Barbecue with Tre Stelle

The time for outdoor entertaining, family get-togethers and barbecues has arrived! Sometimes it seems slow in coming, but who can help but feel that sense of anticipation as the days get longer?

No matter what the occasion – whether it’s a dinner for two under the stars or a sun-drenched brunch in the garden – there can be no question that the barbecue will always play a starring role in our summers. It’s the perfect opportunity for get togethers.

The great thing about barbecues is that simple, laid-back, no-fuss atmosphere that allows us to spend time with our guests without having to run off to check something in the oven or put the finishing touches on fancy plating. It’s so nice to be able to keep things simple where we can quickly throw together a variety of unexpected hot dishes, even if you aren’t an expert in the kitchen or a great fan of cooking! There’s no excuse not to give it a try – in fact, some people who never set foot in front of the stove turn into avid chefs in the summer, thanks to the barbecue.

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Beyond the traditional meat, fish and vegetable dishes, you can experiment with recipes that are more elaborate and creative, but still not difficult. So, it’s time to venture into new culinary territory, surprise our taste-buds, swap in some new ingredients, and put a new twist on old favourites. Remember: it often only takes one little addition to make a huge difference, in both taste and presentation.

Keep in mind that most ingredients are perfect for the barbecue, from appies to desserts. Play around with your favourite flavours, choose seasonal fruits and vegetables to add cheerful accents of colour to your menu and turn delicious summer soups into unforgettable experiences.

Time to whet our appetites!

Here are 3 original recipes perfect for the barbecue.

  1. Greek salad with Grilled Feta
  2. Polenta, Prosciutto and Mozzarella Kebabs
  3. Grilled Strawberries with Mascarpone Cream

 

Greek salad with Grilled Tre Stelle® Feta

12-15 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 large English cucumber, finely sliced

¼ red onion, finely chopped

3 tbsp. Kalamata olives

1 tub Tre Stelle® Feta

Olive oil

Salt and oregano to taste

 

Season a piece of Feta Cheese with 2 generous tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of oregano, then wrap the cheese in foil and cook it on the barbecue for 2-3 minutes on either side;  In the meantime, put the tomatoes, cucumber, onion and olives on a platter and season them with a few spoonfuls of olive oil, a pinch of salt and oregano to taste;

Place the unwrapped barbecued Feta with its seasoning on top of the vegetable salad, using two spoons as the cheese will be quite soft.

Serve immediately. 4 servings

 

Polenta, Prosciutto and Tre Stelle® Bocconcini min mini Kebabs

250 mL of water

5 heaped tablespoons of quick-cooking polenta

4-5 thin slices of prosciutto

Tre Stelle® Bocconcini mini mini

A few fresh mint leaves

Salt, olive oil

 

Bring the water to a boil in a pot and add a pinch of salt;

Lower the heat and sprinkle in the polenta, stirring with a whisk;

Let it cook for 5 to 6 minutes, adding a few more drops of water if necessary;

Pour it into an oiled baking pan: you want it to be quite thick. Allow it to cool completely;

As soon as the polenta has cooled and set, cut it into squares;

Brush the squares with oil and put them on the barbecue for about 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side; assemble the kebabs with a mint leaf, a ball of Bocconcini, half a slice of prosciutto and two pieces of grilled polenta.

Serve the kebabs or, if you are preparing them in advance, keep them in the refrigerator. 4 servings

 

Grilled strawberries with Tre Stelle® Mascarpone Cream

3 eggs

6-7 tbsp. of sugar

250 g Tre Stelle mascarpone

A few drops of lemon juice

12-16 strawberries (depending on the size of the berries)

 

Separate the egg whites and yolks into two bowls; Add 3 heaping tablespoons of sugar to the egg yolks and beat until you get a frothy, uniform, pale yellow cream. Set aside;

Gently fold the mascarpone into the egg yolk and sugar mixture;

Add the lemon juice to the egg whites and, using a hand mixer, beat them until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture, taking care to keep it light and airy; Cover the mascarpone cream with plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it; Coat the strawberries with the remaining sugar, put them on skewers and grill them on the barbecue for about 1 minute on either side; Serve the strawberry skewers with the mascarpone cream. 4 servings

 

Tre Stelle Cheese and Chili

Tre Stelle Cheese containers and ChilliIt’s still winter, which means we want easy, fast, comforting meals. The kind of meals that make us feel cozy. Meals that taste even better the next day, so we don’t have to cook twice, and are great for a crowd. We often travel in packs in the winter, moving from skating rink, to hockey arena, to tobogganing hill.  And then we want to reward ourselves for braving the cold, with hot food.  So to this I say, chili!  Even if it weren’t winter, but say, just a super chilly day, chili is still the answer!

Chili is one of those meals that inspires individuality and personality.  It can be as simple or as complex as we want.  After developing the basic skills to bring various veggies, legumes, spices and perhaps meat together confidently, we aren’t worried about the numbers: how many carrots, how much garlic, how much meat, etc.  We get a ‘feel’ for what we want the finished chili to taste like.  Perhaps our heritage will influence our choice of ingredients.  So we forgo everything that we’ve been told and put our own spin on it.  So truly, a simple pot of chili becomes a delicious expression of our skills, our heritage, and our creativity.

Tre Stelle Cheese and Chilli

I’m putting my own spin on a standard chili recipe that will feed eight. With a few changes, we can make an Italian, Spanish, or even Moroccan inspired chili.  I’m heading to Spain with the recipe below.  I really wanted to develop a recipe that allows for vegetarian options. While I use a fresh sausage for the protein, you can totally omit and just increase the beans and veggies for a vegetarian option.

And even better, while the chili is bubbling away, we get to think about the toppings. There are the obvious ones: chopped avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, but how about shaking it up with something new?  I’m thinking of Tre Stelle® Ricotta blended with Italian herbs and roasted red peppers, spread on ciabatta and grilled for an Italian crostini topped chili.  Or perhaps crumbling Tre Stelle® Feta and tossing it with ground almonds, pistachios, fresh mint leaves and spices for a Moroccan twist.  For my Spanish inspired chili, take Tre Stelle® Bocconcini balls, wrap them with serano ham and olives for a delicious tapas version!

If you’re feeling especially ambitious, prepare all three of these fantastic toppings and lay out a chili bar for your guests to crown their chili bowls.

All of these toppings will work with any version of chili you choose to create. Enjoy!

Love Jen.

 

Tre Stelle Cheese and Chilli

Spanish Chili with Three Tre Stelle Toppings

Ingredients:

Spanish Chili

3 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, diced

5 cloves of garlic, minced

4 fresh chorizo sausages, from the butcher, casings removed

1 tbsp chilli powder

1 tbsp dried rosemary

2 tsp dried thyme

2 tsp espelette pepper

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp sweet paprika

2 large carrots, cut into 1/2 inch quarters

2 large sweet red pepper, seeded and diced into 1/2 pieces

2 large celery sticks, sliced into 1/2 pieces

2 28 oz (796 ml) cans of diced or crushed tomatoes

1 14-19 oz (400-540 ml) white beans or romano, drained and rinsed

2 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/2 inch slices

fresh parsley to garnish

Tre Stelle Ricotta Italian topping

Italian Ricotta Ciabatta Crostini

8 slices of ciabatta loaf

2 tbsp olive oil

3/4 cup Tre Stelle Smooth Ricotta Cheese

3 tbsp chopped roasted red pepper

2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Tre Stelle Bocconcini Spanish Tapas topping

Spanish Bocconcini Ball topping

16 Tre Stelle Bocconcini balls, drained well

8-16 slices of Serrano Ham, (if large, can slice 8 slices in half lengthwise)

16 Spanish style or Greek pitted olives

Espellete pepper

kosher salt and cracked pepper

olive oil for drizzling

16 cocktail skewers

Tre Stelle Feta Moroccan topping

Moroccan Feta Crumble topping

1/4 cup pistachios

1/4 cup almonds

3/4 cup Tre Stelle Feta cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1/4- 1/2 tsp harissa powder

kosher salt and cracked pepper

 

Directions:

Chili
Sauté the onions and garlic in a large dutch oven or pot over medium heat, until just turning translucent, about 3 minutes.

Remove the meat from the sausage casings and add to the pot. Raise the heat to medium high. Using a cooking spoon, break up the meat until small and crumbly, no longer pink but rather turning crispy, about 7-8 minutes.

Add the spices and stir to coat well.

Add the carrots, peppers and celery, and cook till just starting to soften, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and all juice and bring to a low boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover slightly with the lid.  Let it simmer for about 30 minutes, till veggies are almost tender.

Add the can of beans.  Continue to simmer another 10 minutes.

Add the zucchini pieces and simmer another 5-10 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper, and re-season with any of the spices or herbs you’d like to taste more of!

Garnish with the fresh parsley.

Serve with a medley of toppings, including one of the toppings I’ve created below

 

Italian Ricotta Ciabatta Crostini topping

Preheat the oven to 375F, set rack in the middle.

Lay out the ciabatta slices on a baking sheet and lightly brush with olive oil

Toast in the oven, till golden brown.

Combine the rest of the ingredients together and spread evenly on each slice of bread.

Return to the oven and set it to broil.  Broil for about 5 minutes, till spread is warmed through.

Drizzle with a touch more olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

 

Moroccan Feta Crumble topping

Spread the pistachios and almonds in a cast iron skillet or other sturdy skillet.  Toast over medium heat till just warming and turning golden.  Watch them, they shouldn’t take too long.  Allow to cool and then chop.  Aim for a smaller size rather than too rough.

Crumble the Feta cheese into a medium sized bowl.  Make sure the crumble is is pretty uniform in size.

Add the chopped nuts, as well as the mint.  Stir to combine well.

Season with harissa and salt and pepper to taste.

 

Spanish Tapas Bocconcini ball topping

Take one slice of Serrano Ham (it should be around 5 inches long and 1inch wide) and guide one end onto a cocktail skewer.

Add one bocconcini ball.

Wrap the ham around the ball and skewer it again, to capture the cheese inside the ham.

Add an olive onto the skewer.  Wrap the ham around the olive, thus trapping it on the skewer as well.

Repeat with the remaining 15 skewers.

Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with peppers and salt as desired

 

Making plans for a colourful March Break

Life with kids is full of colour – whether that’s the crayons you find under the couch or the active days of imagination and laughter. And that seems to double during March Break. It’s always good to plan for some downtime and some activities to keep the kids busy. And usually, I find myself gravitating towards the kitchen for these projects. My thought is this: if we’re getting our hands messy, it might as well be for something to eat or leftovers to prep for the freezer. Here’s some ideas to try this March Break:

 

Creative Ricotta Toasts

Break out of a breakfast rut by making a colourful topping bar for toasts. Swap out nut butters or chocolate spreads for Tre Stelle Ricotta packed with protein to ensure the kids get some wholesome calcium with breakfast and then have them top the toast with nutrient-rich veggies or fruits. Make the toasts savoury: top the Ricotta with avocado, bacon, tomatoes or other colourful veggies. Or go sweet: mix the Ricotta with a teaspoon of sugar (or drizzle with honey) and top with plums, strawberries or even bananas. Let the kids go wild mixing flavours and colours, making designs and getting excited about their creations.

 

Freezer-ready DIY Pizza Pockets

Get ready for a few splatters on the kitchen table! Store-bought pizza dough is a great way to easily create calzones, a type of hand pie, full of pizza goodness (in other words a homemade pizza pocket!) Kids can roll out the dough in small circles and then choose their sauce and cheeses. Let them pick from colourful toppings like pesto, tomato or even romesco sauce. Chop up some vibrant veggies like peppers and broccoli. And finally, offer a range of cheeses to finish their creations: Tre Stelle Bocconcini, Mozzarella and Feta make great choices. Fold the small pizzas in half, sealing the edges with a little water and pinching it with a fork. Place the calzones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until golden brown. These “pizza pockets” are great to eat while watching movies on the couch and easy to freeze for lunches when the kids get back to class. So go ahead and make too many!

 

Mascarpone Truffles

A delicious activity everyone will love! Melt chocolate with cream, stir in cookie or cereal crumbs and Tre Stelle Mascarpone until you have a thick consistency that’s ready to roll. What I love about this recipe is that every step is pretty much kid-friendly. They can stir the chocolate safely on a double boiler, watching the change as the ingredients melt and meld. They can crush cookies, or even cereal “o”’s, with their hands (I like placing them in a sealable bag and then let them bash at it with a wooden spoon or the back of a cup measure). They can stir together the ingredients and then get rolling. Amp up the fun with different decorating sprinkles and even package them up to give as gifts to friends or teachers as they return to school. This colourful recipe truly reflects the laughs and fun kids bring to your life… and to the kitchen!

 

 

trestelle_ldamelio_Jan17Kid-Friendly Mascarpone Truffles

4 oz milk chocolate

4 oz table cream

1 1/2 cup cookie or cereal crumbs

135 g mascarpone cheese

 

Over a double boiler, melt chocolate and cream together. When fully combined, remove from the heat and mix in the crumbs and cheese. Chill overnight in the refrigerator.

 

Using a small spoon or ice cream scoop, scoop out balls of the chocolate mixture. Roll briefly in your hands before rolling them in a topping to decorate. Use sprinkles, cookie crumbs, chocolate or anything else that would coat nicely.

12 Healthy, No-Cook, Family-Friendly Snack Ideas

TreStelle_HealthySnacks_01The idea of snacking can be divisive. Some think you should ban it to avoid overeating, and others consider it essential to keeping your metabolism running consistently throughout the day. If you have kids, you probably consider snacks crucial to a smooth-running day! I personally need snacks to keep my energy levels up between meals, and my toddler son needs them to fuel up between enthusiastic playing, running, and climbing sessions. To avoid falling for salty, fatty snacks (which are so easy to reach for), I try to always have fresh fruits, vegetables, and cheese in the fridge so I can assemble healthy bites as quickly as possible. The snacks I like to make are not only beautiful to look at, attracting the curiosity and interest of little ones, but also nutritious, effectively appeasing hunger pangs without leading to overindulgence.

The following healthy snack ideas don’t require any cooking, making them especially handy for hot summer days, and they won’t keep you in the kitchen for too long. Some chopping is involved, but then it’s just a matter of assembling the bites, which the kids will love helping you do. Each bite features a main fruit or vegetable, a Cheese, a protein, and some flavorings. If you want to take a shortcut, you can skip the flavorings altogether, but they add a delightful complexity and a certain sophistication to the snacks. Each snack idea is great for calming appetites on a busy weeknight while you prepare dinner, but you can also make several of the bites to create gorgeous spreads for brunch, cocktail parties, or special events, such as baby showers. In short, they’re versatile, healthy bites you’ll want to serve all summer long.

TreStelle_HealthySnacks_04

  1. Blueberries + Ricotta + Almonds + Honey
    Halve mini-pitas. Spoon some Ricotta over each piece, top with blueberries and almonds, and drizzle with honey. As an alternative, you could also fill the mini-pitas with the ingredients instead.
  2. Apple + Ricotta + Chicken + Walnuts
    Slice an apple thinly. Core the pieces that need it. Spoon some Ricotta over each slice, then add chopped roasted chicken. Top with a walnut half.
  3. Spinach + Ricotta + Bacon + Pumpkin Seeds
    Transfer some Ricotta in a small bowl. Chop a handful of baby spinach very finely, then mix it in. Spoon the mixture into edible crispy shells or over crackers, then add a piece of cooked bacon and sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds.
  4. Avocado + Chickpeas + Feta + Sunflower Seeds
    Smash the avocado with a fork and squeeze in some lemon juice so it doesn’t brown. Spread over slices of toasted baguette, then top with cooked chickpeas (make sure to rinse canned chickpeas thoroughly before using). Sprinkle with crumbled Feta and sunflower seeds.
  5. Cucumber + Feta + Walnuts + Basil
    Slice a cucumber into thick rounds. Top with cubes of Feta cheese. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts and fresh basil.
  6. Cherry Tomatoes + Feta + Corn + Coriander
    Sprinkle crumbled Feta on tortilla chips. Top with a halved cherry tomato. Add a spoonful of cooked corn kernels over each tortilla chip, then finish with fresh coriander leaves.
  7. Dates + Mascarpone + Prosciutto + Lemon Zest
    Cut open each date to remove the pit. Fill each date with Mascarpone Cheese. Sprinkle with finely grated lemon zest, then wrap each date in prosciutto.
  8. Strawberries + Mascarpone + Maple Syrup + Thyme
    Dice the strawberries. Spread some Mascarpone Cheese over salted crackers. Top with diced strawberries. Drizzle with maple syrup and finish with fresh thyme leaves.
  9. Mushrooms + Mascarpone + Pesto + Toasted Panko
    Remove the mushroom stems and place the caps upside down on a serving plate. In a small bowl, mix some Mascarpone with a spoonful or two of pesto. Fill each mushroom cap with the Mascarpone-pesto mixture, then sprinkle with toasted panko crumbs.
  10. Melon + Bocconcini + Ham + Mint
    Cut the melon into cubes (any melon variety will do). Top each cube with a strip of smoked ham, then add a leaf of fresh mint. Finish with a Bocconcini pearl and secure with a toothpick to serve.
  11. Zucchini + Bocconcini + Hazelnuts + Lemon Zest
    Cut the zucchini into thick rounds and grill lightly, if desired. Let cool, then top each round with a halved Bocconcini. Finish with chopped hazelnuts and finely grated lemon zest.
  12. Figs + Bocconcini + Pistachio + Olive Oil
    Halve fresh or dried figs, then use your finger to lightly press into the center of each fig, so to create a shallow indentation. Grind the pistachios, then roll Bocconcini pearls into the nuts. Press one pearl into each fig, then sprinkle with more ground pistachios. Finish with a drizzle of aromatic extra-virgin olive oil.

Grilling for Dad

Nothing brings family and friends together better than a backyard BBQ! This Father’s Day let Dad show off his culinary skills on the grill with these helpful “Tips and Tricks”.

Father's Day Grilling-3821Let’s celebrate Dad on Father’s Day by setting him up for the most successful BBQ season ever. A few tips and tricks will have Dad serving up some amazing grilled delights, stress free and having fun all summer long.

To start Dad off in becoming King of the Grill he needs the right tools. Men love their tools and can never have too many. There are a ton of BBQ specialty items out there but a few that I consider “must haves”.

Essential Grilling Tools

Meat Thermometer

A good digital meat thermometer ensures no more of those horrific moments where everyone has sat down to eat and Dad brings in the chicken fresh off the BBQ only to see red juices oozing out when it is sliced into. A meat thermometer takes the guessing game out of knowing when things are done and mastering the perfect grilled steak. No more slicing into meat to check and let all those moisture enhancing juices drip to the bottom of the BBQ.

Tongs

Get a few sizes with good grip to suit the various BBQ foods. You don’t want to be poking holes with forks into those juicy meats as they are grilling.

Spatula

A heavy duty, long handled, stainless steel spatula is a must have for turning things like burgers and fish.

Grill Brush

A sturdy grill brush with stainless steel or brass bristles makes easy work of cleaning the grill.

Grill Gloves or Mitts

Protect your hands from a grill’s searing heat with a pair that is heavy duty, heat resistant and fire-retardant. Kitchen mitts will not suffice when dealing with a hot grill.

Basting Brush

A thick silicone basting brush will hold onto sauce better than other brushes. They are also easier to clean making them much more sanitary.

Water Spray Bottle

When cooking you want to avoid flames for they only burn food. Keep a spray bottle filled with water handy to dampen down any fire.

Some additional items that are great to have on hand are bamboo or steel skewers, grill pans or baskets, an apron and cast iron cookware.

Time management is key to stress-free grilling

Time management is key to successful, stress-free grilling and outdoor entertaining. Here is a helpful timetable for summertime grilling:

Day before:

Ensure you have plenty of coals or if using propane, the tank is full. Have you ever started grilling and ran out of propane before the meat is done? Keep a spare tank on hand!

Morning:

Rub or marinate large cuts of meat like brisket and pork shoulders. Also marinate chicken, whole fish, or less than best quality of steak, pork, and lamb.

Prepare side dishes that aren’t time sensitive like baked beans or coleslaw.

Early afternoon:

Skewer kebab ingredients, prep vegetables and side dishes. Prepare salad (have dressing ready, but don’t toss it until right before serving.

Set up bar, prepare drinks like lemonade, ice down beer or soft drinks.

Set up tables, plates, glasses, and cutlery.

Have grilling utensils clean and ready to go.

One Hour before:

If using a charcoal grill, light it 20 to 30 minutes before you plan to start grilling. If using a gas grill, preheat 10 to 15 minutes before grilling.

Just before:

Father's Day BBQ-3877Clean the hot grill grate with a wire brush and oil the grate with oil-soaked paper towel or rag. The grate is the part of the grill that comes in direct contact with the food, so it should be clean.

Be safe make sure your grill is away from the house or other buildings, plants and shrubbery. Grill in an area with good ventilation but is sheltered from the wind.

Father’s Day BBQ/Grilling Gift Ideas:

A collection of sauces, spices, rubs and marinades make a great Father’s Day gift.

Or make something for him like a grilling chart for easy reference for grilling times and temperatures. One side with grilling temperatures, the other grilling guide for the perfect steak.

Some other great gift ideas: make Dad his own personal cookbook of family favourite barbeque and grilling recipes, side dishes, drinks and desserts.

Mention barbecue and you’ve got the family drooling with thoughts of sizzling steaks, hamburgers, and sausages; summer food at its charbroiled best!

Summertime is such a wonderful time of year when family and friends gather to enjoy the great outdoors and sensational BBQ meals. A few tips and tricks will help Dad be everyone’s favourite Master of the Grill!

Recommended Recipes

 

Long Weekend Family Fun

Long Weekend Living

Three days. No work. Just play. Long weekends are definitely something to look forward to.

But sometime around Thursday night I always find my brain racing – how should I spend the weekend? Should I have planned something elaborate? Usually, the answer is no. What I’ve learned from those last-minute panic attacks is that long weekend family fun doesn’t need days of advance planning. Really! From my idea list to yours, here’s a few family activities that won’t empty your wallet or make you scramble to find tickets to a busy tourist attraction. Have fun in, and around, your own home while staying active and healthy.

TreStelle_May_ldamelio_02Pack a picnic

Enjoy a meal together, in a new location. Packing a picnic is an old favourite but it doesn’t have to be predictable – add a theme! For example, only pack goodies that are round. Get the kids to help you shop for ingredients and pick out fruits and veggies at the farmer’s market that match your theme. Cherry tomatoes, blueberries and Tre Stelle® Bocconcini are perfect finger foods or skewer builders. Round sliced cheese, like provolone, in rollups or buns keeps the theme going. The great thing about picnics: they are an activity for outside or inside. If you find rain ruins your weekend, lay out a blanket in the family room to unpack your whimsical lunch.

 Forest scavenger hunt

Taking a walk in the park or a nearby woodlot may seem like an easy idea to spend some time outside with a loved one or the kids. But take it a step further to keep everyone interested and bring a little competition to the weekend. Make a list of things to see along the way and have a scavenger hunt race. Who can spot a mushroom growing on a tree first? A caterpillar? The first one to finish their scavenger hunt list gets a treat!

Photo shoot fun

A few good photos are the best way to remember what might otherwise have been an unmemorable weekend. Whether walking in the neighborhood, or making silly faces in the mirror, take turns being the photographer and the scout, who stays on the lookout for photo-worthy moments and objects. Kids are great at finding hidden photo opportunities. With one hour or one day photo printing, you can also spend an evening creating a photo collage of the day’s fun.

Movie afternoon

The temptation to keep yourself busy can make for a pretty exhausting weekend. Plan too much and you’ll find the family cranky by Sunday. So dedicate one day for just lounging to recharge everyone’s energy. Pick two family favourite movies – or new releases you haven’t seen yet – and set up for an afternoon movie marathon. Make it special with personalized snacks like mini pizzas or gourmet popcorn in individual paper bags: grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and balsamic vinegar for the adults, shredded cheddar cheese and butter for the kids.

Refresh a room (or two!)

Who doesn’t like a makeover? If the weather gets rainy, it’s a perfect day to take a look around the house for a way to make it new, without spending any money. Put on a timer for two minutes and have everyone pick out two or three items in the house that they love. Now, find a way to work them into that person’s bedroom so they can enjoy them. You might need to remove old items you don’t love any more (pack them up for charity), or even rearrange the furniture to fit a favourite chair in a new place. Refresh the house and if secretly your goal might be to get the kids to clean up their room a bit and that’s ok too!