Monday, June 14, 2010

Run, run, as fast as you can... Where the F is her stupid Gingerbread Man?!

As my toddler gets older and more useful, we've embarked on more crafting and food adventures. I read a blog by a woman who makes bento box lunches and cuts her kids' food into cute shapes, which appealed immensely to me. So I decided to give it a shot. The only mini cookie cutters I had on hand were a mini Christmas-themed set by Wilton. It was May. So I chose the gingerbread man, figuring it could be a little person, and the Xmas tree. I cut her colby-jack cheese into slices and then punched out little shapes. I saved the 'scraps' for myself. I also had a sandwich cutter I had bought randomly at the grocery store, that makes 2 little lizardy-dino shapes. So we had 'Dino sandwiches,' 'Cheese trees and people,' crackers and apple wedges when we ventured to a new park to meet with a new mommy group.

The 'men cheese' were a big hit (in hindsight, I should have named them 'cheese people' from the beginning, rather than letting her make a name for them.) They were such a big hit, in fact, that the trees were sorted out and discarded into the grass before I noticed and made her stop so *I* could eat them. She also loved the 'puzzle cheese' as the scraps were called. Other toddlers were interested, but she wasn't sharing!
Emboldened by this cheese men success, I had my husband get thick sliced turkey from the grocery deli and more cheese (with crackers) for our preschool end-of-year potluck. Since Z rejected the trees, I only made men this time. Unfortunately, my husband wasn't really looking when the deli lady asked if her slice was thick enough, so he said to double it. So the turkey he brought home was around 1/2-inch thick. Gross. It was like punching through turkey Jell-O. Some of them I was able to slice crosswise after shaping, but it was creepy. But the turkey and cheese men were big hits with the toddlers! Every kid wanted some! The mini-bagels and my little men were the most popular non-dessert item with the kids!

Since I had to make enough for around 18 kids plus parents, I had baggies full of scraps. My sister was having a party that weekend and told me to bring them, as she could make sandwiches or something with them. Her 3-year-old doesn't eat much. A flake of cereal for breakfast, some grains of rice for lunch... I'm exaggerating, but not by much. But my leftover cheese men and 'puzzle cheese' was such a big hit with her, I left the whole bag behind. She had a little baggie I kept refilling with puzzle cheese for her to carry around and munch. She requested puzzle cheese for days, and kept reminding her parents that 'Aunt Kenner' had left puzzle cheese special just for her.

In fact, Little Z was so pleased with her Gingerbread Man cheese, that when she saw the Shrek 4 toys at McDonalds, she went bonkers for the Gingy toy. "I needa Jinjabret Mann Toh-yee!" I told her I didn't know which toy they had, we'd have to ask the lady at the counter. "Lady! I needa Jinjabret Mann!" Luckily, it was the one they had. That night, there was a frantic search for her gingerbread man toy, and we almost made a late-night Happy Meal run to get a replacement. With a last-minute save as I found him in my jacket pocket when I was looking for my keys, we were able to get a back-up the next day, after to seeing Shrek 4 in the theater (Or, Gingerbread Man Movie, as she called it.) The Elmo Christmas Countdown DVD has a skit in it where Prairie Dawn yells 'Ginnnnngerbread Maaaaannnnnn!' in her high pitched voice several times throughout. We've quoted that a lot since she's gone on this Gingy kick.

Having had such fun with my Xmas cutter, and prompted by a 'Buy 3, Get 1 Free' sale on select kitchen products at Amazon, I spent my birthday gift card, plus another $50 on more cookie cutters. Easter. Easter mini. Barnyard Animals. Mini vehicles. Mini leaves. Dinosaurs. Graduated gingerbread men. Graduated hearts. Graduated Flowers. Sea animals. (Plus some silicone muffin pans in flower and heart shapes.) Oh, the joy.



  1. pampered chef sells a set of small cutters specifically designed for cheese and such.

    I'll have to try this as I have that set and havne't yet!

    They also sell a sandwich cutter that turns a regular sandwich into a sealed edge sandwich.

  2. Yes... I just ordered both! And the icing squeezie set, as I've been told it's easy for kids to use. And a safety knife for her :)
    For meat, I've found that asking the deli to make it double their normal cut (my store says it's a '2' on their machine) makes it either the same or a smidge thicker than a Lunchable, and not as barf-tastic to handle as the cut my hubby got!

  3. Hahaha! Your toddler was getting "useful"!!! Love it!


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