Sunday, September 26, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - The Birds And The Bees

Alternate title: Manglin' My Mangoes

This week's Muffin Tin Monday is no theme, so we can make up our own, or do whatever. I've been brainstorming ideas in my notebook, and had settled on a Goldilocks and the Three Bears... but last night I had a random, spontaneous idea that kind of blossomed in it's entirety. SHAZAM!

Cheese birds, olive bees w/carrot wings, PB & Nutella bees, Mango hive and carrot flowers
Flowers: I used my new mandolin slicer to coin-up the thickest part of one of our pathetically skinny carrots (just as I get new flower cutters for my carrots, none of them are thick enough for the whole design!) I took the largest ones of those and used one of my flower cutters and made some quickie flowers. I left the rest as coins and tucked them under the flowers in the muffin liner, and swiped them as needed for other parts of the meal.

The Birds: I just got a set of 3 graduated bird cutters from a set at Daiso, so I used those on Colby Jack cheese. On the largest one, I thought it might be fun to cut out a bird using the smallest cutter, and I had plenty of extra cheese if I didn't like it, but I did. 

For the red bird, I got the idea from a Not A Brown Bag's blog and at first, I thought hers was a Babybel cheese, so that's what inspired me to try it. She used a red pepper and other stuff. I just used my knife to score out a triangle shape from the front (and down the side, and a little on the back) of the wax, then went over it again, pushing REALLY hard this time to break through the wax. 
I used the wax scraps to make 'feathers' for the head and tail. 
I then hacked off the pull tab from the top (I ended up needing scissors) to make a hole for the head feathers, and hacked a gouge out of the side to make a hole for the tail.
I used a carrot coin and cut a shape out with my knife for the beak, and cut an olive in half lengthwise and used a straw to cut out dots for the eyes (I used a paint brush handle to pop them out, since I couldn't find my toothpicks or skewers~! I kept the Skippyjon paintbrush with my food supplies, so I have one special that was never used for paints!)

The Bees: I used carrot coins cut in half to make wings and just jabbed them in to the holes on either side of the medium-sized whole olives. I got the idea from a recipe out of either Parents or Parenting magazine, only they used persimmons and blueberries. They also had the beehive, but out of pineapple. I can't find the link on either site, so they must have taken it down. I'm thinking it's Parenting Magazine though.

I used a bee/fly cutter I got at a kitchen boutique while on vacation when I was pregnant and cut out some bread. I was able to find one online at a great baking supply place called Bake It Pretty. I opted to cut the bread before putting toppings on it because I didn't want to have to wash the cutter the wing joint is a weak point, and I didn't want the wings tearing off while trying to push several layers out at once.
I slathered Peanut Butter on two of the bees, then sandwiched them with the plain ones. I had planned on using olives to make stripes (if Stephanie Plum likes PB/olive sandwiches, they MUST be okay!) but at this point I was feeling lazy and was not going to bother with stripes. As I was putting the PB back into the cupboard, I saw my jar of Nutella. BAM! Inspiration! So I sloppily spread on a Nutella head and stripes and called it good.

Beehive: The idea that inspired me used a pineapple, but I don't have one, I have a mango from an organic farm co-op we just joined. So mango it is! I asked my husband if he knew how to bust into a mango - peel it like a potato? Pull peel off like an orange? Scoop it out like an avocado?
He said to treat it like a pear or apple. I grilled him more, as he wasn't clear on whether I should use a potato peeler or not. He wandered off. So I sliced it in half, lengthwise. Umm... problem! I couldn't slice through it! It felt like it had a pit! A PIT! Apples and pears don't have pits! I sliced around the pit, but couldn't pry it open, like I can with avocados. Argh!
Just then I started hollering for my husband my husband came back in and said he looked it up, and the worst thing to do is slice it lengthwise in the middle. Thanks for nuthin', bub. He took over and sliced it lengthwise at about 1/3rd of the way in on either side. He then proceeded to mangle my mango, making much of it unusable, in his attempts to make thinner slices for me to use my circle cutters on. I couldn't find a piece intact enough for my largest cutter, so we faked it and tucked the jibbly parts under for the pictures. (You can kind of see it hanging down in the back.)
I used our 3 biscuit cutters for the largest ones, then 3 plastic circles I got from various bento cutter sets imported from
While I was assembling the hive and taking my photos, Little Z was nomnomming all over the mango scraps. She loved it, and wanted desperately to eat my circles, but by the time I let her have at it, she'd eaten enough mango to satisfy, and ended up not touching the hive.

I had expected her to go for the mango hive first, or maybe the olive bees, since she's an olive fiend, but she started on the Babybel! And she actually ate the carrot beak! She hardly ever eats any of the features I cut out, unless it's olives. And she completely missed the olive eyes this time. They went flying off somewhere (I didn't bother 'gluing' them on.)
She also ate all the bees and wings, which I wasn't expecting. I thought for sure she'd pull off the wings and discard them, since she's only ever had 'plain' olives before (plus any inadvertently left on her pizza cheese.) But she popped the whole thing in her mouth and ate it! There was only 1 set of wings left over. And she ate all the carrot coins, but left the flowers. Bizarre. I don't remember who ate the Colby Jack birds, but I soldiered on and ate the mango hive, even though I had already finished off the scraps and gnawed around the pit, apple-core-style!
Please note her adorable new jammies - Old Navy had an astronaut, Army uniform and pirate set, where the details are printed on, rather than sewn on. (And they're almost sold out, so the link might not be good much longer.) I got her the astronaut and pirate, since she's not into military much, and even though she really doesn't know much about astronauts, I thought it would be a fun way to learn. She loved getting into them last night, and I pointed out all the fun astronaut details (pretend zipper, pretend pockets, pretend belt, flag, badge, etc.) I called her 'Captain' and she 'blasted off' to the sink to brush her teeth. Loooove it!


  1. so cute and creative! I'm uber jealous of all creativeness going on. That mango hive was genius.
    Great jammies too.

  2. OMG shut the front creative. Loving the bird from the baby bell and the bee hive mango and bees are wicked awesome!! Happy MTM :)

  3. wow! this is gorgeous... a work of art

  4. This is amazing. It looks like work of art. The bees and hive are inspired. All your birs are so cute.

  5. WOW WOW and WOW! Great tin! I love the little red bird and the mango hive. So creative!

  6. Oh very cool lunch - most excellent! Love the bees!

  7. Very creative! I love all of it.

  8. Super cute lunch!!! I love the birdy cheese from the babybel.

  9. I love your babybell cheese bird. Super cute lunch and idea!

  10. wow...great tin - love the birdie! :)

  11. Beautiful! I especially like the beehive and the last bird (from the babybell cheese). I'd love to have that muffin tin meal :-)

  12. That is the cutest lunch I've ever seen! I love the cheese bird, I love cheese already but I would eat it 10x over it it was cute like that! Great job, and thanks for stopping by my blog! :)

    Amie @

  13. You should have to have a license for being so creative! Your baby bell bird is adorable!

  14. SUPER cute! Love the idea of Birds & the Bees! The bee hive is SUPER creative!

  15. I love this! Too cute!

  16. Such a fun tin! I LOVE the beehive. I'm doing a bee lunch today too, hmmm - might just have to copy - I mean, pay tribute to yours!


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