Does anyone else have trouble making lunches?
When I go shopping I breeze down the middle aisles, disgusted by the processed lunch foods full of salt and high-fructose corn syrup wrapped between layers of plastic and cardboard. How ridiculous I think, imagining myself in the kitchen whipping up tastier, healthier options that would put these over-packaged goods to shame. I speed past the granola bars, cookies, puddings and muffins and, like always, promise myself that this week I’ll have more time to bake.
The problem is that this week ends up being a lot like last week. And last week I was hunting through the house to find something, anything at all, to put in the kids’ lunch bags. It turns out that five minutes before the bus comes, I’m not really concerned about packaging or sugar content. In fact, just this morning I was thrilled to find some sequestered Halloween candy I used to beef up their lunches. Had I come across a can of pop I probably would’ve thrown that in, too. Isn’t it funny how good intentions quickly deform in the face of a few empty cupboards and a little desperation?
But don’t feel sorry for me because I don’t have it that bad; there are only 2 measly lunches to make. Stan packs his own lunch (the same way, every single day–he says less choice reduces stress) and I eat mine mid-morning before I go to school. Today I sliced up some organic chicken heart and liver I’d pulled out of a bird I was going to roast, sauteed them in butter over high heat, adding goat cheese and chopped dates for the last 2 minutes. I topped it all with green onions and crock-fermented saurkraut and ate my WTF* creation with gusto. It was perfect…for me. Nonetheless, my daughters wouldn’t touch the loaded chicken innards with a ten-foot pole, and the Halloween candy is going to dry up one of these days, so I’m posting my best granola bar recipe here for a little lunch-making inspiration.
As you might have come to expect from this blog, the following recipe is very flexible. Are you ready? Here it is…
7 cup dry ingredients : 2-ish cups wet ingredients
That’s it. Now go crazy! I used the following in my dry mix:
- oats (I used large flake so I blended them for a finer mix)
- chopped dates
- dried cranberries
- ground flax seed
- sunflower seeds
- pumpkin seeds
- chia seeds (if you use chia seeds you may want to add some milk as they take up liquid and swell)
- dash of salt
For the wet mix you need fat and sweetness. The following ratio suits our palettes well:
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup honey
- 1 egg
After you bring the honey and butter to a boil and remove from heat, add a whisked egg (this is optional but it gives it more protein and sticking power), and vanilla. Pour the liquid into the dry mix, adding a little milk if you feel it is too crumbly. Press into a 9″ x 11″ pan lined with wax paper and let cool. Slice and freeze until you need to pack your lunch!
Although these bars aren’t Sally Fallon-friendly, they are easy, packed with energy, and peanut-free–three very important criteria for school lunches. (If you don’t know who Sally Fallon is, read this at the risk of your own sanity–I recommend it.) Regardless of your nutritional school of thought, these beat Halloween candy any day of the week!
Do you have an easy lunch suggestion? Please share…
*Whatever is in The Fridge
PS. My sister and her family came to visit us and we were thrilled to have them for our first “winter winter“ weekend.
Have a great weekend!