Many of you are spending this week lazying about on holiday. Good for you. Around here at Pomegranate Days HQ it is already everyday school business as usual. My kiddos rejoined their respective scholarly ranks yesterday in a full throttle pursuit of foundation education. Whilst some (Pretty Girl) were very eager and enthusiastic about the start of the second term, others (Handsome) were well, not so much.
I found myself in the now still dark at 620 am kitchen staring down two lunchboxes. Mentally I tried to calculate how many more days of packed lunches lie ahead for me this year. But, as I said it was early and my abysmal maths skills are legendary for good reason so I settled on about… A LOT!
It is no small task filling lunchboxes five days a week with goodies that are healthy, tasty and a prime factor for me, interesting, because some things just stay with you. When I was at school my mom made me a cucumber and cream cheese sandwich one day for lunch. I told my mom that I liked it. Friends, I got that same sandwich every day for the next three weeks. Every. Day. I still cannot face a cucumber and cream cheese sandwich.
Six years on this superfun lunchbox ride, I can completely understand the Month of the Cream Cheese Sandwich 1985, but to err on the side of caution, I try to keep variety on the up.
Behold the humble muffin.
The muffin gets me out of many a lunchbox block. Made sandwiches two days in a row? Throw in a muffin. Long day of sport ahead? Throw in a muffin. Friends coming over? Throw some muffins in the oven. Yeah, you get the idea.
When it comes to these kind of muffin situations, I am no muffin snob. I am really happy to use a premix. The muffins always come out perfectly and I can whip them up in about 3 seconds – slightly longer if I cannot find the scissors.
There are really only two premixes that I use, and I try to keep one or the other on hand in the kitchen during term time. The first is Snowflake’s Easy Mix Bran Muffin. Out of the two this one requires the greatest imput. You have to physically mix together some eggs, oil and milk and mix it together with the contents of the bag. Its great to stretch yourself sometimes. You can add some raisins or nuts to the mix before baking.
These little bran muffins are little gems, not sweet and great on their own or with jam and cheese. They last a few days after baking too and I have halved the recipe of the large 1 kg bag with great results.
The second premix comes from the Deeghuys. Although this store won me over with their unbaked croissants and bread rolls, they also make a mean chocolate chip cookie. I really like their muffin premixes. Once defrosted you can bake off as many or as few muffins as you need and store the remaining batter in the fridge for later. We used to use a similar product when I worked in hotels, but I find these to be far superior. The Deeghuys have quite a few muffin varieties, although I haven’t tried them all. They also stock a gluten free pancake and flapjack batter.
I use the vanilla cupcake batter if I want to make “muffins” with a bit of variety. For example I pop a few raspberries into the bottom of the muffin cups and then fill with batter. I then top them with some oat crumble left over from making these incredible Grilled Peaches and then bake them off. Delicious.
I think we should stick to taking shortcuts on easy muffins for lunchboxes, because busy moms should cut themselves a break. But, I don’t want to hear about anyone going crazy and breaking out the box brownies and vanilla cakes.
That, unlike these muffin hacks would be shameful. Obviously.