fish in relation to thickness.  If you want easy, get fish that isn't too, thick.  Of course, it cooks a lot quicker as well.

This is what I'm eating.  I wanted to make my couscous and time it for exactness.  Wow!  So easy and fast. 

First, boil some water.  I always use my tea kettle.  It does it the fastest. Grab a nice size bowl that you can cover.  Pour in the recommended serving amount of couscous.  When the water is boiling (which took 2 minutes and of course you can consider the microwave as well) pour the same amount of water as your couscous over the couscous, stir, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.  In the mean time, get your fish started and stir fry some of your favourite fresh veggies along with garlic (I milled dry garlic to save time.) and some interesting spices like Sherwood's. I used zucchini, yellow pepper and scallions.  Your fish is cooking/sautéing or grilling at the same time.  I used a bit of the Sherwood's on my fish, too. When your veggies are done to your liking, add a generous amount of butter, let it all melt in and then mix this all in with your couscous.  (I used 2 tablespoons just for me.  Naughty, I know.)  

I've read a few recipes and some prepare it like risotto.  It just takes longer that way.  Here's my picture from today.  I was eating just the couscous recipe from today, with some chopped chicken.  Dee-lish!



That's one week's worth of meals under 20 minutes!  You know a lot of people who would love to have this arsenal of 20 minute meals, so by all means, share the link!

Thanks for coming by and make sure ya do it again!



Sunday, October 19, 2014

More Free Halloween Treat Bags From The Cherry On Top


Welcome back to The Cherry On Top.

I designed a couple more Halloween treat bags for you.  They are put together in a snap.  Click on the image, download, print, fold, adhere and POW!  It's finished.  It only took me a couple of minutes and you could even have your kids assemble them.  It's THAT easy.  Fill them up with nearly anything, lay them nicely on a large tray or in a huge bowl and your ready for the tricker treaters!



I've made two different versions for you.  The first one is ink friendly.  Hehehe...Ink costs a small fortune and it certainly is far more valuable than gold around these part.  LOL!  Of course, you can always print it out on coloured paper, too.

 FREE download

This version looks like a paper bag.  It's lends a warmer more textural feel.  You choose!

 free download

If you are looking for more treat bags, I've designed these here, too.  Click on the image to jump to the blog where you can find them.  My gal Paty Grief Digital Designer allowed me to make these awesome freebies from her fabulous, Say BOO kit!  Find it here and make some of your own fantastic Halloween favours.

 tcot blog

Click on this image below, to get these fantastic, FREE stickers from the Say Boo kit from Paty Greif Digital Designer.

 free Halloween stickers from Paty Grief Digital Designer

Thank you for stopping by The Cherry On Top. Share my blog links with your friends, please and know that these are absolutely not for resale.  

Thanks!



Friday, October 17, 2014

That's What Friends Are For, Charity and Freebies

Welcome Digital Divas and compassionate Peeps!

They Cherry On Top is all about making life easier, in many different aspects of life.  For some, no matter what they try to do, life just doesn't get any easier.  Especially, when it comes to health.  Health issues equals huge medical costs and often, for many, a downward spiral into a financial abyss of nightmares.  We all know the situation and this time I have a dear friend who needs help.  It's not always easy asking for help and some folks just don't like it, but The Cherry helps anyway.  (I get that from my mother.  It's all her fault.  If you don't like it, take it up with her. Hehehe...)

Some mega generous, compassionate designers and their Creative Teams want to help a fellow digital girlfriend by offering all proceeds from a fantastic, amazingly awesome collaboration to help our friend out. 

I know the digital community is so awesome when it comes to a call for help. So, here we are again, asking for your purchase of the phenomenal kit, "That's What Friends Are For".  Not only do you receive a gorgeous collaboration of very talented designers, you will also be helping out a very special lady and her family, through a tremendously difficult time and that just feels good.  Giving feels good.

To learn more about the Dawes Family Crisis click here.

Another way to help more indirectly is to purchase Lissy's awesome templates.

 Lissy's Templates Lissy's Templates

 Lissy's Templates
 Lissy's Templates



They are fabulous, easy to use, flexible and with the shadows already installed.  I highly recommend them for your scrappy endeavours.

Let's take a look at some inspiration I've brewed up, the collection at a closer look and of course, some nice treats for my awesomely generous fans.


 By the way, that's mom down there.  Hehehe...


Here is a closer look at the collaboration itself.

 Ginger Scraps

There is so much in there, I thought I'd take out a few pieces and show you.  I've hooked up each image with links where you can find the designers.

 Ginger Scraps


 Ginger Scraps


 Ginger Scraps





 blog


 at the studio


 site


 site

We've got a couple of freebies floating around Digi Land.  I've used my freebies plus some more goodies from the kit to create this layout as an example to show you how you can use free digital scrap stuff.

 Free Frame Cluster


Blow up your cluster and position them in the corners.  Make a feature of your frame cluster when they are this gorgeous and just fill in a couple of goodies from the kit to finish the page.  Easy peasy!


I've got a few links for you, where you can find more freebies.  Keep in mind that these folks are from all over the world and may not have their blogs live yet.  Also, many of us will be offering more freebies, sporadically to encourage more generous, kind hearted peeps to help out our bestie.

 Ginger's Blog Freebie

 Ginger's FB Page


 Kim's Freebie

 Chandra's Blog


So, make sure you jump all around and look at all of the beautiful creations we've made in hopes to help our friend.  Come back here or visit my Facebook Page to stay in tuned with more information and freebies because that's what friends are for, right?

The first person that comes back here with a layout made from this collaboration will receive a $5 coupon for Lissy's store!

Thanks again, for stopping by The Cherry On Top.


Free Halloween Stickers From Paty Greif Digital Designer

Welcome to The Cherry On Top.

I've got Paty Greif Digital Designer in the spotlight today and her Boo-Bacious new kit, Say BOO!  Imagine all of the fantastic things you can make with this digital kit.  Of course, your typical scrapbooking layouts, but also an entire line of party favours for a Halloween Party or Freaky Festival!

 store

 store

I certainly had fun playing with this kit to make my layouts of scary Liam and his wicked tooth as well as my tough is enough, American football disguise.  The Buccaneers may as well put me out on the field!  Maybe we would actually win a game!  Rrrr....



Check out the other awesome layouts the Creative Team put together by clicking here.  Then make sure you grab these stickers to decorate your Halloween goodies for the coming holiday.  Click on the image to download.

 Free stickers

Here's an example of what you can do with the kit in regards to hybrid crafting.  Create some lovely treat bags for your tricksters.  I used a template I found on Pinterest.  Find it here.  Click on the image to download these FREE printables from Paty Greif Digital Designer.  She also has a freebie on her Facebook Page that you can download.

 treat bags

Here's what the treat bags look like.  It only took me a few minutes to do all of these!  Click on the image if you like these treat bags, too.

 TCOT BLOG


Thank you for tuning in!  Make sure you do it, again and Happy Haunting!



Lunch For the Lil' Ones

Welcome to The Cherry On Top!

Today, The Cherry is bringing you an arsenal of ideas for in your kid's lunch box.   They are not all fancy, time intensive meals and I went for healthy, fresh lunches that most kids like.  My boys have Autism and are not the easiest mouths to feed.  Especially, when it comes to healthy stuff.  I would like to remind you of the importance of feeding your little, loved ones a sugarless, healthy meal.  You set them a fine example and make their lives healthier.

There are so many places to look for inspiration.  I'm going to share a couple of my own ideas and some links where you can find even more creative mum's meal ideas.

I was going to start off with a list of things to put in lunches that you can hang on your refrigerator, but then I found another blog, who already did that!  You can find an awesome lunch list right here.

Here are some examples of my meals:



Some very important tips to remember when packing a lunch is limit the sugar.  I very rarely use drinks with sugar, but do like to surprise the boys once in a while with a chocolate or strawberry milk.  I typically use water or fruit juice with absolutely no sugar.


I've got a fruit cup that's very low in sugar, as an occasional treat and some diced chicken and cheese along with some baked tortilla chips as an alternative to sandwiches.


Another rare indulgence is replacing the sandwich with a couple of monster, home made cookies packed with nuts and dried berries.  Don't forget granola bars, too!


Use the things you have in your garden.  My boys love helping pick the berries and sharing them with their friends. Of course, I can't do that all year, but I always include fruit, veg or both in every lunch.  When I'm desperate, I use a trail mix.



Here I have some white milk, a sandwich, carrots, grapes and yogurt. 



I left the sandwich out again and served up some fresh baked muffins packed with zucchini, carrots and raisins.  No one knew!  That's a major score.  Click here for a really easy recipe and make them yourself.


Another idea that one of my children really likes in his lunch, are sliced cucumbers and cream cheese with herbs to dip.  I like it, too.  I couple up this duo with some rice crisps,cakes that can also be dipped.


How about fresh baked waffles?!  Oh, yeah!  Make them for the family on Sunday morning and make extra for in their lunch on Monday.  They will love ya for it!  Hit up my Weekly Menu Planner to get the recipe for really easy waffles.

OK, there are some of my lunches.  Now, I'll set you up with some other fantastic places for even more ideas.  I invite you to my Pinterest Board, "Lunch For The Lil' Ones".  Where you'll find over a hundred ideas. I checked each one personally and only chose legitimate sites with little to no advertisement hassles and sign up stuff.  This is a really great board and is growing popular fast.  If you have a special lunch board on Pinterest or blog, share it here in the comments so we can check it out.

 Lunch For The Lil' Ones

Also another Mum blog, My Mommy Style.  She's got some great ideas for thermos lunches which are wicked when it comes to the winter cold.  Check out what she has on her blog, here.

As usual, I've got a free gifty for you.  Actually, I have TWO!  My girl Lori from BoomersGirl Designs has given me permission to use her lovely goodies to make these freebies.  Head over to her blog or FB Page to check out her lovely designs and grab the free drink labels.  You can make your very own fun projects like this with her digital elements.

 Free Lunch Box Notes

I love these and plan on using them as lunch box notes for my boys.  You can use them for either gender.  Enjoy your free printables and get your kid's eat'n healthy!


 BoomersGirl Designs

I'm a bit of an early bird when it comes to get'n my blog posts out.  Keep your eyes out for when the drink labels are available and keep coming back for more super ideas, recipes, a laugh and a smile. 


Thank you for hanging with The Cherry!