Tuesday, August 28, 2012
|Cole navigating through the crepe paper laser beams
|Bennett crossing the finish line
|Secret Agent ID Template
I learned that it’s very hard to get a decent fingerprint from a 5 or 6 year-old. Mostly they looked like black smudges, but that’s okay.
I kept the party food very simple- crackers, cheese strings, snack mix, fruit, veggies and dip, and juice boxes.
I also made sure the snacks were fairly healthy, because I knew the kids were going to get their fill of sugar from the cake. We had an amazing cake that was in the shape of a briefcase, with a magnifying glass and a bomb on top. The words were written backwards so it looked like it was in code.
And no, I didn’t make it! This was done by my very talented friend Allyson of Allyson’s Edibles. Check out her website for more of her beautiful creations. The above photo was taken by her before she brought it over to our house where Bennett promptly stuck his finger right in the magnifying glass. I should have seen that one coming.
We put silver candles on the cake and a sparkler on the bomb so it looked like it was going to blow up. Luckily Cole blew it out and saved us all. That was a close one.
Allyson also made these super cute chocolate mustaches pictured below. I handed them out at the end of the party as the kids left. She also made chocolate cake balls, which I gave out as a prize after they finished the obstacle course.
For party favours, I made up secret agent folders. Inside of them I put a magnifying glass, memo pad, pen, finger laser, mustache lollipops (from Blonde Designs Blog), glasses, and mentos. The mentos idea was from the exploding mentos in Cody Banks 2.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
With back-to-school around the corner, I thought it would be helpful to devote a post to fast dinner ideas. This summer I enrolled the boys in swimming lessons, so for two weeks they went every weekday at 6:30pm. It was a great way to tucker them out for bedtime, but it made dinner-time a little tricky. I had to think of quick meals that I could prepare after work and have everyone fed and ready to go in time for the boys' lessons. These crockpot baked potatoes were a perfect solution. Earlier in the day, I wrapped up potatoes in tin foil and put them in the crockpot to cook.
By dinner, the potatoes were ready to be enjoyed. I made dinner a simple "baked potato bar" by preparing a variety of toppings and letting everyone help themselves to what they wanted.
The boys loved that they could top the potatoes themselves with the toppings they liked best. They both liked cheese, broccoli and sour cream on their potatoes. Cole didn't really eat much of the potato, just the toppings, but that's ok. At least he ate something! Bennett struggled a little bit with eating the potato too, but after I cut it up well for him he dug right in.
Here are some other quick dinners that we ate over those two weeks. I'm sure I'll be making many of them again once the kids head back to school and the crazy fall schedules begin. I sure will miss our lazy summer days
- Spaghetti with pasta sauce and garlic bread
- Perogies with garlic sausauge, sauteed onions, and sour cream.
- Black bean quesadillas (just combine a 19 oz can of black beans, lightly mashed, with a handful of shredded cheese and a few spoonfuls of salsa. Spread onto tortillas and fold them. Bake for 10 minutes at 350F).
- Multigrain fish sticks and oven fries
- Scrambled eggs and hashbrowns with toast
- Stovetop tuna casserole
- Fritatta (great for using up any leftover baked potatoes!)
- Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
- Tuna melts
- Basic chili with rice
- Fettucini Alfredo with baby clams (I use this recipe, sub canned baby clams for chicken for a faster meal).
For quick vegetable sides, I use assorted frozen veggies (peas, carrots, corn, etc) and microwave them, or raw veggies and dip, or a salad (there's no shame in using pre-packaged salad if you want to be really quick!). I always make sure to have some kind of vegetables at every meal.
Crockpot Baked Potatoes
5 or 6 large Russett potatoes
Scrub potatoes well. Using a fork, poke the potatoes with holes. Wrap each potato in aluminum foil and place them in a crockpot. Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours, or until potatoes are cooked through.
Serve with your favourite toppings.
- Cooked broccoli, chopped
- Shredded Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Bacon bits
- Sliced green onions
- Canned Chili-Style baked beans, heated
- Avocado, chopped
Now onto a topic that is completely not food-related, I have some exciting news- I'm pregnant!
|14 weeks Belly Shot
Our third child is due in mid-February. Eek! Here comes another pint-sized food critic who will no doubt have many strong opinions about my cooking. I've been feeling pretty rotten these last couple months, which is part of the reason you haven't been seeing many posts from me. Luckily I'm starting to feel better and can actually think about food again, so hopefully I'll be sharing more recipes now. Soon they may be diabetic recipes because I've had gestational diabetes the last two pregnancies, but I'm actually looking forward to sharing some diabetic-friendly foods. I'm looking forward to a lot of things!
Sunday, August 19, 2012
I hope you're all having a wonderful summer! I know I am, which is why- sadly for this blog- I haven't been posting too much. I'm sure once September rolls around I'll get back into the routine of posting regularly. I've still been taking lots of food photos and writing recipes so there's no shortage of things to share with you.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, we've been doing a lot of barbecuing this summer, so it's no surprise that this post is about a recipe done on the barbecue. Potatoes grilled in foil packets make an excellent side dish, or you can even turn them into a main course if you add some sausage or other meat to them. It's a super easy meal to make too, because all you do is mix the ingredients together, wrap them in foil, and onto the grill they go. You can get creative with what you put in the foil packets. I think sweet potatoes or squash instead of potatoes would be yummy too. Other vegetables like broccoli, carrots, or celery would be good additions as well. If you like cheese, try sprinkling some on after you remove the packets from the grill. The possibilities are endless! Foil packets are a fun way to cook and a perfect opportunity to get your kids involved. They'll love helping you fill up the packets, and they'll have fun eating them up directly out of the foil. It's great summer camping food because you don't even need plates.
What are your favourite barbecue or camping foods?
Potato and Pepper Foil Packets
1 1/2 lbs baby potatoes, halved or quartered if large
1 red pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
In a bowl, combine all ingredients and toss to combine. Lay out 4 sheets of aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Divide potato mixture into 4 portions and place them in the middle of each sheet. Fold the edges of the foil to form sealed packets. Place on a barbecue on high heat and cook for about 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. Open the packets and transfer to a serving dish, or eat them directly out of the packets.