Sunday, November 30, 2014

Free Christmas Printable Notes From The Cherry On Top

Welcome to The Cherry On Top.

The Cherry's wonderful fans on Facebook have spoken and shared their graces through likes, comments and shares for more free goodies.  I love when that happens.

Here we are with the newest free, printable download.  Enjoy these notes of encouragement.  You can use them with your elves if you have them.  We'll be using them with an array of different helpers that should bring a laugh to our little lads.

Think outside of the toy box for your Santa Spies!  Here's what we are using:

The Grinch is on the lookout for their worst behaviour.  He relishes in capturing those bad moments to tell Santa.

While on the other hand, his robots tell of heroic and super deeds.

I used tiny Christmas hats I found at a discount store.  They have clips so you can wear them in your hair and I've also seen some tiny hats that are for on top of a wine bottle that you could use, too.

These notes are left by whomever is on duty that day for Santa.  Enjoy them and the fun that goes along with this project.  It's a great way to reinforce good behaviour.  You could use it for all of the holidays if it helps.  Positive reinforcement is an excellent way to encourage favourable behaviour.  Read more about it here

Simply click on the image, then right click and download it to your computer.

As usual, all of The Cherry's freebies are for personal use only and cannot be sold for profit.

If freebies are your thing then be sure to hit up my Facebook Page and Pinterest, too!  I post freebies every, single day for all kinds of projects.

Thanks for hanging out with The Cherry!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hamburger Recipes

Welcome to The Cherry On Top.

This is one hectic week.  Probably for you, too.  With the holidays coming and a couple of birthdays in the mix, I'm swamped.

I just found this awesome link with a reasonable number of recipes to whip up with hamburger.  I always keep hamburger in the fridge or the freezer because there are so many things you can make with it and the kids love it, too.

Check out this link for 25 quick and easy recipes to make with hamburger.  I'm so hungry now!  LOL!  I can't even choose a favourite.

 25 hamburger recipes

Check out my special feature Thanksgiving Edition.  It's chock full of ideas, recipes and everything you need to have a great Thanksgiving Day.  Freebies, too!!

 t day

I'll be back again with more quick and easy meal ideas next week and I'm hoping to get another one in this weekend with left over turkey day items!  

See you soon.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Free Digital Christmas Card From The Cherry On Top

The holidays are coming!  The holidays are coming!

Things may have already started getting hectic.  Let The Cherry On Top make a couple of things easier for you.  I've got your Thanksgiving meal all planned out.  With recipes, music suggestions, drinks, games, free printables, activities for kids and decor, too.  Click on the image below to go to that blog.


Here are your freebies for Thanksgiving.  Choose a cute or chic style.  click on either of the images below to get to that blog.


You get the utensil and napkin holder as we'll as coordinating name place cards.  Click on either image to get to the blog where you can download all four of them for free.


Isn't it awesome using digital supplies for hands on crafts?!  There are so many ideas out there and you'll find a lot more free hybrid projects throughout the blog.  I invite you to check them all out.

Here are some of my most recent, festive, digital scrapbooking projects, but they are not just for in the scrapbooks.  You can use layouts like these in all kinds of different ways.  Use it as your desk top image. The next two images are from goodies from Paty Greif Digital Designer.  This kit is called Turkey Time.  You can find it here.


another way to go digital is to send the image around via e-mail to all of your friends and family with your well wishes.  I do that all of the time.  This way my family and friends in America have an up to date picture of our kids, too.


You can use projects like these to print out and put in a frame or print and turn into a pillow.  You can also visit an online print shop and get your pretty images put on coffee mugs, canvas, key chains and just about anything else you can think of.

I'm using this one below, as my profile picture on Facebook.

I used Merry And Bright from Indigo Designs for this layout.  Click on the image to find it.


I love my next little project.  I used a digital scrapbooking kit from Amanda Creation called Seasons Tweetings.  It's this year's digital Christmas card that I'll be sending to family and friends.  These kinds of kits can be purchased from various stores and designers and they range in price from $1-$10.


Here are your newest freebies.  I've got either a card, printout, desktop or profile picture for you.  Click on the image, look to the right and look for the download icon.

 free download/personal use only

Here's another one that you can put your very own picture in.  It's called a quick page in the Digital World because it's so quick to make.  Just insert your favourite picture and your finished.  I left this one blank on the original so you can put your own sentiment in.  

 free download/personal use only

Here's what I did with mine.

Simply click and download whichever version you like or get both!  Everything I have here is for personal use only.  No one is permitted to sell it.  Sharing this link is a great way to say thanks for all of the goodies.  Comments are always great to hear as well.  It's certainly motivating to make more.  Ha!

I hope you enjoy these gifts and that you come back again for another visit.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Free Thanksgiving Printables

Welcome to The Cherry On Top.

Here are the free printables I've designed for you with Digital Goodies from BoomersGirl Designs. I made a cutie style and a more chic design.  Don't ya just love choices?!

This first image is of the utensil and napkin holders.  These are really easy.  Click on the image, download, print and cut.  There is a tutorial at the bottom of the blog if you need it.

 free utensil holder printable

Here are the placement cards.  Download them, print them, fold and cut.  That's it!

 cute cards free download

If you are looking for a different, more traditional set of freebies, I've designed these for you.

 free utensils holder download

Here are the cards for the names of your guests.  I totally recommend putting the names on the cards via your computer.  This brown is pretty dark.  I wanted to use my lovely gold glitter pens, but they were all dried up.  Hehehe...

 chic name cards

There are a lot of straight lines to cut, so I used my paper trimmer.  I cut off the extra at the bottom...

 Then folded it over at the top...

Then cut the sides and that's it!

I left a little bit of edging to make sure it would be big enough.  I still had plenty of space left over.

When you have cut the width you want, fold it from the bottom this time.  Right under the edge of the image.

Use a little bit of glue, just on the SIDES and this baby is ready!  You could use double sided tape as well.

You're almost ready for the big day.  Take a deep breath and enjoy the process of creating, cooking and entertaining.

Thank you for hanging out with The Cherry!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Meals in 20 Minutes or Less

Welcome to another speedy edition of The cherry On Top!

I've seen by number of views that fast meals are what you all are looking for and I couldn't be happier about that.  I too, do not like spending my life in the kitchen and I'm on the hunt for fast meals that are healthy and won't break the bank.  So, let's see what we've got this time that can be whipped up in less than 20 minutes?!

If you are going to skimp on the time, then don't skimp on the ingredients.  Use good, fresh pasta and sauces with fantastic reputations.  A few cents means a world of difference.

Meatless Monday:  spaghetti  (This is one that can be made in less than 10 minutes!)

FRESH pasta cooks between 2-4 minutes depending on what kind of pasta you buy.  If you simply cook your pasta and heat up a jar of spaghetti sauce, you'll have dinner in under 10 minutes.  I've been checking out the ingredients in jarred spaghetti sauce and there is a huge difference.  Look for a sauce where you can actually read and know what every single ingredient is.  Look for one with NO sugar.  You may be surprised just how many sauces out there are pretty heathy.  Yay!  Take the time to check.  Of course you can sauté some hamburger meat or chop and sauté Italian sausage, then add your sauce and that won't take, but another 3-4 minutes.  Still easily done under 20.

If you are looking for healthier brands of jarred sauce check to see if you can find these in your local store:  Click on the link to read more about why these are some of the best.  That Trader Joe's is just over $2!  Ya gotta love that.  Healthy and affordable.


Tuesday:  fish, salad and bread

Another staple ingredient that takes under 10 minutes to cook, is fresh fish.  Whoo hoo!  I always keep frozen fish in my freezer, too.  Once thawed, most fish, depending on how thick it is filleted, will take 2-3 minutes each side.  That's no more than 6 minutes total.  Before you slap that puppy in the pan, sprinkle some Old Bay or your favourite  Blacked or Cajun Seasoning on it and you're set fast. Any time you can use olive oil, or coconut oil, use it.  It's the healthiest.

The fastest way to get a salad prepped is to buy the ingredients all ready prepared for you.  There is nothing wrong with that.  As long as it's washed and it's fresh you are good to go.  Pick up some nice fresh bread from the baker or grocers and dinner will be reading in under 15 minutes.

Heads up!  These babies do not have the best reputation.  Click on the image to find out more.  WASH them no matter what.  Even if they say they are washed, do it again.

 fresh salad

Wednesday:   Take In Chinese

Chinese is cooked in a flash. However, the preparation can take me forever.  It all depends on just what kinds of veggies you want in there.  If you want it as fast as possible, here are two suggestions.  The first, buy a bag of fresh, prepared, wok veggies like you may have done for your salad above.  Clean them as well.  Another speedy manner is a bag of frozen, prepared wok veggies.

A slower, more healthy method is to choose veggies that don't take as long to prep.  Snow peas, mushrooms, baby corn, green onions...These take a lot less time to prepare.  I like washing a carrot then taking the potato peeler to it and making ribbons.  Also really fast, colourful and cooks a lot quicker than the chopped version.  The smaller you chop or thinner you slice your ingredients, the shorter it takes to cook them.

I've got a recipe for a fabulous Asian inspired sauce.  It is my hubby's all time favourite and your family will love it, too.  It's very easy and will be made in under 1 minute.

Choose a starch, if need be, that cooks quickly.  I love those Ramen style noodles that are a mile long.  My kids go nuts over these and they cooked in well under 10 minutes.  Glass noodles are also cooked really fast.  Under 5 minutes!  Wow!  Shrimp and fish will cook the fastest, but if you chop your chicken fairly thin or small, then it will cook quickly, too.

Something I want to focus on here, is the kind of chili sauce you should use for this recipe.  Use a not too fiery, sweet chili sauce.  It means the world to your sauce!  I love Sriacha sauce, but that's even too much fire for me!  If you want to put a touch of it in it's ok, but don't use 3/4 cup of it.  If you can't find this, try plum sauce. The rest is just 2 Tablespoons of honey, 1/4 cup soy and 1/4 teaspoon of dried ginger or a few slices of the fresh stuff.  If you like sesame seeds add a nice handful to your dish right before it's finished.  You could add a 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil if you like, but only put it in at the last minute of cooking.  This stuff can kill your meal if you get too much in it or you leave it in too long.

Here's a different recipe.  The rice is typically the longest part of the cooking process.


Thursday:  quesedillas

Another family favourite that's made in minutes as long as you don't make the tortillas yourself.  No store brand version comes close to the deliciousness of fresh prepared tortillas, but it take some time and practice as well.  To save time and keep this meal under 20 minutes, follow these steps:

Lay a tortilla in a lightly greased pan.  Sprinkle the cheese over the tortilla, add your choice of meat if desired,  some prepared, chopped or sliced chicken, ham or shrimp, then cover with another tortilla and cook for a minute or two on low heat.  Flip, let it cook a minute or two more, just so that everything is heated through and the cheese is melted.  BAM!  Ready to eat!

Quesedillas are very versatile. There are so many things you can put on there.  Check out another recipe if you like, by clicking on the image.


Fun Food Friday:  Wings, Fries and a Raw Veggie Tray

Wings can be cooked very quick depending on your method.  Throwing them in the frier is the fastest!  Wash, rinse, dry and throw them in the fat for the quickest method.  When they are finished, toss them in your hot sauce.  We simply melt butter and mix in Texas Pete hot sauce.  That's it!  Your fries will also fry up in 5 minutes or less.  We have two friers!

The longest part of this would be your veggie tray if you went traditional, but you could save some precious minutes by choosing veggies that are already set like olives, artichokes and baby carrots.  You only have to wash and put them in a serving dish along with whatever dip your family likes.

The image is hooked up to a traditional Buffalo recipe.


Saturday:  hot dogs

It's my son's birthday this weekend and hot dogs are at the top of his list.  So, I'll be making them.  Go for all beef franks or even a German style bratwurst.  Hot dogs are cooked in less that 5 minutes and ya just have to cut your rolls open and put out all of the goodies your family likes.

Think outside of the bun with these crazy recipes!  Hit the image to get linked up.


Sunday:  crock pot

It may seem like we are kind of cheating here with this one.  However, most crockpot recipes take literally, 5 minutes or less to prepare.  Make breakfast, prep your crock pot and dinner is served with no work except set'n the table!  Sweet!!!

I actually made this last Sunday.  I used parsnips in place of celery and rubbed the meat like it said, but I didn't use the seasoning they have, just plain old  Italian dried herbs, salt, pepper and garlic from the mill.  I also added beef bouillon to two cups of warm water and put that over the veggies.  Another thing, hehehe...I rarely precook before I put it in the crock pot.  Here's my view on it.  I want this stuff to cook for hours so that it just falls apart and it does, without pre cooking and dirtying all of the dishes.  I also always put my veggies first and the meat on top.


7 more meals made in 20 minutes or less.  It's what you want and it's what you got!  The Cherry aims to please.

Have a healthy, happy week!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner With The Cherry On Top

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and I'm on the hunt for some delicious recipes as I start planning our meal.  I'll be using a couple of tried and true recipes as well.  If you are new to The Cherry On Top, then I welcome you with open arms to wholesome, delicious, family approved meals that require very little fuss and won't cost much either.  I've also got some sweet FREE printables for you at the bottom of the blog.

Thanksgiving is always a bit tricksy to pull from Belgium, but it's growing easier and easier.  Cranberries are easily found now and sweet potatoes are popping up  more and more as well.  Yay!  Fresh corn on the cob is still a bit challenging, but I've found a store (Del Haize/Food Lion) where they do carry it often.  At least the canned corn is not such a challenge to find.

The turkey can be ordered, but shoo wee!  It is three times the price to a nice bird in The States.  I pay $50 for a bird that feeds 6 people and I have to order it in advance from a special place.  One can find a turkey for Christmas dinner in select grocery stores.  I've already made a large, whole, fresh chicken in the place of a turkey when found in a tight spot.  If turkey isn't your thing, then consider baking a whole chicken.

Let's begin with a Cherry basic and that's healthy.  Everything you find here is pretty good if not awesome for you.  I rarely to never give recipes with a lot of sugar or packaged, processed want to be food.  It's always the real deal.  Obesity, diabetes, cancer and so many other illnesses can be cured or at the very least, vanish symptoms  through a good diet and The Cherry always considers this when when posting and sharing recipes.

Relatively fast and easy is also something The Cherry focuses on.  The meals you find here are great for busy families and this blog entry is no different.  I'm using all easy to very easy recipes for the special feast.

Let's get started!

I don't often entertain guests, but when I do they can expect fresh, healthy meals that fills the plate and the stomach.  I'm not into a half dozen courses.  My guests are lucky if they get 3!  Don't get all caught up in a fancy, drawn out dinner if you're not into it.  Keep it simple.  I also deal with a culture clash at times.  Being from America, I like a meal with all of the goods sitting on the table and everyone helps themselves and Thanksgiving will be no different.  Your meal will turn out its best when you do it the way YOU want to.  It doesn't have to be fancy or picture perfect, just as long as it tastes good.

The Starter:

I rarely serve an appetizer, but when the guests come, the living room table is full of finger food.  Sometimes chips and pretzels or olives and cheese and often sliced meats.  These elements have no preparation except putting it in a bowl.  Fast, easy and no problem to find at nearly any store.
I was perusing Pinterest and came across this beautiful image which I think epitomises an awesome starter for your Thanksgiving feast.

 cheese platter

You can click on the image to get to where I found this beauty.  Olives, bread sticks, nuts, fresh fruit, cheese and some thinly sliced meat.  Perfect!  Once again, very simple.  Place the ingredients on a large platter, serving tray or cutting board.  Consider smoked salmon, too.  Put the smaller ingredients in small dishes.  Have napkins and utensils on the table as well.  That's it!  No cooking required and ready in minutes.  Here's another idea for a make ahead starter that also requires no cooking, but it does have a bit of preparation.  Add some olives and cherry tomatoes to this platter, too.

This year, my husband will be smoking the turkey.  That's a total score for me.  If you've got help, use it!  Thanksgiving dinner is a big task.  Put the family to use.  If you're partner is into cooking, let them help.  I've found to help with this, I give my husband explicit directions and a recipe or give him enough notice for him to find his own.  He loves firing up the grill.  Thank goodness for that!  Have the kids help set the table and even participate in the cooking.  The experience is very educational and it's a way for you to be actively together with your family, working as a team.  Major score!

The Bird:

If you will bare the burden of the bird, then check out the following illustration I got from All Recipes.  Baking the bird is not difficult at all, but it does require a bit of attention.

If you need more help than the chart, then click on this delicious looking image for complete directions on how to cook a turkey from start to finish.  (I don't have the roasting rack it mentions.  If you don't have it, no worries.  Carry on as normal.)


What sides you choose to make is all up to you and how far you want to go and who it is your are entertaining.  Think of the likes and dislikes of your guests as well as what you are prepared to make. As usual, I'm going for the easy bill.  Sides this year will include, canned corn, sweet potatoes, cooked carrots, stuffing, cranberry sauce, biscuits and gravy.

If you want to do even less and I often do this too, is wash and cut potatoes, carrots, celery and onion and place them in the pan with the turkey.  That's it!!!  Consider your timing here.  They need at least an hour to cook through.

If you would like to check out other options, click on the image below for more side ideas.


Make the day before:

TIP: You could prep your veggie tray the day ahead and you could choose veggies that don't need preparation to save time.  Olives, cherry tomatoes, artichoke or buy them all ready if need be.

The Cranberry Sauce:  If you've never made your own cranberry sauce, you're gonna give yourself a forehead slap once you make this recipe.  I had no idea just how unbelievably easy it is to make.  I surfed the net and could not find my recipe or one as easy, so I made another recipe card.  Add it to your collection!  There are only 3 ingredients in this baby!

This recipe linked below is from the Pioneer Woman.  It sounds great, too and doesn't have any sugar in it.


The Stuffing:  I never liked my mom's stuffing as a kid, but find myself making one very similar to hers these days.  I chop my onions and garlic very fine because I do not like chunky onions and neither do my kids.  Go figure?!  Hehehe...I add mushrooms because they make an awesome moist maker.  You can add apples, cranberries, nuts...

You can totally make this ahead of time!  Just save the baking for the day of the feast.  It'll need nearly an hour in the over to heat through.

Here is a very basic, delicious recipe for you on a handy card, again.


Since, I'm already doing quite a bit of cooking this year, I'm keeping dessert easy. I've chosen a recipe that I can make ahead. Yay!  It's also something not at all common in Belgium, so it will be a special treat for my guests.  In Belgium they eat pumpkin in soup and non sweet recipes.  I often do not mention that my dessert is with pumpkin. They always end up loving it.  This is a no bake pumpkin cheese cake recipe.  The image is linked up to the recipe.


Just in case, there are no takers, I've got some ice-cream cake in the freezer.  Hehehe...

You could make the biscuits the day before.  I like'm fresh and hot from the oven which needs to be on for your bird and stuffing anyway.

The biscuits:  I've been making biscuits for a couple of years now and I've found Paula Deen's recipe to be, BY FAR the best recipe.  Let me get one thing straight. If you've never made your own biscuits from scratch, they ain't all that easy.  It takes a bit of time and experimenting, but Man!  They are worth the work and they are always a favourite at any meal.  Biscuits are not made here in Belgium.  Biscuits are cookies here.  Hehehe...

Two tips I'll lend here are, if the dough is really sticking to your hands when mixing, then add more flour until it doesn't.  Also, flour to whatever you are using as your biscuit cutter.  I use a rocks glass.  Ha!


The Sweet Potatoes:  I make my sweet potato mash just like my regular mashed potatoes and sometimes even mix potatoes and sweet potatoes in the mash..  Here's an awesome recipe very similar to mine.  I just don't add the nutmeg or cinnamon because my hubby hates it and not everyone is a fan of those spices.  Keeping this in mind, I'd rather err to simplicity.  Click on the image for the recipe.


The Carrots:  I found this carrot recipe on Pinterest which looks nearly perfect.  I'll be omitting the brown sugar.  Carrots on their own are pretty sweet and the honey will add enough for us. I love the site where this recipe comes from.  Scroll through and see all of the fabulous dishes there.  I often use them myself!

 cooked carrots
The Corn:  If I have enough space on my stove top, I'll heat up my canned corn in just a couple of tables spoons of water, until it is heated through.  Save this part for the very last. Heat it up while you are making your gravy.  It won't take, but a couple of minutes.  Empty into a serving dish and top with some butter if you like.  (I leave butter off of mine and have butter on the table so the guests can add it to what they like.)  If space is an issue, pour the corn in your serving dish and heat it up in the microwave right before serving.

The Gravy:  Here's a recipe really similar to mine.  It's pretty easy, too.  A note:  You don't HAVE to use the juices from your turkey, but of course it lends some awesome flavour to your dish.  I use the juices from my vegetables, too.


I didn't even touch on beverages.  I'll take care of that on the Pinterest board, link below.  I'll be serving, water, home made sweet tea and my guests are binging the wine.  The Thanksgiving Board has several lovely, festive drinks on there and I'll add a great recipe for sweet tea.

Wow!  How about it?!  Your entire meal is all planned out for you.  Print or save all of the recipes, get yourself a list together and get cook'n!  Make them something special and enjoy your fabulous meal with family friends. 

Hey!  Why don't you visit my Thanksgiving Board on Pinterest?!  I've got activities for the kid's, decor ideas, more handy cooking and organising charts for the big day and...Just go check it out!  Here are some things you will find there.




Happy Thanksgiving!

(Visit older posts for more easy recipes and more free collectible recipe cards.)

Here are four FREE printables to help make the table beautiful.  Head to the blog I created to download these and get the tutorial if you need it.

 tot free download

 tcot free download

 tcot free download

 tcot free download