OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASeveral years ago, I met Peggy Segundo, founder and owner of Zinc Beauty, when I asked her to do my makeup for an event. I had heard of and seen her beautiful talent from a mutual friend, but little did I know that she is an innovative cook as well. #wholepackage When she last did my makeup for the headshots for The Art of Living Beautifully homepage, she told me about health bars she makes that help her with energy during those long days of shooting. I had honestly never considered making a health-food bar from scratch, but thought these would entertain Brian’s health kick (on since January), and could possibly be a good snack for the boys’ lunch boxes. The chocolate chips are a definite selling point.

peggyandlauren

Peggy and me at the TAOLB photo shoot in the Spring

 

So after school on Tuesday, we came home and the boys helped me make Peggy’s Chocolate Chewy Cherry Bars. I loved making these because the recipe didn’t call for a bunch of random ingredients I’ll never use again; I had everything on hand.  I’m not sure how many of you actually make the things I post on here, but here are a few reasons I think you should try these.

  1. Dried cherries are delicious. They kinda sorta have a cinnamon flavor which is very Fall-ish.
  2. There are no artificial preservatives.
  3. Chia seeds are cool.
  4. The creator of these bars Lives Beautifully. Her cosmetic line is gorgeous and very gentle for your skin! (Stay tuned later this month when she shows us her favorite makeup look for fall…and her take on organic spray tanning!)  If she can combine all that into makeup, just think what she can do with a snack bar.

Please give these a shot and let me know what you think.

-ciao for now-

Lauren

 

Chewy Chocolate Cherry Bars

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened puffed millet or rice cereal (both if you have them!)
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves, chopped medium-fine (or almonds or walnuts)
  • 1/3 cup salted roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries , coarsely chopped (or dried cranberries)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh flax seeds (or chia seeds)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips or finely chopped bittersweet chocolate

Directions

  1. Position a rack in lower third of oven; pre-heat to 300°F. Line an 8-inch-square pan with parchment paper, letting it hang over on opposite sides. You will use this to lift the bars out of the pan when cooled.
  2. Toss cereal, pecans, pumpkin seeds, cherries, sesame seeds and ground flax or chia seeds in a large bowl.
  3. Combine honey, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan. Warm over medium heat, stirring, until the honey is more fluid and the salt is dissolved. Pour the honey mixture over the dry ingredients and fold until everything is moistened and sticky. Let cool for 5 minutes. Fold in chocolate until evenly distributed. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a fork. Using the back of the fork, press the mixture firmly down into the pan or cover with parchment paper and press firmly all over.
  4. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Oven temperatures vary, remove before honey burns. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack to room temperature, about 1 hour. Use the ends of the parchment to lift the bars from the pan. Gently peel off the parchment. Use a sharp knife to cut into 16 bars or squares.

 

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