~A Brief Hiatus~

Sadly, I’m going to have to take an itty-bitty break from Salad Arts.  I injured my knee and am currently confined to a lot of sitting.  And a lot of pain medicine.  And a lot of keeping my leg up and not letting it move, lest I scream and scare the children.

I will find out within a week if I’ll need surgery, and if so, my little hiatus may last longer than a week.  But I’m hoping that I will be back at it soon, playing with our food and giggling with our girls.

I’d still love to hear from you!  If you have any ideas for Salad Arts, please email me!   I am hoping to spend some of this exciting couch-time collecting even more ideas, thinking about how I’ll create them, and doing some research.  And also, please send me pictures of your Salad Art creations–I’d love to keep the blog updated with more of my friends’ works of art!  :)

Most of all, please don’t forget about me, this blog, veggies, and salads!  I really do love doing this and love hearing about how you have been inspired to try something new at your house.  And if you don’t mind, I would appreciate prayers for my stupid, stupid, stupid knee.  If I don’t have to have surgery, I would be a happy momma.

Happy Salads!

:)  Elizabeth

Guitar

My latest challenge came from our three-year old, who asked me if I could make a guitar.  (I have to say, I love that she knows about guitars, pianos, etc.  Thanks to a great music class she takes at her preschool, I’m sure!)

Here are the ingredients for our guitar.  I will be honest and tell you that I did ‘cheat’ and looked up a picture online, because I didn’t trust my non-guitar playing memory.  I did take a guitar class in college, but I was horrible.  And I’m most certainly NOT saying how long ago that was!

After peeling and slicing some cucumber into disks, I took two and cut off one of the round edges of each, so I could line them up and form the smaller, top part of the guitar.

Can you tell how I lined up those two cucumber slices at the top?  It still gives the round effect but it’s smaller than if I had them next to each other whole.  The bottom part is three slices.

I used green pepper to make the neck of the guitar.  That is called the neck, right?  Like I said, it’s been a while.  Not saying how long though…and if you do know, don’t you dare tell!  ;)

I used a cantaloupe to make the hole that is behind the neck.  It probably should have been a darker color, but I didn’t have anything that was both big enough and dark.  So I took some artistic license.

And here’s the ‘cantaloupe hole’.  I am so technical.   Oh, I just looked it up and it’s called a sound hole.   I was actually kinda close!

And to create the pick guard, I took a grape tomato half and carved out a little round piece from it.  And yes, I had to look up ‘pick guard’.  Learn something new every day, that’s what I always say!

I used another slice of green pepper for the bridge.  I know, I’m just showing off now, aren’t I?

Yeah, the strings were the hardest part.  I used some matchstick carrots, but those darn things are wavier than you’d think.  I could only fit two on the neck, and even then, they wouldn’t stay on very well.

I added blueberry halves for the tuning keys.   They were my favorite part!

And there we have it, the guitar.  I finally got a couple of matchstick carrots to line up decently, at least long enough to get a picture of it!   As if it really mattered to the little girl…speaking of…

The Verdict:   It was a Number 1 hit!  Our three-year old, who requested it, exclaimed, ‘It’s a guitar!’  (whew!) and gobbled away.  Leaving…you guessed it…the green pepper.  Do I look worried?   Naaaa.  Happy Salads!

:)  Elizabeth

Balloons

Our girls love balloons…what child doesn’t?   After seeing children go berzerk at a birthday party over the weekend over a bunch of balloons, I decided that I needed to try to recreate the effect.   My husband thought that this was a bunch of flowers, so perhaps this fell short.  ~sigh~

Here are tonight’s ingredients.  I was originally thinking a variety of round items (balloons) and long skinny items (strings).  So the carrots didn’t end up making the ‘cut’.

I started off my balloon adventure by slicing the cucumbers.

And I sliced the ends off the tomatoes, to get a more round shape instead of an oval.  I saved the middle of the tomatoes for baby sister’s plate.

And then I started doing what I do a lot…playing with my food.  I move the veggies and fruit around until I get them into something that I like.

And once I added grape halves, I was ready to move on to the strings.  Wish me luck.

The hardest part about this is slicing the peppers so thin that they are ‘wiggly’, yet not so thin that they break.

I’m pretty sure I had way more balloons than strings.  I’m also sure that somehow the balloons are attached and won’t fly away…We call that veggie magic.

And to complete the picture, we have some curly pepper string tied into a bow.  Those peppers really need to be thin to accomplish this particular veggie magic.

The Verdict:  Pretty good.  Girls loved the balloons, but not so much the strings.  Are you thinking, ‘when will she give up on the peppers if they don’t like them?’  Well, they add a lot to the salads, and occasionally they get eaten, so I’ll keep on, keeping on.  And maybe I’ll remember to incorporate some lettuce next time.    Happy Salads!

:)  Elizabeth

Monochrome Red

OK, I know this one is weird.  I have been wanting to do some Salad Arts that are all-one color, we had some red items on hand, and I thought I’d throw out one last Valentine’s Day idea (it is the last one, I promise!)  So I shall explain my madness, but feel free to be inspired to do something, um…not so creepy.

So, here are my red ingredients.  I do plan to do this with other colors, and it would be a great thing to do if you are working on specific colors with your kids.  (And ironically, I was out of strawberries.  I Someone ate them all.)

I realized I was so into the slicing of my watermelon that I didn’t snap a picture of it…but it was just a hunk of watermelon, stood up on its side, and sliced thinly.  At this point I realized that this heart was going to look a little more like a REAL human heart than a Valentine heart…not exactly where I was going with this.  But you know me, I’ll keep going and see it through, and post the outcome for all the world to see.  I’m either brave or have no shame, I’m not sure which.

I sliced some red peppers and surrounded the watermelon with it.  I tried to work with the shape of the peppers, using the rounded sides as the top of the heart.

I sliced grape tomatoes in half, longways, then half again, and stacked them around the peppers.

At this point, will slicing my lone red grape and making a face out of it really make it any more weird and creepy?   Apparently, yes.   It started to remind me of the Grinch…the Grinch, made out of a realistic, human heart.  Why not serve this to children?

And with the addition of a little tomato for a mouth, it/he is done.

The Verdict:  Wanna know what I love about three-year olds?  They don’t realize how weird things like this are.  They look at it and say ‘oh, it’s a heart! and yummy watermelon!’   She ate it up.  I don’t think every red pepper was eaten, but remember, we’re not a ‘clean plate club’ house.    Happy Salads!

:)  Elizabeth

Stoplight

Stop!  In the name of love…before you eat all your veggies….This stoplight is up there in the ‘easy’ category, and a fun way to teach/reinforce colors and traffic signals!

Tonight’s ingredients.   And where do I get my ideas, you may ask?   Well, tonight’s theme came from the package of peppers, no joke.  It was a shrink wrapped package with a red, yellow, and green pepper, and it said ‘Stoplight’ on the label.  Sometimes the ideas just fall in my lap.

It’s a bad night to be a pepper.   A good night to be a momma who needs to relieve some stress.

That had to hurt.  I used the really small glasses left over from an old set, and I would have liked for them to be even smaller but this was all I had.   I suppose you could use a compass and pencil and trace your circle, but I kinda prefer food-safe methods for my Salad Arts.

So basically, after smashing the pepper with the glass and cutting around it, this is what it will look like.  Your light will need some additional trimming, unless you are some Ginsu expert.

So, here’s what it looks like after smashing both red and yellow peppers.  Salad Arts like these would be easier on bigger plates, but we really need to stick to plastic around this house.  At least until they stop getting thrown/dropped from the table.  (I won’t miss that phase at all!)

It’s starting to look like a traffic light, after smashing a third pepper.  Have I mentioned how much I enjoy smashing things?   I also love our meat tenderizer, but that’s a story for another day.

I used carrots for the frame of the stoplight.

And after building the frame with carrots, I started filling it in with blueberries.  Yum!

And there you have it, a stoplight.

The Verdict:  Well, as you could suspect, the girls gorged themselves on blueberries.  Then ate the carrots.   Then our three year old picked up a pepper and asked “what is this, mommy?”  It’s so funny how a vegetable she sees all the time can become unrecognizable when it’s cut in a different shape.  She didn’t eat all of the peppers, but did give an obligatory nibble.   And we talked about what the colors mean–she’s to the age where she really notices every little detail when we’re driving around.  So this Salad Art helped reinforce the ‘what stoplights mean’ lesson.   Happy Salads!

:)  Elizabeth

Rocket

To Infinity, and Beyond!  Your little space ranger (or even cowboy or cowgirl) will love this rocket…and it’s easy, too!

Here are tonight’s ingredients, but in actuality I only used watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, carrots, pineapple, a grape, and a blueberry.

I started with watermelon, since it was the largest building material I had at my disposal.  I propped him up and sliced him into thin slices.

Then I laid the watermelon slices out and, using my knife, trimmed the sides to even it up.

And after trimming the sides, it’s starting to look like a rocket.  Possibly.

I added a slice of cantaloupe for the top of the rocket and some honeydew wings.

I tried to make FIRE!   But instead I made carrot fire…which isn’t quite so hot.  And it apparently shoots out of pineapple, um, fire-thingies.   If you squint your eyes, as if you were looking at real fire, it almost looks like it.

A few finishing touches:  a grape half and a blueberry half for windows, a little slice of honeydew to play the role of “moon”, and pineapple and fire carrots to play the role of “sun”.

The Verdict:  Well, our three-year old shouted out “It’s Zurg’s spaceship!”   Which, in little kid land, is pretty high praise.  She really, really loves Zurg, which is quite funny to me.  When we went to Disney World, she saw a giant Zurg and ‘had’ to have her picture made with him.  And our 16 month old picked out her own souvenir and chose a ‘Lotso Bear’.  Both our girls love the villains.  Wow, did I digress.   Anyway, both girls fought over this salad.  It was a ‘BLAST’!   Happy Salads!

:)  Elizabeth

“LOVE”

In just one week, we’ll be celebrating Valentine’s day and telling our family and friends just how much we love them.  Why not say it with….vegetables?

Tonight’s ingredients.  Except the beautiful peppers…I just couldn’t fit them onto the plate.  Do I at least get credit for buying a yellow pepper though?

I started with the cucumber, with the idea that I’d try to stack veggies on top of each other to make the word LOVE.   I wish the plates were a little bigger, because in order to get the word to fit and the letters to not be too small, I had to do them in a square shape.  It reminds me of the LOVE postage stamp–do they still make those?

I sliced the cucumbers into rounds, then sliced those into 1/4″ strips.  I used the middle strips for L, V, and E, and the outer strips for the O.

Next, I cut the grape tomatoes in half, then cut each half in thirds.  This way I had some straight strips and some rounder ones, like the cucumber.

Balancing those slippery, juicy tomatoes on top of slivers of cucumber was definitely the hardest part of the entire Salad Art!   They kept sliding around.  But I persevered.

Here is where I should have stopped, if I were concerned with aesthetics.  Because (in my always humble opinion) it’s pretty, simple, neat and clean.  But these little creations are also about getting veggies in tummies, so don’t you just know that I kept going and crapped it all up.

I julienned some carrots and added just a few, on the outer edges of the letters.  Did you ever play pick-up sticks as a child?  This reminded me of that game, except it was ‘lay-down sticks’.  Getting those carrots next to the other veggies without knocking them over was a challenge.

I really wanted to add some blueberries–nothing says “I love you” like the super fruit!  I decided that there wasn’t room for many, so I used them as ‘dot letters’.  You know what I’m talking about, when you write normally, then make a big dot where the lines meet.  Dot letters are my way to compensate for my mediocre handwriting.   I trimmed off the blueberries’ bottoms so they wouldn’t roll all around.

And here it is, in all its messy glory.  See what I mean?  It looked better with just the tomatoes, but really, who cares?   Because….

The Verdict:  Our three-year old wolfed it down.  We tried to go over the letters, had her sound it out, but she was mostly interested in eating it.  Every. Last. Bite.

One final idea:  You could do your kids’ names, initials, etc. in Salad Art!   What about a different spelling word each night?   Or the name of someone’s birthday, or their age?   The possibilities are endless.   Happy Salads!

:)   Elizabeth

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