Monday, August 16, 2010

My FIRST EVER Muffin Tin Monday!: The Dog Days of Summer

I've been following a fun blog by Another Lunch which is what inspired me to start using cookie cutters on more than just cookies. (Not that I was making any cookies...) Well, she does something called Muffin Tin Mondays which is a project thought up by Muffin Tin Mom. I stupidly decided this would be fun, and I'd give it a try! I did very little research, and thought that your meal had to be done ON Monday, which would pretty much blow any other plans for the day! Since tomorrow is Monday, and I had planned on leaving early to go to my sister's house for the day, I decided to make my MTM today, and lie. :) But it turns out Monday is just when you share your meal from that week! Wahoo!

Since there was no theme this week, but this was my first try, I wanted to do something clever and fun. (Fun. HAH!) Actually, I think I decided to skip this week and start next week when there is a theme. I mentioned this concept to my husband and he misunderstood that I was asking for ideas for future 'assigned' themes, and suggested a dog theme, and call it "The Dog Days of Summer." Brilliant! [He snarked that that's why he gets paid the big bucks. Smartass.]

I brainstormed ideas on what I could make. After scouring my cookie cutters, I found one whole dog cutter. Ughhhhh. I searched online for dog-themed foods (and found about a zillion hot dog recipes.) The hot dog recipes gave me the idea to use mini sausages and make little dogs using ketchup for the face and carrot slivers for the tail (and maybe legs.) I saw a dog-face sandwich, and a dog-face muffin (the ears were funny looking, since they were just plastic picks) and decided I could try something similar. I thought of making either Rice Krispy treats or refrigerated biscuits into dog bone shapes (biscuits would be easier.) Plus the cookie cutter for either cheese or melon. I couldn't figure out how to incorporate a dog house or a fire hydrant (a tortilla roll sandwich with a pickle cap and pickle slice bottom seemed too phallic looking.) My husband said I could make a Triscuit dog house and use cream cheese to hold it together. Hmm. Okay.

I ended up doing (from left to right, starting at the top) dog-face muffin, dog bone biscuits, pretzel sticks (like to play fetch. Get it?) Provolone and colby jack dog-shaped cheeses, a mini-weiner doggie (ooo or a Hot Dog? Get it?) and a dog head sandwich. [Our good camera broke, and our backup camera battery died and the charger doesn't work, so you get craptastic pictures using my iPhone. Not even the cool new one that takes amazing pictures! No. The 3G. Bleah.]

We had plans today to clean the garage, since it's overflowing with stuff and we are having a huge garage sale at the end of the month and haven't even gone through half the boxes yet the past 2 weekends! So I forgot to make the muffins and biscuits. "Luckily," The Princess only napped for 30 minutes, so I needed to find something to do to kill time until my husband got home from Radio Shack or wherever he was headed. I remembered the muffin mix I had bought yesterday, and we went to town. I'll do a blogumentary on our fun muffin escapades another post.

Since the oven was still hot from the muffins, I got out my Pillsbury biscuit canister and prepped my dog bones. I cut a segment out of the middle of one of the pre-formed biscuits, then smooshed together the scraps and used a mini heart cookie cutter to make a heart for each end. I then tried to blend the seams together to make them look like dog bones. I didn't bother doing anything with the rest of them, other than rolling the scraps into a mini blob biscuit.

When they were done cooking, I ate a few with butter, and when my husband suggested jam, I topped them with some blueberries! YUM! Then it was time for SweatFest 2010 (cleaning the garage out in the sun on a 94 degree day was not fun. I drank over 5 glasses of water, and never had to pee!)

Later, I finally got to work on my muffin tin meal creation! I started with the muffin face, since if I couldn't make that work, I might as well give up. I used the circle shape on a 'vintage' mini cutter/juicer tool (from Tupperware?) that we had growing up to make 2 provolone eyes (I would have done Monterey Jack, since it's milder, but the provolone was already sliced and I was feeling lazy.) I 'glued' them on with cream cheese. I used my egg cutter from my mini Easter cutters set on some raspberry fruit leather to make the tongue. I used a knife to slice into the side of the muffin and jammed it 1/4th of the way in. I then glued on some chocolate chips for the pupils and a nose. I frantically dug through my cutter collection to find something I could use for ears, since I did not want to have to cut something free-hand. I found a seagull from a Marine Life set and used part of its wing to make apricot fruit leather ears.

Next I worked on the dog head sandwich, since I already had out most of the tools and ingredients I would need. I made an almond butter-honey sandwich and hacked out a rough dog-head shape. Then I trimmed off all the snaggly bits. I used the mini circle for the eyes again, but made half-circles out of the red fruit leather and glued them on as eyelids. I stuck the egg-shaped tongue between the slices of bread, and used the dog cutter's tail to make ears (to look different from the seagull-wing ears!) I didn't want to have the same nose, so I got the brilliant idea to use half of the diamond-shaped cutter on the red cutter tool to make more of a doggie-looking nose.

I nuked a few mini-franks and sliced off little slivers from a carrot. I used my steak knife to poke leg and tail holes, jabbed in some carrots, then dropped it by accident into the ketchup. Argh. I licked it off (Yeh. Not so sanitary. It's not like I'm serving this in a restaurant or anything! I also used my teeth to trim the leg carrots! So sue me!) I couldn't find a toothpick or any kind of thin pointy tool, so I used a fork tine to draw on some ketchup features, which didn't show up well at all. Meh. [While typing this up, I proudly showed Unka See-see my handiwork and he told me my Hot Dog looked phallic and stupid and not at all cute. He then came up with a cute, clever, more realistic-looking way to have done it differently, which he then demonstrated for me and it was totally easy. Ass. I'm so lucky to have such nice friends!] It was such a PITA to make, I didn't bother with any more. [Hint: the first 3 letters stand for Pain In The...]

I banged out some doggie cheeses (I couldn't find the cheese slicer and epically failed at making a slice using a knife, so I had to call in reinforcements, who made one nasty, uneven, clumpy slice of cheese, but my cutter just fit onto it, so we called it good) and used cupcake liners for my muffin tin (it was still kind of gross, since I only had time to hand wash it.) 
Carefully arrange elements, toss in some pretzel sticks... VOILA!

I saved the sandwich, biscuits, hot doggie and cheese to show my nieces tomorrow, and fed Little Z the fruit leather and cheese scraps and muffin. She ate the face off, then left the rest. *sigh* My little chokkit chip fiend!



  1. How impressive!! What a fun lunch!

  2. This is wonderful. You did such an awesome job.

  3. Cute, looks like you went all out! Welcome to Muffin TIn Mondays! :)

  4. So cute,and very fitting yay hubby.... I am about to start with these next week, I think I am going to do them Mondays for the kids for now and post it though the following monday! :)

  5. Oh my word! What a great first Muffin Tin Monday. Welcome to the group. It's a lot of fun.

  6. Good grief! My kids are lucky to get a selection of items served in a muffin tin/bento style box that are plain and blah. Mostly, it's a plain sandwich and plain fruit.

  7. Your muffin tin lunch is so adorable!! What an awesome theme and perfect execution!! :D

  8. My sister looked at my pictures and said 'Gross,' (which is her way of saying 'You're crazy, I would never go to all that effort! But she makes home-made pies and muffins and rolls and pizza dough and etc etc etc, and I think SHE'S nuts too. :) But my niece (who eats virtually nothing) liked looking at it, and she and my daughter had tug-of-wars over who wasn't going to eat it. (Z did eat the eyes off the sandwich, and ate bits of Hot Dog around the carrots, and loved the provolone dog.) My 1yo niece ate the Colby Jack cheese dog without complaint though. "CheEEEss!" I love hearing her language develop!


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