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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Creative Ways to Gift Wrap Cash and Homemade Mac 'n Cheese

Birthday cash.  A wonderful gift to receive.  How to make it fun and exciting?  Last year I wrapped a box in a box in a box and each box had a small amount of money.  For my son this past birthday I used a small chocolate box with the various sized spaces for different denominations of cash.  Time to really be creative for my 10 year old nephew.

Supplies needed:  an empty toilet paper roll, scissors, wrapping paper, tape, a small wooden dowel (we used a chop stick cut to size) and of course, the cash.

1.  Cut a slit in the toilet paper roll the width of the money.

2.  Tape the bills together.  Wrap the toilet paper roll but leave the ends exposed to slide the money inside once it is wrapped around the wooden dowel.  You can try without the dowel if you don't have a chop stick or skewer.

 3.  Once the bills are inside, give it a test run.  Pull gently.  When happy with your product, complete wrapping and leave a tab of the cash exposed.

While creating a crafty gift, I also prepared my first ever batch of macaroni and cheese.  I loosely followed an Alton Brown recipe on  The cheese sauce involved first melting butter then adding equal parts flour to create a base.  I then added 3 cups of milk and 12 ounces of sharp cheddar.

Cavatappi pasta for two reasons - what's more fun than this corkscrew shape and no boxed brand that I know of uses it so this batch is easily identified as home made.

Mix the cheese sauce and pasta, place in baking dish, cover with more cheddar...

Melt a few spoons of butter in a sauce pan and add one cup Panko breadcrumbs.  Once the breadcrumbs are coated, use to create "crispy" layer over pasta.  Bake at 350 until golden brown and delicious.

 Remember to bring dish and gift to the party.

A lovely buffet was arranged which included rolls,

pink lemonade (didn't hurt to add a spalsh of vodka to mine), 

pulled pork,

baked beans, 

Mommy's potato salad,

 and for dessert homemade chocolate ice cream,

 with brownies!

How will my nephew remember his 10th birthday dinner?  Hopefully his first thoughts will be about the family who love him, the puzzle we tried to complete after the meal, or the games he played with his cousin and uncle, my ego would be ok if he remembers the money rolled in a cardboard toilet paper roll.  Bottom line, a fabulous birthday event where all were Fed Well.


  1. It was all fabulous!

  2. Everything looks awesome. Thank you for sharing. I love the Alton Brown Mac and cheese the bestest ever. I originally came here for the tp wrapping paper gift to get ideas and I got a ton now ty so much.