Sweet and Salty Fancy Bars

Now, when you hear the word “bars”, you might think “foolish health food” or “bland” or “$5 pitchers AND Tequila Tuesday”. Erase such thoughts. Well, it is Tuesday, so you may ponder tequila. But only for a moment! Then I strongly suggest you consider these sweet and salty fancy bars. A wonderful balance between nuts, grains and Mediterranean sea salt (fancy), plus chocolate, prunes and better-than-nutella…ahhhhh. They are a way back into love.

Please drink responsibly.

It may be difficult to believe that these bars would help anyone with love, upon seeing the above picture.

Just wait for it.

Shazam!

Oh, and Justin’s chocolate-hazelnut butter.

HELL yeah. I made (and scarfed down…what a weirdo expression) these handsomes after a run. An awesome run. An awesome and pathetically overdue run. An awesome and pathetically overdue run that called for an equally awesome and overdue escapade in the kitchen. Which lead to other awesome and overdue times, and to feeling…at home, so to speak.

Sometimes the things we value the most, the stuff we really thrive off of, are what we take for granted. Running, writing, reading, cooking/baking, taking pictures willy-nilly (also a weirdo expression); these are pretty important aspects of my Bette-Jane-ness. They keep me going, you know? And after a time of neglect, my days begin and end with guilt. First, I feel bad for not running. Then, a week later, I’m a worthless human being that doesn’t deserve friends, sleep or free time. Or even a hunting sesh with Dick Cheney. Nope, don’t even deserve that. Well, wait, maybe because of my worthlessness, I do…?

Whatever. The point is, we simply cannot be at our best when we are not true to the best that is in us. Eh? Maybe it’s music for you, or painting, or knife-fighting, or gardening, or gnome-collecting, or spelunking. After running, cooking, writing, etc., I’m like Richard Simmons at 6 AM with a bunch of aerobics gear. Ready to effin’ go!

Hopefully, we can all balance what we love to do (what doesn’t necessarily¬†seem productive, but is way coo), and what we just gotta do to sustain that. It’s a constant struggle. Fer sho. And I’m certain it’s life-long. The greatness that comes along the way, though, is what makes it all worthwhile.

See what I mean? These sweet and salty fancy bars change lives. Yay blog insights! Chuckle.

Sweet and Salty Fancy Bars

an open-ended “recipe”

total time involved: about 20-40 minutes, plus 1 hour freeze time (like Mr. Freeze, but edible and not evil. Probably as much protein, though)

makes about 12 servings, depending on your bar size

adapted from the little red house

Ingredients:

  • a few handfuls each of rolled wheat and rolled oats
  • 1 pound of dates (I used some dates, mostly prunes for the ol’ pa)
  • large handful sunflower seeds, salted, raw, whathaveyou
  • smaller handful flaxseeds
  • about a cup of roughly chopped almonds
  • chocolate chunks/chips to your liking (so 1/3-1/2 cup for me wahaha)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch cinnamon
  • Justin’s delicious and all-natural chocolate-hazelnut butter melted, drizzled…yums. Optional, but come on!

Directions:

  1. Chop nuts. I was foolish and delayed this step, subsequently resorting to violence with a bag of almonds and my counter. Did not work very well; I don’t recommend.
  2. Prepare parchment paper and a swell pan (swell meaning it’s really up to you, I used an 8x8er).
  3. Puree dates/prunes in a food processor until a fun and consistent ball forms. This is where things get unattractive.
  4. Add vanilla and cinnamon in with date-prune-ball. Pulse!
  5. Scoop your sticky-but-fragrant-mess-ball into a large bowl. Woo!
  6. Mix dry ingredients with spoon (good luck) or hands (do it), until things are even and tasty/your date-prune-ball can take on no more.
  7. Spread onto pan and smush down so as to keep things uniformly-bar-like. I’m sure there are excellent tactics out there for such a task, but I utilized none of these. I patted aggressively. Or! You can shape your bars here and eat them.
  8. Or! They can be frozen and cut, which is the route I took. Yay! If so, give ‘em an hour in there.
  9. Cut and eat, or drizzle chocolatey hazelnut and eat, or eat chocolatey hazelnut and then drizzle and then eat again.
  10. Here’s to food freedom!

-Bette Jane

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