Greetings, from Twin Lake, Michigan where the snow is getting piled up taller than my car and I’m ready for spring to come anytime now. My name is Jessi, I’m a registered dietitian with a lot of pride for the state I’ve called home for the last 23 years. I’m a Central Michigan Alumni, a Cooking Matters and Nutrition in Action educator, blogger, runner, dancer, lover and friend. I write nutrition and foodie adventure posts over at Tasty Table Topics and strive to help you, “Eat Simply by Simply Eating” (my personal motto). I also attempt to create recipes that are simple, creative, tasty, and nutritious all at the same time.
When I came across Live Love Michigan’s site and saw not only their bountiful selection of clothing options I was pleasantly surprised to read about their mission. At the center of it all, they create products that show love and support of all things Michigan. This is something I work towards as well…only my focus is toward food and nutrition.
You see, eating locally, shopping locally and building up your community are what I think we should all be doing more often than we are. Thus, I absolutely had to collaborate them and I’m so glad that I have. Each month I’ll be sharing various topics relating to all things Michigan and I’m excited to start off this adventure with a recipe. Cheers!
As a native Michigander and someone who takes full advantage of our beautiful and natural outdoors, I was eager to create a snack that showcased just that.
Whether you’re running or biking the rail trails in Midland, snowboarding or skiing down the slopes in Boyne Mountain, or luging and ice skating in Muskegon, these activities all have at least one thing in common. Their need for sustained energy supplied by healthy and nutrient dense snacks. Fueling your muscles with these powerhouse granola bars are going to do just that.
1 ½ Cups Oat flour
1 cup Whole Raw Almonds
¾ Cup Sunflower Seeds
1/3 Cup Ground Flax
2 Dried Michigan Apples*
1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 Tsp Apple Pie Spice
1 Tsp Salt
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
1/3 Cup Agave nectar (or 1/3 cup Pure Michigan Maple Syrup)
1/2 Tsp Almond Extract
*Drying apples: Set oven to 200* and slice your Michigan produced apples into thin slices and place on baking sheet. Leave in oven for 2 hours. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and chop into fine pieces for bars.
Grab an 8×8 baking dish and line with wax paper, set aside.
Chop almonds using a food processor, a nut grinder, or stick’m in a bag and use a rubber hammer to smash them into tiny pieces.
In a large bowl, pour in flour, almonds, sunflower seeds, flax, dried apples, cinnamon, apple pie spice and salt. Stir all of your dry ingredients until combined well.
Set a small sauce pan to medium heat. Drop in the coconut oil, agave, and almond extract and watch for it to foam over. As it’s foaming, count to 15 and remove from heat. Immediately pour onto dry ingredients and stir the liquid combination in until all dry ingredients are coated.
Grab the mixture with clean hands and plop it into that 8x8 pan, press until flat. Let it chill in the fridge overnight. In the morning, remove the mixture by pulling up on the wax paper. Cut into 16 small bars and serve immediately or store wrapped in wax paper or Ziploc baggies.
Bars will last up to one week in fridge so eat’m up!
These bars are hands down the most delectable and satiating snacks I’ve ever created. All of my ingredients were purchased locally and I made sure to find a Jonagold apple that was made in Michigan, not just “made in USA.” Did you know that Michigan apples are our largest and most valuable fruit crop? They have an estimated economic impact of $700 million annually (Source).
Supporting the growth of your community does make a difference. Without our support, our local farms and our vast array of produce availability through farmer’s markets, the farms won’t have a fighting chance against today’s global economy. To bring it close to home, would you rather pick an apple that came from a few hours away in a neighboring county or 1500 miles away from who knows where?
So whether you need fuel before or after some pure Michigan physical activity or you just love experimenting in the kitchen, create breakfasts, entrees, and snacks that have your home state written all over them.
Spring is on its way folks, be sure to check out Jessi’s blog for continuous updates and more recipes at her table and come back next month and find out how you can celebrate National Nutrition Month, Michigan Style! Cheers!