The first day of school is always a mixed bag of emotions for me. As the reality of summer being over, and the quiet in the house sets in, a part of me gets a little sad and lonely. But at the same time, another part of me begins to do an internal happy dance when I’m able to get things cleaned up and back on track with schedules and routines. The wet suits and towels bunched up at the bottom of backpacks are now replaced with books and binders filled with homework.
The Cowie Clan had a terrific summer, but a side effect of this fun was a temporary absence from the blogosphere. Despite any blogging regularity, I tried not to have any guilt. Summer should be a time to take a break and have fun with family and friends, right?
Now that the kids are back in school, I’ve had a couple of minutes to catch my breath, get things in order and return to the kitchen…and it feels good! I made these Almond-Apricot Bars as a healthy after school snack or a grab-n-go breakfast option. These bars also fit well with this month’s Recipe Redux “Bars & Bites” theme. And because each and every ingredient in the bars is healthy, you will feel warm and fuzzy sending these bars in your kid’s lunch box!
You might be saying to yourself, “millet resembles bird seed”! But listen, it is a grain definitely worth trying. Millet is gluten-free, a good source of fiber and plant protein, and is high in essential minerals copper, phosphorus, manganese and magnesium. Just like with many other grains, toasting brings out the nutty flavor. Typically millet is cooked, but for these bars I added raw millet to up the texture and crunch.
Almond-Apricot Bars (recipe inspired from Aug '14 issue of Cooking Light)
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 3 Tbsp. water
- 6 dried apricots
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup dried figs
- 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut (ours from Greene's Country Store, Lake St. Louis)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. honey (ours from Bekemeier's)
- dash salt
- 3 Tbsp. millet
- Combine almonds, water, apricots, raisins, figs, coconut, honey and salt to food processor. Process until thoroughly combined.
- Meanwhile, add millet to a small skillet. Over medium heat, lightly toast millet, about 4 minutes. Keep a close eye, so that it doesn't burn.
- Line a 8-inch baking pan with waxed paper, press mixture into pan. Sprinkle toasted millet on top.
- Refrigerate to allow mixture to set, cut into squares and serve.