Raising the Bar

On a particularly busy Wednesday morning, in the throes of managing the combination of an overloaded work day with a sick child and an unavailable nanny, a cookbook made its way across my desk entitled “Life in Balance.”

While the book and its title, by popular Australian home cook and author Donna Hay, reference a balanced diet without the need for an actual diet, its contents provide a solution for both life and nutrition, particularly a section on power snacks. Items like Cocoa, Banana, Date and Cashew Bars; Peach and Coconut Chia Snacks; and Seed and Date bars provide the perfect make-at-home, grab-and-go snack options.

But the recipe for Apricot, Quinoa and Almond Bars particularly stood out for its use of spelt, an ancient grain that’s high in protein and easy to digest. Make these bars and keep them in the kitchen, or bring them to work for days that feel particularly off-balance.   

Apricot, Quinoa and Almond Bars


  • ½ cup quinoa flakes
  • ½ cup flaked almonds
  • ¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1¼ cups chopped dried apricots
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut
  • ½ cup wholemeal spelt flour
  • ½ cup vegetable or nut oil
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 320 F.
  2. Line a 7-by-11-inch tin with nonstick baking paper and set aside.
  3. Place the quinoa flakes, almonds, pepitas and oats on a baking tray, toss to combine and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly toasted.
  4. Place in a large bowl, add the apricot, coconut, flour, oil, maple syrup and cinnamon and mix well to combine.
  5. Press the mixture firmly into the prepared tin, and bake for 40–45 minutes or until the slice is golden and firm to touch.
  6. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Slice into bars to serve.
  8. Store bars in an airtight container for up to one week.

* Recipe makes 16 bars