7 Year Blogiversary

7 Year Blogiversary-collage.jpg

Today is my 7 year blogiversary. I decided not to do a giveaway this year. Instead I will write a reflection of the past 7 years. The collage above has my favorites from each year.

2012 – Alligator Bread
2013 – May Day Bread Basket
2014 – Babar the Elephant
2015 – Ice Skates Sandwich
2016 – Cardinal Salsa Rice
2017 – Toki Mashed Potato Lunch
2018 – USA Potato Vegetable Salad Lunch

I started Eclectic Lamb as part of a graduate school class requirement for Social Media. I was reluctant and had no idea that it would impact my life and become a cute food blog. Ever since I learned how to cook at age 10, I enjoyed making cute food but having a place to share encouraged me to create more. Since 2011, it is always on my mind that I need to create for my blog.

I consider Eclectic Lamb to be a scrapbook of my life for these past 7 years and hopefully more to come. Most of the time I add one photo and say something basic such as, “Here is lunch, it was fun to make, it was delicious.” Sometimes my posts are more elaborate.

Special Meals

My Grandmothers Funeral

funeral themed dinner table

Roses for Dinner

Carrot Zucchini Rose Tarts Dinner

Groot Themed Dinner

groot dinner family photo

Cinderella Themed Dinner

Cinderella Coach Orange Sorbet

Flying Reindeer Salad

Flying Reindeer Close up

Ultimate Tea Party

tea table sandwiches

Christmas Breakfast

Christmas Breakfast Plate.jpg

How to Train Your Dragon Dinner

Viking Ship Sundae

Tanabata Party

Tanabata Pasta Pie

Hinamatsuri Dinner

Hinamatsuri-Rice-Cake.jpg

Dumplings Around the World

Dumplings Around World Collage

I like to be creative and to make things with my hands. I am a giver and enjoy taking care of people. I show my love for the special people in my life by preparing cute food. I am very happy when a person gives me a food and theme request. I am less happy when I only have myself to take care of but I have pleased myself with cute food.

Special Non-Lunches

Honeydew Melon Cake

Fresh Honeydew Melon Cake

NY Hand Embroidered Towels

All NY Stitched Towels

3D Gingerbread

3D gingerbread whole table

Edible for Birds Corn husk Angel Flower Show Entry

Corn husk birdseed angel.jpg

Cat Themed Pool Party

Chocolate Cat Cookie Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwich

Watermelon Cake

Fresh Watermelon Cake Top

Yoda Ice Cream

Yoda Ice Cream candy melt ears

Diorama Easter Ornaments

Chocolate bunny diorama easter egg ornament.JPG

Gingerbread Bakery

Gingerbread Bakery Front.jpg

I never posted some elaborate parties and food made and experienced during the last 7 years. For example, a jungle themed baby shower and a dessert crawl across Manhattan with my then 16 year old nephew. Maybe it is not too late since I still have the photos.

My posts often subtly show how my life has changed during the time of Eclectic Lamb. I had shoulder surgery and refer to others who helped me make and photograph the cute food. Niece and nephews have grown up, people come and go, some die, I got divorced… I dated a guy this past year and called him my companion. Now I hope to call him my friend. Life changes but I continue to make and share cute food.

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

Waterlily Lunches

Radish Waterlily Broccoli Pizza Lillypad

I planned these waterlily themed lunches for the weekend my Irish cousins visited at my parents lake house in the Adirondacks. Since I was not sure of their food preferences, I planned several options and was prepared to modify them.

  • Lily-pad pizza is either broccoli & cheddar cheese or pesto.
  • Waterlily is either radish or tomato.

I thought it would be a lot of work to make these for 5 (cousin Peg, cousin Mary, my Mom, my Dad, and me). But I enjoy this type of work and 5 is manageable. I did not know that I would end up making these for 10 since it became my grandma’s funeral weekend. It was manageable since my brother worked along with me and made the radish and tomato waterlilies and took food preference orders. I did not have enough EasyLunchBoxes so I made some on plates. Everyone ate their lunch out on the front deck with a view of the lake (with waterlilies in bloom).

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Lily-pad – homemade pizza dough cut in a lily-pad shape (I used a floured paper template), baked with shredded broccoli and cheddar cheese with a little bit of garlic powder, Waterlily – radish

Top Right: Fish in lake – carrot and cucumber (cut with a cookie cutter), blueberries

Bottom Right: Frog – honeydew melon (cut with a cookie cutter), blueberries

Pesto Lillypad Tomato Waterlily lunch.jpg

This is another option that I offered my guests.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Lily-pad – homemade pizza dough cut in a lily-pad shape (I used a floured paper template), baked with homemade basil pesto, Waterlily – tomato

Top Right: Fish in lake – carrot and cucumber (cut with a cookie cutter), blueberries

Bottom Right: Frog – honeydew melon (cut with a cookie cutter), blueberries

Tomato Waterlily broccoli pizza lillypad on a plate.jpg

Since I did not have enough EasyLunchBoxes, I served some of the meals on plates. To make it special I put a carrot inside the cucumber slice.

Many Waterlily lunches.jpg

Here is an image that shows 7 of the 10 lunches we made. Andy had fun experimenting with different types of waterlilies. I don’t like putting things that can melt on top of a stove but I was running out of counter space. The stove was not hot and I warned anyone nearby. But they had no reason to turn on the stove with so many cute lunches on top.

My critique of the meal: I know that the waterlilies are not to scale but I did not want to make the lily-pads smaller. Normally I don’t like making so many lunches in duplicate. I prefer to make different themes to provide more material for my blog. In this case, it was the best way to go and without the talented help from my brother, I would not have had time to make such beautiful flowers. I had considered just giving some people grilled cheese but that is not really my way. Plus my mom vetoed that idea.

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

Porcupine Lunch

Porcupine Lunch

I made this for my friend Dennis. He suggested that I make a porcupine themed lunch and I was very happy to oblige. When thinking about a themed side, I remembered when my grandparents dog, “Blondie” got some porcupine quills in her mouth. It was at their summer home in the Adirondacks. I must have been young when it happened since I only remember the quills in her mouth, not anyone taking them out.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Top Left: Kiwi and grapes

Bottom Right: Dog with porcupine quills – cucumber (cut with cookie cutter), spaghetti, carrots

Right Side: Porcupine – cheddar mashed potatoes, cooled then shaped by hand, purple carrot, dried cherries, peas with a little butter

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

Flower Hand Pie Lunch

Flower Hand Pie Lunch

I made this for myself on the same day that I made this lunch for my niece. It might be dull looking but it was delicious.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Flowers – roasted Cauliflower, red pepper and cheddar cheese hand pie with a butter pie crust

Top Right: Pistachios

Bottom Right: Blackberries

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

Flower Fruit Salad Lunch

Flower Fruit Salad Lunch with Chocolate Yogurt Dip

I made this packed lunch for my 19 year old niece. See below for the scrap lunch I took for myself that day. I made it the night before and was a little concerned about the fresh spinach leaves underneath all of the fresh juicy fruit. My niece said that it would be like a vinaigrette and it was!

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, apple, strawberry, pineapple (cut with cookie cutters), served on fresh spinach leaves

Top Right: Chocolate Greek yogurt dip – I would prefer this without the cinnamon next time. You could also just buy Chocolate Greek yogurt.

Bottom Right: Mini pretzels

Scraps Fruit Salad Lunch.jpg

I made this lunch for myself with the scraps from my niece’s lunch.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, apple, strawberry, pineapple (cut with cookie cutters), served on fresh spinach leaves

Top Right: Chocolate Greek yogurt dip – I would prefer this without the cinnamon next time. You could also just buy Chocolate Greek yogurt.

Bottom Right: Mini pretzels

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

Bear Cheese Bread Lunch

Bear Bread Lunch.jpg

I made this fun packed lunch for my 19 year old niece. She enjoyed it! My inspiration for this lunch was the bear chocolate strawberry.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Bear – 30 minute cheese bread I made the bread with shredded cheddar cheese and used dried cherry for the eyes and nose.

Top Right: Bear – chocolate dipped strawberry – I mostly following these directions but I used dark chocolate chips. It resulted in the bear’s nose being the same color as the bear.

Bottom Right: Paw – Japanese daikon radish, carrot (paw cookie cutter with cut outs)

Bear Strawberry Dipped Chocolate.jpg

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

My Grandmother’s Funeral

funeral themed dinner table

My grandmother died at nearly 95 years old. Of course, I made a special themed dinner for 8 people (including 2 cousins from Ireland) at my parents lake house the night before the funeral. Elements of the theme were a dove, cross, Celtic knot, and shamrock – to represent death and her Irish heritage. I asked my brother to carve a cross out of a pineapple for the centerpiece. He did a fantastic job!

Menu

I want to get better at garnish and plating. I used carrot doves cut with a small cookie cutter for the Potato Leek Soup. To garnish the potato leek soup I mixed sour cream with milk and piped out of a small ziplock bag with the corner snipped off. I struggled with the sour cream garnish since it was my first time. My first try was too thin, second too thick, and third was just right. I garnished the strawberry soup with strawberry doves cut with a small cookie cutter. I forgot to use mint leaves.

Double Mushroom Soup (This is a family favorite from Sunset’s “Menus & Recipes for Vegetarian Cooking”)
Makes 4 – 1 cup servings.

1/2 cup dried mushrooms
1 cup warm water
3 cups vegetable stock
2 Tbs butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms
3 Tbs flour
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp thyme

Cover dried mushrooms with water and let stand for 30 minutes. Remove mushrooms; cut off and discard stems. Thinly slice mushrooms and set aside. Measure soaking water (discarding any sandy portion at the bottom) and add enough stock to make a total of 4 cups liquid; reserve.

In a 3-quart pan over medium high heat, melt butter. Add onion, garlic, fresh mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are gold and pan juices have evaporated. Stir in flour, paprika, and thyme. Add reserved stock mixture and dried mushrooms. Cook, stirring until soup thickens slightly. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

potato leek soup with carrot dove garnish.jpg

strawberry soup

pineapple cross centerpiece.jpg

lakehouse funeral dinner.jpg

creme de mint sundaes with shamrock cookies.jpg

grandma memorial photos.jpg

My mom set up a memorial table of photos for the night before the funeral and morning of the funeral.

Joan Fox Photo.jpg

I planned the funeral mass with the priest. Above was the photo I put on the cover of the program for the Funeral Liturgy. The large photo is from a few years ago on a cruise with my parents (she was in her 90’s). The small photo is from when she was 12 and newly arrived in America.

I decided to do an eulogy for my grandmother. In a Catholic mass sometimes an eulogy is allowed and sometimes it is not. It depends on the priest. The priest at the small country church allowed one speaker. I kept it short because it is advised to be between 1-3 minutes. Also my grandmother was not an easy woman (often verbally abusive) and I thought it was better to keep it brief. My friends asked what I was going to say because they all knew that she was often not very nice. I think that some of my relatives wondered what I would say. During my preparation I Googled, “eulogy for abusive parent”. I found this and it was very helpful. I even took at least one of her lines and in general it was inspirational. I received a lot of positive comments afterwards and relatives were glad that I did it the way that I did. I really do think that my grandmother loved us; she was just not able to do it in a way that did not hurt and alienate her relatives. 3 of her 4 children, 3 of her 9 grandchildren, and 4 of her 10 great-grandchildren attended her funeral.

Eulogy for Joan Fox

For anyone who does not know me, Joan Fox was my grandmother.

Joan leaves behind 4 children, 9 grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren. We are grateful for those who can be with us today.

9 days from today would have been her 95th birthday.

Born in Ireland to an unwed mother – who then left her and emigrated to New York – Joan was raised by her grandparents in Ireland until the age of 12 when her mother married in America and decided to reunite with her.

Joan met a kind man, had a life of nice houses, international trips, and cruises. She was married for 64 years until his death in 2007.

She was an avid reader mostly romances and family stories. She loved to watch sensational TV. She could knit. She tried to teach me how to knit at 10 (a family tradition) – I never really got the knack for it but Terri my sister did.

She was tough on people, had strong opinions and expectations and was not afraid to share them. In her older age, these traits made strangers think that she was funny and cute.

She liked sweet things. If something was sour, her whole face puckered. Her favorite color was yellow.

I am sure we all have unique stories about her. Some of my favorites are her sayings: if I asked what was for dinner – she would say air balls and wind pudding. If a knife fell on the ground she would say a man was coming, fork a woman, and spoon a baby.

She was a devout Catholic. She spent a lot of Sunday’s in this church. Always praying to the patron saints – St. Jude for hopeless causes, St. Anthony for lost things, St Joseph she buried upside down to sell a house.

She was rarely at peace on earth. My prayer is that she finds peace.

Posted in Bento / Cute Food, Food | 4 Comments