Recipe

Valentine's Day Craft and Snack Ideas

Valentine's Day is right around the corner!  We love decorating and doing craft for Valentine's Day. I love keeping the crafts that my boys do and seeing each year their reaction when I bring out the previous years crafts. I like to display them and decorate with them We also enjoy doing fun food on Valentine's Day and it's amazing how the kids remember the little details. Here are a few ideas that you can do for some creative activities and recipes. 

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Softest Valentine's Day Playdoh (Cinnamon or Cherry)

Here is our go to recipe for the softest playdough ever! 

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  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 tsp of cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • food colouring or kool aid. For Valentine's Day we've used red food colouring and cinnamon extract or cherry kool aid. 

Mix flour and salt together. Add water, food colouring or kool-aid and oil. Knead well. If consistency is too wet add more flour and if too dry, add more water.

I went to the dollar store and bought some heart shaped cookie cutters. The boys loved creating hearts and making Valentine's Day notes in their play dough and we gave each other love hearts! So cute! 

Another idea is to make Stamped Heart Art with various items that you can use for stamping. 

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You can make just plain art or make cards for family members. 

Here's what you will need:

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  • Paper plates
  • Paint
  • Various items to use as stamps. I used a toilet paper roll taped to the shape of a heart, a potato, a sponge and a cookie cutter. You can also use corks, apples, stamps from the dollar store or foam heart shapes. 
  • Paper (I cut ours into a heart shape and then you can fold it in half for a heart shaped card!)

Simply place paint on the paper plates and have the child stamp the various pinks, reds and purples (Valentine's Day colours) onto the heart and let dry. Voila! 

The other thing I love doing for Valentine's Day is surprising my kids with a snack or breakfast for them as a sweet thing to do to tell them I love them! Here's a couple of ideas...

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Don't forget to check out our Valentine's Day boxes available now and SAVE 10% off with a $50 order or more on Single Boxes with code BOX10. Check them out HERE.  Here are the options for children ages 3-7: 

We also have an option for children 8+:

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Also, if you order before January 31, you can subscribe and get your first box in February with a Valentine's Day theme. Subscribe HERE

Healthy, Easy and Yummy in One Recipe?!

With the New Years resolutions that most I know make, most of us are trying to eat healthier and none of us have time to make the recipes we want to make. Also, let's face it, our husbands and kids don't like some of those recipes that we try that have all of those healthy items in it! 

I thought I would do a quick post of my favourite salad dressing recipe that is a fan favourite in our house! 

I thought I would share with you my home made salad dressing and some different ways to use it in a salad so it's not so boring. It is SO good!

Here's what you will need:

  • Equal part oil and balsamic vinegar (approximately 1/4 cup total)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp garlic 

That's it! Mix those ingredients together and there you have one delicious and easy salad dressing! I usually use mixed greens salad with this dressing.

Here's how I use it in salads, I usually take one item from each header:

Protein:

  • Chicken
  • Beef (usually I use beef tenderloin) 

Vegetables:

  • peppers
  • carrots
  • cucumbers
  • spinach added into my greens 

Nuts:

  • Cashews
  • Sliced Almonds
  • Walnuts

Fruit:

  • Craisins
  • Apples
  • Dried Cherries
  • Dried Apples 
  • Apple chunks
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

Cheese

  • Old Cheddar
  • Havarti
  • Blue Cheese
  • Goat's Cheese with Cranberries

The other thing I sometimes add is the onion strips or the tortilla strips. SO good! 

Just a reminder that this weekend only we are part of the Subscription Box Collective, the BIGGEST Subscription Box Sale ever! Find out more here. Subscribe to a 6 month or 12 month subscription with us and get 50% off your first month! BEST savings ever! Use code SBCWINTER18 and subscriber here

Easy to Make, Chewy Chocolate Chip Squares

This time of year is so busy and let's be honest, we don't have a ton of time to do hours and hours of baking. This year, my mom and I did our annual baking and I thought I would try a new recipe that turned out AMAZING! 

Chewy Chocolate Chip Squares

Here's what you need:

  • 1 (6 ounce) package Skor English toffee bits
  • 1 box of Ritz crackers 
  • 1 (14 fluid ounce) can Eagle Brand Condensed Milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips or pecans (for topping)

This recipe calls for you to make it in a small 8 or 9" glass pan, but I decided to make it on a cookie sheet and spread it out and was I ever glad I did! They turned out so chewy and gooey good! Here's how to make them:

  1. Crush the Ritz into fine crumbs and put in mixing bowl.
  2. Add 3/4 of the Skor bits and the can of Eagle Bran milk.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Spray cookie sheet with Pam. Spread mixture onto the cookie sheet.
  5. Cook at 350 degrees for 8 minutes (no more).
  6. Sprinkle the remaining Skor bits and whatever topping you choose (I used chocolate chips but not too many of them) 
Curiosity Box - Chewy Chocolate Chip Squares

7. Make sure you cool off completely before cutting into squares or they will fall apart.

They are SO yummy! Do you have a favourite recipe? Head on over to our Facebook page and let us know what it is. 

Also, there's still time to give the gift of curiosity and creativity with a Curiosity Box Subscription! Did you know that we are the leading Canadian Subscription Box Company that offers FREE shipping anywhere in Canada? We will also be adding a book subscription for children option! Stay tuned for more information. 

Reindeer Treats - Perfect for a Class or Christmas Party

Last year we made these adorable Christmas treats for my son's classroom! They were easy to make, the boys enjoyed helping and let's face it...they are simply adorable!

Here's what you will need:

  • Square Pretzels
  • Regular Pretzels
  • Rolo Candys
  • Red and Green Smarties (or M & M's)
  • Candy Eyes
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Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Lay out the square pretzels and place two roles on top of them. 

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Place them in the oven on broil and watch them as they get soft and melted just a LITTLE! Make sure you watch them and don't overcook them. Take them out of the oven.

Before they cool completely, place the normal pretzel on top of the rolos and push them down so as the chocolate hardens, it will hold the pretzel in place. Then push the Smartie down as well so it makes the reindeer's nose. 

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Next add the eyes but be sure not to push them down to hard or they will get covered in chocolate...speaking from experience on that one! ;) 

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These are perfect for a class party, a Christmas potluck, staff party's or the bus driver! Put them in a tin or a fun Christmas bag and they are super cute.  I can't wait to share with you what we have up our sleeves this year! 

Monkey'in Around

Here are some fun ideas on how to incorporate a full theme into your weekend fun and what better theme than monkeys?!

 
 

I thought it would be fun to have a full theme so that you can incorporate some crafting, games, a recipe and a printable!  

 
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Such a fun little craft to do on a rainy day!

Materials required:

  • - toilet paper tube
  • - brown paper
  • - beige paper
  • - yellow paper
  • - pipe cleaner
  • - glue
  • - scissors

 Here's how to make this cute little craft:
1.  Wrap the toilet paper roll in brown paper and glue. Cut out legs and arms in strips of brown paper. Accordion fold them. Glue them to the back of the body.
2. Cut out mouth, eyes, ears and tummy in beige paper.
Draw eyes, nostrils and mouth.
3. Cut out banana and glue to one hand.
4. Curl pipe cleaner and glue to the back of the body.

 
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Monkey Banana Bread Recipe

This is a family favourite with my little monkeys!
Items Required:

- 1 ¾ cup flour

- 2 tsp. baking powder

- ¼ tsp baking soda

- ½ tsp salt

- 1/3 cup butter

- 2/3 cup sugar

- 2 eggs (1 at a time)

- 1 1/2 cup bananas (4 bananas)

Combine dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix well. Mash bananas in another bowl. Combine butter, sugar, eggs with the bananas. Add dry mix. Mix well. Bake at 350 for 55-60mins.

Activity:

Monkey See, Monkey Do...Everything I do, You Do Too Activity!

This is a game for 3 or more players. But the more players you have, the more funny and exciting it is to play!

Here's how to play the game:

One player is the guesser, one is the monkey and the rest follow the monkey.

Decide which player will be the guesser. That player leaves the room.

Have the guesser leave the room. The remaining players then decide who will be the monkey.

The other players have to do whatever the monkey does. If she scratches her head, the rest of the players have to scratch their heads. The guesser tries to figure out who is the monkey. The monkey should try not to get caught changing the action. If the monkey gets caught, then she becomes the next guesser.

Here's another fun little acticity for your little one to enjoy! Click on the photo and download the file or right click on the photo and print! 

Elf Food and Elf Application

Another great way to incorporate the Elf on the Shelf is to make Elf Food! We made this last year and the boys loved it. We actually made it together and then watched our first Christmas movie! 

Items Required:

  • 1/2 c. popping corn
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 2.5 cups mini marshmallows
  • Green Food colouring
  • 1/2 Cup Mini Marshmallows
  • M&M Candies – Red
  • Cashews (if desired)

Pop the popcorn like normal. You can also use microwave popcorn.  Sprinkle salt as desired.

Melt butter in a saucepan (always use the stove with an adult!). Add 2 1/2 c mini marshmallows and allow to melt stirring frequently. Sir until they are melted. Add food colouring the mix. Slowly pour the mix over the popcorn. Stirring frequently. As you add more, it will become stickier, so add more mix slowly. Pour your popcorn onto a lined cookie sheet. 

Add marshmallows, m & m, cashews and any other desired snack food. Drizzle remaining mix over top (do not mix).  Allow to dry and enjoy your elf food!!

 

Another fun activity is to have your child fill out an "Elf Application"!

Just right click on the photo and print it. Have them fill it out and either give it to Santa at the Mall or give it to the elf to take it back to the north pole....no promises but it does teach fun lessons about "applying" for things! ;) 

 

Best Ever....Banana Crumble Muffins

Who doesn't love Banana muffins?! Not only are they a great snack but they are an easy school lunch option as well. I love making this recipe as mini muffins as the kids can't get enough!  Here is my recipe for Banana Crumble Muffins!

What you will need:

-1 1/2 cup All purpose flour

-1/3 cup Butter (salted or unsalted - also melted)

-1 tsp Baking Soda

-1 tsp Baking Powder

-1/2 tsp Salt

-2 Bananas Mashed

-3/4 Sugar

-1 egg lightly beaten

Streusel:

-1/3 cup brown Sugar

-2 tbsp flour

- 1/8 tablespoon

-1 tbsp butter

 

Instructions:

Mix Flour (1 1/2 cup), baking sod and baking powder and salt.

 

 

In another bowl mix bananas, sugar, egg and butter (melted).

 
 

Mix together.

 

Spoon into cups then mix streusel and sprinkle!

 

I promise you the kids will keep coming back for more!! Enjoy! :) 

 

Now, the key is to grab one,  make yourself a coffee and enjoy!!! 

Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas

If you're looking for a few dessert ideas for this weekend for Thanksgiving, these might tempt your taste buds! Check out my Thanksgiving/Halloween Trifle, Pumpkin Spice Muffins and my Infamous Apple Crisp!

 

Thanksgiving or Halloween Trifle:

This recipe is great for a Thanksgiving treat or it will also make a nice Halloween party dessert!

Here's what you will need:

  • box of chocolate cake mix (and all ingredient's required on the box for the cake mix)
  • package of chocolate pudding
  • 1 package of whipped cream
  • 1 package of Reese's Pieces
  • 1 package of mini Peanut Butter Cups  
 

This recipe look amazing when you have a big glass bowl or trifle bowl to display it in. Some people call it mud pie but I prefer using the word trifle!

1. First bake the boxed cake as directed on the box. Let cool

2. While waiting for the cake to cool, make the chocolate pudding.

3. Layer the cooled cake and the chocolate pudding into the glass bowl or the trifle bowl.

4. Add the cool whip on top.

5. Add the crushed peanut butter cups and the Reece's Pieces to the top of the cake for garnish. 

6. Dig in and enjoy!!    

 

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

One of my favourite things of the Fall season is pumpkin spice EVERYTHING! I am obsessed! I love muffins, lattes, Frappuccino's and this year I tried the Cheerios and I have to say I didn't mind them! This is one of my favourite and easy recipes to make.

 

Here's what you will need:

  • 1 package of spice cake mix
  • 1 can of pure pumpkin (not to be mistaken with pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 c. water
  • Cool whip (if desired)

Mix the spice cake mix, the pure pumpkin and the water together. Bake for approximately 17-18 minutes at the temperature directed on the cake box. Makes 36-40 mini muffins or 18-24 big muffins.  

 

y Infamous Apple Crisp

This is hands down my favourite and go to recipe that everyone asks me to make for any event! I LOVE making it as it's a super go to recipe that I usually have all of the ingredients kicking around my house!

 

Here's what you will need:

  • 4 medium apples, peeled and cored
  • 3/4 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 c. oats
  • 1 1/2 tsps. of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/2 c. of margarine softened

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spread the apples in a greased glass dish (I like using the small square one for this recipe and if I need to make a bigger one - 8.5x11 I would use 6 apples and double the crisp - I love the crisp part!).

Mix all ingredients with a fork in a bowl. Sprinkle over the apples. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool and enjoy with whip cream or vanilla ice cream!

YUM! Enjoy!! :)

Meal Planning and FREE Printable!

With the fall season almost here (my favourite!), back to school and routine, I thought what better time to get back into my meal planning. I LOVE planning out my weekly suppers and sitting down to figure out my grocery list each week (I can't be the only one, am I?!).  So I thought it would be great for me to share with you an easy way to plan your meals and help with your grocery list too! 

Each week I like to figure out what activities we have that week and plan our meals around them so that way we are not trying to figure out what to eat last minute. It's helpful because not only does it guide you for what to eat, but it also helps with your grocery shopping (and it saves you money by planning!). 

Here's what I like to do each week. I use this menu plan (I prefer lines but we have both of them for you as an option so you can choose!) and I plan out our week. I write at the top what activities we have that week so I know if we are going to be rushed and need a quick dinner idea (like this week our boys have skating on Wednesday and then we have a birthday party for our oldest on Saturday).  

My grocery list is on the pink sticky note (I know there are apps for this, but personally I prefer to write everything down and take my sticky note with me...call me old fashioned I know!). With my grocery list, I transfer over anything at the bottom of the planner and then I have areas of the grocery store - fruits, veggies, meats and then everything else in the middle of the store :)

With the meal planner, what you can do is write the meal at the top of the list and then in the middle, write what ingredients it needs. If it's an easier meal like pork chops and rice, obviously you wouldn't need to write out the ingredients. However if it's a more difficult menu item like lasagna, then you can write everything out that you need for that recipe. Then at the bottom, there is a handy section for what needs to go on your grocery list (this is where you check your pantry and fridge first to see what items you have). Then transfer over your grocery list items to your grocery list. 

I also thought it would be helpful for you to give you some supper and meal plan ideas!! Here are a few of our favourites (NOTE: I will be blog posting some of these in the next couple of months...if you have a preference, leave a comment or email me at cassie@curiositybox.ca). 

Meal Plan Ideas:

  • Lasagna
  • Pork Tenderloin with mashed potatoes
  • Pork Chops with rice and a veggie
  • Chicken Fajitas
  • Tacos (chicken or beef or fish)
  • Nachos (beef or chicken)
  • Quesadilla 
  • Spaghetti with garlic toast and caesar salad
  • Chicken Alfredo Pasta (LOVE THIS ONE!!) 
  • Stuffed Chicken with mini potatoes and bbq'd veggies
  • Meat loaf and scalloped potatoes and cauliflower
  • Sheppards' Pie
  • Chili
  • Chicken or beef kabobs
  • Hamburgers with home made french fries
  • Homemade macaroni and cheese with salad
  • Homemade pizzas
  • Taco Salad - find the recipe HERE
  • Meatballs with rice or meatball subs
  • Chicken Enchiladas 
  • Cabbage Rolls
  • Pork Chops with rice and corn

I love trying new recipes too so I will be sure to post some more soon!

So here is the FREE Printable that you can click on and print. As I said before, there is a version with lines and a version without.

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Meal Planner Lines

Happy meal planning :) 

Biggest Bubbles Ever!

Today we had fun with our favourite recipe of the biggest bubbles ever! If you are looking for a fun activity to do with the kids on a nice day, these bubbles are super fun! Check out our live Facebook video HERE or enjoy the photos below :) 

Here's what you need for the bubble recipe:

  • 6 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of blue dawn dish detergent
  • 1/2 cup of corn starch
  • 1 tbsp of baking powder (not baking soda!!)
  • 1 tbsp of glycerine (we bought ours at Michael's craft store in the cake department)

Mix the water and the corn starch together first, mixing really well. Then add all of the other ingredients. We find it best to let it sit for at least 45 minutes to an hour first before using the mixture. 

For the wand, you will need to wooden sticks, 2 eyelet screws and some cotton rope. Screw in the eyelet screws at the end of the sticks. Tie the cotton rope through the eyelet screws and tie a know to make a full circle. Then dip your cotton rope into the mixture and pull the sticks out together slowly. It is best to do this on a non-windy day. Then pull the sticks apart. 

 

I've also seen the wand sticks at the dollar store, but not sure how they work...

We have made different size sticks so that the bubbles are made differently and the kids can also enjoy the bubbles too! 

Once you get the hang of it, the next challenge is to pull the sticks apart and then bring them back together so that you can make the bubble close off and leave the wand. Seriously, we can play with these bubbles for hours at a time!

We hope you enjoy this fun activity! If you get around to making the recipe and are successful with the bubbles, we would love to see your pictures and share them for our "Curious Crafters of the Week" post...please email me at cassie@curiositybox.ca with any feedback or your photos!

Have fun and happy weekend!! :)