Category Archives: Lunch Box Legends

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Caramel Cannellini Cakes

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I have made Chocolate Magic Bean Cakes many, many times now and they are always fantastic, but I wanted to try a vanilla version of the magic bean style cake. I chose to use cannellini beans, which  are high in fibre, high in protein, low in fat and a good source of iron. Using the chocolate recipe as a base I gave it a go, but used rapadura instead of sugar. Rapadura is the product of evaporated sugar cane juice. It is a brown, grainy sugar that has a caramel quality. Rapadura is a Wholefood as it has not been cooked at high temperatures, had the molasses separated from it, had any chemicals added to it or had the vitamins and minerals removed from it. It works really well as a substitute for refined sugar in biscuits and cakes. I buy my rapadura online for $5.95/kg from 2Brothers Foods, but it is also available in health food stores and through other online retailers. 

The result of my experimenting – caramel cakes! These are a really yummy, healthy cake and freeze well for lunch boxes.

Caramel Cannellini Cake

Ingredients

  • 420g can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed or 110g dried cannellini beans soaked and cooked
  • 1 tbls water
  • 1 tbls vanilla essence
  • 5 eggs
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tsp  baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp pink salt
  • 65g (1/3 cup) oil or 125g butter
  • 180g rapadura

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C
  2. Place cannellini beans, water, eggs and vanilla essence in TMX and blitz 2 min, Sp 7
  3. Add all other ingredients
  4. Mix 20 sec, Sp 4
  5. Spoon into patty pans and bake 20-25 min in 2tbls/40ml patty pans or 15-20 min in 1tbls/20ml mini patty pans
  6. Alternately, pour into ring tin and bake 30 min

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Vegetable, Cheese & Pasta Slice

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Inspired by a recipe in the latest Donna Hay I made this slice for my kid’s dinner a few weeks ago and again the other night. It was very well received (and eaten quickly!). I sliced the rest into portions and froze it for lunch boxes next term.

Vegetable, Cheese & Pasta Slice

Ingredients

  • 1 & 1/2 cups (135g) dried pasta (small shape like shells or spirals)
  • 1 medium carrot finely grated (100-120g)
  • 1/2 zucchini finely grated (180-1200g)
  • 200g feta
  • 100g grated cheddar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
  • pink salt & cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Method

  1. Pre heat oven 180C
  2. Cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente
  3. Drain and set aside
  4. I usually complete the rest of this recipe while the pasta cooks so that i’m ready to mix it in as soon as it’s drained
  5. Crack eggs into a large bowl and whisk
  6. Add grated vegetables, crumbled feta, cheddar, flour, butter and season with salt & pepper
  7. Mix well
  8. Add cooked pasta and mix through
  9. Pour into greased and lined 20cm x 30cm tin or pyrex dish
  10. Bake 35-40 minutes

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Fruity Puff Bars

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One of my favourite blogs, Full Little Tummies (written by a Thermomix loving Mum in Tassie) has gone! Checking the blog today I saw that all posts have been deleted! Not sure what’s happened – she hasn’t blogged in a long time but I regularly went to her site for recipes. In a Thermomix Recipe Swap I’m part of on Facebook there has been a few upset cooks who can’t access their favourite recipes. I was ridiculously happy to find that I was so excited when I first discovered Full Little Tummies that I copied and pasted recipes into a Word Doc. Thank goodness! I’ll blog my favourites here – I’d always intended to share them but just hadn’t gotten around to it.

First up are these Fruity Puff Bars which are an absolute winner in my house. They are delicious, freeze well, add a bit of zing to any lunch box and are way better for you and the kids than any shop bought bar packed with additives, preservatives and who knows what ingredients. Thank you to Chelsea of Full Little Tummies wherever you are for this recipe.

Fruity Puff Bars

Ingredients:

  • 110g butter
  • 90g rapadura
  • 70g honey
  • 1 tsp homemade vanilla essence
  • 90g puffed brown rice
  • 40g organic shredded coconut
  • 70g dried sultanas, cranberries or chopped dried apricots

Method:

  1. Place butter, rapadura, honey and vanilla essence into TMX bowl
  2. Heat at 100C, 6 min, Sp 3
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix 20 sec, Rev Sp 3
  4. Scrape mixture into a baking tin lined with baking paper (mine is 30cm x 25cm x 5cm) – if you leave the baking paper a bit longer than the tin you can use it to lift out the slice
  5. Spread out mixture and press down very firmly with your hands or the back of a spoon
  6. Refrigerate (at least 2 hrs) and slice into bars when firm
  7. To freeze simply slice then pop in a resealable bag or container in the freezer. They don’t stick together or, if they do, easily come apart.

These bars do go soft in hot weather. My kids don’t mind and just eat them out of a bowl or from their lunch box with their fingers. I’ve read that people have replaced some of the sweetners with melted marshmallow to hold them together but I haven’t tried this. In summer my kids are even happy to crunch on these straight from the freezer!

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Raspberry & Apple Cupcakes

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I baked these gorgeous little cupcakes for afternoon tea today and my friend G is dying to get her hands on the recipe, so here it is! Originally from a Woman’s Weekly Cookbook, these little cakes are really moist and tasty. They freeze well for lunch boxes and make a great after school treat.

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Ingredients

  • 125g butter
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 165g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 225g (1 & 1/2 cups) self-raising flour
  • 100g (1/2 cup) milk
  • 150g fresh or frozen raspberries (I’ve only ever used frozen)
  • 200g apple (approx 2-3 apples) – peel and quarter apples for TMX, peel and dice apples for non-TMX

Thermomix Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/160C fan-forced
  2. Place 165g raw sugar in TMX and blitz 3 sec, Sp 9 to form caster sugar
  3. Add butter and vanilla essence and cream with sugar 20 sec, Sp 4
  4. Add eggs and beat 20 sec, Sp 4
  5. Mix in flour and milk in two batches – 125g flour, 10 sec, Sp 3; 50g milk, 10 sec, Sp 3; 100g flour, 10 sec, Sp 3; 50g milk, 10 sec, Sp3
  6. Scrape down bowl and mix for a further 6 sec, Sp 4
  7. Use a spatula to help pour the mixture into a separate bowl – don’t scrape too diligently as the apple will help clean the TMX bowl
  8. Place peeled and quartered apple in TMX and chop 3-5 sec, Sp 4
  9. Use a spatula to scoop apple into the bowl with the cupcake mixture and stir through well by hand
  10. Add raspberries last and gently stir through until just mixed (don’t mix too much or the raspberries will bleed throughout the mixture)
  11. Spoon into cupcake size (2tbs/40ml) patty pans (makes 24)
  12. Bake 25-30 min
  13. Allow to cool in cupcake pan for 5 minutes before placing on wire rack to cool

Non-Thermomix Method

  1. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla essence by hand or with electric mixer until pale and creamy
  2. Beat eggs in one at a time
  3. Stir in sifted flour and milk in two batches – 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup milk, 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup milk
  4. Stir in peeled and diced apple
  5. Add raspberries last and gently stir through until just mixed (don’t mix too much or the raspberries will bleed throughout the mixture)
  6. Spoon into cupcake size (2tbs/40ml) patty pans (makes 24)
  7. Bake 25-30 min
  8. Allow to cool in cupcake pan for 5 minutes before placing on wire rack to cool

Lunchbox Legends: Sneak Peek #5

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Lunchbox Sneak Peek #5

 

This was yesterdays lunch and it was extremely well received. Clean lunch boxes all round.

  • Leftover pasta with my veggie packed Winning Pasta Sauce and some grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 mini chocolate magic bean cake
  • Corn cake
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Fruit salad of apple, rockmelon and grapes
  • Frozen water bottle to keep everything cold & fresh

Lunchbox Legends: Sneak Peek #4

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Lunch Box Sneak Peek #4

Left overs from last nights dinner and a chocolate treat from a dinner party on the weekend make for a delicious lunch today.

  • Left over home made fish & chips with a little pot of tomato sauce
  • Fruit salad of apple, grapes and rockmelon
  • Chocolate Brownie (totally decadent Maggie Beer recipe)
  • Boiled egg – I peel all the shell off except for the little face so it doesn’t take the kids too long at school
  • Frozen water bottle to keep everything cold & fresh

Read Sneak Peek #5

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Tiny Teddies & Co

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Arnotts Tiny Teddies appear to have universal appeal to children of all ages. I prefer not to buy commercial biscuits so except for the odd packet of Tiny Teddies from a party bag or as a treat on holidays they generally don’t make an appearance in my cupboard. However, with a few cute cookie cutters and a very simple recipe you can easily whip up a batch of your own little biscuits at home. I’ve found that these keep well in an air-tight container for up to a week and they’re a big hit with the kids.

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The basic recipe is the Foundation Biscuit Mixture from the Nursing Mothers Association Cookbook (a must have in any kitchen!) and I’ve added a TMX version below.

Ingredients

  • 125g butter
  • 125g castor sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 125g plain flour
  • For chocolate biscuits omit 1 tbs of plain flour and replace with 1 tbs cocoa powder

TMX Method

  1. Pre heat oven 180C
  2. Place raw sugar in TMX and blitz 3 sec, Sp 9 to make castor sugar
  3. Place castor sugar and butter in TMX and cream 20 sec, Sp 4
  4. Add egg and mix 10 sec, Sp 4
  5. Add flours and knead, closed lid position, 2 min
  6. Roll dough on a floured surface to approx 3mm and cut out shapes
  7. Place on lined baking tray and bake 12-15 min

Non-TMX Method

  1. Pre heat oven 180C
  2. Place castor sugar and butter in mixer and cream together
  3. Add egg and mix thoroughly
  4. Add flours and mix to a smooth dough
  5. Roll dough on a floured surface to approx 3mm and cut out shapes
  6. Place on lined baking tray and bake 12-15 min

I have this great set of cookie cutters – the small cutters slot inside the round cutter and are interchangeable, or can be used on their own. It is ‘Baker’s Secret’ Brand which I purchased at Myer a few years ago. Unfortunately I can’t seem to find them online but i’m sure there are similar products at good homewares stores.

IMG_3651 Tiny Teddies & Co Raw DoughIMG_3591

 

 

 

 

Lunchbox Legends: Sneak Peek #3

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Lunchbox Sneak Peek #3

  • Salad tub with chopped cucumber and cherry tomatoes
  • Puffed Corn (Abundant Earth brand; 100% corn – available in the health food aisle at the supermarket)
  • Gingernut biscuit
  • Fruit Salad of apple & grapes
  • Wholemeal sandwich with strawberry jam
  • Frozen water bottle to keep everything cold & fresh

Read Sneak Peek #4

Lunchbox Legends: Sneak Peek #2

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Lunch Box Sneak Peek # 2

3 lunch boxes at ours today as my little boy is off to Montessori Playgroup for the morning.

  • Pot-Set Natural Yogurt with berries or honey in Squeeze Em’s
  • Tub of Garlic & Herb Dip (recipe in the EDC)
  • Rice & Corn Cakes
  • 1 mini Chocolate Magic Bean Cake
  • Carrot Sticks
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Fruit salad of apple slices (with lemon juice squeezed over to stop it browning) and grapes
  • Frozen water bottle to keep everything cold and fresh

Read Sneak Peek #3

Lunchbox Legends: Sneak Peek #1

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This Sneak Peek series gives you a little look into what I pack in my kids lunchboxes each day. Hopefully it will give you some inspiration for your lunchboxes too.

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  • Pot-Set Natural Yogurt, one with berries and one with natural honey, in Squeeze Em’s pack  (see below)
  • 2 zucchini quiches
  • 1 mini chocolate magic bean cake
  • 2 dried apricot & oat bites (I will post the recipe for these soon)
  • Fruit Salad of cut apple (tossed in a little lemon juice to stop it browning) and red & green grapes
  • 2 Cruskits spread with cream cheese (I’m trying to find time to experiment with more homemade cracker recipes but I haven’t managed it yet)
  • Frozen water bottle to keep everything cold & fresh

Squeeze Em’s are my latest purchase and I am in love with them already. They are reusable food pouches, perfect for baby food, yogurt, fruit puree and custard. My kids absolutely love sucking the food out the little spout and they are really neat, no spoon or bowl required. BPA free, recyclable, dishwasher safe and easy to use. These little pouches are very reasonably priced and shipping costs are low too. Check out the Squeeze Em’s website for more info.

*Since publishing this post I have learnt that our school prefers children not to eat from squeeze packs at school. I’ve gone back to putting yogurt in a little pot with a spoon for my lunchboxes. My kids still enjoy Squeeze Em’s at home and for picnics.

Read Sneak Peek #2