Lunch with Basil

Basil Featured Ingredient Lunch

I made this meal for my companion “D” and made an identical one for myself. It may seem a little strange to put basil on strawberries but the whole meal was delicious!

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Top Left: Sliced strawberries with a little bit of lemon juice, honey, and fresh basil

Bottom Left: Fresh mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, freshly ground pepper, basil

Right Side: Homemade pizza with homemade basil pesto, mozzarella cheese, and sliced cherry tomatoes

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Shark Attack Lunch

shark attack lunch

I made this for my companion ā€œDā€ to take as a packed meal for work. I used my Shark Attack cookie cutters for the first time. I thought about using the person with the severed leg but I did not want the lunch to be gruesome.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Shark – hot cooked Nishiki rice pressed in a cookie cutter with plastic wrap, spinach details, surf board – cheddar cheese (cookie cutter), black beans and salsa

Top Right: Cashews

Bottom Right: Blackberries

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Black Bear Lunch

black bear lunch

I made this lunch for myself because I had leftover black beans. It was good but too healthy tasting.

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

Contents: Bear – (I used my food processor to puree black beans with some olive oil, onion powder and a splash of lemon juice), cherry tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries, crinkle cut carrots and cucumber

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Fourth Flower Show

meditation and national photo entries

Two weeks ago, I entered my 4th Flower Show (“Celebrations in May”). I almost didn’t participate but I decided to enter a photo since it is more fun to attend when I have a personal connection to the show. I was called last minute to enter another photo and make a brooch since they needed all 4 places filled for the entries in a category to be filled. A friend said that I did a good deed. Maybe she said that since my entries were all failures.

I entered 3 classes and received two – honorable mentions (4th place) and one – 3rd place but it was really a 4th place (more details on that below). So it was a failure for me but as my companion “D” said, I knew I would not place well because of “lack of prep, time, effort, and lack of caring”. I thought the lack of caring was a bit harsh but if I cared more I would have taken the time to make my entries better. I also would have taken the time to find the photography rules since I had never entered a photograph before.

1st place brooch.jpg

Class 1 – “Celebrating Wildflower Week”

The above photo is the 1st place brooch.

1st place brooch materials

I like the idea of making a key to show materials used.

2nd place brooch

2nd place brooch. This one was my favorite. It uses pussy willows.

3rd place brooch

3rd place brooch

For the background, I glued corn husk together and covered it with sheet moss. Since this was a last minute entry, I used materials I had at my place. I cut bay leaves from my spice drawer and painted them. I had the dried miniature Button Chrysanthemum from a past flower show entry.

The judges comments for my brooch, “We question one of the material used. Nicely executed.” I asked later and they did not believe that I used corn husk. I guess they are not allowed to pick up the piece to see the back.

This was my second time to enter a brooch in a flower show and I did not do well the first time either. My wildflower brooch this year really was 4th place because someone who said she would bring one, did not. The Flower Show Committee made a simple one so that the others could be judged.

4th place brooch

4th place brooch but it was made quickly by the Flower Show Committee to enable the other entries to be judged.

Now on to the photos. I used what I had and did not get them professionally printed. I don’t like glossy paper so I did not use it. As I did not read the rules, maybe it is supposed to be on glossy paper. Anyway, I knew when I entered that mine would come in 4th place. Plus I made it easy for the judges.

1st place national photo.jpg

Class 3 – “National Photo Month”

1st place photo

2nd place national photo

2nd place photo

3rd place national photo

3rd place photo

4th place national photo

4th place photo

This photo is one I took in the past year from the front deck of my parents Lake House. The judges comments to me were, “It needed more interest and drama in the foreground. Lacks an interesting focal point.”

1st place meditation photo

Class 4 – “Meditations Day”

1st place photo

2nd place meditation photo.jpg

2nd place photo

3rd place meditation photo

3rd place photo

4th place meditation photo

4th place photo

I struggled with finding a last minute meditation photo in the correct orientation. I had some Buddha ones in portrait. It had to be in black and white.

As usual, I enjoyed participating in the Botanical Arts division of a flower show .

1st Flower Show

2nd Flower Show

3rd Flower Show

 

 

 

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Black Cat Lunch

black cat lunch.jpg

My friend “J” came over for lunch. She wanted black beans and a cat theme. I am always happy when people suggest themes and food. Also it caused me to come up with a technique new to me – I pureed black beans.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Cat – layered black beans, Mexican blend cheese, and corn packed into a cookie cutter, (I used my food processor to puree black beans with some olive oil, onion powder and a splash of lemon juice), lime peel for face details, lettuce

Top Right: Raspberries with cinnamon sugar tortilla cats (cut flour tortillas with cookie cutter, brush the cut tortilla chips with olive oil and then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Put shapes on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 8 minutes (bake until lightly browned and crisp)

Bottom Right: Mice tortilla chips (cut flour tortillas with a cookie cutter, place on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray, spray shapes with cooking spray and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp.

Above the Box: Salsa (in Mini Dippers)

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Rhino Lunch

Rhino lunch

I made this for my companion “D”. He actually suggested the theme and I was happy to oblige.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Top: Rhino – cheddar mashed potatoes cooled then shaped and stamped with a cookie cutter, horn – cheddar cheese, peas

Bottom Left: Raspberries with some white chocolate chips

Bottom Right: Pistachios

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Groot Themed Dinner

groot dinner family photo

I had my friend “R” and her family over for a Groot themed meal. They brought over their baby Groot to use as a centerpiece. This theme was something I talked about for awhile and we finally did it. I made 6 individual Groot breads (my companion “D” came later after work and he also enjoyed the meal).

Groot Dinner Table

Groot Bread – I doubled the recipe and made 6 individual Groot breads. For the eyes I used dried cherries. I did not use an egg wash.

Lentil Feta Salad

Raw Vegetables with Ranch Dip

Groot Cookies – I am not skilled with a pastry bag and struggled with this since the dough was too thick. Also I forgot to buy heavy cream and used milk. I had to keep adding milk to make it loose enough so I could pipe it. But they turned out cute and my guests enjoyed. I used Trader Joe’s Cacao Nibs for the eyes.

cooling groot bread.jpeg

I only made 2 with cheddar cheese on top since I did not know how popular they would be with my crowd.

Groot bread close

Groot Cookies.jpg

baby groot back with cookies

My critique of the meal: I was concerned about the nutritional value of the meal since it was centered around large individual breads. I love doing themed meals and I think that this will be memorable for my guests. I know that it will be memorable for me.

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