First Day of School Traditions

The first day of school is a time of excitement, stress and tons of new experiences. It’s a time full of high emotions, but also a time for making memories! In our opinion, the best memories usually revolve around family traditions.

We collected 5 of our favourite ‘First Day of School’ traditions from around the web, to give you some ideas for this year!

1. Photo on the first day of a new school year

Perhaps one of the most popular First Day of School Traditions – taking a photo of your child on the first day! We love the idea of putting all the photos into a scrapbook as a keepsake for when they are older. These cute year-by-year printables from DesignsByNicolina are not only adorable, they help you keep each year photo organized and in order.

First Day of School Traditions 1

http://designsbynicolina.blogspot.ca/2013/08/free-first-day-of-school-download.html

Find the year-by-year printables at DesignsByNicolina.

2. Shop for ‘Study Buddies’

We love this idea for the little ones! What makes homework more fun? Having a partner to work with, of course! One fun idea is to bring each child on a shopping trip to buy a new stuffed animal ‘Study Buddy’. Not only is homework more fun with your study buddy, it adds a feeling of comfort to children during times of transition and change.

First Day of School Traditions 22

3. First day of School Interview Page

School is all about growth and change, but sometimes we blink and the change and growth happens far too fast! A great way to document changes is to start with this Free School Interview Page printable. Get your child to fill it out every year, and then put them all together or in a time capsule. Keep those memories forever!

First Day of School Traditions 3

Find the Free School Interview Page printable at Giggles Galore.

4. A Sweet Treat

A long hard day of school deserves a sweet treat after school! Surprise them with some Christy’s Crunch, and a pun-ny tag – “Let the Number CRUNCHing Begin”!

First Day of School Traditions 4

5. Fashion Show

Everyone knows that one of the best parts about Back to School is getting a couple new outfits for the year! On ‘School Year’s Eve’, why not have a kids fashion show? Roll out the red carpet and let them show off their new outfits. What a confidence booster for the first day!

Do you have any First Day of School Traditions? Please share them with us in the comments below!

 

Salted Caramel Chocolate Vanilla Bean Milkshake

For the past few weeks, we noticed everyone posting online about a Canberra, Australia, cafe’s milk shakes. We have seen the photos (we’re sure you have too) and we can understand why everyone is so captivated. These milkshakes look decadent and over-the-top amazing!

Patissez Canberra Milkshake

Patissez / Facebook / Via Facebook: patissez.pty.ltd

We wish we could try them….if only they weren’t so far.

Unfortunately, we can’t make it out to Australia anytime soon – so we settled for the next best thing…making a delicious, sweet & messy milkshake at home!

See below for the recipe:

Salted Caramel Chocolate Milkshake Recipe

Salted Caramel Chocolate Vanilla Bean Milkshake 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Container Christy’s Salted Caramel Sauce
  • 2 cups Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
  • 1 cup 1% Milk
  • Whipped Cream for topping
  • 1 Package of Christy’s Salted Caramel Chocolates
  • 1 Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookie – broken into pieces

How To:

  1. In a blender, blend together the Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and the Milk until it’s frothy and totally mixed together.
  2. In the meantime, take the top off the Salted Caramel Sauce and microwave it until it’s liquid-y (about 30-40 seconds), stirring half way through.
  3. Take a large mason jar, fill the bottom and the sides with the warm Salted Caramel Sauce.
  4. Pour the ice cream/milk mixture from the blender into the mason jar, covering the salted caramel sauce.
  5. Top the milk shake with a big spiral of whipped cream.
  6. Place pieces of Salted Caramel Chocolate into the whipped cream.
  7. Crumble the Vanilla Bean Sugar cookie pieces overtop of the whipped cream.
  8. Top with any leftover Salted Caramel Sauce or Chocolate Syrup.
  9. Enjoy!

Easiest Ice Cream Cake

Entertaining is fun but sometimes the party preparation can be exhausting!

No worries – we are here to help with your party dessert preparations. We came up with this quick and super easy ice cream cake which is sure to be a crowd pleaser. It’s literally the easiest cake you will ever make! Now you can spend more time socializing and less time slaving in the kitchen!Ice Cream Cake – Picture 1 Edit – Christy’s Gourmet Gifts

Check out the how-to below:

What you will need:

  • 1 Ice Cream Brick (I used 2 for a lot of visitors)
  • Christy’s Crunch “Ice Cream Topping” – $5 in-store
  • Chocolate Syrup

Ice Cream Cake - Picture 2 - Christy's Gourmet GiftsHow To:

  • Remove ice cream brick from paper wrapping and place on a cookie sheet.
  • Pour Christy’s Crunch crumbs all over cake covering top and sides. This can get quite messy (the cookie tray will catch your crumbs).
  • Use a spatula and your hands to carefully lift the ice cream block off of the cookie tray and place onto a nice serving tray.
  • Drizzle with chocolate syrup.
  • Serve and enjoy. :)

Ice Cream Cake - Picture 3 - Christy's Gourmet Gifts

A Spooky Halloween Party

BOO!

Are you excited for Halloween? We know we are! We get super excited this time of year because we know immediately following Halloween our “Chocolate Season” begins!!

This year we decided to play around with the idea of planning our own Halloween party.

We chose to do a Halloween party that was family-friendly… something the kids would have fun at, but the parents would appreciate and enjoy.

Here are some of our Spooky Halloween Party ideas:

Decor:

It’s entirely up to you how you would like to theme your decor. If you want to do a brighter, livelier decor for the kids, stick with colours like orange, greens, purples etc. For a more adult-theme, a rustic-spooky and woodsy decor style is what you could aim for.

- Balloons with Jack o Lantern Faces

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Halloween Party Theme Blog | Pic 1 Jack o Lanterns

Retrieved from http://www.marthastewart.com/273329/pumpkin-balloons?czone=holiday%2Fhalloween-center%2Fhalloween-center-decor&gallery=275513&slide=273329&center=276965

- Spooky Lush Halloween Decor

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Halloween Party Theme Blog | Pic 2 Spooky Lush Decor

Retrieved from http://www.cocokelley.com/

- For a Backyard Halloween Party try Paper Lanterns in your colour theme.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Halloween Party Theme Blog | Pic 3 Paper Lanterns

Retrieved from http://www.ontobaby.com/

Food:

For the kids: have fun with the food! That’s what Halloween is all about. Make regular food a bit creepy or funny, such as the apple mouths below. For the adults, stick with something that embodies the harvest season, such as our *Limited Time* Pumpkin Spice Craft Beer Brittle

- Christy’s Gourmet Gifts’ Pumpkin Spice Craft Beer Brittle

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Halloween Party Theme Blog | Pic 4 Pumpkin Spice Beer Brittle- Scary Apple Mouths (Apples, Marshmallows and Peanut Butter)

Cover one side of an apple slice with a light coating of peanut butter, line up mini marshmallows on top of the peanut butter, top with another apple slice covered in peanut butter (face down).

Christy’s Gourmet Gifts | Halloween Party Theme Blog | Pic 12 Apple Marshmallow Mouths

Retrieved from Family.go.com

Favours

Christy’s has you covered on the party favours! Why not try our Chocolated-dipped Oreos or Fudgeos? We also offer a “Mummy Marshmallow” which is spooky (and tasty!) in the best sort of way.

- Christy’s Gourmet Gifts’ Chocolate Dipped Oreos and Fudgeos

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Halloween Party Theme Blog | Pic 7 Oreo Cookie Dipped- Christy’s Gourmet Gifts’ Mummy Marshmallows

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Halloween Party Theme Blog | Pic 8 Marshmallow MummyExtras

What makes a party a great one? A great party is created when you plan all of those little details before-hand. That’s the stuff that people remember! Try these “extras” to make your party a hit with your guests.

- Ghostly frozen hand in the punch

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Halloween Party Theme Blog | Pic 9 Frozen Hand

Retrieved from http://www.vitamin-ha.com/halloween-party-food-16-pics/halloween-party-food-14/

- Skeletal inspired milk bottle with sign “Good for the Bones”:

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Halloween Party Theme Blog | Pic 10 Good For the Bones

Retrieved from http://www.loraleelewis.com/blog/?p=17443

- Pumpkin bowl for an ice bucket

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Halloween Party Theme Blog | Pic 11 Pumpkin Bowl Ice Bucket

Retrieved from http://www.vitamin-ha.com/halloween-party-food-16-pics/halloween-party-food-04/

And that’s it! The Halloween party planning is complete and the guests are in for a great time.

Happy Halloween!  Do you have plans for Halloween? What will you dress up as?

Apple Hand-Pies Recipe made with Greaves Apple Jelly

Fall has finally arrived! For many people, getting geared up for Fall means going Apple Picking and that is exactly how we spent our first day of Fall! We grabbed our rubber boots and headed out to Carluke Orchards. The weather was cool with a slight wind, but it was sunny and once we were bundled up it was a perfect Autumn Apple-Picking day.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Apple Hand-Pie Recipe made with Greaves Jam | Pic BWe managed to pick one full basket of Apples of a few different types – and let us just tell you that it was NOT slim-pickings at Carluke. WOW! We could’ve got a full basket just on one tree.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Apple Hand-Pie Recipe made with Greaves Jam | Pic AWith all those apples, of course we had to do some delicious Autumn baking. Given that we are heading up to the Apple Harvest Craft show next weekend in Meaford, we thought the fresh smell of apple pie would get us in the “harvest spirit”. We decided to get extra creative and baked some Apple Hand-Pies (we did ours on a stick) made with Greaves Jams & Marmalades* Pure Apple Jelly. We loved the outcome and thought we would share this yummy recipe:

Here’s the delicious recipe:

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Apple Hand-Pie Recipe made with Greaves Jam | Pic 8

Apple Hand-Pies made with Greaves Pure Apple Jelly

(Makes enough for about 4 Hand-pies)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Chilled Butter
  • 1 1/3 cups All Purpose Flour
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ¼ cup Ice water
  • 4 Large Apples (We used Cortland)
  • 1 ½ cup Water
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 jar Greaves Pure Apple Jelly
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Milk
  • Sprinkling of Sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Apple Hand-Pie Recipe made with Greaves Jam | Pic 1Dice butter into cubes. Place in a bowl and then place in the fridge or freezer.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Apple Hand-Pie Recipe made with Greaves Jam | Pic 2Place flour in a large mixing bowl with salt.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Apple Hand-Pie Recipe made with Greaves Jam | Pic 3Cut in Butter until mixture becomes coarse crumbs. Slowly add ice water, one tbsp at a time, mixing until the dough becomes a ball. Roll the ball up with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Let chill for 3 hours or more.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Apple Hand-Pie Recipe made with Greaves Jam | Pic 4Prep your apples. Peel and core apples, and chop into small cubes.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Apple Hand-Pie Recipe made with Greaves Jam | Pic 5Add the 1 ½ cup water to a pot. Bring to a boil and add the sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir continuously until mixture comes to a boil.

Place the apples in the pot. Bring down the heat, cover and simmer on low for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir and let cool. Drain.

Cover a cutting board or smooth, clean surface with a dusting of flour. Take the dough out of the fridge. Roll the dough ball out until it is quite thin.

Using a cookie cutter, cut a few shapes out of the dough. Bring leftover dough together, roll out, and continue the cookie cutter process. Continue doing this until you can no longer get any more cookie cutters to fit on the dough.

Place half the cookie cutter shapes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

*Optional* Add a bake-safe stick to the bottom half of the pie. Press it in about ½ way up.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Apple Hand-Pie Recipe made with Greaves Jam | Pic 6Place a dollop (1 tsp) of Greaves Apple Jelly to each shape of dough.

Cover the Apple Jelly with the cooled, cooked apples. (Don’t overfill as you will have trouble getting the sides to close!)

Place the leftover dough shapes on-top of the others. Press around the edge with your finger to begin with, then use a fork to seal the edges shut.

Cut a small X shape in the top of the hand-pies to let any steam escape in the baking process.

Mix together egg and milk. Brush onto the tops of the Hand-Pies to give a nice glaze. Sprinkle with sugar (Mmm sugar…).

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Apple Hand-Pie Recipe made with Greaves Jam | Pic 7Bake until golden and cooked through (around 25-35 minutes).

Enjoy! Happy Fall!

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Apple Hand-Pie Recipe made with Greaves Jam | Pic 8 *Greaves Jams and Marmalades, in Niagara-on-the-Lake, is one of our newest Christy’s Sweets retailers.

Breakfasts in September – Quick & Easy Recipe

With the return of September, many Moms and Dads are beginning to think about quick and easy breakfasts to make for the kids. One of our favourite speedy and simple breakfasts is definitely oatmeal. As a special back-to-school treat, we decided to “spice up” our oatmeal with a special topper of Christy’s Crunch! We crumbled White Chocolate Cranberry Crunch overtop our maple and brown sugar oatmeal and boy was it ever good. The toffee and white chocolate melted slightly, which meant that even after we had eaten the Crunch up– the delicious flavour lingered on.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts - Quick and Easy Recipes for September - Back to School - Oatmeal TopperNow, we know this may not be a breakfast you’d want to serve your kids everyday… but it’s perfect for a special treat to beat the back-to-school blues. Try serving it with some yummy berries on the side for a more wholesome meal.

Some of our other favourite oatmeal toppings (perhaps more Mom-approved options) include:

  • Jams or Jellies
  • Yogurt
  • Sliced fresh fruit -  apples, bananas or berries
  • Dried fruit – apricots, mango, pineapple etc.

What are your favourite toppings for oatmeal OR your favourite easy breakfast recipes for the kids? How are you planning to beat the back-to-school blues?

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Everyday leading up to Cinco de Mayo we have had a special party tip, to make your themed party a blast. Check through all our latest blog posts to give your guests, or your family, a festive Cinco de Mayo!

Todays Party Tip Number 1: A Mexican Main!

Show your guests you can really get into the festive spirit by preparing this delicious main, which is one of the most representative dishes of Mexico – Chicken Mole Poblano! Reportedly, Chicken Mole Poblano is so popular, it’s been said that ninety-nine percent of Mexicans have tried at least one type of mole. (Wikipedia.) Spicy and sweet at the same time, with an addition of CHOCOLATE?! What more could you ask for in a meal?

If you have quite a lot of guests, rather than have a sit down meal.. you could serve this meal in tiny bowls with small spoons. That way, it’s still ‘appetizer’ style!

Chicken Mole Poblano recipe

Christy's Gourmet Gifts Cinco de Mayo Chicken Mole Poblano Chocolate Sauce Recipe

What you will need:

  • 4 dried pasilla peppers (stems and seeds removed)
  • 4 dried New Mexico chilies (stems and seeds removed)
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 medium tomatoes (peeled and seeds removed, chopped)
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • ½ cup almonds
  • ½ corn tortilla (ripped into pieces)
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • Water
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate square (or more, to taste)
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into bite sizes pieces)

How to: In a blender or food processor, mix together pasilla peppers, chilies, onion, garlic, tomatoes, 1 tbsp sesame seeds (the rest will be for garnish), almonds, tortilla, raisins, cloves, cinnamon and coriander. Add a small amount of water while it’s pureeing to be sure you finish with a smooth sauce. Heat 3 tbsp vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry the sauce for 10 minutes, stirring often. Mix in the chicken broth and chocolate square. Bring down the heat to very low and cook the sauce for 45 minutes. When done, the sauce should be very thick. While the sauce is simmering, in a separate stir fry pan, drizzle the remaining 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Heat over medium high heat and place bite sized chicken pieces in to the stir fry pan. Stir fry until completely browned and cooked through. Serve chicken over white rice, cover with mole sauce and sprinkle with remaining sesame seeds.

Today’s Party Tip 2: Fresh Dessert!

You can use whatever fruit you have on-hand. Citrus fruits and tree fruits work best, such as oranges, nectarines, peaches etc.

Sangria Fruit Salad Recipe

Christy's Gourmet Gifts Cinco de Mayo Sangria Fruit Salad Recipe with White Wine

What you will need:

For the Fruit Salad:

  • Kiwis, cut into bite sized pieces
  • Nectarines, cut into bite sized pieces
  • Grapes (green, purple) , cut into bite sized pieces
  • Figs, cut into bite sized pieces
  • Apples, cut into bite sized pieces
  • Oranges, cut into bite sized pieces
  • Peaches, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 Package Christy’s Gourmet Gifts Chardonnay Wine Brittle, broken into small pieces
  • Sugar for sprinkling

For the Dressing

  • 1/3 white wine
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp honey

How to: Mix all of your cut pieces of fruit in a large bowl. Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients, in a separate bowl. Pour the mixture over top of the fruit in the bowl. Sprinkle a bit of sugar, and the Chardonnay Wine Brittle pieces over your fruit salad. Serve with small bowls and spoons.

Dressing recipe is an adaptation from: Real Simple White Wine Vinaigrette

Have a great Cinco de Mayo party! 

Happy International Earth Day!

“Celebrated every April 22, Earth Day is the largest, most celebrated environmental event worldwide. More than 6 million Canadians join 1 billion people in over 170 countries in staging events and projects to address local environmental issues. Nearly every school child in Canada takes part in an Earth Day activity.” http://www.earthday.ca/pub/about/history.php

How have you made a difference in the community or raised awareness for environmental issues? We registered a Christy’s Gourmet Gifts clean-up team for Pitch-In Canada. Check out Bernie, our master chocolatier, at the clean-up day this weekend…doing his part to help out!

Bernie the Master Chocolatier at Christy's Gourmet GiftsIn addition to doing your part in the community, you can educate and celebrate Earth Day with the kids with this easy ‘Mud Pie Mini Trifle’.

What you will need:

  • Oreo cookie crumbs & Vanilla pudding (equal parts)
  • Gummy worms
  • Christy’s Crunch (optional)

How To:

  1.  Layer 1/3 of your Oreo cookie crumbs on the bottom of a see-through bowl or cup. Try to pack it down slightly, so that you have an even surface.
  2. Cover with half the amount of vanilla pudding, evenly, covering the whole surface of “dirt”.
  3. Take another 1/3 of the Oreo cookie crumbs and evenly cover over the pudding.
  4. Finish off the pudding with another full layer.
  5. Complete the mini trifle with the final 1/3 of the Oreo cookie crumbs.
  6. Put gummy worms on top or push them slightly into the Oreo cookie crumbs.

Additional! If you want to add an extra special pizzazz to your recipe, add some broken up Christy’s Crunch to the Oreo cookie layer.
Christy's Gourmet Gifts - Mini Mud Pie Trifle - Recipe with the Kids for Earth DayYum!

Do you have any great Earth Day recipes, or have you seen some online you would like to try? Please share them with us! We’d love to hear from you!

Canada Day – Canada Marshmallow Fruit Wands Recipe

 Christy's Gourmet Gifts - Canada Day Marshmallow Fruit Wands Recipe Card
Happy Canada Day! Hope you are all enjoying the Sweet Life!We have a recipe we want to share that is a healthy, easy and affordable treat you can make with the whole family to show your patriotic pride for our great country! We are so lucky to live in such a great, free country. Our delicious Canada Marshmallow Fruit Wands (pictured above) are sure to be a hit!
Christy's Gourmet Gifts - Eh! Canada Day CookieAlso, make sure you check us out on Pinterest, for more recipes, decoration ideas and fun family ideas for the holiday. http://pinterest.com/christyssweetsWe want to know, how are you celebrating this beautiful long weekend? Let us know what recipes or fun things you did this long weekend to celebrate in the comments!
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Christy's Gourmet Gifts - Canada Day Marshmallow Fruit Wands Recipe Card