~ This sandwich recipe has it all goin’ on! Use it as a fun edible art project … or as a special little lunch box surprise! Choose basic peanut butter and jelly … or venture into our other creative filling ideas (even lots of nut-free options). Best part of all? These hippos are just so stinkin’ cute! A total win all around! Trust us – your kiddos will love ’em! ~
* (Our little disclaimer …) We partnered with Flatout for this sponsored post, as part of their #FlatoutIsMyCanvas campaign, but all opinions are entirely our own. Thanks for supporting brands that support Two Healthy Kitchens and our mission of healthy eating! *
Battling the lunchtime doldrums? Hippos to the rescue!
I mean seriously … what’s possibly more fun than a hippo?!?
A barrel o’ monkeys, you say? Nah – too cliché!
A pod of dolphins? Way too splashy and wet for the lunch table!
Alrighty then … hippos it is! Adorable rescue hippos that’ll save lunchtime!
These darling guys are the perfect way to shake up a boring lunchtime routine! It’s like that tired ol’ PB&J just vaulted to a whole new level of delicious fun!
An Edible Art Project
These sandwiches make a great little activity to keep the kiddos busy if you’re looking to fill some time on a rainy day or a never-ending summer afternoon. Kids’ll love mixing and matching different fillings and crafting their very own smiling hippo faces.
Bonus … they get to eat their artwork! An art project and a meal, all in one. How’s that for multi-tasking? Told ya these hippos were coming to your rescue!
Perfect for School Lunches (With Nut-Free Options)
Maybe even better yet, this sandwich recipe is an easy way to surprise your kiddos at school by perking up their lunch boxes with a little mid-day whimsy. (Won’t they be excited to find a hippo waiting for them after math class?!?)
Lots of schools now have nut-free cafeterias, but not to worry … these wouldn’t be recuse hippos if they couldn’t tackle that problem! Many of our filling ideas are peanut-free or even entirely nut-free, and you can easily swap out those cute little almond ears for sliced grapes.
So simple, right?
Let’s bring on the hippos …
Creating Your Hippos
We’re gonna break this sandwich recipe down for you, and walk you through hippo creation step-by-step, but trust us – the whole process only takes a couple of minutes total! For this photo shoot, the two of us pumped out hippo after hippo in no time!
- Step 1: To make each hippo, we start with a protein- and fiber-packed 5 Grain Flax Flatout Foldit. You’re already hitting a nutritional home run, even before adding protein-filled spreads and fresh fruits – these Foldits are jam-crammed with whole wheat, 7 g of fiber, Omega 3s, and 7 grams of protein! Cutting away just a small section from each side of the Foldit makes a perfectly shaped hippo head (with the added bonus that those little scraps are great snacks as you work on creating your hippo!). It’s easiest to cut the shape of your hippo’s head first, before adding fillings. We found a tiny paring knife worked well and gave us precise control:
- Step 2: Next comes the really creative part: choosing the fillings! This could be anything from simple peanut butter to your own inventive flavor combo (pop down to our recipe card for our whole list of ideas). This is a seriously flexible sandwich recipe, so don’t hold back when it comes to trying new spreads and fillings! No matter what you choose, though, we do recommend a fairly thin schmear so your sandwich doesn’t end up too gloppy and messy. (But hey … feel free to get as messy as you choose! We won’t tell!) If you’d like, you can also sprinkle your filling with a thin layer of coconut, granola bits, sliced fruit, or nuts. Here are just a few ideas to jump-start that creativity:
- Step 3: Now let’s finish those sweet hippo faces … and get munching! To make the characteristic, curved hippo mouth, just lightly press the hippo’s top “lip” together a little in the middle. (This will be easier if you don’t have sliced fruit or bits of granola right up front). The sticky nut butter, jelly or cream cheese filling should easily hold it in place once you’ve shaped it like this:
- Step 4: Great! Now you just have to add a face. Although you can definitely play around with different items like raisins or dried berries (no wrong answer when you’re playing with your food, guys!), we love the look we get from fresh grapes and blueberries. Dab a tiny, tiny bit of spread (peanut butter, cream cheese – whatever you’re using) onto the bottom of each blueberry “nostril” and the cut side of each grape “eyeball” to hold them in place, like this:
- Step 5: For the final touch, gently press thinly sliced almonds into position as “ears.” It can help if you make a very small slit to nestle the almonds into. (Alternately, see our description above of how to use grapes as ears for a nut-free variation.)
And voilà! Your hippo sandwich is done! All ready for a special meal or to tuck away as a little surprise in an unsuspecting, lucky kiddo’s lunch box!
And while one hippo is definitely enough to save a boring lunchtime, a whole army of hippos is even more fun!
Told ya – at least when it comes to this darling, kid-pleasing sandwich recipe, hippos beat a barrel of monkeys any day!
Looking for Another Unique Sandwich Recipe the Kids Will Love? How About …
- Strawberry-Peanut Butter Quesadillas from Two Healthy Kitchens
- Lunchbox Ideas: 5 Pinwheel Sandwich Recipes from Dara at Cookin’ Canuck
- Veggie Faces from Two Healthy Kitchens
- Froggy Sandwiches from Cara at Fork & Beans
- Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Burgers from Two Healthy Kitchens
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- 1 Flatout Foldit (we use the 5 Grain Flax variety)
- Your choice of spreads, such as: peanut butter or other nut butters, sun butter, nut-free Wow Butter soy spread, reduced-fat cream cheese, 100% pure fruit jelly
- Your choice of optional sprinkled toppings, such as: thinly sliced kiwis, grapes, strawberries or other fruits; coconut flakes; thinly sliced almonds or other nuts; granola
- 2 small blueberries
- 1 small grape
- 2 thinly sliced almonds (or an additional grape, for a nut-free option)
- To make each hippo, place Foldit on work surface and carefully cut a thin, curved section off from each side of the "face," as shown in the photo in the post above.
- Open Foldit and spread it thinly with your choice of spreads. Add additional, thinly sprinkled toppings of your choice, if desired. Close Foldit.
- To form the hippo's curved "mouth," gently press the center of the top Foldit layer toward the middle, as shown in the photo above. This will be easiest if there aren't sprinkled toppings such as fruit or nuts right in that area of the hippo.
- For the "nostrils," place a very small dab of whatever spread you're using on each blueberry, and "glue" them into place near the center of the curved mouth.
- For the "eyes," cut a grape in half and dab each cut side with a little spread, "gluing" each eye into place near the top of the hippo, as you did with the blueberry "nostrils."
- Press each almond into place as "ears" at the very top of the head, above the eyes. Cutting a tiny slit in the Foldit first will make this easier. Alternately, for a nut-free option, you can use a sliced grape instead of almonds, securing the grape "ears" in place with a little dab of spread, if needed.