Did you know Sept. 9th is California's birthday? I had no clue but of course I studied North Carolina history in grade school so maybe I'm the only Californian that did not know this. Now that I've been living in this Golden state for almost 20 years, I think I can officially say I'm a Californian too (but might always be a Southern girl at heart). Overlooking some less than desirable aspects of the State (especially as a business owner), I can honestly say California is a wonderful state. Geographically what more can you ask for? From the beautiful beaches to the rocky mountains, you can participate in any sport and enjoy so many diverse activities, cultures, and food.
Oh, the food!... I love wandering the Farmer's Markets to find fresh produce and local products just as much as I love taking my family to visit a farm to pick berries or peaches. We are very lucky to have some many resources so close to home. When I was little, growing up in North Carolina, any time my mom (who is from CA) bought an avocado from the market it was a VERY Special treat. She treated it like it was gold and always talked about how special it is and how we have to enjoy every bite because it came all the way from CA and was REALLY expensive to buy.
Speaking of growing up in NC... funny story for you. Whenever I was asked where I was from I would always say "LA," hoping to pass for Los Angeles but knowing I wasn't lying as it stood for "lower Asheville" in my mind. It would drive my best friend crazy since she was actually born in Los Angeles. I had never been to LA but always dreamt of attending University there. I think it was my manifest destiny to venture West. At the time, I didn't know I would be here into my 30's, raising a family but here I am.
To celebrate California's birthday I was asked to create snacks using Gaslamp Popcorn, a small batch, boutique company out of San Diego, CA. In an effort to highlight other products from CA we made a snack bar using almonds, from here in the Central Valley, as well as dried apricots, raisins, and local honey.
Chef instructors, Morgan & Brooke, from Young Chefs Academy went on CBS47 Live this morning to share these snacks as well as highlight other California products. If you are looking for a fun after school snack, I definitely suggest make these bars or trail mix. Both a great activity to let your kiddos help with.
Popcorn Snack Bars
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 3/4-cup almonds, chopped
- 8 cups Gaslamp Sea Salt & Olive Oil Popcorn
- 2 cups rolled oats (do not use instant)
- 1/2-cup raisins
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced dried apricots
- 3/4-cup honey
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4-teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spread coconut on an ungreased baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, stirring once or twice, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Wipe off baking sheet and spread almonds on it. Bake until golden brown and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring once or twice. Transfer to bowl with coconut to cool.
2. Mist a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine popcorn, oats, coconut, almonds, raisins and apricots; stir well.
3. In a small pan over low heat, combine honey, brown sugar and salt. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Pour honey mixture over popcorn mixture; stir until all ingredients are well coated and there are no dry spots. Transfer mixture to baking dish. Using lightly moistened palms, firmly press mixture into baking dish. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before cutting into bars.
Popcorn Trail Mix
Gaslamp Sea Salt & Olive Oil Popcorn
Chocolate covered Raisins
Blue Diamond Almonds
1. Mix all of the ingredients together and store in an airtight container