Friday, January 30, 2015

More Lunch Ideas For The Lil' Ones + Free Printable

Welcome back to The Cherry On Top's Foodie edition.

I've been snapping shots of some healthy, no frills lunch ideas as well as ideas to make it all go faster and smoother.  I have a feeling that it's probably just as crazy in your house in the morning as it is in ours.  I'm always looking for ways to let me stay in bed longer!  Hehehe...

This lunch idea goes pretty quickly.  Just a typical cheese and salami sandwich cut with a cookie cutter to ditch the old, hard crust.  Ha!  A bottle of water, bag of fruit mousse and a washed carrot.

Don't give a bunch of sugary junk for the snack.  I've got some real juice without sugar, a giant fig bar and I recycle those plastic balls from the vending machines.  They're great for in the lunch and the snack box.  Here, I've got nuts and raisins in it.

I very rarely give sugary drinks to the kids.  Either juice or water.  I was giving soya drinks until I saw there was sugar in there, too.

You don't always have to give bread like items.  I've got a lot of friends trying to ditch the gluten and flour goods, like us.  Here we've got hotdog bites, fresh cherry tomatoes and a delicious, juicy, fresh clementine orange.  Mmmm...  It's tricky getting your head around NOT having a starchy item on the plate or in the box, isn't it?

I recently had a great idea to make things go smoother and faster in the morning as well as provide a healthy twist for the munchies.  I buy bags of dried fruit and nuts and put them in my canisters that are conveniently sitting on our main island.

It goes really fast.  The kids can reach them and of course, they can have as much as they like.  Nuts are really, really good for us.  They're not super cheap.  Do some shopping around and see what you can find.  Trader Joe's has great prices where we live.

Nuts in one canister and dried fruit in the other.  Great for me, too when I want to snack.

Both my boys never tire of apples.  They love them, but I don't often put them in lunches because they can't stand when they get brown.  My youngest doesn't mind a whole apple.  So he's set.  Here are a couple of methods to keep them apples from browning.  Click on the image to get to the link.


I checked out this link for more lunch ideas and there were a lot of good ones.  Check it out and add to the arsenal.


Finally, I've got this great list typed up for you.  I often forget some great ideas on here and when I'm stumped or want to change things up, I refer to the list.  It's taped in my cupboard right above where I prepare the lunches. 

(I used a digital scrapbooking kit from Albums To Remember to design this.  You can find it here.)

If you are looking for more food ideas then I encourage you to scroll through and see all of the easy, fast and healthy recipes here.  For more kid's lunch ideas head over to my Lunch For The Lil' Ones board on Pinterest or check out some previous blogs found here.

If you like this printout, I've got plenty more on the blog.  Grab a cup of jo, get comfortable and spend some time scrolling through The Cherry. Like all of this digital scrappy stuff?  Head over to TCOT's Facebook page. I'll be happy to get you started.

Thanks for giving us a peep!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Free Templates Round 2

Welcome back to The Cherry On Top.

These templates are no longer available.

We've got another crafty edition on tap.  Since our first round of free templates were such a success, we decided to make it a thing.  Thank you for all of the attention you have been giving over on Facebook.  It's amazing!  To say thank you for all of the support you've been giving to The Cherry, The Cherry will be giving back to you.

There are six freebies or links to freebies given throughout the blog.  So pay attention! Hehehe...

Here's a look at all of the templates for the Squared series.  Each time someone posts a layout using the template, another one will open.  Come back again to check for more free templates.

 free download

Here's my inspiration for the first free template.   This was my Christmas party invitation for the family this year.

And here is the inspiration for the next three, free templates.

This first one won layout of the day at the Digital Scrapbooking Studio.  It's LouCee Creation's contribution to the Misty Morning Collection.  To see more of this collection, check out our other blog featuring this huge, beautiful collaboration and grab a freebie there.


This is the designs of Paty Greif.  Click on the image to see more of her fabulous goodies.


I used Albums To Remember for this layout.  Click on the layout to get a look at Barb's shop.  She's got a few freebies on the link hooked up, too.


If you download a template, leave me some love via comment, Google+ share or a Pin.  It's the best way to say thanks.

See you soon. 

Linda and Jodi have unlocked the next template.  That's free template #2 in the Squared series.  Scroll further to download and enjoy!

This one is my favourite in the series.

All of my goodies are Personal Use Only.  Share the link for the blog only.  Thanks so much for your understanding and participation.

My super scrappy sista' Chris has unlocked the next template.  Thanks, Love!

Here's the third free template.  Just one more to go!  Let's see what you make.  You are always welcome to share your layouts on my Facebook Page.  We love oohing and awing over a nice layout.

Ok!  We did it!  The last template has been unlocked.  Thanks for those of you who comment, unlock the templates and share the links to the blog.  Incentive for more free templates?  I think so! Stay tuned.

All four templates have been zipped and are still free for a limited time.  Click on the first image of the four templates and it will directly download.

Thanks for hanging with The Cherry!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Monstrously Delicious Man Eats

Welcome to a Foodie Edition of The Cherry On Top.

The big game is fast approaching.  Boo!  Valentine's Day is also right around the corner.  We're here to set you up with some food ideas that are total man pleasers and delicious overall.  They are great for any occasion or anyone.  Getting through the heart via the tummy is an awesome way to say I love you as well.

We've got meat, meat and more meat.  Wings, steak, burgers, sam'iches, beer, mac n' cheese, sides, snacks...Check out our hot choices!

Let's start off with eats good for Game Day.

Bacon Wrapped, Chicken Jalapeno Poppers:


This certainly isn't a calorie counter meal, but it is popping with flavour and kick.

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Lil' Smokies


This is a really easy one.  Another option you could do, is buy smoked or even Italian sausage and cut them in bite sized pieces.  Awesome Game Day food that won't cost you a lot, it's easy to prepare, you can keep them warm and if kids are in attendance, watch out!  They will be gone before you know it.

Hot Buffalo Wings:

Now, we've all got our favourite recipes, that's for sure.  If  you want to go healthier, then you bake them.  There are slow cooker recipes as well. If you want it fast and delish, just throw your wings right into the frier and toss them in your favourite wing sauce.  They are ready in under 10 minutes with this option.

We've got you set with a couple of different wing recipes.


 The Hooters recipe is my hubby's favourite.  It's pretty simple and ready in minutes.


This is another super recipe.  You may just be a little surprised at how....(whispering)  healthy these actually are.

Loaded Oven Chili Dogs


You're going to have these hot, steaming doggies ready in minutes.  Make a few different versions for the fussy folks.  Another inexpensive, fun food for the big game or any day.

Philly Cheese Steak:


More awesome munchies!  Who doesn't love a fantastic Philly Cheese steak?!  These are also cooked up pretty fast.  In this recipe they put them in the oven to heat everything through and melt the cheese.   Mmmm...

Sloppy Joe Nachos:  I just found this one on our Food Board and thought it fit right in here.  Nachos are a major crowd pleaser for big, small, male and female.  The only hang up is the canned sauce recommended in this recipe.  The Cherry has another really healthy yet uber delicious recipe you can follow instead of using the can.  Check it out out here.


Burgers, BABY!

You know a man well, when you know exactly how he likes his burger!  Does he like it with cheese, bacon, sautéed onions?  Make your list, check it twice, grab the goodies and make him a burger he'll never forget.  Or you can follow this recipe.  We've got the image hooked up to a previous Foodie blog, menu planner edition from The Cherry.  

 The Cherry On Top

If you're really looking for something that will knock his socks off, then go to this site and be amazed at the awesome burger recipes you'll find there.

We're gonna switch gears here a bit.  This next recipe is perfect for setting out on the table while the game is on.  And... it would make a sweet Mason jar gift, too for Valentines Day.

Beer and bacon glazed pecans:


I'm not at all thrilled with the amount of sugar in this recipe.  I'd suggest lightening up on it or even consider using honey or agave.

Use these, "Nuts about you" tags I've designed and bag them up or put them in a mason jar.  I use for my some of my goodies.  Click on the image to get to Photobucket and choose download.

 Free Printable Download

Now, on to the terrific table setters for the romantic holiday ahead.

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin:


I often make pork tenderloin because it's cheap and comes out perfect every time.  A couple of minutes on each side.  Then I slice it thick, throw it back on my grill pan for just a couple of seconds on both sides and voila!  Tender as all get out!  Checkout the recipe above.  If I really wanted to please my hubby, I wouldn't dream of those veggies.  Hehehe...He would love me more if I didn't make him eat his vegetables.

Beer, Cheese N' Bacon Macaroni:


This one just screams, "MAN EATS"!  Doesn't it?!  Very, very simple, rich and real down home comfort food.  This site is also a favourite of mine.



This woman had me in stitches.  Check out her recipe for some mouth watering ribs.  My husband is the Grill Master, but I've whipped up some ribs in the crockpot, too and they were awesome.  Slice some onions, put them in the bottom of your  slow cooker, set your ribs on top, dump your favourite bbq sauce over the top and voila!  All prepared, but keep in mind you need at least 4 hours of cooking of time.  Slow and low is the key.

I saved what I considered, the best for last.  This one will have your partner singing your praises.

Steak, garlic rub with blue cheese and french fried onions:

I know, right?!


I don't do out door grilling, but I often whip out my indoor, cast iron grill pan.  I make all of our steaks on there.  Blue cheese over steak is really popular here, in Belgium.  I never thought of sprinkling blue cheese over the top.  Be weary, that blue cheese is very strong.  So be sparing.  I make my own blue cheese sauce, which is also really easy.  It's not quite as strong and of course, it's more of a sauce and not cheese melted over the top.  You can dip your fries in it, too. here for a blue cheese sauce recipe from a previous Menu Planner edition.

The last little thing I want to hook you up with is our Valentine's Day board, Date Night board and Free Printables board on Pinterest, where you can find more ideas to make your game day or Valentines Day, perfect.  Check out these nifty game day paper chains.  Click on the image to find out how to get them.

 TCOT on pinterest

Thanks for hanging with The Cherry!  I hope you enjoy the game and have a super sizzling Valentines!  

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Cherry On Top's Free Templates

Welcome to The Cherry On Top!

I've got another scrappy edition.  I figured out how to make templates and I'm doing a test run on them.

All of the templates have been unlocked now.  Yay!

I had taken down the links, but reinstalled them temporarily for Throw Back Thursday.  Grab them now because I'll be taking down the free links for good.

These are no longer available for free.  

 Free templates

Yay!  The fourth and final template from this set has been unlocked.  I'm besides myself with flattery and appreciation for all of you who have been showing off your work with my templates and giving The Cherry props, too.  Thank you all so much.  

All of TCOT goodies are for Personal Use only.  They are not to be resold and no part of the templates or other free goodies from The Cherry On Top are to be claimed as yours.  Share the link only, please.

Thanks for checking us out.  Now, get scrap'n.  You deserve it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Kitchen Helpers

Welcome to The Cherry On Top's Foodie Edition.

I, with the help of family, have been taking pictures of really simple kitchen hacks that have greatly improved my many hours in the kitchen.

We want to eat healthy and we want our food fast.  So, here are a couple of tips that will help move things along faster and more efficiently.

First and really important, plan your meals in advance.  Grab a cup of Jo, a few recipes books or your tablet and plan out 7 or 8 days of cooking.  (I shop on Tuesdays so, I plan through Monday.)  Once you make this a habit, you will find that you're eating healthier, saving money, time and so less hassle.  It really is ideal and I highly recommend you start doing this.  Follow The Cherry On Top's Weekly Menu Planner as a spring board to get you started. 

I've got this free print out for you.  Just frame it up and use those erasable markers to write in what's for din.  My family really appreciates this, too.

 Free Printable

Now, for the hacks.  If you don't have one of these silicon brush thingies, than start looking for them.  I use them for so many kitchen tasks.  One, as shown here, to spread sauces.  I also use it to grease pans, muffins tins, cakes pans...I pour in a couple drips of olive oil then spread it all around with this brush, then chuck it in the dishwasher.  No more wasteful paper towels to spread the fat.

Have you tried baking your eggs in the oven, in silicon or cup cake tins?  They turn out perfect every time.  Keep your eye out for just how done you like them.  Doesn't take more than 10 minutes and during that time you can prep, clean or set the table.  My boys love these and also mini omelettes can be prepared to each person's taste, in minutes.

I am vertically challenged to a fault and recently stumbled across this little gem of an idea.  I use my silicone tongs to reach those high shelves.  I also have to put them back this way.  The silicone helps with slipping.  For the record, I haven't broken a thing yet!

Another way to use your tongs is to take the lids off of hot pots.  I use a killer gas stove.  It saves so much time.  You seriously can shave off at least 10 minutes of cooking time with a good stove and good pots and pans help, too.

I recently started making fresh soup. In the beginning it was kind of blah, but when I took the staff mixer to it, magic happened.  All of the flavours blended together perfectly and now my soup is dee-lish.  My boys also eat a lot more sleep when I make it this way.  They are not into chunks.

Another common kitchen tool I started using a lot more are spatulas.  Use small ones like this, to  get every drop or morsel out of containers and pots.  I started using the larger spatulas to clean out my pots, pans and dishes as well.  This way my dishwasher doesn't have to freak out over tiny pieces of food left on plates, pots and pans and I don't have to clean my dishwasher quite as much.

So those are a few tips that I've been using recently that have helped tremendously in the kitchen.  If you have some good ones, share them with us.

Thanks for checking out The Cherry!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Cherry On Top, The Pixel Loft And Free...

Hey there, Cherry Fans!

I've got another digital blog for you, today.

I'm blogging for The Pixel Loft now, too.  Today, I'm talking about how to use digital templates.  I've researched various software tutorials and have included them along with examples and in typical TCOT fashion, linked up the readers to several different, free templates.

I'll hook you up to some free downloadable products that you can use with your free templates to give it a try.  The tutorials last only a couple of minutes.  It's really, really easy.  If you can't find a tutorial with the software you use, then leave me a comment and I'll see if I can help with that.

The Cherry On Top is here to make you a happy scrapper with some mad skills.  Ha!

Here are the free templates I posted at The Pixel Loft.  Click on the image to get there.

 The Pixel Loft

 The Pixel Loft

If you're looking for some free goodies to use with these templates than check out The Cherry On Top's, Free Digi Scrap Stuff Board on Pinterest where you will find over 1,300 free goodies like this:




Check out a previous blog on how to get this, a couple more free goodies and earn an entire kit just for playing along.


Thank you for making The Cherry On Top be a part of your day.