Although my boys are a little way off school yet, I know it is such a difficult thing for parents to come up with lunchbox fillers day in and day out. Not only that but many schools now have 'no nut' as well as minimal packaging (nude food) policies, further reducing the options available.
Well this snack bar does contain nuts, although I will provide alternative ingredients in the recipe if this needs to be avoided, but the benefits of this recipe are these:
* Home made (obviously!), helping you to further eliminate artificial additives/preservatives/fillers from your pantry. Now just on this point, have a look at these dried apricots. No, they are not rancid!!!! These are dried without the use of sulphur dioxide, the chemical most fruits are dried with to avoid discolouration among other reasons. Now when you close your eyes and taste one, they taste exactly the same. They are soft and plump and just as delicious as their orange counterparts. Do your research on sulphur dioxide and decide whether you can put aside the look for the benefits of avoiding this preservative!
|Dried apricots without the use of sulphur dioxide|
* By adding the cacao powder and raw honey at the end you are keeping their beautiful natural qualities such as antioxidants.
* You are doing your bit to reduce the amount of packaging used!
OK, so not a lot of talk today - these things talk for themselves! Oh, just need to acknowledge that I found the original recipe in the latest Delicious magazine, Aug 2012 however in true Mellymaks style, I changed it! And you can too. If you prefer other dried fruits or nuts to those listed in the recipe, just substitute. Enjoy......
NOTE: I used the Thermomix to first chop up the nuts (just pressed turbo a couple of times) and then to chop up the fruit (again pressing turbo a couple of times). If you are using raw honey and wanted to keep the goodness, you could heat the honey then in the TMX for a minute on 37 degrees just to make it easier to stir through the finished mix but I found the warmth of the mix out of the oven was enough to help it all mix together.
Fig, nut and puffed rice bars
Ingredients1 c puffed brown rice (see my post on puffs to find out more!)
1/2 c sesame seeds
1/2 c pumpkin seeds (sunflower seeds would be a suitable alternative)
1/2 c organic shredded coconut (organic coconut should not use sulphur dioxide. Try the Macro brand in Woolworths)
1 c nuts, roughly chopped (I used hazelnuts and almonds but walnuts, macadamia, brazil, cashews would all be suitable alternatives. If avoiding nuts, try puffed corn, plain chicnuts, or even another cup of rice puffs )
1 c dried fruits, roughly chopped (I used figs and apricots however cranberries, raisins, dried apples, dates would all be suitable alternatives)
1/2 c tahini (made from sesame seeds - unhulled would be preferable for maximum nutrition but some stores dont sell it so unhulled would be fine too)
1/2 c honey (raw would be preferable but any good quality honey will be fine)
2 tbs pure maple syrup (golden syrup is a suitable alternative)
2 tbs raw cacao powder (I buy mine from Loving Earth however plain cocoa would be fine)
Method:1. Preheat the oven to 100 degrees celcius.
2. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Line a 26cm slice tray with baking paper too.
3. Place the rice, seeds, coconut, nuts and fruit on the tray. Place the tahini in a small oven proof dish. If you are not using raw honey, place the honey in with the tahini.
5. Place the ingredients on the tray in a large mixing bowl and add warmed tahini, maple syrup, honey and cacao powder. Stir through thoroughly.
6. Spread evenly into prepared slice tray and press down. If the mixture sticks to your spoon as you are pressing down, just run the spoon under water each time it starts to stick.
|The balls on the left are Apricot Balls. I made them from a recipe on the Thermomix recipe site, recipecommunity.com.au and they were much loved by us all. Another great healthy snack option. If nuts are to be avoided - perhaps try using puffed rice in place of the nuts, although I havent tried it myself!|