Having a range of home-baked goodies waiting in the freezer is such a time-saver when packing school lunches. I don't bother to thaw them first - just chuck them in the lunchbox straight from the freezer and they'll keep everything nice and cool as they thaw and will be ready to eat by morning tea or lunchtime.
CHOCOLATE NUT BLISS BALLS
* gluten free * dairy free * refined sugar-free * (seen in Oh Baby! magazine)
Obviously, you can't pack these if your kids go to a nut-free school, but they make a great afternoon tea treat too. They are not as sweet as your usual sugar-laden chocolate balls but my kids thought they were absolutely delicious and I'm sure yours will too!
1 cup pitted dates (chopped)
1/2 cup cashew nuts (raw, unsalted)
1/2 cup almonds (raw, unsalted)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons cacao powder
2 tablespoons water (if needed. I only used 1 tablespoon)
1/4 cup shredded coconut
Blend the almonds, cashew nuts, sesame seeds and cacao powder in a high-powered food processor until combined. Add the chopped dates and pulse until the mixture comes together. Add water if needed.
Roll the mixture into 16 large balls or 24 small balls and roll in shredded coconut. Place in a container and chill in the freezer for at least 30 mins. No need to thaw before popping in a lunchbox.
NADIA LIM'S BANANA COCONUT BREAD
* no refined sugar * can be gluten-free *
Another delicious lunchbox staple, this recipe is just as good made into muffins.
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup liquid honey
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups shredded coconut
zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
1 cup self-raising flour (or substitute with 1 cup buckwheat flour and 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder to make loaf gluten-free)
Heat oven to 180C. Gently melt coconut oil and honey together in a small pot.
Use a fork to mix together melted coconut oil and honey mixture with mashed bananas, shredded coconut, lemon zest, flour and eggs in a large mixing bowl until well combined. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Alternatively, line muffin tin with paper cases and spoon in mixture. I forgot to take note of how long the muffin version took to cook, but once they start smelling great, they're ready to take out!
Will keep (unsliced) in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Or cut into slices, place in airtight container and freeze - same with muffin version. No need to thaw first - just put in lunchbox straight from the freezer. Yum!