I'm a person that looks for and thrives on routines. Especially with food, seasonal routines have helped me stay on my healthiness journey. I have a very standard breakfast routine on weekdays in the summer. I bring a either a green smoothie or bowl of yogurt and fruit to work, and eat it topped with granola at 9:00 am. There is always a jar of that granola in my desk drawer, and I make a fresh batch about every other week or so (same time I make my yogurt).
My lovely little routine imploded on me in the past couple of weeks. Like the rest of the Midwest, Minnesota has been scorchingly hot nearly all of July with temps at or near the triple digits often. In the 576 square feet of my tiny house, cooled only by window A/C units, that means no oven usage. Seriously, using my beautiful vintage gas oven means at least 2 days of unbearable residual heat. So I've been going without granola and the lack of fat, crunch, and sweetness in my morning meal has been bugging me. I feel hungrier before lunch and it makes me cranky.
Last Saturday after an early morning stop at the Mill City Farmer's Market, I stopped to pick up a few additional items at the Seward Co-op. As I was refilling my coffee cup, my stomach growled and I spotted a tray of treats that they make on site. I picked up a Bird Bar (priced at $8.69/lb, my bar was $1.82) and took it home to eat with yogurt and raspberries. It was delicious!
The ingredients on the Bird Bar wrapper are: sesame seeds, honey, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, coconut, cashews, salt. Well, I can make that! And I can do it without turning on the oven! It took me two tries, but I've got the recipe just right (note: maple syrup is not always a good substitute for honey because it's not sticky enough). I think my version tastes even better than the co-op's. I'm thrilled to have a summer alternative to baked granola.
Also, I was at my little local grocery store yesterday and the customer in front of me was buying bird seed. I had to smile because it really did look like these bars!
Bird Bars, inspired by the Seward Co-op
Makes 12 bars
4 cups of your favorite mixture of mostly seeds and some nuts (I used 1 cup sesame seeds, 1/2 cup flax seeds, 1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds, and 1 cup slivered almonds)
1 cup unsweetened coconut
pinch of salt
1/3 cup peanut butter (mine was crunchy)
2/3 cup honey
If your nuts and seeds are not already toasted, toast them in a large dry skillet over medium heat on your stovetop, stirring occasionally until golden brown. Put toasted nuts and seeds, coconut, and salt in a large bowl.
In a small pot, heat peanut butter and honey over medium heat until boiling. Pour over seed mixture and stir well.
Pat into a lightly oiled or buttered dish. An 8x8 size pan would work well, or press into individual muffin tins (this is genius, just thought of it now). I used a 1.5 qt corningware casserole dish.
Let cool to room temperature and cut. I like to keep my Bird Bars in the fridge after cutting to keep them firm. You could individually wrap each bar in plastic wrap or tinfoil for quick grab-n-go breakfasts.
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