Valentine’s Day is coming and one of the things I’m most looking forward to is filling my kids’ lunch boxes with lots of cute food! As the mother of two boys I can’t get away with whipping out frou-frou pink lunches very often, but on Valentine’s day they give me a pass so I go just a little crazy. This year I’m planning ahead and I’ve come up with ten fast and easy ideas for putting a lovey dovey lunch together. Some of the ideas below require a little special equipment, but nothing should take more than about 5 minutes to put together.
Use a medium sized cutter to cut two heart shapes from a piece of sandwich bread. Use a small heart cutter to remove the center of one of the larger hearts. Spread raspberry or strawberry jam on the solid heart and then top with the piece with the center cut-out. The red jam will show through the hole and look festive.
Follow the same steps for making a Linzer sandwich but when you are finished add sprinkles to cover the jam showing through the cut-out. You can also fill this sandwich with peanut butter or cream cheese.
I’d avoid hummus though as it doesn’t mix well with sprinkles. Blech!
Use a sandwich cutter to make small, sealed heart shaped sandwiches that are filled with your child’s favorite soft fillings — hummus, soft cheese, or PB&J are all nice. Add a heart shaped sprinkle for a little extra cuteness (hat tip to Glory’s Mischief for the idea). To make larger filled sandwiches you could also use this cutter or a heart shaped pocket pie mold (the link goes to Amazon, but I found one at Target this morning).
For a review and demonstration of the cutter I used to make the sandwiches in the photo above check out this post.
|Heart Shaped Egg
Use an egg mold to squeeze a hard-boiled egg into a heart shape.
Or, if you don’t have an egg mold just lying around your kitchen, use cardboard, a chopstick and a couple rubber bands to shape your egg using Anna the Red’s clever technique.
Pack yogurt or applesauce in individual lidded containers (these are part of my Yubo lunch box) and add Valentine’s sprinkles to the top. Red, pink, white, hearts — whatever you’ve got!
|Heart Shaped Cups
Take a heart-shaped silicone cup, fill it with something and stick it in a bento box. I filled mine with cereal and dried cranberries, but you could also use berries, granola or small crackers.
Strawberries are a perfect addition to a Valentine’s lunch because their bright red color and natural heart shape easily lend themselves to the theme. To accentuate the shape, hull a strawberry, cut it in half vertically and then make a small V-shaped notch at the top of the berry using a knife. If you want a perfect heart, skip the knife. Lay the berry piece flat on a cutting board and cut it with a mini heart cutter. (For photos of this technique, see my tutorial on Hellobee.)
|Kisses and Hugs Veggies
Send some smooches via their vegetables! Use a paring knife to cut a rectangular piece of red pepper, then cut a “V” shape from each of the four sides to make an “X”. I used an “O” cookie cutter for the “hugs” but you could also use a small circle or oval cutter and remove the center with a knife.
This technique would also be cute if you used sliced carrots, cucumbers, jicama or radish.
This time of year you can find Valentine’s themed cupcake picks all over the place. I’ve seen them at Joann, Target, Dollar Tree and our regular grocery store — and probably a few other places too. Use these picks to skewer chunks of cheese, sausage, grapes, edamame — pretty much anything. Or, use them to hold together the pieces of a heart-shaped tomato!
|Fruit Leather Hearts
Use a mini heart cutter to cut pieces from red fruit leather and then layer them on top of something — a sandwich, a cup of goldfish crackers or on top of regular crackers.
Interested in seeing these ideas in action? See several Valentine’s lunches in the Bento Box Gallery.
I’m also trying something new with this post: a linky! I would love it if you would share YOUR ideas and Valentine’s lunches below!