Candy Cane Bagel

I made this meal for my Dad. I gave him more than one candy cane bagel but one alone looked better in the photo.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side:  Candy Cane – use the dough from this recipe. Break off desired portion of dough and make two equal sized balls. Knead tomato paste into one portion. Make two ropes. Twist the two ropes together to form a candy cane, romaine

Top Right: Sundried tomato cream cheese

Bottom Right: Pistachios

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2021 Gingerbread Sweet Creations

For the 5th year in a row, I made gingerbread for the Eastman Museum’s Sweet Creations gingerbread show. Just like last year, all of the creations have covers. The auction to benefit the museum is now online. Go here to see all of the creations and to place a bid. To see the gingerbread in person, visit the Eastman Museum by January 2. Reservations are required.

Here is a sample of my favorite creations this year.

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Gingerbread Japanese Shrine and Garden

This year was my 5th consecutive year making gingerbread for Sweet Creations at the Eastman Museum. This is a concept I have considered since 2016. I am glad that I finally made it. It will be on display at the museum until January 2, 2022. Reservations are required. For the second year, the auction to benefit the museum is now online. Go here to see all of the creations and to place a bid.

Gingerbread Recipe: I used this recipe.

Royal Icing Recipe: I love using this recipe which uses Meringue Powder. It hardens fast and in works very well.

Torii (Gate): Cardboard frosted with royal icing (I made several gingerbread cookies in this shape but most broke)

Wall near rock garden: Pretzel sticks

Rock Garden: Royal icing with shredded unsweetened coconut

Moss Balls: Moss cookies

Pathway: Lemon pez frosted onto cardboard to make placement easier

Tree: Gingerbread with green royal icing and coconut dyed green

Stream: Royal icing with blue sanding sugar, lined with candy rocks

Bridge: Gingerbread

Red Koi: Mini Swedish Fish

White Koi: Fondant with black food coloring

Stepping Stones: Candy rocks

Moss Ground Cover: Coconut with green food coloring

Fox Statues: Fondant on top of caramels

Stairs: Wafer cookies

Hill for Shrine: Rice Krispy treat made in a loaf pan, covered with grey fondant

Shrine Roof: Gingerbread baked with small foil balls underneath to bring up the corners, black Royal Icing, licorice tires

Shrine Balcony: Gingerbread covered with edible gold leaf

Shrine Sign: Fondant wrote with toothpick with paste food coloring (I wrote the word “Shrine” in Japanese)

Shrine Curtain: Fresh lasagna noodle cut, used a small stamp and food coloring market to print design on the noodle.

Shrine details: White fondant

New techniques I tried this year: 

  • I used edible gold leaf for the first time!
  • I stamped a pattern onto a fresh lasagna noodle.

My Gingerbread Collection: Go here to see most of my gingerbread creations.

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Thanksgiving for Two

This year I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my friend Carol. It was supposed to be 3 of us but a co-worker had to cancel that morning because of side effects from his 3rd booster shot. Carol and I had a wonderful meal and visit.

Table: I borrowed my Mom’s harvest plates that she bought at Wegmans many years ago. Carol made the beautiful flower arrangement. I used the cornucopia napkin rings that I bought in NYC in 1999. I made simple place cards with this leaf pattern. I used my Great-Grandmother’s sterling silver flatware. Brown table cloth.

1st Course: Pumpkin Apple Soup with pumpkin seeds garnish, Cream Cheese Chive Rolls from Martha Stewart Baking (I prepared the rolls few days before and put in my freezer. I baked them right before serving.

Main Course: Sweet Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Candied Walnuts (I used mild Wegmans creamy blue cheese.), Roasted Green Beans, Homemade Cheese Tortellini (made and put in freezer a few days before) with Vodka sauce.

Dessert: Apple Turnovers with homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream. I baked the turnovers right before serving. The ice cream I made a day ahead and pre-scooped that morning to make it easy for serving.

My critique of the meal: Everything was delicious! The sweet potatoes were a repeat from last year’s Thanksgiving. I would do the dessert again – delicious but easy and the ice cream was make ahead.

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Turkey Themed Polenta

I made this turkey themed meal for myself.

Container: Prep Natural Glass Meal Containers

Left Side: Turkey – Melon cut with a cookie cutter, Eye – cinnamon, blueberries

Right Side: Turkey – Polenta cut with a cookie cutter, Body – Broiled Cheddar cheese, Eye – Dried blueberry, Wattle – Tomato, white beans and zucchini

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Fox Polenta Lunch

I made this fox themed polenta meal for my Mom.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Fox – Polenta cut with a cookie cutter, face – cinnamon (drew with a toothpick), sautéed spinach with onions

Top Right: Cottage cheese with cinnamon

Bottom Right: Apple Crisp

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Snake Pizza Lunch

I made this snake themed pizza lunch for my Dad.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Snakes – Pizza with Cheddar or Mozzarella cheese (cut with a cookie cutter)

Top Right: Green beans

Bottom Right: Brazil nuts

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Dinosaur Pancakes

My 19 year old niece styled and ate these dinosaur pancakes.

Dinosaurs – Chocolate chip pancakes cut with cookie cutters

Snow – Whipped cream from a can

Droppings – Chocolate chips

Meteor – Chocolate chip pancake, whipped cream with food coloring

Others in this series:

MooseBunny Raccoon, Ghosts

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Giraffe Polenta Meal

I made this adorable giraffe polenta and bean meal for my Dad.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Giraffe – polenta (cut with a cookie cutter), goat cheese with smoked paprika, kidney beans with salsa

Top Right: Pecans

Bottom Right: Clementines

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Cat Bread Dinner

I made a cat themed meal for my friend Renae and her family. Even the lentil soup had cats in it! Her oldest daughter Natalie helped me style the meal.

Raw Vegetables and Hummus – carrot, cherry tomato, celery

Lentil Soup with Cat Shaped Carrots (cut with a cookie cutter)

Cat Bread – I used the same recipe as the Groot Bread. I shaped the bread as cats and added chocolate details – chocolate and white chocolate with food coloring

Individual Cat Cheesecakes – details with Hershey kisses, M&M’s large and mini, melted chocolate put in a zip-lock bag with corner cut off

My critique of the meal: I think that everything was enjoyed by all. The cat carrots in the soup were a delight to eat and the bread and cheesecakes were adorable and delicious!

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Unicorn Pizza Lunch

I made this easy pizza meal for my friend Carol.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side:  Unicorn – homemade cheddar pizzas, Eye – spinach leaf cut with a straw

Top Right: Grapes

Bottom Right: Blueberries

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Day of the Dead Potatoes

I made this festive lunch for myself. I used natural colorings on the mashed potato skull.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side:  Sugar Skull – Cheddar mashed potatoes shaped with a cookie cutter, Green – maccha powder, Purple – butterfly pea powder, Yellow – turmeric, red nose – red bell pepper, soybeans

Top Right: Cashews

Bottom Right: Gherkins and black olives

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Halloween Dinner 2021

Happy Halloween! My 19 year old niece and I enjoyed planning and preparing this Halloween party. My Mom also helped. My parents, niece and I had a memorable meal!

Table Decor

  • Centerpiece – Carved pumpkin
  • Tablecloth
  • Pumpkin Name Cards – We used a black Sharpie to write names on white and orange miniature pumpkins
  • Cat Napkin Rings – We used stiff felt strips (stapled around cloth napkins), black felt cat heads with multi-color googly eyes glued onto the felt
  • Napkins
  • Witch Hat Straws – The link was my inspiration but I made by hand and did not use a Cricut machine.
  • Menu Cards (see details below)

Room Decor

Menu

  • Mashed Potato Ghosts with Green Pea Eyes – shaped in a ghost cookie cutter
  • Cooked Green Beans
  • Creamed Corn (Candy Corn) with Cheddar – my niece made foil shapes, added the creamed corn and small pieces of white and orange cheese
  • Individual Chocolate Pies with Whipped Cream Jack-O-Lanterns (see below)
  • Mango Juice with Seltzer

Individual Chocolate Pies

Ingredients:

  • Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • Melted butter
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 175 grams semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 3 TBS milk

Preheat over to 350.

Crust – Press mixture of graham cracker crumbs and melted butter into bottom and up the sides of individual pie plates

Filling – In a pan combine condensed milk and chocolate. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and milk. Keep stirring. After it cools, pour into crust. Bake for 30 minutes.

Chill for several hours.

Jack-O-Lantern Whipped Cream – Whip heavy cream with orange food coloring. Sweeten as desired. Spoon into a small plastic bag, snip off a corner, pipe face onto chilled chocolate pies.

Lighted Menu Cards – This was a hit with party attendees. I mostly followed these directions.

My critique of the meal: We all enjoyed this Halloween party! I was delighted to collaborate with my 19 year old niece. All of us keep talking about the menu cards and the homemade creamed corn.

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Ghost Pancakes

I made this today with my 19 year old niece.

Ghosts – Pancakes cut with a cookie cutter

Eyes – Chocolate chips

Snow – Whipped cream from a can

Droppings – Chocolate chips

Others in this series:

MooseBunny Raccoon

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Pumpkin Ravioli Dinner

My parents and I enjoyed a pumpkin shaped and themed ravioli dinner.

Pumpkin Ravioli – I used my favorite pasta dough with a little canned pumpkin added to the dough for color, cut with a cookie cutter, filled with a mixture of canned pumpkin, brown sugar, parmesan, and nutmeg. 

Blanched Snow Peas with Parmesan Cheese

Sage Butter – Melt butter with a few fresh sage leaves, remove sage leaves

Toasted Walnuts

Pumpkin Truffles – I somewhat followed this recipe but I used wheat flour and did not cover with chocolate. I only used a little bit of chocolate for the jack-o-lantern faces.

My critique of the meal: It was fun and delicious! I enjoy making ravioli days or weeks ahead of the meal to freeze. It makes preparation easier on the day of the meal.

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Space Travel Meal

I made this space travel meal for my friend Dennis. I used my space shuttle cookie cutter. For my meal, I also ate the Cuban Black Beans and rice. It was delicious.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Space Shuttle – cheese (cut with a cookie cutter), Cuban Black Beans, basmati rice

Top Right: Apples

Bottom Right: Earth – I made the easier version described and bought the peanut butter cups.

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Boo Eek Meal

I made this Boo, Eek themed meal for myself.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side:  Boo, Eek – Flour Tortilla cut with cookie cutters, Baked Cauliflower Potato Patties, I mostly followed the recipe but did not use egg or any egg substitute.

Top Right: Blueberries

Bottom Right: Cashews

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Ghost Melon Salad

I enjoyed this attractive ghost melon salad for lunch.

Container: Wooden box purchased in Kyoto at Bento&co.

Contents: Ghosts – Honeydew melon cut with a cookie cutter, Eyes – Mini chocolate chips, Romaine lettuce, chopped cucumber, tomato, black olives

Mini DippersFeta dressing

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Ghost Potato Salad

I made this roasted potato and cheddar cheese ghost themed meal for my Dad.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Ghosts – roasted potatoes and cheddar cheese cut with a cookie cutter, Eyes -smoked paprika added with a toothpick, black bean sauce

Top Right:  Pistachios

Bottom Right: Ghosts – apple cut with a cookie cutter and dipped in water and lemon juice to prevent browning, Eyes – cinnamon added with a toothpick, blueberries

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Vegetarian Oral Surgery Food

In September, I had oral surgery. September 14, I had surgery on one side of my mouth, September 29, I had surgery for the other side of my mouth. I usually do better handling challenges when I have a plan. In the weeks before my surgery, I spent quite a bit of time preparing meal plans and cooked freezer food to enjoy after my surgery. Some challenges I needed to plan for: eat smoothies with a spoon since no straws allowed in first days after surgery, eat soft foods for two weeks after each procedure, avoid nuts, seeds, and crunchy food for around 6 weeks after the second surgery.

I like crunchy food. Years ago, a coworker remarked that I like crunchy food. I guess he was aware that I enjoyed snacking on pretzels in the afternoon. But, I also enjoy creamy food. Many years ago, when I worked in NYC, I dated a man who actually did not like creamy food. I am glad that I like creamy food since it made life easier after oral surgery.

I designed a meal plan that covered a month of meals. I made modifications before the second surgery with what I especially liked (yogurt in pottery or glass) and didn’t like (pumpkin oatmeal). Overall, my plan worked and it made a difficult time easier.

I created smiling tooth stickers to indicate oral surgery approved meals in my freezer.

Goals:

  • Remain on the same calorie / carb plan that has worked for me this year. (So far this year, I lost a substantial amount of weight and achieved an amazing A1C).
  • Eat plenty of vegetarian protein sources to help with healing.
  • Eat food that fit the needs of my mouth after surgery but was interesting and enjoyable.
  • Make myself smile during a time I expected to be moody due to pain and food restrictions.
  • Eat a combination of freezer meals and freshly prepared meals.
  • Eat yogurt in glass and pottery as a special treat for myself. It is better for my health goals than ice cream.

Notes:

After my second surgery I remained on the mostly liquid diet (smoothies for breakfast), one day longer than I had planned the first time. My mouth and jaw were sore and any movement on one side of my mouth impacted the other side.

Freezer Meals

Other Soft Meals

  • Irish Feast – Mashed potato cake with cheddar and garlic shaped with a shamrock cookie cutter, mashed rutabega, ground cabbage, ground carrot
  • Cucumber White Bean & Avocado Soup
  • Smoothie – 1 cup frozen fruit (without seeds), plain Greek yogurt cup, 2 TBS peanut butter powder, milk (as desired)
  • Creamed Spinach – Chopped cooked spinach, ricotta, salt, pepper
  • Individual Shepherd’s Pies – Mashed white potato with cheddar, mashed sweet potato with almond butter powder, cooked lentils
  • Mashed potato cake with Mole sauce and Ricotta
  • Apples with Brie – Roasted apples with brie, Greek yogurt, maple syrup
  • Roasted Winter Squash with Goat Cheese, applesauce
  • Baked Sweet Potato with Almond Butter, milk
  • Pasta with Roasted Vegetables and Cheese
  • Oatmeal with Peanut Butter Powder and Milk

I did not take photos of all of my meals during this time. Included in this post are a sampling.

White Bean & Cucumber Soup with Yogurt
Soft Irish Feast
Spinach with Ricotta, Mac & Cheese, Cheddar
Mango Smoothie
White Potato, Lentil, Sweet Potato Shephard’s Pie
Mashed Potato Flower with Ricotta and Mole Sauce

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Hippo Lunch

I ate this melon Hippo salad for lunch.

Glass Container with Lid

Hippo – Honeydew melon cut with a cookie cutter, Eye – Mini chocolate chip, cottage cheese, blueberries, Brazil nuts

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House on Island Pizza

This is a simple meal I made for my friend Carol when she returned home from vacationing on her island. This is my first time to use the new EasyLunchBoxes 4 container box.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Top Left: Almonds with mini chocolate chips

Top Middle: Birds – Cheddar cut with a cookie cutter, homemade pizza

Top Right: Broccoli, cherry tomatoes

Bottom: House – Cheddar cut with a cookie cutter, Island – Pesto pizza, blueberries, blackberries

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Parrot Lunch

When I was a child, I had an imaginary friend. He was a parrot named Tippy. I called him Tippy since he sat on the tip of my finger. This is my first time making a parrot lunch. My friend Renae made some parrot cookie cutters with her 3D printer. I am excited to explore other Tippy themed meals. Hands are part of this meal since young Kathy held out her hand to the large green bird.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side:  Parrot – zucchini (from CSA) cut with a cookie cutter, Eye – dried blueberry attached with spaghetti, Beak – orange cheddar attached with spaghetti, pasta with sautéed onion (CSA), zucchini, and cheddar

Top Right:  Hand – flour tortilla cut with a cookie cutter, place on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray, spray cut-out with cooking spray and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp, 

Bottom Right: Applesauce with cinnamon

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Volcano Salad

I made this volcano tortilla chip with salad meal for myself.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Volcano – Flour tortilla cut with with a knife, red sanding sugar, place on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray, spray cut-out with cooking spray and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp, lettuce, broccoli

Top Right:  Pecans

Bottom Right: Dinosaur – Kohlrabi cut with a cookie cutter, black beans and salsa

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Llama Themed Cantaloupe Lunch

I made this lunch for myself on a day I met my family at the zoo.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side:  Llama – Cantaloupe cut with a cookie cutter, Face – cinnamon, cottage cheese, lettuce, cinnamon, Brazil nuts

Top Right: Homemade bread

Bottom Right: Vegan Broccoli Salad – I did not use the onion or cranberries

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Melon Fox Lunch

I made this easy melon fox themed lunch for my Mom. They don’t exactly look like foxes but it is cute.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side:  Fox – cantaloupe cut with a cookie cutter, Eyes – spinach cut with a straw, cottage cheese with blueberries

Top Right: Pistachio nuts

Bottom Right: Green bell pepper

Posted in Bento / Cute Food, Food | 2 Comments

Mashed Potato Squirrel for Lunch

I made this squirrel themed lunch for my Dad.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Squirrel – Cheddar garlic mashed potatoes cut with a cookie cutter, sprinkle with smoked paprika, broccoli

Top Right:  Pistachios

Bottom Right: Acorn – Apple cut with a cookie cutter, sprinkle with cinnamon, blueberries

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Oak Leaf Beets for Lunch

I made this lunch for myself on a week that I had my favorite combination of beets, pasta, and blue cheese for lunch.

Container: Prep Natural Glass Meal Containers

Left Side: Oak leaves – Apple cut with a cookie cutter, sprinkled with cinnamon, blueberries

Right Side: Oak leaves – Beet cut with a cookie cutter, pasta with blue cheese

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Acorn Bread Lunch

I made this acorn themed bread lunch for my Dad. I think it is my first time to cut a peach with a cookie cutter. My 19 year old niece had the idea.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Acorn – Shaped homemade bread with Nutella and Chocolate Pocky

Top Right:  Marcona Almonds

Bottom Right: Squirrel – Peach cut with a cookie cutter, blueberries

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Blue Cheese Pasta with Beets

I made this flower themed lunch for myself. I love the combination of beets, pasta, and blue cheese.

Container: Prep Natural Glass Meal Containers

Left Side: Flowers – Apple cut with a cookie cutter (half are sprinkled with cinnamon, half show their skin), blueberries

Right Side: Flowers – Beet cut with a cookie cutter, radish cut with a cookie cutter, center of flowers attached with spaghetti, pasta with blue cheese

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Falafel Waffle Dinner

My friend Deborah came over for dinner and a long walk on a workday. I wanted something easy for dinner so decided on falafel waffles. We served them with tahini sauce, tomatoes, and cucumbers from Deborah’s garden. Falafel waffles are so much fun to say and eat. We each plated our own. Mine is the first photo and Deborah’s is the second.

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Waterwheel Bread

I made this shaped waterwheel bread meal for my Mom. My 19 year old niece came up with the idea.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side:  Waterwheel – Shaped homemade bread with cinnamon spokes, blueberries

Top Right: Brazil Nuts

Bottom Right: Vegetable bundles tied with chives

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Raccoons in the Snow Pancakes

My 19 year old niece and I made this trio of raccoons. She picked the theme and styled the raccoons.

  • Raccoons – Pancake cut with a cookie cutter
  • Masks – Pancake cut with a cookie cutter, Nutella, mini chocolate chips
  • Snow – Fresh whipped cream
  • Droppings – Mini chocolate chips

Others in this series:

Moose, Bunny

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Goats on Bread Lunch

I made this for my Dad on a day I met family at the Utica Zoo. This was actually my first time making fougasse. I had to significantly modify the recipe from the original so I won’t link to the recipe.

Container: U-Konserve

Contents: Goats – Cheddar cheese cut with cookie cutters, fougasse (ladder) bread

Container: LunchBots Trio

Top Left: Red Grapes

Top Right: Vegan Broccoli Salad – I did not use the onion or cranberries

Bottom Right: Strawberries

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Space Themed Food Collection

Over the years, I created many space themed meals. Here is my collection!

ALIENS

alien-pasta-lunch

Carrot and Pie Crust Aliens

alien-pizza-lunch

Pizza Aliens

STARS

Star Peanut Noodles

Cucumber Stars

july-rice-stars-bento-lunch

Corn and Peas Rice Stars

star-lasagna

Mozzarella Stars

Star Moon PB apple sandwich lunch

Rice Stars

Star Food Fit and Fresh lunch

Cheddar Pizza Stars

Kiwi and Strawberry Salad with cinnamon stars

Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Chip Stars

Star Salad

Salad Stars

Cheese Star Onigiri

Cheese Rice Stars

Star-Salad

Salad Stars

Space Snack Box

Cucumber Carrot Stars

Ravioli Stars

Sweet Potato Stars

Cheddar and Tortilla Chip Stars

MOON

English Muffin Moon

English Muffin Moon

man-on-the-moon-pizza-lunch

Pizza Man on the Moon

Polenta Moon Lunch

Polenta Moon

Star Moon PB apple sandwich lunch

Peanut Butter Moon

Cheese Phases of the Moon

The Cow Jumped Over the Moon

Mashed Potato Cow 

ASTRONAUT

Sandwich Astronaut (this was published as a guest post but the host site no longer exists)

astronaut-salad-with-pizza-stars

Toast Astronaut with Pizza Stars

Astronaut Pasta Lunch

Lasagna Noodle Astronaut

ROCKET / SPACESHIP

rocket-pizza-lunch

Pizza Spaceship

Rocket Potato Lunch

Mashed Potato Rocket

Spaceship Pasta Lunch

Cheese Spaceship

Tortilla Spaceship

METEOR

Meteor Bento

Cheese Meteor

CONSTILATIONS 

Sprinkles Stars

PLANETS

Sweet Potato Planet

planet-pizza-lunch

Pizza Planet

SaturnBentoSalsaW

Bread Saturn

Eggplant Earth

Cauliflower Patties Planets

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Tortilla Space Ship Salad Lunch

I made this fun space themed meal for myself.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side:  Space Ship – flour tortilla cut with a cookie cutter, place on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray, spray cut-out with cooking spray and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp, lettuce (from CSA), pearl fresh mozzarella balls

Top Right:  Brazil nuts

Bottom Right: Stars – Cheddar cut with cookie cutters, black beans

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Cauliflower Potato Planets

I made this planet themed meal for myself. I enjoyed trying the Cauliflower Potato Patties for the first time.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side:  Planets – Baked Cauliflower Potato Patties, I mostly followed the recipe but did not use egg or any egg substitute. Earth – sprinkled with Butterfly Pea Powder and Spinach Powder, Mars – sprinkled with smoked paprika, Venus – browned, Saturn Ring – cut flour tortilla

Top Right: Cashews

Bottom Right: Blueberries

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A Tower of Giraffes

I made this giraffe themed meal for myself. It is part of my ongoing series of themed potato salads that often also contain.vegetables and cheese.

Note: A group of giraffes is called a tower.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side:  Giraffes – Roasted sweet potatoes, orange cheddar cheese (red pepper flakes and smoked paprika), orange bell pepper all cut with cookie cutters, Spinach Walnut Pesto (I also added basil)

Top Right:  Pistachios

Bottom Right: Apple with cut check pattern, blueberries

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Lighthouse Fruit Salad

I made this lunch for my Mom. I was happy that she requested fruit and cottage cheese. It inspired me to make a lighthouse theme meal.

Containers: U Konserve

Rectangle Container: Lighthouse – Cantaloupe cut with a cookie cutter, cinnamon details, cottage cheese mixed with blueberries, brazil nuts, lettuce

Round Container: Lighthouse – Cheddar cut with a cookie cutter, cinnamon details, homemade roll

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House Search Meal

Almost 2 years ago, I started looking for a house. I think everyone who knows me will be glad when I finally find one. Then they won’t have to hear me complain about prices and the lack of houses that meet my criteria. Last week, I actually looked at two houses! Before I looked at a house after work with my friend Dennis, my 19 year old niece asked if I was going to make a house search themed meal for him. I was not planning on it but thought it was a great idea. Dennis enjoyed it!

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: House – Flour tortilla cut with a cookie cutter, place on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray, spray cut-out with cooking spray and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp, food coloring marker details, For Sale Sign – Cheddar cheese, carrot, food coloring marker, rice with spinach, onion, garlic, and Asiago cheese

Top Right: Cashews

Bottom Right: $ – Ishtar zucchini (from my CSA) cut with a cookie cutter

Posted in Bento / Cute Food, Food | 2 Comments

Peacock Bread Lunch

I made this for my sister-in-law on a day I met her and my brother at the Utica Zoo. This was actually my first time making fougasse. I had to significantly modify the recipe from the original so I won’t link to the recipe. I think it looks perfect as a peacock.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Peacock – Cheddar cheese cut with a knife, butterfly pea powder painted with a brush and a little water, dried blueberry eye attached with spaghetti, fougasse (ladder) bread, Feet – carrot cut with a knife

Top Right: Peacock Feather – Apple cut with cookie cutters, green tea maccha powder and butterfly pea powder painted with a brush and a little water, blueberries

Bottom Right: Vegan Broccoli Salad – I did not use the onion or cranberries

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Nutella Bunny Bread

I made this shaped bread lunch with my 19 year old niece. She made the carrot flowers and Nutella face.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Bunny – Homemade bread, Face – Nutella

Top Right: Raspberries

Bottom Right: Flowers – Rainbow carrots cut with a cookie cutter and sauteed in butter

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Snow Leopard Lunch

I made this for my brother on a day I met him and his wife at the Utica Zoo. I asked him for a theme request and he said, “snow leopard”. This does not look exactly like a snow leopard but he enjoyed. I think that this was actually my first time making fougasse. I had to significantly modify the recipe from the original so I won’t link to the recipe.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Snow Leopard – Cheddar cheese cut with a knife, smoked paprika details, fougasse (ladder) bread

Top Right: Vegan Broccoli Salad – I did not use the onion or cranberries

Bottom Right: Paw print – Apple and carrot cut with a cookie cutter, blueberries

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Birthday Tea Party

Thank you to my awesome 19 year old niece who helped me out by taking most of these wonderful photos!

In honor of my 50th birthday (today), I hosted a Luncheon Tea (last weekend) for the women closest to me. I love cooking, planning parties, and spending time with the important people in my life. This was the perfect gift I gave myself. Including me, 7 attended my party (Mom, 19 year old niece, Renae, Carol, Deborah, and Beth Ann). I am delighted that they were able to join me for this celebration.

INVITATIONS

I decided to send paper invitations in the mail. I purchased a digital copy of this, modified it for my occasion and printed it on my personal printer.

TABLE SETTING

  • Triangle Snack Plates – My Great Grandmother’s snack plates (Indiana Milk Glass White Orange Blossom Snack Plate). My family only had 2 from her original set. Years ago, I purchased more on Etsy.
  • Green Cloth Napkins
  • Place cards: flower punched tent style with names on both sides
  • Printed menu

Menu

SAVORY

  • Tea Pot Pizzas: Hummus- Vegetable – I used Martha Stewart Pizza Dough recipe, rolled out dough with plenty of flour, cut with a cookie cutter and followed these directions to pre-bake the crusts to make it easy on party day. On the day of the party I baked with hummus. After baking I added a red pepper flower cut with a cookie cutter and cut snow peas.
  • Tea Pot Pizzas: Fresh-Mozzarella-Tomato – I used Martha Stewart Pizza Dough recipe, rolled out dough with plenty of flour, cut with a cookie cutter and followed these directions to pre-bake the crusts to make it easy on party day. I used tomato sauce that I made ahead and put in freezer, fresh mozzarella, shredded basil and baked for about 10 minutes.
  • Carrot Salad (I shredded rainbow carrots and mostly followed the recipe but left out cumin, paprika, cayenne, chickpeas, and raisins) served on top of a spinach leaf in a Corn Tortilla Cup
  • Corn and Feta Purses – p. 154 Best Ever Vegetarian. I made ahead and put in freezer.
  • Vegetable-Chive Bundles – I did not use the dip. I made bundles of different combinations of carrot, rainbow carrot, red bell pepper, celery, and cut snow pea
  • Marcona Almonds

SCONES

Served with Strawberry Jam and fresh Whipped Cream

DESSERT

  • Tea Pot Sugar Cookie – cut with a mini cookie cutter, sprinkled crumbled freeze dried raspberries on top of the wet glaze
  • Jam Thumbprint Cookie – cut with these cookie cutters, chill for 30 minutes, roll the dough out pretty thick, punch in the heart shape, refrigerate the shaped dough for 15 minutes before piping in preserves with a ziplock bag and bake at 350 for about 21 minutes.
  • Cream Cheese Berry Tartlets – I made this tartlet dough ahead of time, shaped, pre-baked and put in my freezer. On the day of the party I filled and right before serving I garnished with raspberries.

BEVERAGES

  • Twining’s Irish Breakfast Tea
  • Tea Forte Wild Berry Hibiscus
  • Tazo Wild Sweet Orange

DECORATIONS

I transformed my dining room into a paper garden. We were all pleased with the results. It helped add to the atmosphere. I mostly followed these directions but with my own twist. I made a smaller version of these crepe paper roses. I made these birds but did not use the bottom of their bodies or their legs. I made the butterflies with my Cricut machine.

I bought many bunches of assorted pink roses from Trader Joes and Wegmans. My Mom did a fantastic job arranging them in the tea pot, vases, and the individual napkin rings. She even put flowers in my bathroom.

I decorated my entryway with Dollar store tissue pom-poms that I assembled and hung with command hooks.

I ordered balloons from Wegmans and picked up on the morning of my party.

The last time I held a birthday party was for my 40th. For that party I had a children’s theme Sheep party and invited all of my nieces and nephews at the time. My 19 year old niece attended. For that party she helped me make a sheep banner and she put “40” on each of the sheep. I cherish that banner and still have it. This year she came up with the idea to make a sheep banner with 50 sheep. I am delighted that she made it for me.

FASCINATORS

My friend Deborah and I made the fascinators before the party. I got the materials from friends, Michaels Crafts, Dollar Tree, and a craft thrift store in my area. Each guest picked a fascinator to wear. It added a fun element to the party. I enjoyed taking photos of each friend with me.

FAVORS

I bought little boxes put shredded paper from the Dollar Tree inside and added assorted chocolates. On the outside of the boxes, I taped assorted Tea Forte tea.

PLAYLIST

I like the idea of creating a party playlist but don’t usually make one. For my 7 Continents Christmas dinner I started it but only finished Africa. I found and used some of the Carol of the Bells songs I selected for my Carol of the Bells Christmas dinner. For my Birthday Tea party, I worked hard at creating a playlist. I discussed it with many people in my life. I ended up selecting 5 songs from decades I have lived. I got a Spotify account to play it. Unbelievably, I was so busy with my party, I forgot to play it!! One of my friends realized after most people were gone that I did not play my songs. Here is my list:

1970’s

Sunshine on my Shoulders by John Denver

Song Sung Blue by Niel Diamond

Piano Man by Billy Joel

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

My Sharona by The Knack

1980’s

The Tide is High by Blondie

Joy by George Winston

Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by Eurythmics

I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers

Storybook Love Princess Bride by Mark Knopfler

1990’s

Istanbul (Not Constantinople) by They Might Be Giants

Broken Arrow by Rod Stewart

Thank You for Hearing Me by Sinead O’Connor

The Memory of Trees by Enya

Here with Me by Dido

2000’s

The Model by Belle & Sebastian

The Middle by Jimmy Eat World

Bring Me to Life by Evanescence

Boom Boom Pow by Black Eyed Peas

Fairytale by Alexander Rybak

2010’s

Like a G6 by Far East Movement

On the Floor by Jennifer Lopez

All About the Bass by Meghan Trainor

Pale Grass Blue by Enya

Soy Yo by Bomba Estereo

BIRTHDAY PERSON TRIVIA

I made a little quiz about me. My Mom said I should keep it to 10 questions but I ended up with 20. I think it was fun for my guests.


My critique of the party: I had a lot of fun and my guests seemed to also enjoy. The next time I make a playlist for a party, I will put it on my cooking to-do list as a reminder to play it. I like the idea of having smaller tea parties in different seasons. Some of the desserts I served at this tea would be perfect to make again. Maybe I will have a dessert open house when I finally find and buy a house.

Posted in Bento / Cute Food, Food, Party Planning | 4 Comments

Flock of Birds for Lunch

I made this bird themed meal for my Mom. It is part of my ongoing series of themed potato salads that often also contain.vegetables and cheese.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side:  Birds – Roasted white and sweet potatoes, orange cheddar cheese, orange bell pepper all cut with cookie cutters, Spinach Walnut Pesto (I also added basil)

Top Right:  Pistachios

Bottom Right: Cherries

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Zucchini and Apple Frogs

I made this for myself on the same day I made the Lizard meal for a friend. This was not as gross to eat as the lizards. The tails are what got to me with the lizards.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side:  Frogs – Zucchini cut with a cookie cutter and roasted, roasted potatoes, tomatoes, Asiago cheese

Top Right:  Almonds

Bottom Right: Frogs – Apple cut with a cookie cutter, blueberries

Posted in Bento / Cute Food, Food | 2 Comments

Bear on Quiche

I made this bear themed meal for my Mom at her Lake House. I used her bear cookie cutter.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Top Left: Fish – Radish cut with a cookie cutter, blueberries 

Bottom Left: Mixed nuts

Right Side: Bear – Cheddar cheese cut with a cookie cutter, Ricotta, Pea, and Leek Quiche

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Lizard Zucchini

This was planned for when a friend was supposed to come over but she was sick and stayed home. I ended up eating this alone. I found it a little gross to eat zucchini lizards.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side:  Lizards – Zucchini cut with a cookie cutter and roasted, roasted potatoes, tomatoes, Asiago cheese

Top Right:  Pepero almond chocolate sticks

Bottom Right: Blueberries

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Mom’s Mac and Cheese

My Mom’s Macaroni and Cheese is very popular. When her kids and grandchildren visit, it is one of the most requested meals. I am including the original recipe from Betty Crocker here but over the years, my Mom has made it her own. She uses Seriously Sharp Cabot Cheddar Cheese. Mom adds onion powder and dried mustard to the cheese sauce. Also depending on who she is making it for, sometimes she makes it with a breadcrumb topping and sometimes without. When she uses breadcrumbs, she puts extra cheese on top of the elbow pasta then adds the breadcrumbs. I prefer the breadcrumb topping. We like a brown and crispy crust. Mom bakes it for 45 minutes. Delicious!

Betty Crocker’s Cookbook Eighth Printing 1989

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House Search Snack Lunch

I want to buy a house. I’ve been searching for nearly 2 years. A house that meets my requirements, lists less than once a month. Last weekend 2 houses that mostly fulfill my requirements listed on the same day. The last time a house listed for me was the end of April!. Last weekend my friend Renae went with me to see the houses. Since we had appointments at lunch time, I packed identical snack lunches for us to eat in the car.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side:  Cabot Farmhouse Reserve Cheddar, Sugar Snap Peas, Skinny Pop Popcorn Mini Cakes Sea Salt

Top Right:  Pistachios

Bottom Right: Red Grapes

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