Raw Cherry Chocolate Love Bars- makes 18 bars
3 c. medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1 c. tart dried cherries (local from Farmers Market, you can also find the the bulk section of most grocery stores)
1/2 c. raw cacao powder (find at Whole Foods or Good Earth)
1 c. walnuts
1/2 c. hemp seeds (find at Whole Foods or Good Earth)
1/2 c. ground chia seeds (I use my coffee grinder to grind, store in an airtight container. Find at Whole Foods or Good Earth)
1/2 c. whole chia seeds (for a little crunch on top, thanks Yelana!)
2 T. tahihi
1 tsp. celtic gray salt
1. Place half of the dates, cherries, cacao powder, walnuts, hemp seeds, ground chia (NOT WHOLE CHIA, RESERVE THOSE FOR THE TOP!), 1 T. tahini and 1/2 tsp salt in the food processor. Pulse until well combined. Pour this mixture into a bowl.
2. Place the rest of the dates, cherries, cacao, walnuts, hemp seeds, ground chia, tahini and salt into the processor and pulse again until well combined. Add this mixture to the already processed mixture.
3. Line a large baking dish with parchment paper, make sure the parchment paper hangs over the sides and when folded over covers the entire mixture, this will help when getting the mixture out of the dish. Pour the prepared mixture into the baking dish and spread out evenly with your hands. Press the mixture down and make sure it is even.
4. With a pastry brush or just your hands wet the top of pressed mixture, sprinkle the whole chia seeds over the top of the mixture. Fold the parchment over the mixture, place a heavy book on top and then place in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight. When ready, cut into pieces and store in an airtight container, place in the fridge until ready to eat, Enjoy!
Chia Seeds: Chia seeds contain omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory compounds in nature, as well as being great for the brain. Chia seeds contain even more omega three fatty acids by weight than salmon does. These tiny seeds are also a complete protein, meaning that they contain all 8 essential amino acids that your body cannot synthesize on its own, and must get from food. These little seeds of love need to be ground or bloomed in liquid for your body to absorb and utilize them. Sprinkle on oatmeal, salads yogurt or mix into smoothies.
Hemp Seeds: Hemp seeds is a complete protein source. The oil from hemp seed has the highest percentage of essential fatty acids of nearly any seed on earth! Hemp seed contains over twenty trace minerals, it naturally sprouts on the hemp plant lowering phytic acid (these means no need to soak before you eat) and increasing enzymes which makes the seed even more digestible. Hemp seeds essential fatty acid and protein profile provides a healthy alternative to fish.
Cacao Powder: Cacao contains the HIGHEST concentration of antioxidants of any food in the world! By weight cacao has more antioxidant than red wine, berries, acai, pomegranates and goji berries combined. Antioxidants protect us from age related health conditions and illnesses. They shield our DNA from free-radical damage. Cacao also contains magnesium, iron, chromium, manganese, zinc, copper, vitamin C, omega-6 fatty seeds, trytophan, serotonin, fiber and the list goes on. Cacao is truly a ‘super’ food! We even use it in our coffee on the weekend and I use it in my weekly homemade face mask.
When I am meal planning for the week I usually plan for one savory snack and one ‘sweet’ snack (the need for a sweet treat is for my honey, but for me it needs to be healthy). This last week I wanted to try my hand at ‘larabars’, have you had these before? They are a great quick healthy snack, especially on the go. In my quest to further my skills in the kitchen and being in control of what goes into our bodies, I couldn’t wait to make my own DIY raw power bars. These are truly ‘power’ bars, full of nutrient dense foods and raw to boot. It helps that they feel like a treat but that will help nourish us when we need that little pick me up mid-morning or mid-afternoon. You can use anything that feels good to you, however you will need the dates and some other dried fruit to hold it all together. But go wild!