School is almost back and that means it’s time to brush up your lunch box game. Ditching the pricey pre-packaged lunch box and after school snacks is as easy as stocking up on a few pantry basics and heading into the kitchen. Home baked treats, here we come!
Avoid the supermarket checkout queues and save money on your weekly grocery shop when you whip up a batch of any of these kid-approved recipes. They all take 30 minutes or less to make and the muffins and cupcakes freeze well too, so you can make a whole term’s worth of treats in one hit. TOO EASY!
It’s not just money and time you’ll save, but your sanity too. Imagine a school year where you don’t have to scour the back of packets to make sure there are no hidden nasties, preservatives, artificial colours or additives in the food your kids are eating. There’s something rather nice and reassuring about knowing exactly what’s going inside their tummies, especially when it comes from your own kitchen. And you’ll be part of the nude food craze that’s so hot in schools right now too!
We’ve created these lunch box recipes that include natural ingredients – fresh fruit, oats, yoghurt, low GI sugars – to help fuel your kids right through the day. Because, let’s face it, life’s pretty boring without a little treat here and there! And so are lunch boxes!
Now come get your bake on – and with any luck, the kids will lend a hand!
RECIPE 1: Blueberry, Oat and Yoghurt Muffins (30 minutes)
It’s all too handy to have a stash of berries in your freezer, sneaking in extra fruit where you can. This muffin recipe is superbly moist, filled with plump blueberry flavour bombs and has a delicious crunchy sweet top crust. YUM!
2 ½ cups self raising flour, sifted
2/3 cup CSR Caster Sugar, plus a tablespoon extra for sprinkling
3 eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup vegetable oil
½ cup thick Greek yoghurt
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/3 cup traditional rolled oats, plus a tablespoon extra for sprinkling
1 cup frozen blueberries, plus a few extra to dot on top of muffins
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake or muffin papers.
2. In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, eggs, oil, yoghurt and vanilla. Mix until just combined.
3. Gently fold through the frozen blueberries.
4. Divide between 12 muffin papers. Add a couple of blueberries to each muffin top, gently pushing them in. Sprinkle with extra oats and caster sugar.
5. Bake the muffins for 25 minutes or until golden and cooked through when tested in the centre with a skewer.
6. Cool completely on a wire rack.
RECIPE 2: ANZAC Biscuits (25 minutes)
An oldie but a goodie and most definitely a family favourite biscuit. This Anzac biscuit recipe makes approximately 50 small biscuits and will keep in an airtight container up to a week. If they last that long!
1 ¼ cups traditional rolled oats
1 cup plain flour, sifted
¾ cup desiccated coconut
¾ cup CSR brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
125g butter, cubed
¼ cup water
2 tbs CSR golden syrup
1 tsp bicarb soda
1. Preheat oven to 150°C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix together rolled oats, flour, desiccated coconut, brown sugar and cinnamon.
3. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, water and golden syrup. Place on a medium heat and stir mixture occasionally until butter has melted. Remove from heat and stir in bicarb soda.
4. Add foamy butter mixture immediately to the bowl of dry ingredients. Mix together with a wooden spoon.
5. Roll 1½ tablespoons of mixture into balls and place on the trays, about 5cm apart to allow for spreading while cooking.
6. Flatten each ball slightly with a flour dipped fork and bake in pre-heated oven for 18 minutes or until just turning gold around the edges.
7. Let biscuits cool on the tray for five minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
RECIPE 3: Crunchy Chocolate Chip Muesli Bars (25 minutes)
A box of six or eight commercial muesli bars doesn’t go far when you have three kids chowing them down. This recipe will yield 14 generous sized muesli bars, and more again if you decide to be a little less generous when slicing. Chocolatey and crunchy, what else could you want?!
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup CSR Brown Sugar
¼ cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 cups Quick oats
1 ½ cups rice puffs
1 cup chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 170°C, grease and line a 20x30cm slice tin.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine Quick oats and rice puffs.
3. In a small microwave safe bowl or jug, combine coconut oil, brown sugar, honey, vanilla extract and salt. Heat in microwave until melted and slightly thickened when stirred.
4. Add the melted oil mixture to dry ingredients and stir through to combine. Let cool.
5. Add half the chocolate chips to mixture and stir through.
6. Firmly press mixture into the pan. Top with remaining chocolate chips, pressing into the top gently. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until lightly golden.
7. Let the slab cool in tin completely to harden up.
8. Using a sharp knife, slice the slab into bars. Store in an airtight container. YUM!
RECIPE 4: Carrot Cake Cupcakes (with Cream Cheese Icing, of course)
I like to shake it up in the cake department and carrot cake is always well received by the kids. If you think your kids will detect and refuse these eeny weeny bits of carrot, try grating it for less visual evidence!
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup CSR Low GiCane Low GI Sugar
2 cups finely diced or grated carrot
1 ½ cups self raising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
250g cream cheese, room temperature
230g CSR Soft Icing Mixture
1 tbs water
½ teaspoon cinnamon, extra
1 teaspoon CSR Caster Sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line two muffin trays to house 15 cupcake liners.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla. Add the Low GI Sugar and beat to combine.
3. Stir in carrot, self raising flour and cinnamon to combine.
4. Divide mixture between the cupcake liners. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked through when a skewer is inserted in the centre. Set aside to completely cool on a wire rack.
5. To prepare icing, mix together water, icing sugar and cream cheese. Beat at a medium – high speed for 30 seconds.
6. Pipe or spread icing on to cupcakes. Combine extra cinnamon and caster sugar to dust on top of icing. Now all that’s left to do is pop the kettle on and put your feet up!
RECIPE 5: Apple Puffs (20 minutes)
Forget calling in to that little French style patisserie, adding some fancy (and way easy) glam to the lunch box or after school snack is only an apple and a sheet of puff pastry away!
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large apple
30g butter, melted
1 tbs CSR Brown Sugar
1 tbs CSR Caster Sugar
1 tbs CSR Soft Icing Mixture
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
2. Core and cut apple into thin slices.
3. Cut puff pastry into nine squares. Alternatively, use a round cookie cutter to cut out nine circles and re-roll the remaining pastry to get an extra circle.
4. Place pastry shapes on baking tray and brush with melted butter.
5. Divide thinly sliced apple between the pastry rounds. Brush apple surface with butter.
6. Combine brown sugar and caster sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the pastry and apple.
7. Bake in hot oven for 20 minutes or until golden and puffed.
8. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely and dust with the icing sugar. So fancy, so delicious!