After two terms of school-ordered lunches, I have conceded to the pleas of my children and am now making another meal each day for them to eat. What a good mum.
The first week would have made Martha Stewart proud. Gorgeous mini avocadoes from Marks & Spencer food went in the lunch box with home made Caesar salad dressing and croutons, Romaine leaves and smoked salmon. Of course, towards the end of the first week we gravitated towards sandwiches - mind you they were toasted and quite a success. (So much depends on the bread and I find Eric Kayser's perfect - not sweet and thinly sliced).
Now I am looking for the perfect snacky accompaniment so of course there is more conflict. Cute little Japanese snacks from Apita are SO CONVENIENT. And SO PROCESSED. And the packaging! So much packaging. There's muesli bars but the sugar! Sugar everywhere. Plus, NO NUTS FOR SCHOOL <sigh>.
So I made my own 'muesli bars', and it was sooo easy.
Guilt Bars (oven free recipe)
- 1 cup rolled oats (I used 'quick cooking')
- 1 cup shredded coconut (not a nut. really)
- 1/3 cup small seeds (I used sesame & chia)
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup chopped dried fruit (dried papaya & mango above)
- 125g butter
- 1/2 cup honey (you could go less, especially if you add the choc chips)
- Dark chocolate chips (Optional - you decide how much. I used about 1/3 cup. Maybe more..)
You will need a pan roughly 15 x 30cm, and a couple of centimeters deep. Line it with baking paper. (It is not being baked though.)
In a frying pan, dry fry all the seeds, coconut and oats until they show a little golden colour - roughly 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool and add the dried fruit.
In a small saucepan, heat butter and honey over medium heat - stirring for a few minutes to mix. Bring to a rolling boil (it will froth) and leave it without stirring for 5 minutes or so. Add this to the dry ingredients and stir until combined and leave to cool before adding chocolate chips and stir in.
Spoon this mixture into the prepared pan and press down with the back of your spoon. Put it in the fridge to cool & then cut to whatever size you like.
Eat these within a few days or else store them in a container in the freezer. I have frozen mine and they go into the lunchbox with a small cooler pack. The choc chips make them a little messy to hold if the lunchbox gets warm.
They are surprisingly sweet! The children love them. And I am content for another week.