Spring Mashed Potato Wagashi

What are Wagashi? Wagashi are traditional Japanese sweets usually served with green tea. Most of the ones I made here are in the Nerikiri style. Traditional Nerikiri Wagashi are soft and smooth. They are made by hand from rice flour and white beans and are often filled with red bean paste. Wagashi are made to represent the seasons.

What are my imitations? I decided to make food that looks like Wagashi but are really savory food. My bird, flower, and balls on a stick are cheddar cheese mashed potatoes. Green has finely chopped fresh spinach leaves. Yellow has tumeric. Red has tomato paste. Purple has Butterfly Pea Flower powder.

Why I made these? Inspired by Fukuyadou Honpo (Kyoto Love Story) drama I watched on Amazon Prime in the winter. The drama is set in Kyoto at a traditional Japanese sweet shop. I only have a little experience eating actual Wagashi and not the Nerikiri type I imitated here. I used one potato and ate these as part of my dinner.

How to make? Probably the most difficult part is getting the mashed potatoes the correct consistency to shape by hand. I got lucky with these (I did not add butter or milk). But I have experience with shaping mashed potatoes. The strawberry is covered with Greek yogurt. I also include a spinach pancake leaf with potato ladybug at the end of this post.

My Spring Potato Wagashi Set:

Bird – Cheddar mashed potatoes with Butterfly Pea Flower powder, candy eye

Hanami DangoGreen – cheddar mashed potato mixed with finely chopped fresh spinach leaves, White – cheddar mashed potato, Pink – cheddar mashed potato with tomato paste, wooden skewer cut to size

Flower – Cheddar mashed potato with tomato paste, Center of Flower- cheddar mashed potato with tumeric, Leaf – spinach. Use the side of a chopstick to press into a mashed potato ball to make the petals. Make an indent in the center with the larger end of a chopstick.

Strawberry Daifuku – Strawberry dipped in plain Greek yogurt. Freeze.

Leaf with Ladybug – Leaf – pancake with finely chopped raw spinach, cheddar mashed potato ball, Ladybug – cheddar mashed potato with tomato paste, black sesame seeds, black food coloring

Dishes: The small leaf and flower plates are from Natural Kitchen (100 Yen store in Japan).

I enjoyed making this Wagashi set for spring. I am already thinking about ideas for the other seasons.

Examples of Wagashi for each month.

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Flower Ravioli Birthday Dinner

My family and friends love it when I make homemade pasta. For my Mom’s birthday I made flower shaped ravioli for my Mom, Dad, and me. All of us kept raving about the meal. It was a delight!

Spinach Strawberry Salad – Spinach leaves, sliced strawberries, toasted sliced almonds

Maple Vinaigrette – Olive oil, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup whisked together (I did not measure but I have experience making vinaigrettes).

Three Cheese Flower Shaped Ravioli This is my favorite pasta dough, I used a flower shaped cookie cutter to cut the dough. The filling is Ricotta, Asiago, and Mozzeralla cheeses with some garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cook in boiling water for about 5 minutes. After plating, sprinkle dried basil on top.

Tomato Sauce – Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil, add canned strained and chopped tomatoes, basil, and oregano, cook for about 25 minutes.

Roasted Asparagus – Drizzle a little olive oil over asparagus, roast asparagus in a 420 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Add Asiago cheese after plating.

No-bake Lemon Cheesecake Cups with Raspberries – soften 8 oz cream cheese, whip a small container of heavy cream with some vanilla and a little sugar, whip cream cheese with some sugar and lemon zest, fold cheese mixture and whipped cream together with a spoon. Put some raspberries on the bottom of each container, spoon the cheese / whipped cream mixture on top, garnish with more fresh raspberries.

My critique of the meal: We all loved it. I don’t think that I would have done anything different. But if I really need to be critical, maybe next time I would plan a decorative center on top of the flower ravioli. I thought about it ahead of time but did not plan anything. Last minute as I was plating, I sprinkled some dried basil on top of the ravioli.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Themed Lunch

This week I received my second COVID-19 vaccine. It seemed fitting to make a themed meal for myself to honor the occasion. I was excited to use the COVID-19 cookie cutter made by my friend Renae. She now has a 3D printer and has made several cookie cutters for me!

My cheese person getting a COVID-19 vaccine is not wearing a mask so you can see the smile. The smile is there since it was suggested by my friend Renae. Without the face, it was not clear what was happening here. Sometimes I send images to friends while I am in the middle of making something to see if they know what it is supposed to be. Also, often I make art with people or animals without facial details and wish later that I had included a face.

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

Contents: Person: cheddar cheese, Face: paprika and food coloring, Shot: cheddar cheese, food coloring, spaghetti, Other: roasted asparagus, Broccoli Quinoa, COVID-19 tortilla chips: flour tortillas cut with cookie cutter, (place on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray, brush with olive oil, bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp), Other: pecans, fresh broccoli.

I have a longtime fondness for stickers so I was especially happy to receive this sticker after getting my vaccine. Also, I like to think that I am tough.

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Leprechaun Lunch

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I made this cute leprachaun for myself. I mostly followed this idea. To see all of my St. Patrick’s / Ireland themed food, please go to my collection.

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

Contents: Leprechaun – hummus in a silicon cup, spinach, carrots, black olives, dried blueberry, radish, walnuts, shamrocks – cucumber cut with a cookie cutter

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Saint Patrick Drawing

I drew Saint Patrick on a quesadilla! It was a fun meal for myself. Every year I think I will make a themed meal with the Saint but it never happened until now.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Saint Patrick – drawn with food coloring markers, cheddar quesadilla

Top Right: Dry roasted edamame

Bottom Right: Orange

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Pesto Pizza Shamrocks

I made this shamrock pesto pizza meal for myself.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side:  Shamrocks – pesto pizza cut with a cookie cutter

Top Right: Shamrocks – orange and white cheddar cut with a cookie cutter

Bottom Right: Mandarin oranges

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Cheddar Celtic Knot

I made this easy lunch for myself. The cheese decoration is supposed to be a Celtic knot.

Container: Prep Natural Glass Meal Containers

Left Side: Celtic knot – orange cheddar cut with a knife, rice with roasted zucchini

Right Side: Pineapple, pumpkin seeds

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Camel Chips and Hummus

I made this camel chip and hummus snack lunch for myself.

Container: ELB Snack Boxes

Contents:

  • Palm Tree – zucchini cut with a cookie cutter
  • Camels – tortilla chips – flour tortillas cut with cookie cutters, (place on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with smoked paprika and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp)
  • Walnuts
  • Hummus

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Hinamatsuri Girls Day Lunch

I made this Hinamatsuri (Girls Day Japan) lunch for myself.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Emperor – garlic mashed potato with spinach and radish details, painted with green food coloring mixed with water, Empress – garlic mashed potato with spinach and radish details, painted with red food coloring mixed with water, snow peas, radish flower cut with a cookie cutter

Top Right:  Dry roasted edamame

Bottom Right: Greek yogurt mixed with raspberry jam, strawberries cut with a cookie cutter

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Lamb or Lion?

I made this as part of dinner for myself. Will March come in like a Lion and go out like a Lamb? This proverb to describe the weather in March amuses me. It was fun to celebrate the idea of upcoming spring with this themed meal.

Lion: Sweet Potato cut with a cookie cutter, roasted in oven

Lamb: White Potato cut with a cookie cutter, roasted in oven

Grass: Pesto made with fresh basil, lemon juice, walnuts, Asiago cheese

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Purple Flamingo Lunch

I made this lunch for myself and decorated it with flamingo shaped radish. I picked this theme since I wanted to use my flamingo cookie cutter for the first time. On a whim I colored them with Butterfly Pea Flower Powder mixed with a little water.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side:  Flamingos – black radish cut with a cookie cutter, brushed with a mixture of water and Butterfly Pea Flower powder, peanut noodles

Top Right: Pumpkin seeds

Bottom Right: Blueberries

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Roasted Cauliflower with Romesco Sauce

I made this dinner for myself. It was easy and delicious! I am glad that I enjoy cooking and can make interesting food for myself. I don’t think I had ever made romesco sauce before. I had all of the ingredients. It was quick to make in my food processor. Usually I don’t like raw garlic but I enjoyed it in this meal.

Roasted Cauliflower with Romesco

Cheddar cheese

Pears with nutmeg

Toasted sunflower seeds

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Mashed Potato Whale

I made this potato whale lunch for my Mom.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Top: Whale – garlic and Asiago cheese mashed potato cut with cookie cutter, Eye – dried blueberry, Ocean – blue mashed potato

Bottom Left: Blackberries

Bottom Right: Macadamia nuts

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Valentines Day Themed Food

Happy Valentine’s Day! This is my collection of Heart, Cupid, Be Mine, and XO food. As with my other collections, I plan to update when I create something new.

ANIMALS / CHARACTERS with HEARTS

Rice Valentine Bear Lunch

Bear Rice Holding Carrot Hearts

Precious Moments Valentine Sandwich Lunch

Precious Moments Character Sandwich with Heart Egg

Snoopy Heart Bento Lunch

Valentine’s Day Themed Snoopy

Mashed Potato Valentine Giraffe Lunch

Mashed Potato Giraffe with Carrot Hearts

HEARTS

Heart Potato Salad

Heart Potato Salad

Hearts lunch

Heart Snack Lunch

Heart Onigiri Lunch

Heart Onigiri

Valentine Quesadilla Lunch

Hearts Quesadillas

Valentine envelope bento lunch

Valentine Envelope Rice

Swan Valentine Sandwich Lunch

Valentine Swans

Valentine Calzone Lunch

Heart Calzone

Mr and Mrs Valentine Rice

Mr. and Mrs. Hearts

Bread Heart Lunch

Heart Bread

Plain Rice with Sage and Carrot Heart

Carrot Heart Garnish

Pasta with Beet Hearts

Heart Beets

Heart-Salad-Lunch

Heart Salad

Heart Cucumber over Peanut Noodles

Cucumber Hearts over Peanut Noodles

Heart Ravioli Meal

Heart Ravioli

Heart Chocolate Chip Cookie Milk

Chocolate Chip Cookie Heart

Heart Onigiri lunch with peanut butter and pretzels

Heart Salsa Rice

heart-valentine-caprese-salad

Heart Caprese Salad

Frosted Heart Cinnamon Roll

Heart Cinnamon Rolls with Heart Fruit

heart-cinnamon-tortilla-chips-and-fruit-salsa

Heart Cinnamon Chips 

Heart Eyes Emoji

BE MINE

Be Mine Pizza

CUPID

Cheese Cupid

Quesadilla Cupid

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Heart Eyes Emoji Lunch

I made this meal for myself as part of my emoji rice series.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side:  Heart Eyes Emoji – cooked Nishiki rice pressed into a round emoji cookie cutter, cheddar cheese broiled on top of rice. Eyes – radish cut with mini heart cutter. Mouth – spinach cut with a mini cutter, peas

Top Right: Walnuts

Bottom Right: Pineapple

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Cupid Cheese Over Risotto

I made this cupid cheese art over baked risotto for myself. I used an imprint cookie cutter for the shapes.

Container: Prep Natural Glass Meal Containers

Left Side: Cupid – orange and white cheddar pressed into an imprint cupid cookie cutter, Eyes – dried blueberry, Mouth and Heart – radish. Baked asparagus and spinach risotto

Right Side: Grapefruit

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Groundhog Day Polenta

Happy Groundhog Day! I made this meal for myself on the same day that I made a lunch with polenta hands for my friend Deborah.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Top: Groundhog – polenta cooked in vegetable broth – cooled then cut with a cookie cutter, Shadow – smoked paprika, mashed garlic broccoli 

Bottom Left:  Orange slices

Bottom Right:  Hazelnuts

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Virtual Birthday Dinner

To celebrate my friend Carols birthday with her this year I made and delivered dinner. Then over zoom we ate together and talked. She requested the same meal as last year. I prepared the Wellington the same way as for our virtual Thanksgiving.

Vegetable Wellington (I used frozen Puffed Pastry and did not use mushrooms or eggplant), served with Citrus Beurre Blanc sauce (recipe at the bottom)

Individual Chocolate Cream Pie

My critique of the meal: Wonderful meal! The only thing I would change is to use chocolate curls instead of mini chocolate chips on top of the pies. But the mini chocolate chips worked just fine.

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World in Hands Bento Lunch

I made this two box meal for my friend Deborah on her birthday. I was happy to try making an earth out of eggplant! When I delivered her food, we went for a walk. It was lovely to go for a walk together. The air was crisp and woods pretty from a recent snowfall. And I always enjoy speaking with Deborah.

Container: U Konserve

Contents: Earth – roasted eggplant brushed with a little olive oil and Butterfly Pea Flower Powder for the water and some basil-lemon-walnut to represent land. Hands – polenta cooked in vegetable broth, cut with cookie cutter, mashed garlic broccoli (to make it vegan for my friend, I did not use cheese)

Contents: Sliced oranges, coconut-pecan-date balls

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Blue Potato Penguin Lunch

My Dad ate this potato and cream cheese penguin for lunch. He did not know what it was supposed to be but he said it tasted great. Both my Mom and Dad independently turned the lunch around and though it was a dolphin.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Penguin – blue mashed potato cut with a cookie cutter, cream cheese, Eye – dried blueberry, peas

Top Right:  Macadamia nuts

Bottom Right: Blackberries

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Snowflake Waffle Lunch

I made this easy lunch for myself. I also ate the waffle scraps not shown in this photo.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Top Left: Greek yogurt with sprinkles

Bottom Left: Walnuts

Right Side: Waffle cut with a cookie cutter, radish slices

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Mask Emoji Lunch

I consider this blog my scrapbook of the past 9.5 years. I made this lunch for myself to represent this time in history. A year ago I owned no masks and now I have many.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side:  Mask Emoji – cooked Nishiki rice pressed into a round emoji cookie cutter, cheddar cheese broiled on top of rice. Eyes and eyebrows – spinach. Mask – cheddar cheese, spinach leaves

Top Right: Hazelnuts

Bottom Right: Clementine

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Cream Cheese Snowflake Lunch

I made this snowy lunch for myself. So far this year we have less snow than usual.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Snowflakes – cream cheese piped (imprint in potato with cookie cutter, cut corner off of small plastic bag and pipe shapes, blue mashed potato

Top Right: Macadamia nuts

Bottom Right: Blackberries

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Happy New Year 2021

I made this simple meal for myself. Happy New Year!

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: 2021 – Carrot (cut with cookie cutters), rice with peas and cheese

Top Right: Mixed nuts

Bottom Right: Pomegranate seeds

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Top 10 Bento 2020

I am happy to share my favorite bento meals from the year.

I made this Daisy Vegetable Potato Salad for my friend Carol.

This Cheese Helicopter over a blue potato sky was for myself.

My friend Renae ate this Cheese Witch flying over a lentil sky.

I enjoyed this Tooth Pizza meal.

I made this Woodland Snack lunch for my Mom.

I enjoyed this Day of the Dead sugar skull rice.

I made this cute Cheddar Fox meal for my Mom.

I enjoyed this Carrot Eiffel Tower meal.

My Mom enjoyed this polenta and cream cheese Owl.

My Dad ate this mushroom themed lunch.

Happy New Year! May your 2021 include delicious and attractive food.

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Carol of the Bells Dinner

I love the song, Carol of the Bells. This year it was my inspiration for Christmas dinner. When I first told my Mom the theme, she seemed confused but planned beautiful table decor. I made the menu cards and we used bell napkin rings that I made for this dinner. We played various versions of Carol of the Bells during our courses.

We decided to space out the courses throughout the day. It was fun that my niece who was not able to join us, figured out the spacing since my Mom sent her a photo after each course.

Cracking and eating nuts at the end of the meal is a family tradition. We used a historical wooden nut bowl that I remember from my Grandmothers house when I was a child.

Hark How the Bells

Onion Rings with Sour Cream Ranch Dip

Sweet Silver Bells

Pumpkin Ricotta Cocoa Ravioli with Pecans, Blue Cheese, and Brown Butter

Bringing Good Cheer

Leek Potato Galette with Pistachio Crust

Merry Christmas

Lemon Cake with Raspberry Filling and Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Nuts

My critique of the meal:

I liked having my Dad’s onion rings as a course. He made them so it gave me time to do other things. This was my first time making bell shaped cocoa ravioli. I was concerned that my Mom would not like it. Both of my parents loved the ravioli. I was on the fence about them. But I thought they looked beautiful especially with the combo of the brown ravioli and orange pumpkin filling. We all enjoyed the Leek Potato Galette with Pistachio Crust. The cake was delicious. My Mom made it in 6 inch pans and frosted it. She used Raspberry Jam from France. My only contribution to the cake were the decorations. I wrote “Merry Christmas” in leftover frosting dyed green (snipped the corner off a zip lock bag), and used mint leaves, pomegranate seeds, and raspberries. My Dad made cappuccino which is always appreciated. It was a special meal.

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Christmas Meals 2020

We decided on a Snowman theme for our traditional Christmas breakfast table this year. I love the snowball lights my Mom found! This was at least our second time making a citrus snowman but this year was the best. I made the chocolate hat and my Mom did everything else. A wooden skewer holds the grapefruit, orange and clementine together.

This year we did something we never did before. You don’t have to have children around to have fun. We wore matching pajamas.

I don’t know when I first started making Pig Scones but it could have been as long as 1992. I make them most years but I don’t usually blog it. Including this year, the pig scones are in three blog posts – 2014, 2018, 2020.

Traditional Christmas Breakfast

Pig Scones with Shaped Butter

Roasted Potatoes with Dijon Dip

Citrus with Mint Sugar

For lunch on one of the days before Christmas we had a beautiful and delicious soup.

Cauliflower Feta Soup

Tree Wonton Crackers – we used olive oil and fresh herbs instead of pesto

Posted in Bento / Cute Food, Food, Party Planning | 6 Comments

Europe Inspired Christmas Meals 2020

I was fortunate to spend 5 days at my parents house for Christmas this year. When my Mom and I planned the meals, she wanted to have themed nights celebrating different countries. My Mom planned the tablescapes for each of the meals. My parents researched traditional Christmas celebrations in each country. It inspired the table decorations. Also they prepared fun facts about the holiday celebrations. The table decorations were special and added to the atmosphere. The German wooden winter pyramid was a huge hit. We delighted in watching the scene spin around from the heat of the candles.

The first night was inspired by France.

French Onion Soup with Homemade French Bread

Palmiers

The second night was inspired by Italy.

Eggplant Rollatini

Broccoli with Garlic

Italian Cookies from Carlo’s Bakery

The third night was inspired by Germany.

Spaetzle

Red Cabbage (we reduced the sugar and increased the vinegar)

Toasted Pecan, Coconut and Chocolate Clusters

The three of us enjoyed our holiday meals this year. We made it special and it was memorable.

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Pesto Pizza Christmas Tree

I made this pesto pizza tree for myself. It was delicious!

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Tree – homemade pizza dough cut with a cookie cutter, pesto, Star- yellow bell pepper cut with a mini cutter

Top Right: Hazelnuts

Bottom Right: Cotton Candy Green Grapes

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Angel Carrots Mashed Potato Lunch

I continued my challenge to find ways to use my angel cookie cutters.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Angel – cooked and mashed carrots inside an angel cut-out (cookie cutter), cheddar mashed potatoes

Top Right: Pistachios

Bottom Right: Angels – mango cut with a cookie cutter, blueberries

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Angel Vegetable Potato Salad

Continuing my popular series of themed potato salad, here are some angels.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Angels – orange cheddar, white roasted potato, yellow bell pepper cut with a cookie cutter. Face – paprika (put on with a toothpick)

Top Right:  Pumpkin Seeds

Bottom Right: Angels – melon cut with a cookie cutter, Face – cocoa power (put on with a toothpick)

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Angel Tortellini Lunch

I made this angel lunch for my Mom. As usual, she enjoyed the meal!

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Angels – Cheddar cheese, tortellini, cherry tomatoes, spinach, black olives, olive oil and red wine vinegar

Top Right: Pistachios

Bottom Right: Raspberries, blackberries

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In-Person and Virtual Thanksgiving

This year my parents came for Thanksgiving. We shared the same food and ate together virtually with my friend Carol. I delivered the food to Carol and gave her instructions to cook the main course the same time I cooked ours. I am glad that she lives nearby. I was distracted by actually having people at my place and I forgot to bring the wellington sauce to Carol. It worked out fine. I drove it over to her between courses and it gave my parents time to talk to her without me around.

Table: I borrowed my Mom’s plates, place mats and napkins. (I sent a place mat, and napkin with cornucopia ring over to Carol with the food. She used her families China.) My Mom made the flower arrangement. She filled her ceramic pumpkin with fresh flowers. I bought and used the cornucopia napkin rings in NYC in 1999. This may have only been my second time to use them since my family did not remember them.

Appetizer: Corn Fritters with Maple Syrup (This is an old family favorite.)

Vegetable Course: Sweet Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Candied Walnuts (I used mild Wegmans creamy blue cheese.)

Main Course: Vegetable Wellington (I used assorted bell pepper, zucchini, and asparagus. I put the vegetables, goat cheese, and homemade pesto in store bought puffed pastry cut into rectangles that I folded over), Citrus Beurre Blanc sauce

Dessert: No Bake Pumpkin Mousse Pie (I made these individual in bowls with the crust on the bottom), Apple Crisp in Oatmeal Cookie Cup

My critique of the meal: I think that all involved enjoyed this in-person / virtual meal. I enjoy doing virtual meals. The sweet potato vegetable course was a huge hit! It was a wonderful combination and I am sure I will make it again. It was my first time making candied nuts. They were easy to make and delicious. I think this was my third time making this vegetable wellington but the first time making it individual. It enjoyed making it this way. I think I was the only one who did not like the apple filling for the oatmeal cookie cups. We all liked the cookie cups.

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Turkey Quesadilla

I made this Turkey themed cheese quesadilla for my Dad. I was inspired by this.

Body: Apple

Eyes: Raisins

Nose: Carrot (attached with spaghetti)

Feet: Carrot

Feathers: Cheddar cheese quesadilla, carrot sticks

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Gingerbread Castle

This year I made a gingerbread castle for Sweet Creations at the Eastman Museum. I used a slightly smaller board (14 x 16) and created an easier to assemble design. In the past I relied on an extra pair of hands from friends. Because I am limiting time I spend with people indoors, I did it alone. I had a wonderful time! When my castle was done, I wished I could actually go and visit it and walk on the bridge.

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.

Castle Flat Roof – Red sanding sugar attached with royal icing

Turret Roof: Ice cream cone with Wrigley’s Spearmint gum shingles (cut with cookie cutter)

Flags: Gum painted with red food coloring, linguini poles

Tower: Round gingerbread cookies (cut with a cookie cutter), glue cookies with royal icing, wrap in fondant, roll stone texture roller over fondant. Larger gingerbread cookie round on top of tower – decorated with green balls.

Wreaths: Royal icing dyed green, piped with pastry bag, small red round decorations

Doors: Gingerbread with red decorating balls

Present: Peppermint candies with red fondant bow

Bridge – Gingerbread covered with strips of brown fondant, holes made with toothpick.

Cables: Shoestring licorice

Brackets for Cables: Black fondant

Pillars: Spearmint leaves

Dragon Body: Red fondant

Dragon Wings: Used swan wings mold

Dragon Eyes: black fondant

Castle Land: Rice Krispie Treats (2 batches pressed separately into a Springform pan, glued to base and to each other with royal icing

Snow Covered Land: White fondant, royal icing, unsweetened coconut

Rocks Around Land: Royal icing and assorted candy stones

Swans: White fondant, Black Paste Food Coloring, swan wings mold 

Moat: Royal icing with blue sanding sugar

Ice Around Moat: Rock candy pieces

Windows: Black fondant

Candles: White gum, Sour Streamers

Stone Walls – I used a stone texture roller on dough before baking, after assembling castle, I sprayed the castle with edible glitter. Caution: I would not recommend using edible glitter. A lot of glitter gets into the air and you could breathe in edible glitter.

New techniques I tried this year: Rice Krispie Treats, created a fondant dragon, fine coconut for snow piles, icing wreaths with pastry bag, edible glitter, towers (I tried baking two different types until I ended up using cookies covered with fondant.)

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

Posted in Adventures, Bento / Cute Food, Food | 2 Comments

2020 Gingerbread Sweet Creations

For the 4th year in a row, I made gingerbread for the Eastman Museum’s Sweet Creations gingerbread show. Things are different this year because of COVID-19. The museum allowed less gingerbread creations. I received a letter in August inviting me to participate because of my history with the show. All of the pieces have gallery covers. For the first time, 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 December 13. Reservations are required.

Here is a sampling of some of my favorite gingerbread creations from this year.

Posted in Bento / Cute Food, Crafts, Food | 4 Comments

Sheep Themed Pizza

I made this for my friend Carol on a summer evening we had dinner in her yard. When I make themed pizza, I like to make several themes at once. I gave this to her as planned leftovers for the next day.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side:  Sheep – homemade pizza dough, cut with a cookie cutter, sharp cheddar cheese, Eye – pistachio, Feet – black olive attached with piece of spaghetti, pistachios

Top Right: Flowers – radish cut with a mini cutter, broccoli

Bottom Right: Sheep – apple cut with a cookie cutter (dipped in water with lemon juice to prevent browning), blackberries

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Daruma Bento Lunch

I made this salsa rice Daruma for myself for a workday lunch.

Container: U Konserve

Contents: Daruma – Nishiki rice mixed with a little salsa shaped with plastic wrap, cheddar cheese, radish, spinach, grape tomatoes, blueberries, edamame

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Tanuki Polenta Lunch

I made this odd looking Tanuki meal for myself. I am fond of Tanuki; the animal and folklore versions.

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

Contents: Tanuki – homemade firm polenta cut with a Teddy Bear cookie cutter, spinach, black sesame seeds, radish, carrot cheddar cheese, black beans with salsa

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Halloween Themed Food

Happy Halloween ! This is my collection of Halloween themed meals.

JACK-O-LANTERN

Jack-o-lantern grain lunch

Cheese Jack-O-Lantern

jack-o-lantern-mashed-potato-halloween-lunch

Mashed Potatoes Jack-O-Lantern

Jack-o-lantern quesadilla lunch

Quesadilla Jack-O-Lanterns

Jack-o-lantern calzone lunch

Calzone Jack-O-Lantern

Jack-o-Lantern Pizza Lunch

Pizza Jack-O-Lantern

Pumpkin Orange Dessert

Orange Jack-O-Lantern with Fruit

Pumpkin-Dessert

No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Jack-O-Lantern

Blintzes-Roasted-Pumpkin

Potato Blintzes Jack-O-Lanterns

Pumpkin Shaped Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled Eggs Jack-O-Lantern

Rice Jack-O-Lantern 

Cheese Ball Jack-O-Lantern

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Polenta Jack-O-Lantern

GHOST

ghost rice lunch

Brie Rice Ghost

ghost-rice-halloween-lunch

Rice Ghosts

Ghost Taco Salad

Cheese Ghost Taco Salad

Ghost Quesadilla Lunch

Ghost Quesadilla

Ghost Pizza Lunch

Ghost Pizza

Ghost Salad

Apple Ghost Salad

WITCH

Halloween Witch Meal

witch stamped sandwich lunch

Pumpernickel Sandwich Witches

CANDY CORN

Candy Corn Bread Lunch

Candy Corn Cheese

Candy Corn Lunch

Candy Corn Quesadilla

BAT

Bat themed food

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bat Sandwich

Bat themed lunch

Pumpernickel Bat Sandwiches

BOO

Boo Eek Halloween Lunch

Boo Eek Sandwiches

Halloween Themed Lunch

Cheese Boo

SPIDER

Halloween Hop 2013

Spiderweb Pita with Hummus

Spider bread

Bread Spider

Spider lunch

Spider Web Quesadilla 

Spider Web Sweet Potatoes

Black Beans and Sweet Potato Spider Web

BLACK CAT

Black Cat Halloween Lunch

Sandwich Black Cat

black cat lunch

Black Bean Black Cat

SKULL

Skull sandwich lunch

Sandwich Skull

Skulls and bones lunch

Pizza Skulls

skull tortilla chips

Tortilla Chip Skulls

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FRANKENSTEIN

Cheese Frankenstein

TRICK-OR-TREATING

Domino-Halloween

Domino Costume Sandwich

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Frankenstein Lunch

I made this lunch for myself on the same day I made the Mushroom meal for my Dad.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Frankenstein – cheese cut with a cookie cutter, painted with food coloring and water, paprika details put on with a toothpick, Brown Rice and Wild Rice Pecan Stuffing (I used vegetable stock.)

Top Right: Pistachios

Bottom Right: Blackberries

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Jack-O’-Lantern Polenta Lunch

I made this pumpkin polenta lunch for myself. The smiling pumpkins made me smile.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side:  Jack-o-lantern – homemade polenta made firm, cool on a plate, cut polenta with a cookie cutter, imprint face details with a cookie cutter, Eyes and Mouth – cut spinach, lima beans

Top Right:  Hazelnuts

Bottom Right: Jack-o-lanterns – cantaloupe cut with a cookie cutter, melted chocolate faces (cut the corner off of a snack size plastic bag)

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Witch Flying by the Moon Meal

Halloween Witch Meal

I made this for my friend Renae on a night we meet for an outdoor dinner and walk. She likes Halloween and is used to my making themes ahead so she did not question that it was the end of August.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Witch – white cheddar cheese lightly painted with food coloring and water, Moon – orange cheddar cheese, lentils cooked in broth, black beans, carrot stars (cut with mini cutter), Asiago cheese and fresh spinach leaves (under the lentils)

Top Right:  Pumpkins – cinnamon sugar homemade tortilla chips (cut flour tortilla with cookie cutter, brush lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp.)

Bottom Right: Cantaloupe and Blackberries

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Day of the Dead Lunch

I made this fun and colorful lunch for myself.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side:  Sugar Skull – Nishiki rice shaped by hand with plastic wrap, broil cheddar cheese on top then decorate. Eyes – spinach cut with a cookie cutter. Nose – radish cut with a cookie cutter, Teeth – almond slices, peas

Top Right: Pistachios

Bottom Right: Mango and blueberries

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Sesame Sriracha Horses

I made this meal for myself on the same night I made this for my friend.

Container: U Konserve

Contents: Horses – Nishiki rice shaped with a horse shaped rice mold, Sriracha flavored sesame seeds, Asian Cabbage Salad (I did not use cilantro)

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Pumpkin Tortellini Dinner

I am thrilled that I now know how to make homemade tortellini! I made pumpkin tortellini for dinner with my parents at their Lake House. When researching how to make it I found directions for squares or circles. I decided on circles. It was actually quite easy to make and delicious!

Dough: I made my favorite pasta dough and cut it with a round fluted cutter.

Filling: Roasted pumpkin mashed, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt, pepper. I followed these directions to form the tortellini shapes.

Sauce: Brown Butter Sage Sauce

Garnish: Maple Pumpkin Seeds

Spinach Salad: Spinach, apples, toasted walnuts, blue cheese with a Dijon vinaigrette (Dijon, vinegar, olive oil)

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Havarti Dill Elephant Lunch

Awhile ago, I had some leftover dill cheese and thought it would be fun to make elephants. I enjoyed eating this simple meal.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side:  Elephants – Dill Havarti cheese cut with a cookie cutter, Eyes – smoked paprika, brown rice, purple cauliflower (CSA)

Top Right:  Hazelnuts

Bottom Right: Elephant – honeydew melon cut with a cookie cutter, mini chocolate chip

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Peacock Quesadilla

When I was a child, a friend’s grandparents had peacocks. For a long time, I had a beautiful peacock feather that they gave me. I am a little surprised that this is my first time making a peacock out of food. It was a concept on my mind for a long time. I made this peacock quesadilla for my Mom’s lunch.

Peacock Body: Zucchini (a different type from my CSA)

Feet and Beak: Carrot

Eye: Dried blueberry

Feather on Head: Parsley

Feathers: Spinach Garlic Pesto tortilla quesadilla with cheddar cheese, carrot, pimento stuffed green olive slices attached with spaghetti

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Cactus Tortellini Lunch

I made this lunch for my Dad. There was no reason for the theme other than my continued quest to use new cookie cutters. I did not realize that he prefers red grapes to green so he shared some with my Mom.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Cactus – Havarti dill cheese, tortellini, cherry tomatoes, spinach, black olives, olive oil and red wine vinegar

Top Right: Pistachios

Bottom Right: Green Grapes

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Homemade Apple Pie

As part of my CSA share, I can pick 2 pecks of apples from their orchard. When I checked-in to get my apple bag, the woman said, “Have fun!” It was my first time apple picking solo. I took some photos and enjoyed myself on a beautiful day with loaded apple trees. It was easy picking.

I asked my parents what they wanted me to make with some apples. My Dad wanted an apple pie with a lattice top. We made the pie together at their Lake House. I made a basic pie crust, my parents peeled the apples with this, my Mom then cut the slices in half and plumped some raisins. I sprinkled the apples with some cinnamon and nutmeg. We did not use any sugar. I made a lattice crust and decorated with braids and some leaves cut with a cookie cutter. After about 45 minutes in a 400 degree oven, we had a beautiful pie.

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