August 17, 2010

Octopus and Elephant for Lunch

My daughter is getting ready to go to Kindergarten and so, like any other mom I've been worried about whether or not she's going to eat when I'm not hovering over her.  A lot of moms online seem to combat the problem by creating elaborate Bento boxed lunches.  These are gorgeous, but seriously, who has time for that?  I can maybe stamp out a sandwich with a cookie cutter, but that's about the extent of my capabilities when making lunches at 6 in the morning!

However, my search did lead me to something really fun.  A popular bento trick is to slice a hotdog like this so that when it's boiled the legs curl like an octopus.  That's adorable and an easy trick that can prevent a full scale MUTINY when you run out of hotdog buns!  Another cute thing I've seen online is poking uncooked spaghetti through chunks of hotdog, then boiling it and you end up with spidery looking things like this.  My kids like to call them squidlets.  [If you are hotdog-averse, Lindsey at Filth Wizardry also tried it with ham and carrots.]
All this hotdogging and boiling got me thinking, though... why stop at octopus (or is it octopi?) and squid? Why not get out some other pasta and really get creative?  Obviously that dangerous-looking knife is for adult use only, unless you like real finger food.

So, we tried to make a few other things.  Aliens, robots, beta fish, a trophy cup, and even an elephant.

Not all of them held together perfectly when boiled.  Our trophy cup lost a handle and the fish lost a fin... but the point is that your imagination can help you move beyond the sea.  Let me know if you've created any other fun things with pasta and hotdogs!

Remember that small slices in the hotdog with a sharp knife can create awesome muppet style mouths which open up when boiled.  You can even try letting the kids poke holes in the hot dog with a fork.  Grab some (organic, nitrate free) dogs, some (organic, whole wheat) dry pasta and make something funny for lunch.


  1. OMGosh! I was just trying to explain this to my sister the other day! Thanks for the great pics!
    PS I'm following you know....mwahaha ;)

  2. This has got to be the coolest dinner ever. One time my children wanted pizza and although we did not have the main fixings, we had left over spagetti, so that is what we made, a spagetti pizza. Ah when children are young they are so much fun!!!

  3. These are just about the cutest things. I will make them for my grandkids.

  4. OMG! That is so STUPID but I LOVE it! Hehehe... Gotta try that for my kids. Awesome!

  5. That elephant is definitely 'the bomb', and your other pasta creations are Tim Burton-esque. Kudos.