First post of 2013! We’re going healthy today, because I think many of us are probably in the market for healthy recipes right now. There’s all of that “New Year, new you” stuff going on, and even if eating healthier isn’t really one of your New Year’s resolutions, I think we all feel a bit of pressure to start out the year eating healthier. It’s kind of like an annual trend, don’t you think?
Most years I have some sort of health-related goal or resolution, but here’s the thing: the whole formal “resolution” deal doesn’t work too well for me. I come up with a mental list of New Year’s Resolutions, only to forget them in about… a week. New Week Resolution?? One year I actually tried jotting them down in my phone, and setting a reminder so that every day I’d get an alert and hopefully not forget them. Well, the thing about phone reminders is that I can handle them for a day or two and then it starts to drive me nuts. I ended up quickly clicking the reminder away every time it popped up, which lasted about a month, at which point I finally just canceled the whole alert.
This year, I think I’ve just decided to come up with a couple goals, tuck them away in the back of my mind, and hope that somehow I’ll keep a few of them without ever thinking about it. In the mean time, I’m hoping that sharing a healthy recipe gets us all off to a good start for 2013. If you’ve found yourself on a holiday sugar-high lately, these bars are the perfect cure, because they’re packed with some of those classic holiday flavors we all love, but in a much healthier version. The ingredients are simple and there’s no butter, oil, flour, or refined sugar in sight. They’re no-bake and SO easy to put together. All that, and they’re so good you won’t miss all the unhealthy holiday treats!
If you’re thinking this all sounds too good to be true, here’s how it works: Brown rice cereal and rolled oats act as the base ingredients for the bars and add texture and crunch. We use a combination of almonds and pistachios to make a natural nut butter that binds the bars together. Honey helps with the binding too, while adding its own natural sweetness (and who would say no to the sweet taste of honey?). The dried cranberries add more sweetness and flavor, plus they go perfectly with the pistachios and the final ingredient: chocolate. The light drizzle of bittersweet chocolate on top gives the bars that bit of indulgent flavor we all look for, without ruining the health benefits of our new snack. And because none of these ingredients require any baking, all we need to do is pop them in the fridge for a bit to firm up, and we’ve got a chewy, flavorful snack bar with sweetness, crunch, and not an ounce of guilt. #YUM
These Chocolate-Drizzled Cranberry and Pistachio Bar have all of the flavors you love from the holidays packed into a healthier treat that you can feel good about eating!
- 1 1/2 cup unsalted pistachio nutmeats, divided
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice cereal*
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats*
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup honey
- 3 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips (or chopped bittersweet chocolate)
- Line an 8" square pan with foil. Spray foil with a non-stick cooking spray.
- In a food processor, process 1/2 cup of pistachio nutmeats with almonds until a smooth butter forms, about eight minutes. Wipe down the bottom and sides of the bowl and process for another 1-2 minutes, until smooth again.
- While the food processor is working, whisk together the remaining 1 cup pistachio nutmeats, brown rice cereal, rolled oats, dried cranberries, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl until evenly combined.
- Add the pistachio almond butter and the honey to the dry ingredients and stir in until evenly incorporated.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and pat down very firmly to cover the entire pan in a flat, compact layer. Cover with plastic wrap (here you can use your hands over the plastic wrap to press the mixture down further if needed) and place in the fridge to chill and firm up, about 2 hours at least.
- Once the mixture has chilled thoroughly, cut into bars with a sharp knife (I made 12 - two rows of 6). If the bars seem to be too fragile to hold together, keep them in the pan after cutting and chill overnight before separating. Once ready to separate, use the foil to lift the bars out of the pan, and then carefully separate out onto a large plate or tray.
- Place the dark chocolate in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir (even if they don't look melted yet), and then microwave for another 30 seconds if needed, stirring again afterwards.
- Lightly drizzle the melted chocolate over each bar using a small spatula or a spoon. Place the bars back into the fridge to chill until the chocolate hardens.
- Bars store well wrapped individually in plastic wrap and kept in the fridge.
*These bars are gluten-free if made with gluten-free brown rice cereal and gluten-free rolled oats.
And while we’re on the subject: Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions for 2013? Are any of them health-related? How do you keep your resolutions? – I could use the advice!