I do not think times have changed much when it comes to who has the coolest what in their lunch box.
When I was a kid, if you had crackers, fake red wax-covered cheese or heaven forbid fruit rolls, you were ruling the playground roost.
You could skip around flailing your colourful wares above your head like the pied piper and everyone in the playground would follow you in a sugary trance.
Not me. My dad used to send me off with celery and peanut butter as a mid morning treat – trust me, no one wants to shake the kids hand that is smeared with peanut butter, especially when the other hand is holding a limp celery stick.
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"I’m not sure we can be friends anymore because you don’t have the good oaty stuff. I’m off to play with Katie… it’s not me, it’s you” type thing. I would sulk and strut and pout in the supermarket, being pulled at lightening speed through the ‘fun’ aisle whilst Dad made a beeline for the celery bunches.
It took me many years to overcome my dislike for celery. I loved the taste of it, but it completely ruined my third grade social life and for that I hold a grudge.
It’s a shame that what a child sees visually, all the bells and whistles and twinkling lights of packaging are not always the healthiest option. Heavily coloured, high salt foods, sugar disguised as yoghurt and more numbers than a Matrix sequel are high trade commodities in the modern and vintage schoolyard alike.
At the risk of reinventing the celery/peanut butter combo (I just can’t see it ever making a sturdy comeback unless it’s freshly made) I have decided to take what I longed for most at 10:30am and that’s the humble oat bar.
When I was at school, the commercial muesli and oat bars were a new fad and I so desperately wanted to be one of the cool kids. Fast forward many years, and I am the coolest kid in the office, because I make my own.
If you are buying the very best ingredients you can, these are nothing but healthy and tastier than the packaged variety. These will keep for a week, but they wont last that long.
Any dried fruit and nut combination is delicious – peach and macadamia, cranberry and hazelnuts, even a few chocolate chips every now and then. But be warned, you will not be popular with the celery peanut combo.
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Pear and Walnut Oat Slice
10 minutes prep
15 minutes cooking
Makes approx 10 bars
200gms dried pears, diced
100gms walnuts chopped
125gms desiccated coconut
125gms plain flour
250gms rolled oats
100gms butter melted
2 tablspoons organic brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Melt butter honey and sugar until combined, mix together with all other ingredients until combined and spread into a slice tray. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in the tin. Turn out and slice into bars.
Watch: Curtis Stone makes a moist orange and almond cake