I love going to my mom's house because she and my sister are constantly searching for creative ways to make delicious, HEALTHY food.  What I'm sharing with you is a salty and sweet granola/energy bar that's made with only whole, plant-based ingredients.  They are perfect for satisfying the mid-afternoon craving guilt-free and don't even require any baking!  They are pretty dense and addicting, however, and I wouldn't recommend eating a lot at a time because I guarantee you will be tempted to. I love that the sweetness comes from the dates & coconut oil, not processed sugar.  My mom always has these on hand in the fridge and gives me a handful to take home whenever I visit. You can make a big batch because they freeze really well and are super delicious straight out of the fridge. 
INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten free rolled oats (optional: toast them at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden--suggested!)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup/agave)
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup almonds (optonal: toast them at 350 degrees for 8 minutes or until golden)
  • 1 cup pecans (optional: toast them at 350 degrees for 8 minutes or until golden)
  • 1 cup roughly chopped dried tart cherries
  • 3/4 cup optional additions (shredded coconut, different nuts) {chocolate chips are great too but make them not as healthy....but who's counting!}

DIRECTIONS: 

  1. Prep an 8x8 baking dish with nonstick parchment paper
  2. Place oats, almonds, pecans, dried cherries, sea salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Mix well to incorporate cinnamon.  Add in any extra toppings like coconut here too.
  3. Place pitted dates in a food processor and mix until it forms into a ball, about 1 minute or so.
  4. Put honey, coconut oil, almond butter, and date ball into a pot over low heat, and mix until melted through.
  5. Pour this melted mixture over the oats--mix well.
  6. Place this oat mixture into your baking dish and press down firmly to make sure everything is packed in really well and in one even layer.
  7. Cover with more parchment paper and place in the refrigerator for about 1 hour or until hard.
  8. Cut them into rectangles or squares and store them in the fridge or freezer. 
  9. Enjoy!