Sunday, October 10, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - No Pumpkins Were Harmed In The Making Of This Meal!

This week's Muffin Tin Monday theme is Pumpkins! Not very inspiring, and I was too lazy to find a book or DVD to theme it around (Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown?) I have regular and mini-sized pumpkin cutters, but no actual pumpkin. I thought about putting pumpkin puree into pancake batter or muffins. Or making pumpkin bread (I hear Trader Joe's has a great mix.) Roast pumpkin seeds? (I'd have to get and gut a pumpkin first though. Eww.) But I have none of these things. I try not to go out and buy stuff just for one MTM, so I decided to half-ass it and make do with whatever I had lying around.
My plan had been to make my MTM on Sunday, before nap, since I had lazed around too long Saturday morning, and it was noon before we started talking about lunch, and naptime is 1. But when asked what she wanted for lunch, Z said "a byoo-di-fuwl NUNCH!" [beautiful lunch] That's what she calls my MTMs. I wasn't prepared to bang one out and have it eaten in less than an hour, so we negotiated and compromised: she would have a 'beautiful' dinner this time.

Pumpkin-Free Pumpkin Theme!
Our first MTM dinner!
Milk-O-Lantern, Pumpknilla pudding with pumpkin-shaped sprinkles,
PBumpkin butter sandwiches (okay. So there's some pumpkin here,)
CuPumpbers, Cheeskins, Fried potato pumpkins and a Plumkin.
Milk-O-Lantern: The milk was fairly easy. Orange cup from Ikea. Masking tape. Sharpie. Scissors. I drew the features onto a strip of tape and colored them in. Then I beefed them up a bit, since there was more room on the tape and they were looking a little scrawny and filled that in too. The hard part was cutting them out, since the tape liked to stick to the scissors, so they couldn't just glide along. You could also do this with a clear glass and/or black tape. 

Add milk and orange food coloring (it's really old. It's in a glass bottle! It's probably from when the dinosaurs ruled the earth.)

Pumpknilla Pudding: I threw the pudding in last-minute, since I had forgotten about my new pumpkin/chocolate jimmies sprinkles mix (Target dollar section had 3 different tubs of Halloween sprinkles! The orange/yellow sugar mix I used on my circus clown, an orange/yellow/white non-pareils mix, and this one.) I thought I remembered the single-serve instant pudding recipe, so didn't bother to look it up. 3tbsp powder, 2 tbsp milk. Newp. Fail. 3tbsp milk, 1 tbsp powder. Oops. I was going for a half-recipe, so I had done 1.5 tbsp powder and 1 tbsp milk. And added more milk. And more. It was still too thick, but I no longer cared. It looked orange enough I didn't bother with food coloring.

PBumpkin Butter Sandwiches: Bread. PB. Pumpkin butter. I was able to get 2 shapes out of my sandwich.
I got this pumpkin butter from a Holiday expo merchant a few years ago... when I was pregnant I think (pumpkin butter on toast tasted like cinnamon toast to me, only less sugar, more vitamins, and easier to make (didn't have to mix sugar and cinnamon, or keep it somewhere it wouldn't clump.) I ate a LOT of pumpkin butter toast while pregnant. Yummmm-EEE!) It tastes fine, so clearly it stays good for a while!
I ended up eating one and she may have tried the other.

CuPumpbers: I hadn't planned on using cucumbers at all. I had kind of toyed with the idea of using frozen peas and/or beans to make a pumpkin-shaped mosaic (or, with my pumpkin muffin pan, I could have just filled a compartment and called it good. But I didn't think of that until just now.) But my husband had peeled and sliced up a cucumber for himself, and left a few inches from the end on the cutting board. I sliced it up and was able to make them into decent pumpkin shapes with my cutter.
She tossed them all into her milk, fished them out, put them back in the muffin pan, tossed them back in the milk, fished them out, ate them as she dipped them in milk between each bite, and ended up eating 2 of them.

Cheeskins: Colby Jack. I used a knife to slice, since it wasn't worth digging out the cheese slicer and then having to wash it again after just for 2 slices of cheese. It went better than expected and my slices were fairly decent. I was able to fit the cutter twice on each little end slice if I turned one a little so the stems weren't bumping.
I don't think she ate any.

Plumkin: I'm gonna skip the potatoes, since they're more exciting. I'll save them for last! My husband had sliced up and apple, an apricot [or nectarine. Maybe a peach. Soft, a little fuzzy, yellowy pink.] and a plum and a half for Little Z's lunch. So I'm puttering around the kitchen, seeing what I have to work with, and there's half a plum just laying there on the cutting board. Hmmm.... I used a steak knife and hacked out a jack-o-lantern face freehand, and then carefully sliced the skin off those parts (and ate them.) Actually, it might be a pluot. I got a bunch of fruit from a farm co-op, and have no idea what it all is!
She gnawed off most of the face, until she dropped it. "Uh-oh! Floor food! No good now!" Even though we offered to wash it.

Pomme Potiron Frites: [French for "potato pumpkin fries"] I had some russet potatoes from the co-op and thought I'd try and make pumpkin-shaped fries. Or lumps of oily char. I used this French Fries recipe as a guide, but didn't use as much as it says, since I was only using 1 potato. And I didn't preheat oven to 200 F, since I couldn't see where the oven was used in the recipe. Probably part of some meal recipe, and the oven is for the burgers or something. I cut the potato into slices widthwise, and punched pumpkin shapes out of 4 of those. I kept the 'frames' intact [waste not, eat more fries!] and just cut the rest of the slices into half circles.
 Instead of measuring, I just poured some oil in the frying pan to see how it went. I ended up adding a little more, once I saw how the oil boiled and coated the potatoes and cooked both sides at once.
 Near the end, I chopped up a clove of garlic and tossed it in with a little salt, just to season the oil a little, in case the flavor could come out. Both the potatoes and the garlic got a little overcooked, but they were at the high end of done (or very low end of overdone) so still tasted good.
 I blotted the tops with a paper towel before adding salt, so they weren't as salty as I would have liked, but the garlic gave them a really nice flavor. Z ate a pumpkin-shaped one, and gnawed parts of the other 2 (I ate the 4th one since I had forgotten it and left with the plain ones.) She carefully segregated the negatives and put them in another muffin cup.

She ate a few sprinkles first, then poked around at the other parts, then ate a few bites of the pudding before playing with trying the rest.

My dinner consisted of the cucumber end stub, the cheese and sandwich scraps, the parts cut from the plum face, the rest of her bowl of apple/plum/apricot from lunch, some fries; and one of the pumpkin sandwiches and a cheese after I let her pick through it a while. I chopped up the garlic before slicing the cheese, and apparently was cutting out the shapes right over the garlic area on the cutting mat, since the cheese had a nice sharp punch of garlic flavor. I like garlic, but she may have found it too strong, had she tried it.

   [My pumpkin muffin pan is apparently this older version by Wilton, with the pumpkins facing out the sides.]


  1. This is ridiculously cute!!! Too cute to eat, really. Z is so lucky to have such fun meals.

  2. wow! i love it. your tin is gorgeous! i love the actual tin as well! I tried to make some pumpkins by hand cutting the chicken and waffles etc but it didn't work.... so wish I had the cutters. must get some before halloween!

    I took your great suggestion! I renamed my post =)

  3. The plumkin is downright adorable! That is definitely an idea I'll be tucking away to use for Island Boy in the future.

  4. Pumpknilla pudding with pumpkin-shaped sprinkles sounds wonderful. The homemade chips looks great! I love the plum.

  5. love the plum cut out! and that tin is so cute!

  6. I love the names of your foods. Made me giggle! Especially Milk O Lantern and Plumkin

  7. Awesome tin!! Love all the details too like the cup and the adorable "plumkin"!

  8. NIce job. I likd the cucumbers, the potatoes, and the milk. Very creative!

  9. I love the pumpkin fries! That would have been so easy to make. Will have to do something with that closer to Halloween.

  10. I think that's a great pumpkin tin!!

  11. Looks super yummy! I love the pumpkin fries! Clever idea. :) Great job!

  12. That "plumkin" is too darn cute!

  13. Love the pumpkin fries. I wonder what it would taste like with actual pumpkin?!!

  14. I love it all! The fun ideas, the quote from your daughter, your witty story telling, all of it! So many fun and "byoo-di-fuwl" ideas! I am so glad you linked up on Bento of the week so I could find you :)


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