How did you go getting the kids off to school this week after their big break? As much as the kids are generally chomping at the bit after six weeks to get back and see their school friends (and we parents are chomping at the bit to have a bit of routine back!), it’s sometimes hard to find your morning mojo after such a long holiday, right? In our household, the biggest joy I find at the end of the school year is not having to make lunchboxes every day. But, on the flipside in January, I’ve got to learn to love the lunchboxes again.
If lunchbox making feels like Groundhog Day at your place as well, haven has called on the experts to come up with a few really quick, easy, nutritious lunchbox recipes to inspire you this weekend. We want you to bounce out of bed next week, gleeful in the knowledge that your kitchen/freezer is stocked with these prepared lunchbox goodies! We’d also love to see your baked creations over on our haven Facebook page so make sure you post them there. With thanks to the following amazing foodie gurus:
* Cut Out The Crap’s Collette White. Visit www.cutoutthecrap.com.au or buy Collette’s mini cook book, Lunch Box Solutions, here.
Well Nourished – Amazing Anzacs
Prep: 10 mins // Cook: 10-20 mins // Makes: 15 biscuits
85g (¼ cup) sweetener (rice malt syrup, maple syrup, honey)
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
30g (2 tbsp) rapadura or coconut sugar (this is optional)
60g (½ cup) wholemeal spelt flour
50g (½ cup approx.) desiccated coconut
100g (1 cup approx.) rolled oats
70g (½ cup approx.) ground mixed seeds*
30g (¼ cup) sesame seeds
1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* “Ground mixed seeds” is something I make and keep in my fridge for various uses. To make it, my mix ratio is 1cup sunflower and/or pepitas (preferably soaked and dehydrated if possible), 1 tbsp linseeds and 1 tbsp chia seeds. Process the linseed and chia until finely ground. Add the sunflower and/or pepitas and mill to a meal. Store in the fridge in an airtight glass container (a recycled jar is good) for up to a couple of weeks.
Method: Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line a large biscuit tray with baking paper. In a large pot, gently heat the butter and sweetener until melted and well combined. Remove from the heat. Add the bicarbonate of soda and mix well. It may fizz a little. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and mix until well combined. The mixture should feel sticky but hold together when pinched. Add more oats or flour if it feels too wet. With wet hands, roll the mixture into roughly golf ball-sized balls and place on the tray, leaving space between them to spread. Flatten slightly with the back of a fork and bake until golden (approx. 10-20 minutes). The longer they are baked, the crisper they become so if you like a slightly chewy biscuit remove just as they start to brown. For a crunchy biscuit, leave a little longer. Allow to cool on the tray (they will harden as they cool).
Note: For options, add 1-2 tbsp cacao nibs or dark choc-chips. Or add 1 tsp ground ginger powder. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days, or freeze for up to a month.
Well Nourished – Cheesies
Prep: 10 mins // Cook: 15 mins // Makes: 20 crackers
100g (1 cup, firmly packed) cheddar cheese, grated
30g (¼ cup) Parmesan cheese, grated
70g chilled butter, cubed
140g (1 cup) ground mixed seeds (see * in above recipe)
60g (½ cup) wholemeal spelt flour
Juice of half a lemon
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or paprika (optional). The cayenne really doesn’t contribute any heat in this cracker, though is great for the circulation and digestion, so give it a try.
Method: Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line a large biscuit tray with baking paper. Combine all of the ingredients in a processor at a high speed until well combined, forming a sticky batter. Place the mixture onto a sheet of baking paper and roll into a sausage shape approximately 5cm in diameter (about as wide as a regular rice cracker). Place in the fridge for 30 minutes or more, then cut into 5mm discs. Arrange on a lined biscuit tray leaving a little space for them to spread. Bake for 15 minutes or until they just begin to brown. Take care not to overcook as they can become a bit bitter. Cool on the tray (they will harden as they cool)
Note: For gluten- and grain-free varieties, replace the spelt flour with
buckwheat flour. I often double the batch and freeze one roll to slice and
bake another time. Store in an airtight container for a week, or freeze for up to a month.
Simple Nourishment – Chewy Almond Butter Bars
Prep: 12 mins // Set: 1 hour // Makes: Number of bars depends on how large portions are cut
1 cup pitted dates
6 tbsp honey
4 tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp cacao powder
¾ cup roasted almonds
¾ cup oats
½ cup desiccated coconut
Method: Line a lamington pan with baking paper. Warm honey and nut butter to soften consistency. Place dates in food processor and blend to a semi-smooth paste. Add nuts, oats and coconut and cacao powder and pulse until just together. Pour in honey/almond mix. Blitz until well mixed although be careful not to overmix into a non-textured paste. Press into tray and set in fridge. Store in fridge for up to 1 week
Note: Peanut butter or other nut butters can be used here. Will hold well even in tropical weather. Mix can be sticky – use wet hands to press into tray
Simple Nourishment – Mini Banana Walnut Muffins
Prep: 10 mins // Cook: 10-15 min // Makes: 24 mini muffins
¼ cup coconut oil
2 ripe bananas
2 tbsp honey
½ cup rolled oats
¼ cup almond meal
2 tbsp LSA (linseed, sunflower seeds and almonds)
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup walnuts
pinch of salt
Method: Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease a muffin tray with spray oil. Add all of the ingredients to a food processer and mix on high until the oats are broken down and the mixture is of a smooth consistency. Pour batter into greased muffin tray. Bake for 10-15 minutes until a toothpick can be inserted and comes out clean, turning the tray half way through cooking time to ensure even baking. Keeps for up to a week in refrigerator.
Note: If after a few days in the fridge these seem a little dry, just give them a few seconds in the microwave before eating. When getting the muffins out of the tray, we always run a butter knife around the edge of each muffin a couple of times to get them ‘unstuck’.
Simple Nourishment – ‘Go to’ Date and Fig Balls
Prep: 10 mins // Makes: 20 balls
1 ½ cups almond meal
16 dried dates
½ cup figs, firmly pressed (raisins can be used here)
¾ cup desiccated coconut
2 tbsp cacao powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
Additional coconut, for rolling
* Optional addition for a change up – add 2 tsp orange zest and 4 tsp fresh orange juice.
Method: Place dates and figs into food processor with almond meal, coconut and cacao powder. Process on high until mix comes together. Scrape down sides, add vanilla, pulse until combined (add orange zest and juice with vanilla, if making the change up). Turn mix out onto bench. Using a tablespoon, measure roll into balls. Place additional coconut into tray with all balls and shake until covered. Balls keep up to 2-3 weeks refrigerated.
Note: To save on time, we usually turn mix onto bench and roll into logs. These can be easily cut into lengths – the little ones can help (and not get messy!). Shredded coconut can be used for rolling as well – texture change is always good. Add a dash of any liquid if mixture isn’t sticking together.
Cut out the Crap – Homemade Muesli Bars
1 cup oats
½ cup pepitas
½ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup goji berries
¼ cup sultanas
¼ cup honey
Method: Line a 20cm square cake tin and set aside. Into a large wok, place the oats, pepitas, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Stir-fry over a medium-high heat for 5-8 minutes until golden and toasted. Remove from heat. Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour mixture into the prepared cake tin and push down firmly. I found it a little sticky to push down, so on top of the mixture I placed another piece of baking paper and pushed down using that as a barrier to stop it sticking to my fingers or the spoon. Refrigerate for 2 hours before cutting into muesli bar-size slices or smaller squares depending on what you prefer. Store in an airtight container.
Note: Using these measurements, you can swap the ingredients for other ingredients of your choice. Eg, other seeds or nuts etc depending on your personal taste, allergies and school requirements.
Cut out the Crap – Hummingbird Slice
Makes: 20 pieces
3 eggs and 2 egg whites
¼ cup agave nectar or maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
450g tin crushed pineapple (drain well and save ¼ cup of juice)
1 cup rice flour
1/3 cup buckwheat flour
2/3 cup desiccated coconut
1 large ripe banana, mashed
Method: Preheat oven to 170ºC and line a lamington tray with baking paper. Place 3 eggs, agave/maple syrup and cinnamon in a large bowl. Beat with electric beaters for 5 minutes. Add pineapple, reserved juice, sifted flours, coconut and banana. Beat well for a further 1 minute. In a separate bowl, whisk the 2 egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into slice mixture. Pour into prepared tray and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
Cool in tin for 5 minutes then transfer onto a wire rack to cool at room temperature. Cut into pieces when ready to serve.