With two young girls in the house, I have to have a LOT of snacks available at all times. I used to go to the grocery store and stock up on tons of prepackaged "healthy" snacks that I just knew would last through the month. Not only did the stuff not last a month--usually it never lasted for much over a week since my kids seem to think they must be chewing and swallowing every waking moment--but the snacks turned out to be not so healthy.
So, I started making more snacks and buying less of them. I still indulge on a few processd items for them, but more and more of our snacks are either fresh fruits or veggies, raw nuts or homemade treats. I make a lot of cookies and bars and I always have a hard time deciding what to call the bars. I get tired of saying "snack bars" or "granola bars." It just sounds so...boring. And that's how these yummy bars got named Ultimate Chocolate Cherry Energy Bars.
They are full of raw nuts and seeds, including black chia seeds, have a good helping of rolled oats and brown rice crisp cereal and boast the irresistable combination of dark chocolate and dried tart cherries. We've got whole grains, here, protein, omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamin C...just a lot of really good stuff! Did you know that dried cherries contain anti-aging properties? In fact, they are an antioxidant powerhouse! They are thought to fight cancer, heart disease and arthritis pain, boost brain power and help you sleep! //Source//
They make a great pre- or post-workout snack or a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. They are kid-friendly, especially with the chocolate, and pack nicely into a lunch box as long as there is an ice pack. Of course if your child goes to a nut-free school, you might have to save these for an after-school snack!
I'll admit they certainly look like a granola bar (even if my food photography does stink but, hey, I'm learning!) but don't they sound sooo much better when you hear "Ultimate Chocoalate Cherry Energy Bars??" Yeah, I get excited over even the names of food...but seriously, if you were looking at items on a menu and saw two choices, "granola bar" and "ultimate chocolate cherry energy bar", which one would you want to read more about? Which one would really catch your eye?? Uh huh, thought so...face it--you all are just as weird as I am!!
Ultimate Chocolate Cherry Energy Bars Prep/Freeze Time: 25 minutes Yield:12-18 bars
1 cup rolled oats (gluten free if needed)
1 cup brown rice crisp cereal
1 ½ cups raw mixed nuts, roughly chopped (I used almonds, walnuts and pecans)
½ cup mixed raw seeds (I used chia, sunflower and pumpkin)
½ cup dried tart cherries
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
¼ cup pure maple syrup
2 Tbs. almond butter
2 Tbs. coconut oil
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp. fine grain sea salt
½ cup vegan chocolate chunks ( I used Enjoy Life Mega Chunks)