Whether you’re homeschooling, or your children are back in class – the lunchtime grub dilemma is real…ha!

Delighted to share two delicious and doable noon-hour-fuel recipes with my pal Natasha McKenty on Rogers IN Studio! Happy back-to-school-eating!!

Char’s Chewy Chocolate & Dried Fruit Granola Bars

These homemade bars make a perfect lunchbox treat and are much healthier than commercial granola bars. For additional protein, add 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped nuts (peanuts, walnuts or almonds).

¾ cup (175 mL) vegetable oil or coconut oil (*if using coconut oil, bars will be “crunchier” at room temperature

¾ cup (175 mL) liquid honey

2 eggs

2 tsp (10 mL) pure vanilla extract

2 cups (500 mL) large flake rolled oats

2 cups (500 mL) chopped pitted dates (*or, 1 cup (250 mL) each: chopped pitted dates & dried cranberries)

½ cup (125 mL) each; all purpose flour, green pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate chips

⅓ cup (75 mL) Char’s magic seed mix (*see note below)

1 tsp (5 mL) each; ground cinnamon and ground ginger 

½ tsp (2 mL) baking powder

pinch ground nutmeg

½ tsp (2 mL) finely grated orange zest

¼ tsp (1 mL) salt

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until very well combined.  Press batter evenly into a parchment paper lined 9 X 13-inch baking pan.  Place in center of oven and bake for 30 minutes minutes or until top is golden and toothpick placed in center of bars comes out with little crumb. Remove from oven and cool completely.  Cut into 18 bars. Drizzle with melted dark chocolate if desired.     

**Char’s magic seeds mix: purchase equal parts: chia, hemp and ground flax seeds and place combo in a large mason jar – and shake to combine. Add a few spoonfuls of this mix to: baked goods, morning smoothies, oatmeal and/or sprinkle on salads. An easy way to add fiber, plant protein and healthy fats to a variety of dishes.    

Chicken Salad with Blueberries & Apples

Move over ham & cheese….

this simple and delicious chicken salad recipe will be a new family favourite sandwich filler.

1 lbs. (500 g) boneless skinless chicken thighs, cooked and chopped  

1 Macintosh apple, diced *leave skin on*

½ cup (125 mL) each; fresh local blueberries and diced celery

¼ cup (60 mL) each; chopped green onion and chopped fresh mint

1/3 cup (75 mL) prepared mayonnaise

1 tbsp (15 mL) granny Dijon mustard 

½ tsp (2 mL) lemon zest

Salt and pepper to taste *approx ¼ tsp (1 mL) each*   

Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix until evenly combined. Place salad in wrap, between two slices of bread and/or ciabatta bun or over mixed greens. Makes about 3 cups (750 L).  

Charmaine is the host of “In Char’s Kitchen” on YourTV Muskoka and regular guest on: Rogers Daytime OttawaCTV Morning Live OttawaCHCH Morning LiveBreakfast Television What She Said Radio sharing her love and enthusiasm for all things food, cooking and fitness.

Most importantly; Charmaine is the mother of two active boys; Tyler & Colgan.

Charmaine understands the importance of preparing healthy, wholesome dishes all while keeping budget and time in mind.

Follow Charmaine on:

Instagram: Charmaine_Broughton

Facebook: Charmaine Broughton