Saturday, August 28, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday: Part Deux!

Okay. So it's really my third one, not the second. But when I was coming up with titles for my last one, I thought up this title, but the theme than was alphabet. THIS week's theme was Numbers/123. At first I thought "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish"!! But then I realized it wasn't really a counting book, other than that one line. Nuts. It would have been neat to stick with a Seuss theme. I thought of Sesame Street's The Count and thought of making a sandwich that looked like his head, then I could put 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 things in each of the other holes. Then my sanity returned. So I went with

"One, Two. Buckle My shoe. Three, Four. Shut the door. Five, Six. Pick up sticks. Seven, Eight. Lay them straight. Nine, Ten. A big fat hen!"

Or in this case: One, Two, a Cheesy Shoe. Three, Four, a Sandwich Door. Five, Six, Pretzel Stix. Seven Eight, Green Peppers Cut Straight. Nine, Ten, a Big Fat chick-hastily-altered-to-look-more-like-a-Hen!" :)

One, Two: I don't have a shoe cookie cutter (I'm kicking myself for not getting the Fairy Tale set. Nothing in it looked awesome, and I was like "Pfft. It's not like I'll ever need to make a SHOE!" D'oh!) So I hacked it out by hand. I cut off a little corner of fruit leather into a square, then jabbed out a hole in the middle, to make it look like a buckle. I could have opted for ties and changed the rhyme to "One, Two. Tie my shoe." but I couldn't think of anything other than licorice lace to use as ties, and I don't have any! I glued it on with peanut butter. (Too lazy to get out the cream cheese!)

Three, Four: The door was the easiest part (of the stuff I made.) PB & Nutella (I liked the brown colors. Like wood. For a door) sandwich, and I used a steak knife to crisply slice off the edges. Sliced olive doorknob didn't look quite right, and I couldn't think of anything else to use, so I ook a section of a slice and laid it across the middle.

Five, Six: Pretzel Stix. Left over from my first MTM. I'm liking these lazy elements!

Seven, Eight: I was going to use some kind of straight item, like celery or carrots. Only she doesn't like celery and lately just nibbles and spits out carrots into a little masticated carrot-bit pile. So I decided to use the green bell pepper that we had bought at our recent trip to the store. I try and let her pick out a fruit or veggie to try, since feeling involved and making choices increases her chances of eating it! Notice that I made 8 slices to 'lay straight!'

Nine, Ten: Ugh. I don't HAVE a chicken cutter. I thought about doing a hard-boiled egg, only I don't know how to do that, and the raw one I tried for my first pictures looked stupid. Stared unbelievingly at my regular and mini Easter cutter sets at the lack of chickenage. Where do they think all those eggs come from? The DUCK?! So I used my Farm set chick. It looked too chick-like. I racked my brain trying to remember what the difference is in the silhouette, so I could try and modify it. Comb. Wattle. Wing? Oh. Tail. I used part of a small flower cutter on the edge of the fruit leather to make a comb, then the head part of the chick cutter to make it fit. Used a petal of the flower cutter to make the wattle, and it looked fine as it was. Glued them on with PB. (See above!) Raided my cutter stash to find something wing-like and found the pig, saw the tail, and something in my brain went "Ah-HA!" Cut a partial piggy butt out, then shaped it to fit with the chickie-cutter's behind. More PB glue. Sprinkle for the eye. Voila!  [Note to self: Use free Amazon gift cards you just earned with your SwagBucks to buy chicken and shoe cookie cutters!]

My attempt with a raw egg to see if I wanted to bother lying about it boiling one. Note the 6 pretzel stix. I added more after and forgot to take them out for the 'official' pictures. We'll just pretend there's 11 in there (5 + 6.)

We ate outside, since we're frantically prepping our garage for a huge hobby-gamer-blowout-garage sale (no, not THAT kind of blowout! The "get rid of all my crap" kind... Ooo still a double meaning!) The fruit leather  (we call it "chewy fruit") on the chicken got hucked off the porch first thing, but she saved the 'buckle' for me. *Sniffle* She used to LOVE chewy fruit. I bought a whole box of 48 strips at Costco. Actually, she'll still eat it plain. But she throws it away when I use it to decorate her other foods. She just eats the scraps later!

"Oh no! His bah-mum came off!" (his bottom) "An olive? Special just for me!"
"Two cheeses! I made a match!" (She loves the AniMatch memory game app on my iPhone!)

I hate peppers. Anything with the word 'pepper' in it's name. Black pepper. White pepper. Bell pepper. Sweet pepper. Red Hot Chili Peppers. Anything except Dr. Pepper. MMMmmmm! I hate the smell of bell peppers. I hate how they ruin the taste of the rest of my food by just being cooked with it. I hate the taste of them cooked. 
But apparently, I don't hate the green ones raw! She made me try it first, to show her it was really not terrible. And being the brave, loving and supportive mommy I am, I was willing to make that sacrifice for my kid. Huh. Not terrible. I wouldn't choose it over another food, or eat it like an apple (like my hubby does) or anything. But if there were a veggie tray at a party, I would eat a slice or two. Dipped in Ranch. I feel almost like a grown-up now! Next thing you know, I'll be going to bed at a decent hour, or remembering to feed the baby myself once in a while or something! 

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Friday, August 27, 2010

Back to School/Lunch Revolution Blog Party!

Fed Up With Lunch blog is doing a fun questionnaire  about Back-To-School and lunches.

  • How is “Back to School” going for your family?

  • So far so good! We don't start our co-op preschool until early September, and I've already lost the info they sent me about the orientation and meetings. I haven't printed out the required forms (there's, like, a bajillion forms. You'd think I was dropping my child off with them for the entire school year, with all the releases and such! But in our class, I'm with her or in the next room the entire time!)

  • Is school lunch important part of your child’s day?

  • For our class we don't do lunch, but they do have snack. I think it's very important. Even though we do snack right before 'large muscle' (indoor or outdoor recess-style play) and then go home, it's a great opportunity for the kids to be exposed to routine, different foods (let's face it: we tend to pick a few finger foods and stick with them in our households!) learn manners, waiting patiently to be served, and cleaning up after themselves. Plus for us, it's been the only time she'd leave the Parent Ed room on the days it was my group's turn to be out of the classroom!

  • What is school lunch like at your school or your child’s school?

  • I'm assuming this question is asking about the food, and not about the time slot. I like the snacks at school, since each week (1 class per week for our age group) a different Snack Parent brings something to share with everyone. We had our first GoGurt that way last year. While there have been a lot of Goldfish crackers and string cheese, there have been some mini-muffins, a variety of fruit, Annie's Bunnies, and more!
     Not really a snack/lunch at school. This was actually crushed cereal in the sensory table, but she skipped breakfast that morning!

  • Does school lunch need to be reformed?

  • I'm not in-tune with our local public schools' lunch programs, but I do think that most districts/schools need to focus on more healthy fare. Yes, it's harder. Yes, it's more expensive. But how can we teach our children to make good food choices when there are soda machines in the lobby and cinnamon rolls at the a la Carte window?

  • Do you pack lunch for your kids and what do you pack?

  • I pack lunch for us when we go out to stuff, and sometimes for after gym class or preschool. I try and pack a balance of choices. Fruit or veggie, cheese or yogurt (or both!) meat or sandwich. I'll admit I'm not as good about incorporating veggies, since we don't have as many easy options laying around the house, but often have an apple, banana or some berries.

  • Do you write notes in your kid’s lunches and what do you write?

  • Not yet, but I hope to! I would try and write a positive message. Something I love about her, or something I think she may need to read that day if something's been bothering her lately. Or sometimes just something funny, or a fun fact pertinent to what she's learning currently.
    But right now she can't read, and she's always with me at lunch, so I can tell her in person! She has enjoyed the few times I've done fun shapes or personalized her food (I've only done that at home. Like squirting her ketchup onto her plate to write her name!)

  • What are some of your favorite lunch recipes (kid-friendly or adult-friendly)?

  • Hahaha. Recipes use 'ingredients.' I'm not a big ingredient user yet. Unless Peanut Butter and Jelly counts as a recipe! I hope to make my own pizza pockets and toasted cheese sandwiches using the KrustBuster and the similar one from Pampered Chef, but I haven't yet.

  • What are some great beverages for kids and adults?

  • Water! It's cheap. Low calorie. Fat-free. Sugar-free. And available everywhere! Other than that, I like the single-serving soy milk boxes, since they don't have to be refrigerated, so I can grab one in a pinch, or not worry if it sat in my car (unopened) all day.

  • What is a traditional food item that you have made even more healthy and how did you do it?

  • Uhh. Other than saving her from all the junk food by eating it first? Skip.

  • How much time should kids get to eat lunch?

  • At least 30 minutes, plus shuffle to-and-from classroom time. And a potty break after!

  • What are some products that you use when you pack lunch?

  • EasyLunchboxes. Random hand-me-down Tupperware from MY childhood (thanks mom!) Various insulated bags (but usually the EasyLunchboxes one. Sometimes the freebie from when I worked at Safeway, because it's longer and holds more.) Tupperware Smidgets (teeny little 1-ounce containers I use for dip. I love that they fit into my EasyLunchbox. But they were only available as hostess gifts or something, and are discontinued. You can still find some on Amazon from private sellers and some Tupperware booths at fairs and such.) LOL. And my Medela breast pump cold pack. And some flexible ACE ice packs I got for my headaches! And a re-utilized McD milk bottle filled with water and kept in the freezer as an ice pack!
    Plus my cookie cutters and Lunch Punch sets to make my food into fun shapes. Oh, and my Krustbuster.

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010

    Project Lunch: Puddin' On the Ritz!

    Today's Toddler/Preschooler cooking class was my last no-cook in the park. Today they had the option of tuna or chicken salad, plus instant pudding at the end. I had 19 kids signed up, plus 5 maybes, but had 4 cancellations last night, but 2 maybes came! Only 1 no-show. So I ended up with 16 kids plus mine. She did pretty well last time, so I decided to bring her. I was concerned that my PMSing plus her usually-needy shenanigans were going to end badly, but as I was getting ready, suddenly it was Go-Time and I hadn't woken up Unka Seesee (or even asked if he could watch her!) She was unusually cooperative in getting ready when given the choice between getting her butt in gear or staying home with Unka Seesee. I brought along her bucket and shovel, since I got some break-time while she played in the dirt last time, and her magnifying glass. I also brought 'emergency strawberries' in case I had to park her on a towel with berries again.
    It was like I had a whole different child. She let an older girl help her down from a toy. She rode behind the older girl on a bouncy toy. Even when she fell a little the 2nd time she got helped down, she only fussed a little. She GAVE HUGS to other kids! She ran around with other kids. She didn't fuss and screech and cling to me the entire time. This was like the Best. Day. Ever.
    Z and her new friend "Tora."

    It helped that when we got there, there were no other kids to compete with, so her favorite toy wasn't already being used. (There are 2 sproingy airplane ride-ons, and they are almost always full. And when one does open up, an older, faster kid swoops in before she can get on.) And the kids trickled in, rather than us arriving into a crowd, like we usually do (this is the only event we aren't ever late for!) Plus she got a good night's sleep. And this was our 3rd time here doing this, so she was used to my arms being full and having to trek between the car and the table area several times without being able to carry her too. Plus I found some wild blackberries and Tora showed us the apple tree growing there. I plucked a few apples with some red on them, and turned a blind eye to my child foraging off the ground. She found a good one. Phew.

    We started out with the tuna and chicken salads. Only a few kids had opted for tuna (3 I think) so I didn't get as much of that as the chicken. I had read a few kid-friendly chicken and turkey salad recipes that suggested adding fruits like apples, raisins, grapes, even marmalade! I opted for apples, raisins and grapes. I didn't know how they'd taste in the tuna, so I got celery and shredded carrots too. Ooo. Peas would have been good too. But I didn't think of them until just now! Then, last night during prep, I decided I really didn't want to chop a zillion grapes into tiny pieces, so I just brought them whole. But I cubed an apple and some celery. Since I don't have a portable can opener, I got those all opened at home too, which gave me time to break up the chicken chunks. They were surprisingly large.

    Each kid got a few heaping disposable-spoonfuls of meat, and a plop of mayo (varied, based on how much chicken/tuna they had.) Much chicken and tuna were eaten plain first! Little Z ate most of hers immediately, then balked when I mixed a tiny bit of mayonnaise with the rest. So she got a second helping of tuna. And a third! All the kids decided that they needed all of the add-ins, which surprised me. One boy (the youngest, just a little over 2) wouldn't even try it, and his mom has food allergies, so I got his, and ate it on whole wheat Ritz. It was surprisingly good! Most of the kids wouldn't eat theirs (unless their moms made them!) but almost all at least tried it. I brought all my PB&J supplies as back up, so no one would go hungry. One girl didn't even want to make it, so she just mixed PB & jelly in a bowl (with some cubed apples!) and then spread it onto her bread. I thought that was a brilliant idea, since she still got to feel like she made something, and she was mixing along with the other kids! Everyone had some juice and some grapes along with their plain, PB'd or tuna/chicken salad'd crackers; or plain, PBJ'd or salad'd bread.

    I had just mixed in her mayo, so that's her pouting until I get her some 'fresh' tuna.

    Mix, mix, mix!

    Then they dispersed to go play for a bit. We had started a little late, and they spent longer with the tuna/chicken than we have in the past with the first course, so after a little mommy-socializing, it was getting a little late to start with the pudding. I got Z's started, since she was the only one still at the tables, and other kiddos started trickling back. It's amazing. From over 100-feet away, they have some kind of dessert 6th sense! I used the 'recipe' I found on a review for Z's cool-bake oven:

    3 tbsp milk
    1 tbsp powdered instant pudding

    It was a great single-serving size for these guys (1 tbsp is about half an ounce, so this was around 2 ounces per kid.) I brought chocolate and vanilla options. And *SpRiNkLeS!!* I have one of those 6- or 8-compartment sprinkle canisters, but the little budgie ones were all gone. (I'm not sure what they're really called. They look like teeny tiny tubes and they are very soft when you bite them. Midgies?) A jar of them at the store was almost $2, but the last ones went in just 1 decorating session, so I was worried there wouldn't be enough, since there were no holes to prevent them from all being dumped out at once. But I found a TUB of them for $3.50! SCOOOORE! The pudding thickened up very quickly for some of the kids, so we just added a smidge more milk for them. The box says it takes 5 minutes to set, but maybe it was faster because we had smaller amounts. Or maybe because my milk was cold. Or maybe it was the over-enthusiastic stirrers!

    Other than my leaky milk carton oozing all over both my soft cooler bags, and some kids missing out on pudding because they had to leave early or didn't come back from playing until I was all packed up in the car again, it went very well. I wasn't expecting a lot of eager eaters, since this was a very new concept to most of the kids, and tuna and mayo can be strong flavors for picky palates. But all the moms told me they ate it, and it tasted good!

    Since I had to plan for around 20 kids, I had much leftover food. Luckily, I'm a big fan of this chicken salad. I made it again for dinner! Daddy and Little Z had tuna salad with pickles.
    2 packs whole wheat bread: $2.76 (only used one [-$1.38])
    1 pack whole wheat white (in case of picky eaters): $2.28 (never used [-$2.28])
    Large bunch of green seedless grapes: $3.14 (mostly eaten. Z had some before and we got a little bit left.)
    Tub of yogurt (to use with or instead of mayo): $2.24 (didn't use. [-$2.24])
    Carton of 2% milk: $1.55 (got to bring about half of it home.)
    Plastic spoons: $.52
    Disposable bowls: $1.98 (have a bunch left over to use another time.)
    3 large cans of chicken chunks: $5.94 (only used 2 [-$1.98])
    Raisins: $1.44 (LOTS left over.)
    3 cans chunk light tuna: $1.74 (only opened 2 [-$.58] and almost a can left over.)
    Braeburn apple: $.40 (some left over. Enough to use with the last of the chicken!)
    Wet Ones disinfecting wipes (since they can't really wash their hands): $2.77 (hardly any used.)
    Pickle ovals: $1.48 (after coupon, not opened [-$1.48])
    Baby pickles: $1.76 (after coupon. Z ate a bunch too, but only 2 left in the end.)
    3 large Jello instant pudding (2 choc, 1 vanilla): $4.08 (2 partially used. [-$1.36])
    Bag of carrot shreds: $1.68 (LOTS left.)
    Whole wheat Ritz: $1.98 (around 1/2 left)
    Generic saltines: $.98 (over 3/4ths left)
    Kraft Mayo: $3.78 (lots left)
    Package of Celery: $1.98 (over half left)
    Sprinkles: $3.55
    3 boxes Capri Sun: $5.54 (around 1 box left.)
    $53.57 spent
    -11.30 not used, so theoretically we can use it, although it's not the kind of bread I normally choose, and we don't really NEED more pickles (I had $1 off 2 coupon. Ironically, I bought the whole ones just to use the coupon. My purpose had been to buy the slices for sandwiches! But they only ate the whole ones!) Most of the yogurt will probably go bad, since I'm terrible about remembering to eat it. And it'll take a while to go through all that pudding! But I can probably eat up the cans of tuna and chicken. I might be able to return some of it, but I don't know if grocery stores do that.
    16 kids at $2 each = 32, so I'm only out $10, and have some Capri Suns,wet wipes, and bowls for another time; some milk, mayo, raisins, sprinkles, crackers and bread that we probably will end up using; and some celery and carrot shreds we may not. (Or, as my husband views it, out $20 with some extra food we didn't need. :)

    My Little Burrito

    24 August 2010 - Since I was already at the grocery store, frantically shopping last-minute for tomorrow's Kids Cooking Class (tuna or chicken salad and instant pudding,) and our personal chef (Unka Seesee) was out for the night, I called hubby and asked if I should get anything for us to make for dinner.
    Since I still had tortillas from the sandwich roll-ups class, he thought it might be fun to make burritos!

    Tortillas: "free" (had already)
    Sour cream: also free. Some left over from the sandwich/cheesecake class, still good.
    2 vine-ripened tomatoes: $.87 (Too lazy to sift through the cheaper ones to find a good one.)
    Avocado (to make guacamole): $.78
    Huge hunk of cheese to make shreds with lots of leftovers: $4.27 (it's only $2.50/lb, and we'll totally use it up!)
    Ground beef: $4.33 (a little over a pound, and I sprung for the 7% fat kind. Ugh. Expensive!)
    Taco seasoning: $.38 (burrito seasoning had the same list of ingredients but was over twice as much!)
    Shredded lettuce: $1.48
    Can of refried beans: $.64
    = $12.75 for dinner for 2 plus a toddler, and we have over a pound of cheese left over. (Plus the lettuce and beans, but that's another story!) Just as much as a trip to McD's for all 3 of us but *much* healthier! And some leftovers for tomorrow!

    While daddy did whatever you do to the meat to make it not raw (did I mention that I don't cook?) Little Z and I made the guac. I couldn't find my recipe (and apparently didn't post it when I talked about making it with the kids!) so I faked it. Most of an avocado (she gnawed her way into it at the store and ate about half of the little knob at the top. It was a 3-wipe cleanup,) some minced garlic (we get it in a jar. It's awesome,) some onion powder, a dribble of worcestershire sauce,  and... ummm.. some lemon juice. Oh and a pinch and a toddler fistful of salt. Luckily most of it stuck to her hand.
    While I put away the rest of the groceries, Daddy and Z grated the cheese. Then Z proceeded to shovel it into her gob as fast as humanly possible. I thought I was gonna lose a finger when I went in for a pinch!

    We didn't end up using the lettuce (I forgot to tell him we had it) and we opted not to bother with the beans. (Probably self-preservation on his part. No one got smoked out of the bedroom!) They were pretty good. My hispanic mom friends will probably tell me that these weren't really burritos, but I'll live. We rolled ours up, but she unrolled hers. She's what I call a 'deconstructionist eater.'

    She liked the guacamole best. Well, it was probably the chips. But she finished off the guac.

    Monday, August 23, 2010

    The Times Between: The Many Easters of Little Z (Episode 1)

    21 March 2010 - Since my sister's (Auntie Kayra) C-section was scheduled 2 days before Easter, chances seemed slim that she and her kids would be able to make it to our other sister's house for the Saturday Easter Egg hunt on Bainbridge Island we'd done last year, and had planned again for this year. So I thought it might be nice to have a family party before the baby was born. Luckily, I roped my mom into hosting at her house if I did all the scut work. DEAL!
    I loaded up on plastic eggs and some little toys at the Dollar Tree store, and more toys, mini-crafts and stickers in the Target, JoAnn's and Michael's dollar sections. And Party City had had all their big bagged candy at half-off a month before to make room for the same candy, but with Easter wrappers. SCOoOOooOre! We usually do potluck at our get-togethers, which is a good idea on their part, since I'm not known for my culinary skeelz. I brought strawberries and Dove chocolate (which my culinarily-gifted sister combined to make delicious yumminess!) and my hubby brought dip. It doesn't look like his crazy-delicious sesame miso dip, so it must be a garlic dip mix we get at the Farmer's Market. Yummmm.
    The Spread 
    (and 3 out of 5 of the Grammas present. We had my mom, his mom, his step-mom, and both my sisters' MILs)

    WE had an egg-filling conga-line at the table, and the oldest child present, Taytay (8,) helped fill, but still got excited about finding the eggs later! Even though he KNEW they had Elmo and Dora and Blue's Clues stickers, plus candy that I had SO much extra of, he could have just helped himself! But finding eggs is always fun! Intellectually, when I go to egg hunts, I know I can buy all that stuff for her super cheap. But I'm like a rabid dog, impatiently slavering over the next egg for her to find! Since the candy was all right there in front of the kids, samples were had by all.

    Sneak Preview

    Surprisingly, the younger kids were in no hurry, while Taytay was chomping at the bit to go outside and hunt. When we were at a good stopping point after trying to get the kids to eat real food first, and Umpa Turt's (Grandpa Kurt) story time, we released the hounds! They went in shifts, with baby Piwu (1) and Little Z (almost 2) first, then Tually (3) and Khiss (3,) and finally Jhosh (almost 6) and Taytay.

    Then it was time to free the loot from its brightly-colored confines (so I could re-use them again next year.) The kids delighted in tossing their empties back into my mail carton, almost as much as they enjoyed exploring the full ones in there earlier!

    Then Baby Piwu got the genius idea to use it ballpit-style! She delighted in throwing those eggs across the room. They skidded very nicely on the hardwood floors!

    27 March 2010 - A moms club I had just joined, Renton Moms Group, was having their annual Easter egg hunt/party/raffle fundraiser. It was actually the first event I was able to attend, so I felt like kind of a mooch. We brought something for the potluck at least. (I forget what. Nothing home-made, I'm sure!)
     Little Z 'VrooOOooooOOooming her Super Grover car on the drive up.

    Well. Let me tell you. These mommies went ALL OUT! They rented space at a community center or something at a park, which included reserving a section of the grass! Inside, there was a long table with baskets of donated items for the raffle. Tables and tables of food. Tables with crafts for the kids on a raised section of the room. And a huge box of goody bags for turning in your empty eggs. When it was time for the hunt, Little Z saw the hugest expanse of grass, seeded with brightly colored eggs. They had mommies standing further back, and the older kids were told to skip the eggs until they passed those mommies (save the easy ones for the little kids.) 

    Z was not a fan of waiting until all the kids were ready. She had a basket. She saw eggs. Ipso Facto, the eggs should be put into her basket now. She was so busy pouting and snuffling, she actually missed the okay to start. Luckily, these little kids (and their parents) weren't the vultures you see at most Egg Hunts. Even SHE passed over eggs. 

    Then it was time to go back inside for food and crafts. She wasn't very hungry, and only had eyes for her shiny, easy-for-her-to-unwrap chocolates. Let me tell you. I got SO SICK of eating chocolates this Easter season! She mostly likes unwrapping the foil. She'd eat maybe 1 out of 5 she'd unwrap. So it was good she wasn't pigging out on the candy. But I couldn't just throw it away! (Well, except the Palmer stuff. Not worth renting out space on my thighs to.)
    The craft tables were fairly well scavenged by the time we got there. They had some kind of cotton ball-and-glue craft (I think they were gluing cottonballs to outlines of sheep on paper to make them fluffy, then coloring the rest of the page with crayons) and a foam egg-and-stickers craft, which was more up her alley. There were mostly only the sticker 'frames' leftover, but she was happy with that, and they had glitter on them! She stacked and layered those sticker backgrounds like a pro! (She's very good at peeling the backs off foam stickers, as those are ones we've used the most with her. She can pull flat stickers off a sheet usually, especially if I peel off the background frame first, but if the shapes are cut too deep and the paper tends to stay on the sticker, its no good.)

    They had a balloon guy there, and he was amazing! He made Elmo. He made Pooh. Z asked for a fairy! That's my little gamer girl!
    Showing off her choice loot (fairy balloon and color-your-own inflatable egg.)

    Friday, August 20, 2010

    Muffin Tin Monday - MTM ABCs!

    This week's Muffin Tin theme is ABC/Alphabet. I decided not to wait around until the last minute this time, and I stayed up too late last night, so I decided today is my lazy-stay-at-home-make-up-for-lost-sleep day. So I had time for a fancy lunch! I wanted to use things I already had in the pantry/fridge, since last time I had to buy muffin mix, biscuit dough and pretzel sticks. I had thought about doing ABC/XYZ in the 6 muffin cups, and use Apples, Banana, Cheese or carrots, then pretzel stiX, make Yam chips, and sliced Zucchini, maybe with a viniagrette dressing. I had thought about using crackers and pretzel sticks or straws to make letter 'signs' where I use PB or cream cheese to 'glue' on a letter cut out from the food in each cup. Then I smacked some sense back into myself reconsidered, and remembered that I don't have any yams or zucchini (Phew!)
    So I decided on just ABC, but to do 2 things per letter, like a Big A and little a. Which of course reminded me of the Seuss alphabet book!

    Big A, little a, what begins with A? Apple airplanes, Almond animals, A... a... A.
    Big B, little b, what begins with B? Banana buttered bread with Beans, B... b...B.
    Big C, little c, what begins with C? Carrot coins and Cheesy cat. C... c... C!

    Aa - I started with the animal sandwiches. I used almond butter (and honey. I don't like the almond butter on bread, but the honey really helps. In fact, I haven't found anything I like the almond butter on, but I love licking the knife!) I decided on a barnyard theme, and used a pig, plus mini duck and bunny from an Easter set. I would have fit a cow in there too, but Little Z saw what I was doing and wanted to help, so she pressed out her shape, then ate it!

    I actually did the apples last, since I didn't want to bother with treating them with lemon or apple juice to prevent browning. I cut it horizontally into slices, but it was already going bad and had brown around the edges. It was also a little mealy, so I just used one slice for the picture, and she wouldn't eat it. (She didn't like the slice she had cadged off of me already.) I ate a little of it, but it wasn't worth it.

    Bb - I just used peanut Butter on Bread, then sliced up 1/4th of a Banana, then cut those banana coins in half and arranged them to spell a 'B.' I decided on beans for the other B, and she loves them frozen, so it was crazy easy.
    Cc - I cut half a carrot into coins (she doesn't eat carrots much lately, so I didn't want to make too many.) Then I used a cat cookie cutter from the Farm set on a slice of Colby Jack cheese, but it looked really blah. Then I had the brilliant idea to use sprinkles to make a face! I have a sprinkle assortment, and was going to use the round ones for eyes and long tube-y ones for whiskers, but the whisker ones were mostly gone and the ones left looked pretty short. So I used a steak knife to hack out some whiskers from the cheese instead! (I used PB to glue on the eyes and nose, since I still had some on the used butter knife! Cream cheese would have been a better choice, taste-wise, but too much of a hassle!)