Sunday, September 19, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - Shape Up!

This week's Muffin Tin Monday theme was SHAPES. I had a few ideas I was tossing around, like focusing on one shape, but in the end, I chose her current favorite book: Skippyjon Jones Shape Up!

Skippyjon Runs in a circle
Salsas on a square
Teeters on a triangle
Orbits an oval
Reaches for the stars
Rocks the crescent
Tugs at your heart
Pumps two rectangles
Balances a diamond
Stops at an octagon
and Follows the arrows to his mirror.

My ideas/plans sheet

Running in Circles: I had originally planned on using a dried pineapple, but decided to use that for the oval instead. Then I thought to use a Mini Babybel cheese as the circle, when I saw them at the grocery store yesterday. But I forgot and was looking in the fridge for something to make into a circle and had already sliced up carrot coins before I remembered!

Salsa on a Square: My plan had been to put some salsa on a triscuit, but not only did I completely forget the salsa until she was already eating, but we didn't have any left anyway when I went to go cheat and take a picture of the cracker with salsa on it as a close-up. Ah well. We put cheese on it. It was still delicious.

Teetering on Triangles: When we bought the Babybel cheese, my husband also chose a Laughing Cow garlic & herb cheese wedges pack, and we had some Crisp Bread triangles from Ikea, so this one was a no-brainer.

Orbiting an Oval: I put the dried pineapple into a large Easter egg cookie cutter overnight to try and bend it into more of an oval, but the cutter was almost too big and made very little difference. But I liked the pineapple, since it looked more space-like, to go along with the 'orbit' factor.

Reaches for the Stars: I had been toying with the idea of various fruits, but just went with an apple, since I'm more familiar with them. I used 2 sizes from my super-mini-cutter set. They were adorable! I stored them in a sealable bowl and sloshed them around in some apple juice to prevent browning.

Rocking the Crescent: More apples. I had planned on using one of my new Halloween moon cutters, but they all have faces on them! My husband had suggested doing a 'crescent' slice of apricot or something, and since I was doing apple stars anyway, I just made some really bad crescent slices first. (I read her the story and she pointed to the food and would name the shapes along with the story, and when we got to the crescent, she said "Rocks the.... that's a crescent?" HA!) I totally forgot to treat these with the apple juice, and you can see they're already yellower and browner than the stars in the first picture, after only 30 minutes later!

Tugs at your Heart: On Friday I got my shaped silicone muffin liners imported from China that I'd ordered a while ago from eBay. Perrrrrrfect timing! That gave me the freedom to start using more 'wet' ingredients, like pudding and yogurt. I opted for instant pudding, since it was fast and she prefers her yogurt in tubes! Instead of the 3 tbsp milk 1 tbsp powdered mix ratio I've been using for a personal serving, I did 2 tbsp milk and 2 tsp powder to make sure it wasn't too full for the liner, and would still have room for mixing. For fun, I added some orange food coloring to match the liner! (I used a chopstick. Both to dip into the dye and transfer it into the pudding, and then to mix the whole thing.) I had planned on using some toffee string (like licorice) that we had just bought at Ikea, to be more like the balloon and go along with the tugging part, but I forgot, and then she was upstairs and hungry and eager to get started. I've been telling her we were going to have a Skippyjon lunch this week, and she's been very patient.

Pumping Rectangles: In the book, he has a barbell with rectangles on the ends. I had wanted to use a toothpick between 2 rectangles of something, but we don't have toothpicks. The only other thing I could think of was a bit of pipe cleaner. Bleah. I made cheese rectangles and the pipe cleaner easily slid in. But then I thought of a pretzel stick! Of course! I took out the pipe cleaner, and it had left big clumps of hair in the cheese! Ewwww! I scraped the hairs off, and jammed a pretzel stick end into one of the rectangles. It split the cheese. Doh! I didn't want to get the cheese back out of the fridge, so I carved little gouges out where the stick would be going in and pressed the split back together and hid it at the back and called it good.

Balancing a Diamond: Since I hadn't used the Babybel cheese for the circle, I thought that it would be fun to cut a shape out of the wax. The only shape unplanned-for at this point was the diamond, so it got the part! I don't really have a diamond shaped cutter, so I used a mini triangle twice. But this triangle is a stick plastic, and I'm not really sure how it's supposed to cut. So I just pressed it in to make an imprint and used my knife to hack out the diamond shape.

Stops at an Octagon: I had hoped to make a stop sign, but couldn't make the letters until my mini alphabet cutters arrived from Japan [it looks like they are no longer available!] and who knew when that was going to happen? Luckily, they arrived Thursday! I'm loving how my hopes and plans come to fruition by the timely arrival of an online order! My first octagon bread was a failure, as I cut the angles too steep, making the left and right edges too short. I set it aside and tried again, this time making sure that my base shape was more of a square. The bottom was still a little short, but good enough! I did PB first, then strawberry jelly. The jelly doesn't spread well, and I was kind of disappointed. I tried adding red sprinkles to fill it out, but there wasn't a noticeable difference. I used my failed octagon bread to push out little letters, and placed them atop the jelly. Voila! (oh. The letters don't have any way to cut out the bits within the letters, like O, P, A, R, etc. I did have a tiny circle cutter that I used on the 'O.' A straw probably would have been better, but I was no longer in thinking mode. Just a GIT 'ER DONE! mode!)

Following the Arrows to his mirror: I got a mini arrow cutter as filler in the U-Z set of the alphabet cutters. Perfect! I made little cheese arrows, but my finger wouldn't fit in to pop them out! So I used another chopstick. I cut a little rectangle of aluminum foil as the mirror. Done!

Skippyjon Jones: I actually did the hardest part first, so that I wouldn't be feeling rushed and stressed while trying to make him at the end. I had originally planned to make a Skippyjon sandwich, but I decided I didn't want to have to hack through 2 pieces of bread for each part. I started off making his oval head. But I don't have a large oval cutter. So I pressed the wider half of my large Easter egg cutter in, and then rotated it around and did it for the other half of the face too. Then I used my knife to cut out the imprint that the egg halves had made.

I used another slice of bread for the ears. I sliced off the crusts to make it easier to work with (the crusts give it stability and cause more 'cracking' on the bread surface when you try and cut out shapes.) I then sliced it diagonally to make triangles. I laid them out under the face and used the book illustration to eyeball how and if I should shave off some from the sides to make the triangles fit/look better. (I cut off a little.) Then I used the large end of the egg cutter to make them fit against the face. I used some cream cheese to get them to stick.

I'd been thinking of using cinnamon to make the brown shading on his face, until I thought of cocoa! I got a bowl with some water, and another with Ovaltine, and got a brand-new paintbrush from Z's art stash. I started painting on the Ovaltine, but it was very slow going. Dip in water, dip in powder, paint 1/4". Repeat. Until I thought to just pour the powder directly onto the bread THEN get it wet! I also put the whole thing onto another slice of bread to give it some stability, and just left it on. I should have jazzed up the bottom slice, but eh.

I did both ears that way, then did the dip 'n paint method for the mouth and nose area, since they were lighter, and a smaller area.

I buttered the approximate eye areas, and used a little dome-shaped mini cutter from my new stash as a guide and poured in some blue sugar sprinkles.

I used some nori (dried seaweed) I've had in the pantry forever and scissors to cut out a passable nose and mouth. I did it in 2 parts. I wet the tip of my finger and applied it to the nori before placing it on the face.

I buttered the white parts of the ears and used my butter knife as a guide to prevent the pink sugar sprinkles from getting all over the cocoa.

I snipped up a raisin and balled the bits up and used them as pupils. Hooray! Much better than anticipated.

Little Z instantly recognized Skippito, but in fairness, I had been talking up my plans for the week, and the book was out in the kitchen.

She immediately refused the Babybel cheese, until we told her it was cheese and unwrapped it for her. She took a few bites and was excited to be eating Skippyjon's circle! (Even though it was supposed to be the diamond!) She ate the pretzel out of the rectangle barbell, and the pudding (of course.) I spread the triangle cheese onto the triangle and square crackers, and she licked off some of the cheese and let me eat the Triscuits. I ate one of the barbell rectangles and she's still complaining about it! "Mommy ate my cheese! I needed it to feed my bay-beeeees!" (I'm thinking she gets that from an episode of Dora where Mommy Buggabugga has a cookie she needs to get home to feed her babies. It was one of the first ones she saw, and she saw it a bunch. Now she uses that as a reason to get us to give her stuff. "I need that toy/food/whatever to give/feed my bay-beeeees!" She tried the pineapple, and gnawed on it for a while. I was excited, since the Babybell, spreadable cheese, triangle cracker and pineapple were completely new foods to her (she's always picked the pineapple off any Hawaiian pizza.)
She didn't eat much, and didn't really try anything else, but apparently she and Daddy had been downstairs eating "squeaky cheese" [cheese curds. They squeak against your teeth as you bite into them.]

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth


  1. WOW! Your muffin tin is amazing! And you put so much effort into it... its really an art piece. It really looks like you enjoy doing it! After seeing yours I really need to snazz mine up a notch :)

  2. You planned and created a wonderful meal. I love all the thought you put into your tins. The cat is sooo cute.

  3. Such a cute tin and I like how you did a go along book!

  4. This is so cute!!! Love your creativity!

  5. Oh my goodness this is amazing!!! Emily would love it she is so into cat's recently. I will have to look for this book :0)

  6. Wow! That's all I can say... A true work of art!

  7. This is the most adorable muffin tin meal ever! I absolutely love Skippyjon Jones and so do my kids. Would you mind if I featured your tin on my Squidoo lenspage about Skippyjon Jones lesson ideas? I would credit you with the picture and provide a link to your blog. Let me know. You can reach me on my Squidoo page or my blog.

  8. Awesome tin so creative!!! Never seen SkippyJon but am defiantly in love with his big

  9. No need to snazz yours up! I used to draw and be all artistic and stuff, then channeled it into scrapbooking, then had a kid. Kids plus pristine 12x12" papers plus photos and scraps and embellishments and "Oh no, don't touch tha.... DON'T EAT THAT! SPITTHATOUTRIGHTNOW!" don't really mix... so when I first saw AnotherLunch (no clue how I found it) I was HOOKED on making fun food shapes. Then I saw her MTMs... well. DOUBLE HOOKED!
    Now when she sees that muffin tin on the stove or counter, she scoots her little kitchen chair/stool over because she knows it's hand-slappingly forbidden, so naturally, she must HAVE IT NOW. But Skippy... ah Skippy. I stalled and stalled making this MTM, because I was worried that I couldn't pull it off (I'm also a perfectionist.. although I'm learning to let much of it go, with my toddler.) But I'm pleased. My favorite free-handed-food yet! Too bad they don't make Skippyjon cookie cutters...

  10. Where do you get your tiny cutters for letters, stars and arrows and such my dear? Do tell! Hehe! Gotta copy that tin! Oh, and I posted your pic and blog on my Squidoo page! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Super cute! Now I feel really bad about my lack of planning/effort. Would you like to be my family's personal chef? I'm only half kidding.
    And my muffin tins are also about 100 years old. I stole, uh I mean, liberated them from my grandmother.

  12. That tin is great. I would love to have mini alphabet cutters.

  13. letters are the closest I see anymore. The ones I got from are no longer listed. And these ones say 5/8" to 2.5" which can't be (the "I" isn't 1/5th the width of the others!) so who knows. doesn't say, but they make the tiniest shapes I've ever found. Or but they're 1"

  14. I didn't know they made mini alphabet cutters that small!! You were so thoughtful with this tin. I am sure it took a lot of work & it shows. I tend to just throw mine together pretty quickly w/ whatever we have. I am looking forward to making them more fun, but am sure they will pale in comparison to that wonderful cat you made!

  15. OHHH-EMMM-GEE! I never saw this lunch until today. This is AMAZING!
    Little Miss has every Skippy book (seriously...) lol, I cannot let her see this haha she will BEG!


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