My love of apricot is no secret. Nor is it a surprise (at least for those that know me) that at 47, I still don’t consider myself a morning person. Not at all, but I’ve accepted it. With kids, this can be challenging. This is a recipe for apricot-almond breakfast bars that I created for myself and my inability to eat much of anything when I first wake up, excluding coffee that is.
10am is my preferred hour to begin eating in the morning. If we’re being honest, what my “ideal morning” would look like is me sitting on a terrace with warm croissant and a latte, but let’s face it, that’s not in the cards. Like many stay-at-home moms, my day begins early, around 6am. What follows is a tight routine of feeding the dogs, walking the dogs, waking up kids, pulling the kids out of bed, making breakfast, packing lunches and getting everyone to their respective places (hopefully) on time. Sounds familiar to many I’m sure. The issue is, what follows.
What comes next in my day is; exercise, cleaning up the house, laundry, showering, errands, appointments, phone calls, more dog walking, house repairs, deliveries my blog work, dinner prep, etc. By 10am, when I actually feel like I could eat, it’s too late Either I’ve forgotten completely or I’m out of the house already and there’s no going back. And so the cycle continues. I am a person who craves organization and schedules and strongly dislikes curveballs that mess up those highly plotted out systems. But, I have kids and with that, we all know, it’s a series of endless curveballs you must navigate daily.
Last year my families mid-February “break” was no such thing, it was a total “train wreck“. My younger son returned from his mandatory 5th grade week-long Outdoor Ed program with the flu despite having received his yearly flu shot months ago. It’s happened before. If you have ever had the flu, you know my pain, it is unlike anything else, fast to come and very slow to go. 4 days later my older son went down with it. I followed shortly after, not with the flu, but something close to it. So with 3 out of 4 down (and one fearful of touching just about anything) we became “that family” with symptom management our sole focus. Let’s call it what it was–total hell.
In such trying times, finding time to eat breakfast became even harder for me. So that experience is what inspired me to develop a breakfast bar recipe, not for my kids, but for me. Simple, healthy, nutrient-rich, bars that were, an easy grab-and-go option for when life gets crazy. Between last years miserable winter season and the current corvid 19 virus nightmare we are all living through, I though this was an appropriate post to share now. Life throws curveballs all the time reinforcing the idea that unexpected and challenging times can in fact happen when we least expect it, but we can (and will) get through it.
I loaded these apricot-almond bars with some of my favorites; whole grains, almonds, apricots and dates. I also toss in some cashew butter for protein and a touch of maca root powder for an extra boost. The maca plant has exploded in popularity in recent years and is believed to help improve energy and stamina. Native to Peru, maca, sometimes referred to as Peruvian ginseng, can be found in a powder or capsule form. Maca root is actually considered a cruciferous vegetable but has an earthy and nutty flavor. Because of this it’s a great addition to smoothies, oatmeal and sweet treats such as these tasty little grab-and-go breakfast bars.
Apricot-Almond Breakfast Bars
- 2 1/4 cups whole grain oats, lightly toasted
- 1/3 cup raw almonds lightly toasted, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons almond flour
- 2 tablespoons maca powder
- dash of salt
- dash of cinnamon
- 1/3 cup cashew butter, slightly warmed
- 2 tablespoons unflavored coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons almond milk
- 1/3 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
- 4 dates, pitted, roughly chopped
- Step 1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Step 2 Line an 8×8 baking square with parchment paper. Note: The best way to do this to to cut two strips and overlap them allowing some extra for overhang. Lightly oil and set aside.
- Step 3 Place the oats on 3/4 of the baking sheet and the the almonds on the the other 3rd of the pan. Place in the oven and lightly toast until slightly fragrant, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle, place the oats in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Place the almonds on a cutting board and roughly chopped. Add the almonds to the oats.
- Step 4 Add the almond flour, maca powder, salt, cinnamon, cashew butter, coconut oil, honey, vanilla and almond milk. Using a large rubber spatula, mix well to incorporate. Fold in the apricots and dates.
- Step 5 Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Use a small glass jar or glass, press evenly down on the mixture to evenly flatten. Place in the oven and bake till set, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing.
- Step 6 Store the breakfast bars in the refrigerator to maximum freshness.
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