I found some charming little pasta shapes at my local grocery store and knew I wanted to feature them in something other than soup, where they tend to sink to the bottom and get lost. So I made up this Petite Pasta Salad, filled with big chunky pieces of cucumber, tomato, sugar snap peas, and olives and teeny weeny pasta stars. Shmoo usually doesn't like pasta salad; he says it is "too sour"; I think the amount of vinegar in most commercial dressings is too strong for his taste. So I took it easy and added just a touch of white vinegar mixed with white balsamic vinegar, which is mellower and sweeter.
Next to the pasta are lightly blanched cauliflower and carrots with what surely must be the Fastest Dip in the West: toss a spoonful of Vegenaise with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a pinch of pepper, and a pinch of dried dill weed.
Above the veggies are fresh kiwi fruit and Fuyu persimmon, a fruit we've been enjoying for the first time this fall.
As a very special treat I also tucked in a Kidz Dream Orange Cream Smoothie. I never realized how nicely a juice box fits inside his lunch box.
Verdict: Shmoo really likes these new soy smoothies and was excited to have a juice box in his lunch. He ate the vegetables with dip first and insists that this is the very best dip I've ever made. Gee, I wonder if I could simplify it even more and just pack him a scoop of Vegenaise! That stuff is so good! Shmoo grumped about having to pick bell pepper out of the pasta salad, which I had added to make my husband happy. I think shmoo is right; I've never gotten a taste for peppers, either. 4 stars.