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Nutty Cranberry Seed Bars with Dark Chocolate (No Bake)

In the heat of the glorious summer weather we are having, it's a given we'll recall childhood memories of summers past as the familiar smells pass our noses and the sun flickers gently through the leaves on the trees once again. I don't know about you guys, but these months are always slightly bittersweet, as each waft of the dry yellowed grass brings back a gentle shimmering essence of past summers spent growing, learning, loving, idling and essentially becoming who we all are today.

What's crazy is how those feelings come back like we're still there, with our cut off shorts still wet from the pool and the smell of chlorine in our hair long into the night (and likely too for the days that follow). I can still hear the comforting sounds of tennis balls on the court as I scooped out balls of ice cream and waited for a glimpse of my friends car to come fetch me.

Back then we didn't have the same existence that we, and our children, now live. It was a little more pure, and only full of the life that was presented to us right then, and in the present time. Sure, we spent hours at night on the phone, on our special 'teen line' that the parents shelled out for once I hit 13 (a big deal in our household!). Plans were hatched, and friendships were solidified as we whittled away evenings with our bare feet against our bedroom walls while the phone rested in the familiar space between our shoulders and our ears. Hours passed as we swapped banal teenage banter and raging hormonal angst - not much different than the girls of today of that I am convinced. But back then it was one at a time, and call by call to build that closeness between friends. Each friendship was a result of real time invested, and human voices that purvey emotion and life.

Any adventure we had outside of that was real, with our physical bodies as we set out to explore, to see with our eyes and to feel with our hearts and to be here in the now. It was the only way to do it back then. Today things are different, as we all know very well. Kids don't really need to leave their homes to see the world in the same way, cause the world comes to them, and in any form they may want it. Everything they could possibly think they need is in the palm of their hands. Friendship, interaction, visual stimulation, learning, all of it. If you want something, you just find it instantly on your phone.

I find it rather fascinating as I observe the way we are now, with a soon-to-be-adult growing up in the house and all that comes with bringing up a new citizen of our world (talk about pressure folks!). Summer brings me back to so many wonderful things, and I can only hope that for our kids it will one day it will be the same, and I've no doubts that it will, only maybe slightly different. This Monday we are turning it all off for a tech-free day that I hope to repeat on a regular basis. It's mandated for all members of the household, so gadget-free life can take hold for a time and we'll see - going unplugged to get plugged in.

I've a feeling it's going to be swell to live in the right here, and right now. The days may be long, but the years sure are short. Enjoy this yummy treat on a mountain trail or on a dock somewhere, and leave the phone or the computer behind. Perfect summer memories require perfect summer treats, and these nutrient-packed babies have you covered and a whole lot more. Much love & much freedom to all.

No Bake Cranberry Seed Bars with Dark Chocolate

  • (2) cups Rice Krispie cereal
  • (1/2) cup dried cranberries, unsweetened
  • (1/2) cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • (1/2) cup raw sunflower seeds
  • (1/4) cup raw hulled sesame seeds
  • pinch of salt
  • (1) cup nut butter (peanut or almond)
  • (1) cup brown rice syrup
  • (200) grams good quality dark chocolate

Get ready for the easiest prep ever. Start by mixing all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix to incorporate. {prepare an 8/9 inch square pan by lining it with either coconut butter or, even better, parchment paper.

In a small pot, combine the nut butter and the rice syrup and heat, on low, until just warm and mixed together. Pour the warm nut butter/syrup mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well, using your hands or a wooden spoon, until all the ingredients are well coated with the syrup mixture.

If you are wondering if honey would work in place of the rice syrup, I haven't tried it, but offer this word of caution as I am not sure it would hold as well. Rice syrup is a very firm sweetener that gets even harder when refrigerated. Rice syrup is also not as sweet as honey and so I couldn't recommend how much to use (but wouldn't suggest the full cup). I rarely use rice syrup, but in this recipe is worth it, and a single jar (about $6-7) will provide enough for two recipes worth. Transfer the gooey sticky mess into the prepared pan and press in until the mixture is flat and evenly nestled. Refrigerate until set.

To add the chocolate, simply melt the chocolate in a double boiler (using a heatproof bowl nestled atop a pot of boiling water), and spread the melted chocolate over the cold bars that have already set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to an hour. Return to the refrigerator to set again before cutting into bars.

To cut, simply remove the cold bars from the pan and cut into squares with a sharp knife. Store these bars in the fridge in a Ziploc bag or container. They will last for quite a while in there without problem - the only problem being you will soon have to make more.

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