Holiday party season has arrived and I’m just so thankful that this year we can try to safely get together with some of the people that we hold dearest. Jonathan and I were invited to our first holiday get together of the year a few weeks back. I reached out the the hostess a few days before asking what I could bring. Wine? A cheese plate? Tequila?! She responded with, “dessert would be great!” My mind started racing. What could I bring that would be delicious, easy on the hostess to serve, a crowd pleaser and quick and easy for me to make?? And then I remembered my Chocolate Granola Bark! When my family is craving something slightly sweet, yet very crunchy and chocolatey, I always turn to this recipe. It can be whipped up in ten to fifteen minutes and served after dinner as the perfect dessert or as a bite size piece of bark during the day with a hot cup of tea to curb any craving. Chock full of seasonal “deliciousness” this is comfort/holiday food at its best, in disguise! I even figured out how to make this bark into a healthy treat by adding chia seeds, hemp seeds, almonds and sunflower seeds, which all help to up your fiber, healthy fats, and protein intake! Did you know that nuts and seeds help to regulate body weight as their fats are not fully absorbed and can help regulate food intake – amazing for pre and post-Holiday food feasting season!!!  What’s not to love?! So, the morning of the party, I whipped up my beloved chocolate, granola bark, broke it into crunchy, bite size pieces, placed them in a pretty container and tied it with a beautiful bow. And then, I made a second bath and attached a note for the hostess that said, “This batch is all for you!” Dessert, check! Hostess gift, check!

I hope that your holiday season is filled with health, happiness, dessert that’s easy to create, delicious to eat and most of all, shared in good company. xx Janine

Ingredients: 1 sheet pan 13×17 covered in parchment paperPreheat oven to 350 degrees2 1/2 cups Rolled Oats (not instant)2 teaspoons Cinnamon1 cup Almonds (chopped)1/2 cup Chia seeds1/4 cup Hemp seeds (Trader Joe’s)1/2 Sunflower seeds1/2 cup Almond flour1/2 cup Maple syrup1/4 cup water1 teaspoon Vanilla extract1/2 cup Olive Oil2 Tablespoon egg whites or 1 egg white from a large whole egg (whisked until frothy)1 bag Semi- sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:In a large bowl, add all the dry ingredients – oats, cinnamon, chopped almonds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, almond flour and mix well. Set aside.In a medium bowl mix together the maple syrup, water, vanilla and olive oil.  Mix well.In a small bowl whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well, add the egg whites to mixture, combine and mix well.Place the mixture onto of the lined sheet pan and press down firmly (with all your body weight!) all over the sheet pan, make sure the mixture is evenly spread out on the sheet pan.Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until the bark looks golden brown (make sure it does not get over done as it can change the delicate flavor). Opening the oven a few times to have a look allows the steam to come out – leaving a crunchier Bark.Allow the bark to cool for 1-2 hours.  Melt the bag of semi sweet chocolate in the microwave (in a microwave proof bowl), 20-25 seconds on high, then stir the chips, repeating until all chocolate is melted.  Do not over heat the chocolate or it may burn. With a flexible spatula or a spoon spread the chocolate all over the bark or sprinkle it around to give it a different look!Put in the fridge for an hour to set the chocolate.  Break off pieces of this yummy goodness and enjoy the Holiday season with your family and friends!!