School Lunches Can Be Intimidating

This is my first year packing "real" school lunches and it's actually a bit intimidating. My sons go to public school {a very cool one that I'm stoked about} and they encourage packing healthy snacks and lunches {phew}!

Today, over at The Honest Company blog, I'm guest posting a very lengthy wordy piece on how to pack a healthier, more well-balanced lunch. Enjoy... CLICK HERE TO READ and HAPPY BACK TO SCHOOL! 

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Not all lunches have to full of packaged foods but at the same time I get it, sometimes it's easier to pack pre-packaged foods. If you have to do that, fine, but be wise about your choices and the packaging. Is the packaging recyclable? Are the snacks full of refined sugar and food dyes? What about the salt content? And remember, fresh is always better! For more details, head on over to the full article. 

{No Bake} Ginger Cherry Bars

I woke up yesterday in the mood for a fancy homemade breakfast. I wanted something that was more on the sweet side than the savory side. I rummaged through the pantry looking for baking flour; I thought muffins sounded good. Not sure which kind but something exciting.  

I was all out of flour though! So I grabbed almonds, gluten-free oats, GO RAW sprouted buckwheat groats {your pantry should always have this item stocked on hand} and dried cherries. 

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I processed all of these ingredients in the food processor to make a healthy no-bake breakfast bar.  And wow, what a great combo it was...healthy, hearty and sweet! These Ginger Cherry Breakfast Bars were born! The best part of it all - I didn't even have to even bake them! 

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Unfortunately, I didn't plan to blog about this recipe which resulted in not so wonderful photos. But at least you can get an idea. Right?  

These Ginger Cherry No-bake bars were devoured by the husband and kids (I only got one, darn it). 

Just to make things even more wonderful - I smothered some of them in chocolate. 

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I mean why not?

I wish I had a su-chef here to help me with the dishes, but other than that, It was the perfect way to spend my morning. In fact, I was thinking "man, I could sell these bad boys"! But then I remembered I have already been-there-done-that! {wink} 

I highly recommend you try these bars. They are so wonderful to have around - just a quick snack or meal to grab on the go! BEWARE - in addition to being healthy, they are tasty and addicting. 

REMEMBER - the chocolate coating is optional. My kids thought it was the "best thing I've ever made" but I prefer it without the chocolate. 

No-Bake Ginger Cherry Bars Recipe {with chocolate coating}

yields 10-12 bars

DRY INGREDIENTS

WET INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup liquid sweetener {agave, honey, maple syrup - I used ginger syrup again}
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter {room temp}
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • pinch sea salt

CHOCOLATE COATING INGREDIENTS

  • 1 dark chocolate bar
  • anything else you might want to see on top - coconut, seeds, nuts, goji berries, etc. 

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a food processor combine the nuts and oats. Pulse for about 30 seconds on and off. Add cherries and repeat. Add the buckwheat groats and repeat.  
  2. Go ahead and add the wet ingredients. Be sure butter is at room temp. You don't want it to be cold. Pulse again for a bit longer until everything is well mixed up. See my photo above to get an idea of how chunky it should be. 
  3. Empty mixture onto a glass Pyrex style deep dish pan. Press it down until pan is covered. Lay wax paper over the mixture and press the mixture down using a flat, firm spatula until evenly spread. Remove the paper. 
  4. Refrigerate mixture for at least and hour.  
  5. Meanwhile melt the chocolate in the oven (about 250 degrees F) and while you're waiting for the bars to firm and chocolate to melt, maybe do all the dishes.  
  6. When ready, evenly pour the chocolate over the top of the refrigerated dough {and sprinkle whatever toppings you'd like at this time. I used coconut.}
  7. Refrigerate again for about an hour.
  8. Bars can be cut into squares or long bars or even circles. 
  9. Store any leftover bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Should last about 1 week. 
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Fancy Oven Baked Sprouted Granola

Remember my dehydrated Millet Buckwheat Orange Zest granola? I promised to create a baked version soon. And today is the day! I'm sharing this oven-baked version of my sprouted granola over at Honest Company Blog today!  Click the link for more detailed photos. 

This is what I call fancy oven-baked Granola because it's sprouted first. Sprouting your grains first makes them higher protein and more digestible. Confused? UsNews.com explains this process, "there is a brief period in the life cycle of a grain or seed—right after it has started to sprout, but before it has developed into a full-fledged plant—when it's considered to be a sprouted grain. The outer bran layer will have split open, and the beginnings of a young shoot may be visibly peeking out of the grain. In this stage, some of the starchy portion of the grain will have been digested by the young shoot to fuel its awakening. It is this change in state that results in the observed nutritional difference between sprouted and conventional (ungerminated) grains."

Fancy Oven Baked Sprouted Granola

INGREDIENTS


• 1/2 cup millet, soaked in water for 1-2 hours and rinsed
• 1/2 cup buckwheat, soaked in water for 1-2 hours and rinsed
• 1 Tbsp. chia seeds, soaked in water for 10 minutes
• 1 cup certified gluten-free oats
• 1/2 cup sprouted sunflower seeds (you can buy these, sprout yourself, or just use raw seeds)
• 2 vanilla beans
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/3 cup coconut sugar
• 2 heaping Tbsp. good quality organic honey
• 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
• 1 pinch sea salt
*Try to use organic options when possible.

DIRECTIONS

1. First set the millet and buckwheat aside and let it soak in water for at least an hour. Do the same with the chia seeds, except for 10 minutes.

2. In a food processor, chop up the oats and sunflower seeds until they are evenly distributed and chopped but not so much they are turned into a flour (about 10 seconds).
3. Add chia seeds, coconut sugar, honey and melted coconut oil. Pulse again until thoroughly mixed (like 5-10 seconds).

4. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse one last time until the mixture is evenly combined (again about 5-10 seconds).

5. Put mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If you don’t have parchment paper try and grease the pan a bit using a coconut oil spray or just rub coconut oil with a towel.

6. Cook at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes. Please stir the mixture with a spatula every 5 minutes or so.

7. Let cool and enjoy. Store in a dry container in the fridge for a long shelf life. 

For more banter and a few extra photos you can check out the Honest Company Blog's original post.