Exercising your culinary creativity doesn’t always mean spending hours in the kitchen – especially when making lunch for your back to school babes. And while Zelda and I haven’t quiet reached this major life juncture I have been making a concentrated effort to jazz up her lunches. She was all for these Back to School Sandwiches shaped like animals and was particularly fond of the elephant. She thought his trunk was hilarious, giggling up a storm before popping the strawberry in her mouth. At lunchtime we try to keep it simple, which I’m sure other moms can appreciate.
The most complicated part of this recipe is not getting blue all over your hands when mixing the food coloring with cream cheese. I think we can all agree this is a simple price to pay for creating a Pinterest-worthy lunch. What’s on your little one’s back to school meal rotation?

Photo Credit & Food Styling: Leah Nolan


Back to School Sandwiches
  • Prep time:20min
  • Yield: 3 Sandwiches
  • Whole Wheat Bread
  • Candy Eyes
  • Peanut Butter
  • Grape Jelly
  • Strawberries
  • Cream Cheese
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Blue Food Coloring
  • Black Olives
  • Turkey Slices
  • Mustard
  • Provolone Cheese Slices
  • Cheddar Cheese Slices
  • Celery
  • Watermelon
  1. Cut four slices of the bread with medium sized round cookie cutters and two slices of the bread with a cloud cookie cutter.
  2. Place the cloud shaped bread in the toaster.
  3. While toasting, use a slightly smaller cookie cutter to cut out two more circular shapes (these will be the elephant’s ears) and spread with peanut butter.
  4. For the elephant, take one of the medium sized pieces of circular bread and top with peanut butter and jelly. Place the smaller peanut butter slices on each side and top with another piece of bread. Slice a strawberry into a trunk shape and top, followed by the candy eyes.
  5. For the cloud, remove the bread from the toaster and spread white cream cheese on one piece. Mix blue food coloring with 2 tablespoons of cream cheese and spread on the other piece of cloud bread. Sandwich cucumbers and sliced cherry tomatoes between each slice, blue cloud side up.
  6. For the bear, place provolone cheese, mustard, cucumber slices and turkey between the two remaining pieces of circular bread. Use the same cookie cutter used for the elephant’s ears to cut a piece of Provolone, this will be the snout. Use an even smaller cookie cutter to cut two circles of American cheese and an additional small circle of Provolone cheese (cut in half) for the eyes, top with candy eyes. Use a small heart shaped cookie cutter for the nose. Place two olives on toothpicks and insert at the top of the sandwich for the ears.
  7. Serve with watermelon, strawberries and celery!