Monday, December 24, 2012

All I Want For Christmas Is... Braaaaains!

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Monday 12/17/12 - On Sunday night Little Z had asked to switch with Baby E and have Mama lie down with her, and Dadda put Baby to bed. So as we snuggled, I asked if she had any suggestions for the next day's lunch.
She said "A zombie!" "Ooo! A Santa zombie?" "No." "An ELF zombie?" "No." "Reindeer zombie? Gingerbread man zombie? What do you mean?" "Just a zombie." Blargh.
She had a whole slew of ideas how I could do it, and suggested broccoli to make the skin green, among other things.
Ham and cheese with mustard sandwich, dye-free taffy, cheese letters, dye-free pickles, blackberries and raspberries
Braaaaaaains!: My Bento Blogger Friends did a pick swap over the Summer, and everyone who signed up got a pick from everyone else who signed up. It was a lot of fun choosing the pick that represented "me" the most, and then seeing what everyone else chose, and why, as well. One of the picks I received was a zombie hand cupcake pick. (The other came from a grab bag assortment from a bake shop.) I love how they're clawing up out of the pile of braaaaains! "Bwrains aren't bwack and WRED, Mama!" So I told her they were bloody and rotting ones. She was appeased.

Zombie Flesh: She asked me what the pink bunny pick in with the dye-free pickles was for, and was delighted when I told her that it was a screaming victim. "Help! Help! Don't eat my Braaaaaaain!" That's my girl! (I would have included more, but I only had the one from our pick swap. They're on my allthingsforsale wishlist though. *hint hint*)
Zombie: Even though she had nixed the gingerbread zombie, I opted to use a gingerbread man cutter anyway. I just didn't decorate it as a gingerbread man cookie zombie. Before gluing the cheese bits on, I mixed a drop of blue and yellow from my natural food colors with some water and painted it on the head and limbs using a plastic bristle paintbrush that I keep with my bento tools. For colors not being used on cheese or meat (or anything with rotty proteins,) I mix my colors in some contact lens cases with the colors marked on the caps, so I can save the extras. I keep them in a baggie in the fridge to prevent mold or bacterial growth. You could also use a 7-day pill box from the pharmacy, but they might not be water-tight, and my fridge isn't organized well enough - I can't have anything in there that won't stay intact after falling out onto the floor!

I had originally planned on having the cheese on the inside of the sandwich with the ham. so had slathered mustard on both slices of bread. But I didn't have a slice of cheese large enough for the whole body, and the two smaller slices looked like clothes after I'd cut them. So I flipped the head of the cutter upside down to chop off the cheese head and make a collar. Then used a knife to make the sleeves and legs raggedy, and slathered on more mustard to glue them in place. (Luckily she loves mustard. Freak.)

I used a straw to cut circles out of some whiter splotches of the Colby Jack scraps and stuck in some black sesame seeds for the pupils. Glued on with mustard, of course.
Another straw hole for the mouth (would have been easier and a cleaner cut if I had thought of it before assembling her sandwich! Doh!) and I used beading tweezers to dip some more black sesame seeds in mustard and stick them in the bread mouth like rotting teeth.

This was my first time using the tweezers, and they were a HUUUUUUGE help! I was able to get the cheese eyes dipped in mustard and on the face with a minimum of muss and fuss. Normally I would have glued at least one to my finger first, then flicked it onto the floor by accident trying to get it off without destroying it. And I would have lost about 1,592 sesame seeds in the process of getting the teeth in.

More Braaaaains!: I cut a dye-free taffy from Trader Joe's that had a pink and white spiral pattern into three thinner circles, but one got cut wrong and didn't make the whole circle. So I ate it. That left me with two that I stretched and smooshed to break up the spiral pattern a bit to look more like a brain. I had also pulled out a light pink taffy, and Z had suggested I could use a toothpick to make it look like a brain, but Hubby thought the dark pink spiral one looked more brain-like already, and why make more work for myself? She loved them, and didn't even notice I hadn't carved in little brain lines!

Hubby recently shoveled all my loose bento gear into totes, and I couldn't find my mini cutters. So I used the 1"alphabet cutters that I was able to find to cut the word "BRAAAINS" out of some cheddar, and laid them out on the bottom of the EasyLunchbox. If you press them down a bit, cheese will stick nicely to the plastic (and probably to stainless steel ones as well) and stay in place until lunch!

She initially suggested "carrots for the hot lava" (because everyone knows zombies and hot lava come together!) and I was going to try and cut some into flames and such, but the dye-free pickles looked more zombie-like! And I was tired...


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