2019 Gingerbread Sweet Creations

Gingerbread Village Lights

For the 3rd year in a row, I made gingerbread for the Eastman Museum’s Sweet Creations gingerbread show. I enjoy seeing the variety. Here is a sampling of some of the creations that were memorable to me.

My Gingerbread Table .jpg

Jolly Java Sweet Creations.jpg

gingerbread waterfalls

Gingerbread Doors

Gingerbread Trees in Greenhouse

Gingerbread Elephants and Trees

Neutral Gingerbread House

Gingerbread Village Parade

Gingerbread Penguins

Gingerbread Santa in Hot-tub

Fairy Gingerbread

 

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Rose Ravioli Dinner

Rose Ravioli Dinner Table

I made this Rose themed meal for my parents and friend Renae’s family the weekend they went to my parent’s Lake House. Renae’s daughters were very helpful with making enough cute ravioli for 7 people.

Rose Ravioli – I found these directions for beautiful rose shaped ravioli. I used this pasta recipe and filled them with a combination of ricotta, Parmesan, basil and oregano. I topped the roses with cut tomato and served with a choice of roasted sugar snap peas or asparagus.

Green Salad

Apple Cream Cheese Rose Tarts

Rose Ravioli

Making Rose Ravioli

Rose Ravioli with Photo.jpg

Rose Apple Dessert

My critique of the meal:

Making these with Renae’s daughters was a special experience. The ravioli looked beautiful and tasted great. This was my second time making the Apple Rose Tarts. They are easy, impressive, and delicious.

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Dia de los Muertos Meal

dia de los muertos table

Awhile ago, I hosted a Day of the Dead themed taco meal for my friend Renae, her family, and my friend Mark. It was mostly a gluten free and vegan meal. This was actually my first time making this theme! Renae or her husband suggested it.

Table setting

  • Placemats – I made placemats with themed wrapping paper and clear contact paper. I found the wrapping paper at TJ Maxx. It had a 1 inch square grid on the back. The finished placemats were 11 x 17 inch.
  • Napkin Rings – Tissue paper flowers tied with a thin wire made into a ring
  • Lazy Susan – 21 inch

Menu

tortilla soup

skull tortilla chips

Cut a Skull Tortilla Chip

Skull Tortilla Chips – Cut corn tortillas with a skull cookie cutter, cut out eyes with a tiny flower cookie cutter and nose with an upside down heart cookie cutter. Brush both sides of the skulls with olive oil, place on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp.

Taco Fixings on Lazy Susan

tacos on plate.jpg

Vegan Gluten Free Skull Brownies

My critique of the meal:

The Lazy Susan made this type of meal much easier for my guests. Horchata was new to all of us. We were not huge fans but it was good to try something different. I designed the Skull Tortilla Chips and they were a huge hit! Everyone enjoyed the Chipotle Lentil Taco Protein. The brownies did not turn out as cute as the original but I did use gluten free brownies. Overall, the meal was a success!

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Ireland

Irish Flag Vegetables

The last weekend in September, I went to Ireland for the weekend. My parents were there and it was a good opportunity to see them and my cousins. My Grandmother was born in Ireland. This was my second visit to Kerry where my Grandmother lived as a child. Many of my relatives still live there. I had a fantastic time!

It is my tradition to make food after my travels and share travel photos. This was a simple dinner with Irish Flag roasted broccoli, water chestnuts, and roasted sweet potatoes. I also ate Kerrygold Aged Cheddar with Irish Whiskey (not in the photo). The porridge photo below is from the Dublin airport. I am not exactly sure why but I was very impressed with the taste of it.

Irish Porridge at Airport

Flying to Ireland

Church in Killiarney

Co Kerry Ireland

Driving in Ireland Sheep

Irish Stone Wall

View from Golf Course

Stone Houses Kenmare

Sidewalk in Kenmare

Sheep in Kenmare

Kerry Roads

sharp curve road sign

Sheep in the Road.jpg

It was memorable to spend time with family–a wonderful weekend and I am glad that I took the opportunity to go!

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Vegan Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Table

This year was my first Friendsgiving. My friends Mark and Carol and companion Ken joined me for a 4-course Vegan autumn themed meal. It was the first time for each of them to meet each other but I think that everyone had a good time. As usual when I host a meatless Thanksgiving, I focused on autumn harvest foods and did not try to replicate a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Table: I borrowed my Mom’s plates, place mats and napkins. My friend Carol designed the flowers. She used a special flower holder that goes around candles. We worked together with the place cards. For years I have thought about putting a flower in a water tube to add to a place card. This year seemed like the perfect time since I have a lot of water tubes from flowers my new companion.

Sweet Potato Chips with Vegan Onion Dip – I used this dip recipe and this vegan sour cream recipe.

Pumpkin Soup with Leaf Shaped Cinnamon Tortilla Chips, Maple or Spicy Pumpkin Seeds, Maple Syrup
Cut corn tortillas with a cookie cutter, brush both sides with olive oil, place on cookie sheet, sprinkle with cinnamon bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Date Butter – I mostly followed this recipe but I did not use the apple, mushrooms, sage, thyme, or cinnamon. I used red onion and added spinach and chopped pecans to the filling. I made a simple vinaigrette with maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and a little olive oil and added it to the quinoa filling. I roasted the acorn squash the day before and heated the squash in a 300 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Then I added the hot filling and served. I added the Brussels sprouts and date butter to the plate.

Apple Pie with Toasted Walnuts and Caramel – I used this recipe for the tart but made individual pies. I used this pie crust. After the tarts came out of the oven I added Vegan Caramel Sauce and some toasted walnuts.

Sweet Potato Chips with Vegan Onion Dip

Pumpkin Soup

Vegan Pumpkin Soup.jpg

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash with Brussel Sprouts and Date Butter

Vegan Thanksgiving Table

Vegan Apple Tart with Caramel and Walnuts.jpg

Thanksgiving Vegan Dessert

My critique of the meal:

I continue to work on my plating skills and combining flavors and think that I am improving. I normally don’t like dates but I enjoyed the walnut date butter as part of my main course. I LOVED the Vegan Caramel Sauce! I think it is better than ordinary caramel and I am a huge fan. I loved the taste but the addition of almond butter adds protein and just makes it seems healthier. I enjoy making individual desserts since it seems more special. I thought that the table was beautiful and suitable to the day and food. In my eyes, the meal was a success.

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Penguin Lunch

penguin bread lunch

I made this lunch for my companion Ken. I asked him what theme he wanted for his first themed lunch and he requested Penguin. He enjoyed it!

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Penguin – 30 minute cheese bread, with cocoa powder, eyes – cheese and cocoa powder, nose – carrot (cheese and carrot attached with small pieces of spaghetti)

Top Right: Blueberries

Bottom Right: Fish – carrots, cucumber, and radish cut with cookie cutters, raw spinach

Ken with Penguin Lunch

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Cat Cheese and Bread Lunch

Cat Cheese and Bread Lunch

I made this lunch for my friend’s daughter Natalie. She likes cats so it was a natural theme for this meal. Also, I have a LOT of cat cookie cutters.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Cat – cheese cut and imprinted with a cookie cutter, focaccia bread

Top Right: Pistachio nuts

Bottom Right: Cats – carrots cut with cookie cutters, snow peas

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