Let’s Do Lunch: Bentos for Everyone!

I’m headed to another marathon Saturday of tutoring (the SAT I storm has abated, but college application season is upon us), so I made bentos for everyone to make the lunchtime routine easier in my absence. This says nothing about my husband’s ability to handle the pandemonium that accompanies every meal in our household, and everything about my love of making cute bentos! A few days ago, I came across this amazingly simple tutorial on how to make adorable octopus and crab shapes out of hot dogs, and I was itching to try my hand at it. I’m pretty happy with how they turned out!

Let’s start with Derek’s bento. He’s normally a two-year-old eating machine, but he’s been going through a phase lately where he only picks at his food, so I packed him a smaller box. He has onigiri (rice balls*) stuffed with scrambled egg and topped with nori expressions, two hot dog octopi and one hot dog crab. I drew the faces on with food marker. The onigiri were shaped with this rice mold.

Derek's bento consists of onigiri with nori expressions, and octopus and crab hot dogs

Jack’s lunch also has three onigiri stuffed with scrambled eggs and some hot dog sea creatures, along with broccoli arranged around a cauliflower floret, and a jack-o-lantern clementine on a bed of halved grapes (with an animal pick to use as a fork with the grapes). This is packed in an Easy Lunchbox.

Jack's bento consists of onigiri with nori expressions, broccoli and cauliflower, and halved grapes with a jack-o-lantern clementine on top.

I had enough food left over from assembling the kids’ lunches to make Johnny a semi-cute bento, too. He has two shaped onigiri next to the leftover rice and scrambled egg (which is topped with a stray hot dog crab and the nori strips that I used to punch out the kids’ onigiri faces). He also has some broccoli and a fruit salad made with grapes and sliced persimmons. Yum!

*To make simple onigiri, simply take some cooked rice (I think it’s easier to work with warm rice) and mix it with a splash of seasoned rice vinegar and a dash of salt. Play with it until it suits your taste. Then, use slightly moistened hands to shape into balls or use rice molds (or even a cookie cutter!) to form into cute shapes.

p.s. If you haven’t already, check out yesterday’s guest post about the perfect pumpkin bread recipe.

About Saucy Mommy

I'm Beverly, a mom of two who loves to cook and write. Check out my blog at for family-friendly (but tasty) meal ideas and pictures of bento box lunches.


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