Cupcake Friday

(baby) boy birthday cupcakes version 11.0.  Chocolate cupcake with blue swiss meringue buttercream icing for his class.  When your mom has a cupcake cult, you can easily get her to pull off such yummy classroom treats.  Cupcake on!

Aug 30, 2012: mushroom boursin mini pies

Pastry is my arch-nemesis.  It just never looks pretty when I roll it out.  Don’t judge me.

I found a mini pie/tart dish online that makes 4 individually-sized pies (with a pastry cutter for both top and bottom crusts).  It’s awesome.  I tried it for the first time today with an adaptation of Vegetarian Times’ mushroom pie: recipe!

I adapted it – no onions in the house, so I omitted those and the garlic, and put a decent-sized slice of boursin on top of the filling instead.  I also dropped the eggs to 2 whole and 2 whites, and used 1/2 cup milk.  I forgot that the crust needs seasoning – definitely needs amping up with a little more salt than the recipe calls for before rolling out.

I made 4 mini pies.  What to do with the other 3?  Eat one for dinner.  Easy.  Now, my friend and I both like mushrooms.  Neither of our husbands like them.  So I texted her, and made her a bento for tomorrow too.  Yay!  Now there’s only one mini pie hiding from me in the fridge…

Tasty side dish offerings include the very last of the English cheddar I got at a US Costco (sadface mode :ON:, but at least we can eat the last few cubes together… she helped me eat some last time she came for dinner, so I know she’ll appreciate polishing it off with me!), orange pepper, celery, grape tomatoes, and being that it’s Friday tomorrow, vegetarian marshmallow pie treats.  Nom!

Foodie penpal awesomeness!

The lovely http://www.theleangreenbean.com/ has a foodie pen pal program set up.  I sent a package of goodies off across the country earlier this month, and received a box of treats from another blogger.  The cool thing about this program is that I send and receive packages to different people each month that I choose to participate.  Here is what I received from the wonderful http://canadiandomesticwannabe.blogspot.com/.  I really enjoy her candid approach on her blog.  Take a stroll over there and check it out.

Here is what I received (using my new kitchen flooring as a backdrop…. so pretty!)

Dulse!  I cannot tell you how wonderful this smells; just like the ocean!  I wonder if it will have a nori-like effect on rice in my bentos.

Candies! What’s really cool about these is that they are made locally and my penpal has visited the factory.  The chicken bone candies can only be made after seven years of training.  Awesome.

Chocolate!  As we all know here, I love chocolate, and I haven’t seen the toasted cashew and coconut variety before.  I might be saving this for a meeting with a certain speech-language pathologist who enjoys coconut next week.  We can treat ourselves together while we plan on how we’re saving the world.

You had me at dark chocolate, but I bet these will taste fruity and delicious and I can convince myself that I’m eating something healthy.  Again, another perfect treat for bento love!  I’m holding off on opening the bag – I know once I break the seal that it’ll be empty far too quickly.

Thanks to Natasha – wonderful job!  I appreciate that she did some ingredient-scanning, and made sure that I received vegetarian treats.  I’m very touched.  Have a great day, everyone, and if you’re in Canada, maybe we’ll get to be foodie pen pals for September!

Aug 29, 2012: pesto pasta salad

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We were treated to burgers (including veggie burgers for those of us who required them), salad, and fruit for lunch today for the first day back.  However, what I’m really excited about is… regular bentos again!  Huzzah!

Pasta salad (cooked pasta, finely diced pepper/celery/carrot with jarred pesto), cheese flowers (I snacked on the offcut), soy loaf rollup, cheddar cheese cubes, and as-local-as-they-get-round-here cherries.  Hickory smoked almonds and cranberries for snack.

Reader appreciation award

It’s really lovely that people out there in the blogosphere come visit me, for one thing, and that they appreciate what they see, enough to nominate me for an award.  It’s so cool.

Kiisu over at oh!bento nominated me for this award, and I’m thrilled.  Transcontinental bento ftw!  Thank you.  Kiisu is fantastic at sourcing out thrifty bento finds, as well as nutritious bentos adorned with home-made accoutrements.  Nicely done!

The rules of this award :

1. Include the award logo in your blog : yep

2. Answer the questions below : oki

*What is your favourite colour? I don’t really have one, but I do have 2 rooms in my house painted purple, as well as one with a hint of purple in it, and I have been told I wear a lot of purple, so purple it is!

*What is your favourite non-alcoholic drink? water – I was identified this week as being a wateroholic.  I don’t see this is a bad thing.  I love the taste of water (who knew?) and could drink it all day long.

*Do you prefer Facebook or Twitter? Facebook, but I’m starting to see how Twitter could be more awesome.  It’s just hard to have to build up a whole new social network…

*What’s your passion? public education – teaching in it, advocating for it, protecting it.  It’s the cornerstone of our democracy, and is very much worth fighting for on provincial, Canadian, and International scales.

*What’s your favorite pattern? Anything but paisley.  Scarred for life, and only my close friends know the story.

*Do you prefer giving or getting presents? I have to pick?  I love surprises when they’re designed with my glee in mind (unlike my husband treating the whole school staff to a buffet lunch on the first anniversary of my 29th birthday!), and I love giving treats and planning surprises too.

*What’s your favorite number? 42.  Of course.

*Favourite day of the week? …

*Favourite flower? Lilies.  I have tiger lilies, oriental lilies, dwarf lilies, and day lilies in my garden.  Just as well really, they seem to thrive on neglect and keep coming up year after year without me doing very much beyond giving them composting and the occasional weeding.

3. Nominate the blogs you enjoy reading, link them and let them know that they have been nominated

http://emilycooksvegan.com/ – she says it’s student cooking, but it’s simple, tasty, economical food and we could all learn things from her!

http://playfulandhungry.com/ – I love, love, love this blog!

http://ellesite.wordpress.com/ – a fellow British Columbian food blogger with amazing food photography skills!

http://forever1955.com/ – (often thrifted) retro awesomeness.  A unique and lovely blog.

Cupcake Friday (very late!)

Sorry cupcakers, I was at a conference on Friday and was without internet (the horror!).  I couldn’t find my son’s laptop charger, so had to rough it offline for 5 whole days!

Vanilla funfetti cupcakes with swiss meringue buttercream clouds and candy rainbows.  These were my offering for a fundraising bakesale for the Canadian Mental Health Foundation – through Cupcakes for a Cause, a collaboration between staff and students at my school.  Cupcake on!

August 21, 2012: picnic bentos

How adorable are these guys?  Even with nori crumbles around them, these smiley faces are awesome!  My house is a construction zone (will be fabulous when it’s done… but in the meantime, I’m a ‘lil frazzled!), and I thought engaging in some creativity needed to happen NOW.  This bento-making session did the trick!

OK, the bentos, yes plural!

I am away at a conference for the next few days, and my friend is looking after my son during the daytime.  As a gesture of goodwill, and because she’s just dipping her toes into bento, I made three for tomorrow: one for my son, one for my friend, and one for my friend’s daughter.  Maybe the weather will be nice enough that they can eat their epic noms down at the beach (cloudy today)!

2-slice pbj heart sandwich, babybel w heart cutout, hardboiled egg with nori faces, veggies, a few candies, and an iced tea/lemonade pouch for ‘Bow’.  With a kitty-cat pick.  Bow is a crazy cat lady in training.  She loves kitties!

3-slice pbj heart sandwich, edamame, Clif bar pieces (he spontaneously started eating them again, and I’m not complaining!), veggies, candies, and iced tea/lemonade drink mix for my son.  He currently won’t eat eggs or cheese, so I gave him alternate proteins to balance out the lunch.  I know the bento theory is that cute encourages kids to eat new foods, but PDD-NOS can be far stronger than cuteness!

Messy countertop, but all three bentos hanging out together.  My friend’s has a 3-layer pbj, the same side dishes as Bow, but a 3-in-1 coffee mix for her tasty beverage.  She deserves a treat!

(Can’t remember if my bff reads my blog… oops, maybe this won’t be a surprise!)