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Raw Vegan Energy Bars with Walnut, Chia, Cherry & Pepita for Ida

Posted Sep 13 2012 7:50am
    The other night my husband and I were relaxing on the couch catching a bit of the late evening news before heading to bed.    I was drifting in and out of consciousness, as I am want to do in front of the tv, and just before fully transitioning to the other side, I caught of glimpse of Ida.  And I'm so glad I did.   Who is Ida you ask?    Ida is Ida Herbert.  A 96-year-old woman (remarkable in its own right) from Orillia, Ontario.  But it's what Ida was doing that was really stunning...    It turns out that Ida, at the ripe young age of 96, also happens to be - now hold for it - a yoga instructor. Yup, that's right folks. This incredible woman is still teaching yoga at the age of 96!    Her journey began in the 1940s - long before yoga came into vogue in the Western World - and it's still going.   I was so inspired by Ida's story  that I decided to dedicate these energy bars to her along with a little thank you - I'm calling it an ode to Ida (although it is not really meant to be sung):     Ode to Ida: Ida, you are a force of life worthy of our calm consideration.  You remind us all of what it truly means to be healthy and whole - to see our minds and bodies not as separate entities at war with one another by rather intimately connected, each working for the other's mutual benefit.  You've certainly mastered the idea of long-term commitment - not so easy in the face of a society consumed by collective impatience, quick fixes and unreasonable demands. And possibly most encouraging for all of us is how you model health and wellness in the form of strength, flexibility, vitality and resilience in stunning contrast to our society's ubiquitous and ultimately doomed attachment to the term "skinny" to define health.   In short Ida, thank you.  I think you are magnificent!   (and, if I can track down your address, I will mail a box of these bars directly to you!  I think you will love them...)     Raw Vegan Energy Bars with Walnut, Chia, Cherry & Pepita for Ida
  • 1 cup raw walnuts or any other nut of choice
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (substitute pitted dates, figs or prunes)
  • 1/3 cup just nuts peanut or almond butter
  • 2 heaping Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened, desiccated coconut
  • 1 Tbsp honey or pure maple syrup
  --------------------   Notes:   You can easily double the quantity of this recipe and play around with different ingredient choices as desired.    Once your ingredients are in place (mise en place) it will take you about 6 minutes to assemble these glorious bars.  Truly one of the best tasting and satisfying health bars our family has ever had.  I'm not sure I'll ever buy another granola bar again!     -------------------   Makes about 8 bars or 16 squares    Place walnuts in blender or food processor and blend for about 20 seconds or until nuts are fairly well ground.  Add cherries, almond butter and chia seeds blending until the entire mixture is well combined.   Meanwhile, place a piece of wax or parchment paper into a loaf pan (the pan should be in the range of  8" x 4") such that it hangs over the sides.   Remove mixture from blender and press it into the base of the loaf pan using the back of a spoon or other implement to flatten and smooth it down.   Sprinkle the surface of the mixture with pepitas and coconut, pressing down gently with your fingers so that they adhere to the surface.          Fold both sides of the hanging wax or parchment paper inward, one at a time, over the mixture and gently press down one last time with your hand on top of the paper resting over the mixture.   Place the pan in the fridge and allow the mixture to solidify somewhat into a singular slab for about 1 hour.  If you wish to accelerate the process, you can pop the pan in the freezer for 20 minutes or so, but don't forget to remove it and return it to the fridge.   When you're ready to slice the bars, simply remove the pan from the fridge and gently elevate the slab by pulling up on the ends of the wax/parchment.    Slice the slab into bar shapes or squares as desired.  Store any remaining portions (good luck with that!) in the fridge.    
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