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Thursday, 17 January 2013

No lion, I love when my kids eat well

A few days ago I posted about how I get my son to eat well and see healthy food as a fun reward option.  Today he specifically asked me for a "silly lunch" for school.  My heart melts when he makes a request like that because it means he really appreciates the energy and the love I put into those lunches.
Having no idea what to send him, I decided to give Pinterest a try. And lo! There was this adorable lion sandwich that I simply could not resist copying. The one on Pinterest looked MUCH better, much more "professional" if you will.  Especially since I don't have a single fancy lunch making tool, and also because I could not buy any special ingredients.  We do our groceries once every two weeks now, and I simply had to make do with what we have on hand.

But here it is, my little lion bento lunch for Walter.
Lion Lunch
In case you're like me and thinking "My kid would love that, I can do that and I can find three extra minutes when packing his/her lunch" then I want to show you how I did this.

You will need:
What I used:

- whole wheat hamburger bun
- ham and cheese (or other sandwich filler)
- white cheese
-vegetable peeler
-bento box (or any hard re-usable container)
-pastry tips

I do not typically buy olives by the bucket or pack such fancy cheese in the school lunch of a four year old.  Both were left over from our annual wine and cheese party That Guy and I hosted on the weekend.

First, you will want to fill the hamburger bun with sandwich filling as you normally would.  Do take care that the fillings are not visible from the outside.
No visible sandwich fillings
Next I cut in half and pitted a black olive.  This would be so much easier if you use already pitted olives since its nearly impossible to remove the pit by hand without mashing the poor olive into mush.
 Two olives halves plus toothpicks equals lion ears.
cutting olives
olive ears
Next I used the vegetable peeler to get thin strips of carrot. There is a way to get thin carrot strips to curl - wouldn't that be cute for the lions mane? That Guy told me that would involve blanching and shocking the carrots (submerging them first in boiling water followed immediately by ice water). Frankly last night I was just not committed enough to take those extra steps.  Just plain vegetable peelings will do.

After cutting a thin slice from the brick of white cheese I used the "wrong" side of the pastry tip to punch out circles from the cheese.  These were whites of the eyes.  Also from the cheese came a semi-circle for the lions "snout".  Using the small end of the pastry tip I punched three holes in each side to suggest whiskers.
Wrong side of pastry tip
correct side of pastry tip (those are the hands of That Guy, since  I am unable to  take a photo while  trying to perform culinary magic.  My hands are slightly less mannish ;)
Cutting the tips from more olives gave me a nose and pupils for the eyes.  I did use toothpicks to hold the pupils, and sclera (whites of the eye) together and in correct position on the bun top.
He's looking at you :)
A few thin disks from the carrot (i used the wrong side of the pastry tip again to make them round) for cheeks and all that was left was putting it together in the bento box. Add in some celery sticks and grape tomatoes and I had a fun, healthy lunch that I know Walter will eat.

As I said I did this all only with ingredients we already had on hand and without a single special tool.  This is something you could do too, either as a lunch box option or as a special dinner or lunch at home. I would love to see what you, gentle readers, can do with your food!

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