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Submitted by: Amanda Formaro
[Amanda is the crafty, entrepreneurial mother of four children.]

A picnic or holiday table adorned with decorative vegetables is pleasing to the eye as well as appetizing! Making fresh vegetables look like the pros do does not have to be difficult. Here are some ideas to get you started:


Cut off both ends of a cucumber. With a potato peeler, peel one strip all the way down the cucumber Move over about the width of the strip you just peeled and leave the skin in tact. Then peel again, then leave the skin again, causing a striping effect all the way down the cucumber. Slice cucumber into 1/4 inch thick rounds.

Cored Cucumbers

Cut off both ends of a cucumber. With a potato peeler, peel entire cucumber. Slice in half lengthwise. Gently scoop out the seeds of the cucumber by loosening with a knife and removing with a spoon. Slice into 1/4 inch thick slices, creating half moons. You can also create slices similar to donut holes by cutting the ends off, peeling, then cutting in half, but not lengthwise. Then carefully remove the pulp with a knife. Slice as above.

Crinkle Carrots

Peel carrots, cut off ends and cut in half length wise. Use a potato crinkler (a tool for making crinkle fries) to create these attractive vegetables (pictured).

Julienne Carrots

Peel carrots, cut off ends. Slice carrots into thin strips, about 1/4" thick.

Zucchini Hearts

Cut off ends of a zucchini and slice into rings. Using a small heart shaped cookie cutter or a sharp knife, cut rings into heart shapes.

Radish Flowers

Cut vertically almost through 4 times, put in iced water 30 mins.

Other Vegetables

Celery looks wonderful if you don't cut off the leafy ends. Scallions (green onions) and sliced bell peppers look beautiful all on their own and require no further decorations. Cherry tomatoes are also lovely, but you may slice them in half if you like, gently empty them and fill with tuna fish. Broccoli and cauliflower spears need no dressing up, and let's not forget sliced boiled eggs.

Veggie Holders

Yellow, red and/or green peppers make a great accent to your picnic table. Simply cut open the top and clean out the seeds. Fill with sliced peppers of another color, celery or carrot spears or bread sticks. The possibilities are endless!

Recommended Books/Products:

Kids Cooking
by: Time-Life Books
Scrumptious Recipes for Cooks Ages 9 to 13

Kid's Party Cookbook
by: Penny Warner
Recipes for all sorts of foods that kids like and can fix themselves or with minimal help from parents.

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