Gingerbread Houses and Bento Lunch

A-frame Gingerbread House Candy Cane Roof Front

This year my 10 year old nephew and I each made Gingerbread houses for a contest in my town. Rules: they need to incorporate a candy cane, they can’t be larger than 12 inches by 12 inches, only the base can be non-edible, and it can’t be a purchased kit. The 10 years and younger category is the only category that can have adult help with making the dough, baking and assembly. My Dad cut two bases out of plywood for us. We covered them with heavy duty aluminum foil. They are very sturdy. Today I will bring them to the library for display and judging. I am a little nervous about transporting them.

Gingerbread Recipe: I used this recipe because it uses butter. Originally I thought about using Crisco Shortening but I read that it does not work the same since becoming healthier so I opted to take the safer path and use butter. I had used this recipe in the past and it is very easy to work with. I made the dough two days before and baked and assembled the houses one day before we decorated them.

Frosting Recipe: I did not want to deal with cracking and separating eggs so I used this recipe which uses Meringue Powder. It hardens fast and in general holds well (except for the regular sized candy canes on the roof line).

Candy Cane Theme Gingerbread House Front

This is my nephews house. He drew a sketch of what he wanted it to look like and what materials I would need to buy. He did a great job and was happy when it was done!  We used the Wilton Gingerbread House Cookie Cutter Set to cut the pieces. We did need to change one part of his design because the regular sized candy canes with a round peppermint candy on top of them would not stick to the house. They kept on falling off several hours later. So we used miniature candy canes and attached the round peppermint candy behind it.

Gingerbread House Another View

My nephew used spearmint leaves candy as foliage around the house. The roof is frosted and has miniature M&M’s on the top.

Gingerbread House Candy Cane Back

We were not sure how these will be displayed and if people will look at the back. My nephew chose to keep the back of his house simple. I like it! His hands got a little tired but he did a great job piping the door and windows on the house.

Gingerbread House Gingerbread Man Sleigh Close

He made a gingerbread sleigh out of gingerbread scraps that he cut to size. He used a small gingerbread man cookie cutter for the man. He glued miniature M&M’s for mittens. Miniature candy canes are the sleigh runners. Square gum became the front walkway.

Gingerbread House Front Fence Close

I purchased bags of the large peppermint sticks at the Dollar Tree. He used them with gumdrops for a fence, to trim the house and walk, and to make the large front doors. Miniature M&M’s are the door knobs.

A-frame Gingerbread House Back

This is my entry for the 19 and older category (the first photo in this post shows another view of my house). I decided on an A-frame style house because I never tried this type before and I liked the large roof. Also when I was growing up my Grandparents had an A-frame house as their summer home. I used the roof pieces from the Wilton Gingerbread House Cookie Cutter Set and created two triangular pieces. I was a little off with my templates so one side is raised up with some gumdrops (my husband’s idea) and a lot of frosting is on the roof so you can’t see the gap between the two pieces. I crushed candy canes and added them to the roof. This photo actually shows the back of my house.

A-Frame Candy Cane Roof Front Side

This is the front of my house. I made a balcony out of gingerbread scraps and lined it with PEZ candy. I did not know if the judges wanted a literal interpretation of the candy cane theme so in addition to crushed candy canes on my roof, I used them as little fences in the back and front of my house. I used red, green, and white rock shaped candy for my front and back walks. Small red candy lines my front and back doors. I used two peppermint candies for the chimney.

A-Frame Gingerbread Back Close

This close-up of the back of my house, shows the gumdrops I used as foliage and the sugar ice cream cones I used for trees. I tinted some frosting green and it was very easy to make these cute trees.

Gingerbread House Candy Cane Roof

My nephew had fun crushing the candy canes for me. We put them in a large Ziplock bag and he used my marble rolling pin to crush the candy canes. It made a lot of noise but it smelled great and he had a good time. I made a mess while putting the crushed candy canes on the freshly frosted roof (I had wax paper underneath and tilted my house but candy cane pieces went everywhere including on my floor). But I am very pleased with the look.

Gingerbread House Lunch

I know, this is very simple and not the best looking gingerbread house lunch since it is monochromatic and not colorful and fun. But we left the color and creativity to our gingerbread houses. Also on a busy day of decorating, it was a easy lunch to make. I actually made two versions of this (mine had a lot of scraps).

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Gingerbread house Cheddar cheese quesadilla with food marker details, candy canes. I used a cookie cutter similar to this but you could easily cut the quesadilla to your desired shape.

Top Right: Carrots and green bell pepper cut into candy cane shapes with a mini cutter

Bottom Right: Gingerbread men shaped apples cut with a mini gingerbread man cutter, I dipped them in water with some lemon juice to prevent browning

We had a fantastic time making our gingerbread houses and I look forward to seeing the other entries in the contest. We already are winners for spending time and creating edible art together.

Posted in Bento / Cute Food, Crafts, Food | Tagged | 9 Comments

Snoopy Lunch for Schulz Birthday

Snoopy Heart Bento Lunch

In honor of Charles Schulz birthday, I have a Snoopy themed bento. I made this for my 12 year old nephew for dinner at home. I am thankful that my nieces and nephews of any age enjoy eating my bento meals. I enjoy sharing my love of cute food with them.

This also happens to be my 500th post! It is difficult to believe that I have created so many. I am thankful to my readers for encouraging me along the way.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Snoopy – mashed potatoes with cheddar cheese, spinach details, red bell pepper heart, Woodstock – mashed potatoes with cheddar cheese and yellow food coloring, spinach details, Hee! Ha! – mashed potatoes with cheddar cheese, carrot letters

Top Right: Raspberries

Bottom Right: Brazil nuts

Linking to:
Eats Amazing Fun Food Friday

Posted in Bento / Cute Food, Food | Tagged | 6 Comments

Turkey Shaped Bread Lunch

Turkey Bread Lunch

In time for Thanksgiving I made a simple lunch with a little bread shaped turkey.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Top: Turkey shaped bread with food marker details

Bottom Left: Broccoli

Bottom Right: Plain Greek Yogurt with some yogurt dyed orange and frozen in a pumpkin shaped ice cube tray

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Fox in Snow Bento Lunch

Fox in Snow Bento Lunch

I received some cute fox cookie cutters from my sister for my birthday in August. I finally got around to using one. The fox is cooked and mashed carrots. The snow is mashed potatoes with a little butter and a lot of shredded cheddar cheese. This meal can be heated (warm applesauce is delicious) or eaten cold – depends on your preference.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Fox – cooked and mashed carrots placed in a fox shaped cookie cutter. Snow – carefully spoon cheddar mashed potatoes around the cookie cutter. Then, carefully lift off the cookie cutter.

Top Right: Applesauce

Bottom Right: Green peas (these were frozen – they will defrost by lunch if you decide to eat this cold)

Linking to:

Eats Amazing Fun Food Friday

Posted in Bento / Cute Food, Food | Tagged | 8 Comments

Fish Shaped Bread for Lunch

Fish Shaped Bread Lunch

Today is Homemade Bread Day so of course I had to make a shaped bread bento. I started baking bread when I was 12. I love working with the dough, the smell of it baking, and of course eating it afterwards.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Fish shaped bread using a basic dough of flour, yeast, salt and water, food marker details, cheddar cheese stick

Top Right: Fish shaped carrots (used cookie cutter), cucumber

Bottom Right: Red grapes

Posted in Bento / Cute Food, Food | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Taco Salad Lunch

Taco Salad Lunch

I made this lunch for my 14 year old nephew to bring to school for lunch. He requested taco salad.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Lettuce, Mexican Cheese Blend, Salsa in Mini Dippers (I put the top on after taking the photo)

Top Right: Skittles

Bottom Right: Black beans with sauteed onion and some tomato sauce

Out of the Box: Banana, Blue Corn Tortilla Chips

Not Pictured: Mini Dippers with Taco Sauce, mixed nuts

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Broccoli and Cheese Pasta for Lunch

Broccoli Cheese Pasta Lunch

Over the summer for my birthday a friend gave me the Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health cookbook. I love that it includes nutritional information for the recipes. I made the Broccoli-Cheese Wrap filling recipe with pasta for dinner with planned leftovers for lunch. It was delicious! Next time I want to try it in a wrap.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Broccoli-Cheese filling with pasta (the filling contains: broccoli, sauteed onion, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, ricotta, mozzarella, feta, salt and pepper)

Top Right: Sunflower seeds

Bottom Right: Strawberries

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