Interview: Creative Kid Cuisine by Kellie

hotdogtapus guarding treasure

hotdogtapus guarding treasure

Kellie of For the Love creates fun lunchtime fare for her kids and posts the results on her blog. I have been enjoying her creations so much that I wanted to ask her more about them and share my findings with you.

What inspired you to start presenting your kids’ lunchtime fare in such fun ways?
My girls were bored with the basic sandwich, hotdog, corndog, quesadilla, or whatever I gave them for lunch. It started with cutting up a bunch of things and letting them “play” and make faces or designs with their food. I started getting involved with “playing” with their food and it was really fun!! I also found that the kids ate more with a “hands on” approach.

Where do you get your inspiration for your creations?
I love gourmet food and especially the presentation. I guess it comes down to the presentation for kids. What would they like to eat?!? They always go for the fun smily faces on menues, why not give them that option at home?!? It’s a whole lot cheaper for me to make my own smily face on a pancake then to order one at IHOP. It just makes sense.

Ever serve your kids a plain, boring meal?
ABSOLUTELY!!! They had a peanut butter sandwhich and popcorn today for lunch. Nothing special to it, just put it on the plate and gave it to them. Some days I feel like doing something special, and other days it’s whatever I give them. Somedays they ask for something that they can play with, which is less work for me, and other days they may ask for me to create something. It all depends on the day.

Favorite ingredients?
I am trying to add more things to the pantry. Grocery shopping has become…”Oh, I can make something with this.” It’s like the grocery store has become my craft store!! It’s kind of fun. I use peanut butter a LOT, probably an unhealthy amount, but it’s great for glue. Pretzel sticks are amazing for holding olives, grapes, raisins, marshmallows, or whatever you would use a toothpick for. I seem to make sandwhiches a lot and use cookie cutters (or a tin can) to cut out shapes and then use that as a foundation piece. Whatever I have in the cupboard is what I use!!! All my creations seemingly have the same ingredients though!!! I haven’t gotten to any fancy stuff yet…I am trying to expand my culinary skills.

a creation by Kellie's 5 year-old

a creation by Kellie's 5 year-old

Do your kids have a favorite creation? Do you ever make the same one again another time?
Right now, the kids keep asking for “Squidward”, who is a wonderfully crafted hotdog octopus. I cut the ends off of raisins and use the sticky side to make eyes. So yes, I do create the same thing twice, but I always change something about it. I served the Hotdogtopus with a graham cracker treasure chest filled with marshmallows and raisins, and the next time I served him with homemade cheesy garlic tortillas chips. I like to have variety, but I am sure the kids could care less.

Have any tips for others who want to have more fun with their food?
Oh my goodness….just PLAY with your food!! Skip manners and etiquite and just get in there and be creative!!

You also let your kids create their own food sculptures sometimes. Can you give us a quick overview on how you’d set a project like that up for them?
I choose a random variety of food with different color, texture, and size and put it all on a plate. I usually give them a big plate to create their food sculptures. For example, I would put celery, cut into little pieces, apple wedges, miniature marshmallows, a cookie cuttered sandwhich, grapes and or raisins, cheetos, olives, and a handful of cereal all on a plate and let them play to their little hearts desire!! Whatever you have, use it!!! As far as a time allotment, lunchtime at my house goes from 12-1. That’s it. They have to create and have it all consumed by 1:00pm. I don’t make anything that will be completely time consuming. With 3 kids, I don’t have time for it!!!