Sunday, 11 March 2012

Lunchbox legends

If you’re anything like me where your children’s lunchbox is concerned, nasties in packets are banned and you aim to include a home-cooked treat each day. I try to whip up a batch of biscuits, muffins or muesli bars most weeks. Of course, these days we need to think ‘nut-free’ so commercial muesli bars which ‘may contain traces of nuts’ are a no no. Instead, I make my own for the girls and usually take one into work myself for a quick boost of energy!

Wheat, nut & dairy-free muesli bars
Makes 16 bars

This muesli bar recipe is ideal for your children's lunchbox. It is very nutritious and largely allergen-free. For a bit of fun get the kids involved in drizzling a little melted chocolate over the bars. Wrap in a 30cm length of wax paper by folding in at the sides and rolling the bar in the paper. You could secure with a fun sticker!

65 g brown rice
1 tbsp golden flaxseeds (linseeds)
1 tbsp chia seeds
half Pink lady apple (or any sweet apple) - omit for a crunchier-style bar
200 g your choice of dried fruit (e.g. dates, apricots,
cranberries, mango, sultanas, goji berries etc.)
90 g whole oats
70 g rice bubbles (preferably wholegrain brown)
25 g coconut, dessicated
60 g raw caster sugar (or rapadura)
1-2 tbsp pepitas or sunflower seeds
40 g coconut or avocado oil
2 large eggs
50 g raw honey
100 g white chocolate, melted (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C. Line the base and sides of a 3cm deep, 20 x 30cm rectangular pan with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang.

Add the flaxseeds, chia seeds and brown rice to the TM bowl and grind for 20 seconds on speed 9. Decant into a bowl and set aside.

Place the apple half in the TM bowl and grate for a few seconds on speed 5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add all the dried fruit. Turn to the lid closed position and pulse on Turbo about 3 times until the dried fruit is evenly chopped.

Return the grounds seeds and rice to the TM bowl together with all of the remaining ingredients. Combine on reverse for 20-30 seconds on speed 3 until well combined. Check that the dry ingredients are completely coated in the wet.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan using the spatula. Use the back of a metal spoon or the bottom of a heavy glass to press the mixture evenly into the pan and smooth the surface.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes in the pan before lifting onto a cooking rack to cool completely before cutting. Cut the muesli slice into 16 bars and drizzle with melted white chocolate (optional).

This recipe is not over-sweet, so it is a good idea to include dates as part of the dried fruit mix for the extra sweetness.

Try different combinations of cereal in place of the brown rice bubbles, e.g. bran sticks, flake cereals (just make sure they are nut-free).

Add 50g white, milk or dark choc chips at step 4.

Omit the half apple for a crunchier-style bar.

No Thermomix?
  • use 65g brown rice flour in place of the whole rice
  • grind seeds using a coffee grinder
  • chop the dried fruit in a food processor or by hand
  • combine all ingredients by hand or using a food processor or mixer

Here are some more lunchbox legends that you might like to check out . . .

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  1. Would love to try this for my Sons lunch box but doesn't coconut count as a nut so school wouldn't allow?

  2. Coconut is not actually a nut despite it's name. I'm pretty sure it would be okay at schools that are allergy friendly.
    If in doubt check with the school, they should have an allergy policy that would outline their position on foods brought to school by students.

  3. Thanks Suzanne! I missed this question from Anonymous above. Yes, coconut is not classed as a botanical nut, it's actually a fruit! Although it is possible to have an allergy to coconut products, an individual with a tree nut allergy rarely has an allergy to coconut as well.

  4. Do you store in the fridge or just airtight container and how long for would you think?

    1. Thanks for your question. We store them in the fridge in an airtight container and keep them for 7-14 days depending on how quickly we get through them, but they will be fine for up to 7 days out of the fridge in a cool climate. I make mine sugar-free these days, using the raw honey (or coconut nectar) only. I hope you enjoy them x