When I was younger, I had a peanut butter (CRUNCHY ALWAYS) sandwich in my lunch basically every single day. With few exceptions, this was my lunch from Kindergarten through the time I was a senior in high school.
I'm not telling you this merely to share trivia about my peanut butter consumption; I'm sharing it so that you'll understand why, when Peanut Butter and Company hit me up to create a kid's lunch-friendly bento box idea, I jumped at the opportunity.
Because here, I had not only the chance to revisit the peanut butter-centric lunches of my youth, but also to create the lunchbox of my dreams.
Naturally, I knew it had to involve unicorns and rainbows. And peanut butter, and cake. Here's what I've come up with.
I call it "Happy Unicorn Bento Box". I had it for lunch after taking these photos, and I can tell you from personal experience that it is just as joyful to consume as an adult as I'm sure it would be for a child.
This joyful lunch is not only an object of visual delight, but it's a treat for the senses, too. It provides balance, a little bit of sweetness, a little bit of health, and plenty of fun.
Here's how you make it!
Happy Unicorn Bento Box
- a slice of bread
- a horse-shaped cookie cutter (see note)
- 2 or so tablespoons of Peanut Butter and Company Crunch Time Peanut Butter
- Sprinkles (RAINBOW)
- 4-5 baby carrots
- 4-5 small sticks celery
- 3-4 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 cup purple sticky rice (recipe below)
Let's start with the sandwich, because it's truly the Major Player in the lunchbox, right? Choose a slice of bread that is large enough to accommodate your horse cookie cutter.
Note: why a horse? OK, so I have a unicorn cookie cutter, but I have found that when it comes to cutting out a unicorn's horn in bread, it's just a little too wimpy. So I think you should make the cutout, then fashion a horn with the discarded bread; simply cut a horn shape and use a little bit of peanut butter to make a horn happen.
Top that horse/unicorn with peanut butter (it's always going to be crunchy for me, til the day I die, so go ahead and use PB+Co's Crunch Time). Then, top that with sprinkles, because WHY NOT?
OK, so now that you have a unicorn covered in rainbows, place it in your bento box. Then, make your rice.
How should you make your rice? OK, so I like to use short grain sushi-style rice. Combine 1 cup of rice with 1 1/2 cups of water (or broth, etc). Cook until the water is absorbed. When the water is mostly absorbed, add some red and blue food coloring to make it a deep purple. Set to the side.
OK, so you have your unicorn in your bento box and your rice cooling. Bring your attention back to the box. Layer celery sticks along the bottom, cutting stalks as needed to accommodate the shape of the unicorn. Next, add a layer of cheese slices above the celery. Then, add some yellow or light orange cheese cubes.Then, add a row of carrot slices. Next come the cherry tomato slices.
Finish it off with the rice! To make balls, dip your hands in water, then form the rice into balls. Sprinkle with golden star sprinkles if you happen to have them handy, then place in the box.
Ummm....what about dessert? Please, don't leave your kid (or yourself) hanging. Pack a smaller box with a slice of cake, and use decorating gel and blueberries to form eyes and a mouth. Pack with extra fruit to fill out the box, and, you know, for health.