Moose in the Snow Pancake

moose in the snow

My 16 year old niece and I made this pancake moose last August. The theme was mostly her idea and she did the styling.

  • Moose – Pancake cut with a cookie cutter, chocolate chip eyes
  • Snow – Whipped cream from a can
  • Moose droppings – Chocolate chunks
Posted in Bento / Cute Food, Food | Leave a comment

Snowflake Lunch

Snowflake Mashed Potatoes Lunch

I made this lunch for my Dad. I don’t enjoy driving in the snow but it can be beautiful.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Snowflakes – cheddar mashed potatoes cooled then cut with a cookie cutter, cooked broccoli

Top Right: Snowflakes – apples cut with a cookie cutters, dipped in water with lemon juice to prevent browning, blackberries

Bottom Right: Snowflakes – daikon (Japanese radish) cut with cookie cutter, spinach leaves

Posted in Bento / Cute Food, Food | Leave a comment

Happy New Year 2019

2019 Lunch

Happy New Year! I made this meal for myself on a day that I made other cute lunches for my parents and friend Carol.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: 2019 – cheddar cheese (cut with cookie cutters), Easy Focaccia (I made this in the morning and the cooling time before I could put it in the lunch seemed to take the longest. It was an easy bread to make.)

Top Right: Pistachios

Bottom Right: Red grapes

Posted in Bento / Cute Food, Food | Leave a comment

Top 10 Bento 2018

Top10 Lunches 2018

As usual this time of year, I am excited to share my favorite bento lunches from the year.

USA Potato Vegetable Salad Lunch

I made this USA themed meal as part of my on-going series of themed potato salads. Yes, the jam lines are not even but I think that it adds to the appeal.

Cheese Rice Snail Lunch

This cheesy snails lunch was for my niece while she lived with me.

Spider bread

I made this cute cinnamon spider bread for my Dad.

Radish Flowers Lunch

This lunch with beautiful radish roses was for my co-worker Kathy.

Sombrero Taco Salad

My niece helped make this taco salad lunch for herself.

Fox Sheep Butterfly Terrarium Salad Lunches Mason Jar

I made these small terrarium salad lunches for my parents and myself the day before my birthday when I met them for a day of activities and an amazing dinner.

Flower Vegetable Potato Salad

I made this flower themed potato salad lunch for my friend Carol.

Candy Corn Bread Lunch

This candy corn themed lunch was made for my co-worker Angie.

Lion Bread Lunch

I find it interesting that this bread lion made my yearly list of top lunches since I almost did not post it. It is ugly in a charming way.

Mashed Potato Valentine Giraffe Lunch

I made this cute giraffe for my friend Dennis.

Happy New Year! May your 2019 include delicious and attractive food.

 

Posted in Bento / Cute Food, Food | Leave a comment

Favorite Non-Lunch Posts from 2018

A majority of my posts in 2018 featured lunch but I am proud of some of my non-lunch content. These are my favorites from 2018.

Cinderella Coach Orange Sorbet

My friend Carol and I are still talking about this dinner I made before we went to the Cinderella ballet.

Christmas Train Gingerbread

I usually love a project and my submission for the Eastman Sweet Creations gingerbread show this year gave me a lot of planning and crafting time. I had it printed as my Christmas card.

7 Continents Dinner Asia course

My 7 Continents Dinner was on my mind a lot during November and December. I was very happy with how everything turned out including this photo. But I am not sure why my Dad’s chopsticks are not on the rest.

Dining Room Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was memorable this year. My Mom outdid herself with the table decor. I planned the menu and we both prepared part of it. It was a delicious and beautiful meal!

Fresh Honeydew Melon Cake

My niece and I made this melon cake during the time that she lived with me for 6 weeks. Maybe in 2019, I will make a cantaloupe cake.

Carrot Zucchini Rose Tarts Dinner

My niece and I prepared and enjoyed roses for dinner during the time that she lived with me. I thought that they were gorgeous.

groot dinner family photo

My friend Renae and her family came over for a Groot themed dinner. I love this photo!

lakehouse funeral dinner

After reflecting on the events of the year, I would say that not much changed in my life in 2018, except for the death of my Grandmother. While living, she caused a lot of stress for the people around her. Her departure alleviated some stress especially for my parents. I prepared a special meal the night before the funeral and am happy with how it turned out. It is my favorite blog post of the year since it is very real. I share recipes and my eulogy. I took a difficult situation and made something beautiful, delicious, and memorable.

I am looking forward to 2019. I have no idea what I will experience, create and share. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Posted in Bento / Cute Food, Food, Party Planning | Leave a comment

7 Continents Dinner

7 Continents Santa Around World Dinner Table

This year I decided to host a 7 Continents Dinner on Christmas Day. The theme was A Culinary Trip with Santa Around the World. Adults can enjoy the spirit of Santa with kindness and food from around the world. My parents, friend Carol, and her adult son Mike attended the meal. I spent a lot of time thinking and planning over the last few months. My goal was be better at plating and table decor than in the past. There is always room for improvement but I think that I achieved my goal.

Table Decor

  • I like the look of place mats on top of a tablecloth.
  • These centerpieces were low and perfect for the table. My friend Carol gave me some holly to put on the table.
  • I made the jingle bell napkin rings with jingle bells and wire. It would be safe if you used thin elastic but my adult guests did not get injured.
  • I bought the Christmas Crackers from Marshalls. It is a family tradition to have them on our Christmas table.
  • I made the Mt. Fuji chopstick rests from clay and a Mt. Fuji cookie cutter. I baked them for about 15 minutes.
  • Earth – 7 Continent Dinner Rotating Earth Menu. (If I spent more time on it, 2 pages would fit on 1 page and there are other improvements I would make. I am including the word document here if you want to modify it for your own purposes.) I came up with the concept months ago. It is possible that my co-workers and everyone I know are tried of my talking about my menu cards. It is not perfect but my guests enjoyed turning the wheel to go to the next continent and read about the next course. I bought the silver place card holders at Michael’s.

Menu

I planned the menu to include some make ahead and freeze and make ahead and refrigerate items. I made the gyoza a week ahead and put them in my freezer. The peanut soup was made a day ahead and refrigerated. The fruit sorbet was made 2 days ahead and stayed in my freezer. I scooped the sorbet and put it in mini serving glasses and put them back in the freezer a few hours before the meal. I made the empanada filling and dough the day before my meal. We took a break after the 4th continent so I could prepare and bake the empanadas. I only needed to cut and plate the cheese course. I baked the reindeer cookies 2 weeks before and froze the pieces. I frosted with caramel buttercream the morning of the party and assembled while plating. The chocolate cake was baked the day before. It was cut and frosted a few hours before the meal. I baked the cheesecakes the day before. I added whipped cream and strawberries a few hours before the meal. Everything was under control (I even had a guide for myself to tell me how to plate each course), I thoroughly enjoyed it and feel that it was a success!

ASIA – Appetizers

Vegetable Gyoza – I made my own with store bought dumpling wrappers. I shredded cabbage, carrots, snow peas, scallions, and fresh ginger separately in my food processor. I added sesame oil and soy sauce.

Served with Trader Joe’s Gyoza Dipping Sauce (sprinkle of sesame seeds) and edamame in the pod.

7 Continents Dinner Asia course

AFRICA – Soup

West African Peanut Soup – I added only 4 cups of vegetable broth and 1 can of coconut milk, halved the ginger, and used spinach instead of greens.

Served with chopped peanuts, parsley and a cherry tomato slice.

7 Continents Dinner Africa Course.jpg

Africa Course Dinner Table

AUSTRALIA – Vegetable

Garlic Hasselback Zucchini  – without the Parmesan

Served with Macadamia Nut Sauce – (I had the coconut oil but forgot and used olive oil, shallots instead of the green onions, and vegetable bouillon) with diced tomatoes.

7 Continents Dinner Australia Course

Australia Course Dinner Table

ANTARCTICA – Intermezzo

Fruit Sorbet – I used blueberries and blackberries since I wanted an dark color.

7 Continents Dinner Antartica Course

Antartica Sorbet

SOUTH AMERICA – Entree

Black Bean & Corn Empanadas – black beans, corn, cumin, Cotija cheese with pastry.

Served with avocado sauce (blended avocados, fresh lime juice, and a pinch of salt in a food processor) with salsa.

7 Continents Dinner South America Course

EUROPE – Cheese

French Brie, Italian Asiago, Scottish Cheddar w/ dried fig and salted truffle almonds

Served on red holiday doilies and made flag picks from printed paper glued onto toothpicks. I made a choice to use the St Andrew’s Cross or the Saltire flag.

7 Continents Dinner Europe Course

Europe Cheese Plate

NORTH AMERICA – Dessert Trio

Santa Cheesecake – I made these mini cheesecakes. I used this photo as a guide to decorate them.

3D Reindeer Cookie – homemade sugar cookies cut with a 3D cookie cutter, frosted with Caramel Buttercream – I did not exactly follow this recipe, I used butter, powdered sugar, and some Trader Joe’s Caramel sauce.

North Pole Chocolate Cake – boxed cake mix with a layer of homemade strawberry jam from my friend Kathy, whipped cream on top and a Chocolate Hazelnut Pirouette cookie (to stand in for the North Pole – I wanted a red and white peppermint one but difficult to find and I decided not to make my own.)

Served with Chocolate Ho Ho’s – melted chocolate chips piped into letter shapes (the day before) onto aluminum foil and kept in the refrigerator.

7 Continents Dinner North America Course

Santa Themed Dessert Trio

My critique of the meal:

I know that my 7 Continent Dinner Rotating Earth Menu could have been more exact since when they turn, it is not always exactly lined up.

I have been making gyoza since I was 19 so they were not new to me. My Dad enjoys Trader Joe’s Gyoza Dipping Sauce so I served that instead of making my own.

My guests raved about the West African Peanut Soup. I think that it will go on my regular soup rotation.

This was my first time making Hasselback Zucchini. It was enjoyed by all and I would make it again.

It was my first time making blueberry and blackberry sorbet. I prefer other types but it suited the purpose of this meal. Scooping ahead and keeping in the freezer was very helpful.

My empanadas were cracked and not folded properly but I did not take the time to learn how (it was my first time making them). I would use a different pastry next time. The filling was delicious!

I am not sure how much my guests liked the dried figs but the cheese course and salted truffled almonds were a hit! I had a consult at the Pittsford Wegmans cheese counter a few weeks before and they were extremely helpful with planning the course.

My theme for the dessert trio was “Elegant Santa”. My reindeer cookie is not elegant – she is sort of rustic. A peppermint striped Pirouette cookie would have been more suitable for the North Pole. But I think that my guests were impressed. I did hear some sounds of surprise and awe when I put out the dessert trio.

I am being overly critical since I think the meal was a huge success!

Posted in Food, Party Planning | 2 Comments

Christmas Breakfast 2018

Traditional Pig Christmas Breakfast

My family says that I seldom make the same food again (not true!). I have a traditional Christmas breakfast that is enjoyed by all. In 2016, I was too emotional to make my traditional breakfast the first Christmas without my ex (he loved this breakfast). So, in 2016, I made a different breakfast for my family. In 2017, I made the traditional breakfast for my parents and Dennis but did not make the pig shapes for some reason (the scones were round). Yesterday, I made our traditional breakfast. The only difference was I made cranberry butter instead of shaped butter. My friend Dennis, joined my parents and myself for a delicious meal. My parents were happy to get the pig shaped scones back this year. I guess that Christmas is not the same without pig shaped scones.

Pig Scones

Cranberry Butter

Roasted Potatoes with a Dijon Dip

Citrus with Mint Sugar – I used pink grapefruit and oranges and omitted the pomegranate

Coffee & Orange Juice

pig scones breakfast plate

Christmas breakfast table 2018

I enjoy holidays and traditions but also like to keep things fresh and interesting. This meal was easy to prepare on the day of my epic 7 Continents Dinner.

Posted in Food, Party Planning | Leave a comment