pesto and sage leaves and jars, oh my

my family and i went to the zoo this past weekend. all 26 of us, including 10 kids between the ages of 1 and 11. and surprisingly, it wasn’t that crazy, even though we threw a picnic into the mix, opting to bring a pot-luck lunch instead of buying overpriced, unhealthy food. i signed us up for guacamole and a “hearty salad”. i didn’t have a salad in mind when i said that, but i wanted to come up with something that the kids would really like.

i kicked around the idea of different pasta salads, and i originally wanted to do a layered salad in individual glass jars, figuring that a unique serving presentation would add to the appeal. but i wasn’t sure how to make it “zoo” or “safari”-themed. i kicked around a bunch of complicated ideas until james finally interjected with “green pesto. animal-shaped pasta”. riiiiight! that would even make accommodating the gluten and cow dairy intolerant easy: goat milk gouda to replace the parmesan, i’d seen animal-shaped rice pasta at the market, and regular rice pasta would do for the adults’ batch. i even threw in blanched kale and broccoli with the bright green basil. delicious, if we did say so ourselves.

the one idea i had in my head from the beginning was that i wanted to personalize the jars for the kids, keeping with the theme if possible. too bad i left this detail till, oh, about 5 minutes after we were supposed to leave.

dollar store jars, twine and free sage leaves for personal salad servers

animal pest pasta to go

good thing we were concocting these salads at my parents’ place. it was mom to the rescue with twine and i asked if i could steal some sage leaves from her garden.

we all liked the final result, but what really mattered was what the judges would think.

and…

the kids’ faces actually lit up! they loved their very own jars of salad and they sat down with them and started eating on their own, even the little ones! we might as well have been handing out personalized lootbags. i kinda wished i had one of my own too. not just because of the whole jar thing. animal pasta is just way more fun than regular pasta.

p.s. this is the 250th post on this blog, and a fitting time to thank you for reading over the past two years! i’m hoping to make some improvements and additions over the next two months, so please stay tuned!