Seedy Sesame Granola Bars from The First Mess Cookbook

Our recent trip to Hawaii has inspired me to become more proactive with planning our weekends. We had so much fun being busy, seeing sites, and experiencing life, honestly, it's the most fun we've had in a while. Last week I sat down and scheduled lots of exciting things for this summer.

Since moving into our house, we have spent most of our free time fixing it up, and I know I've vowed many times before to take more holidays, and spend less time at Home Depot, but this time, I've actually reserved campsites and booked plane tickets, and I am just really excited to see some sunshine and get outdoors and experience life with my sweet little boy and my man.

We all know that road trips and traveling calls for good snacks - and I don't mean Cheetos and Rootbeer, because believe me when I say that those are some my favorite road trip snacks. What I mean are road trip snacks that actually make you feel good about yourself (not nauseous and bloated) even though Cheetos are so delicious. Snacks that contain loads of good things like fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals, which is exactly what you'll find in Laura's new cookbook,

The First Mess, a collection of vibrant plant-based recipes to eat well through the seasons. I am a firm believer in the importance of plant-based eating, and Laura brings such approachability and beauty to those ideals. For those of you who aren't familiar with Laura's work, her blog

The First Mess, is a collection of vibrant and beautiful recipes that are delicious and satisfying. Her writing is thoughtful and charismatic. I've been a long-time follower of Laura, and I love seeing what different recipe she has created each week, or even just little tidbits into her life, because she is one of those people who inspires you to be a better person, to take time for yourself, reflect more, and dammit, eat more veggies.

I have already made a handful of recipes from her book - the garlicky winter vegetable and white bean mash with miso gravy, the creamy quinoa and white bean risotto with crispy brassica florets, the mega clump granola, and her seedy sesame granola bars with chocolate. I am basically planning to cook my way through her whole book next month.

I wanted to share with you guys one recipe, in particular, Laura's seedy sesame granola bars with chocolate. These bars are so easy to make, delicious, and tahini + chocolate, need I say more. I made a batch last week and we've been snacking on them since. I love the balance between the sweet and salty flavors. They are crunchy, but not too dry. The tahini gives them such a nice rich flavor. I've been crumbling them up and sprinkling them onto my yogurt in the mornings, and it sure beats the uber dry granola I have in the cupboard.

If you're interested in ordering a copy of Laura's book, you can pre-order on Amazon. The official release date is March 7, 2017. Congratulations Laura, what a brilliant accomplishment!

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recipe adapted slightly from Laura Wright's 

The First Mess Cookbook

makes 16 - 18 bars

prep time: 10 minutes

cooking time: 25 minutes

3 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 tsp kosher salt

1 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/3 cup sesame seeds

1/3 cup chia seeds

1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2/3 cup tahini

1/2 cup maple syrup

2/3 cup brown rice syrup

1 tbsp light-tasting oil

2 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Grease an 11 x 7-inch pan with oil. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides.

In a large bowl, combine the rolled oats, salt, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, and 1/3 cup of chocolate chips.

In a small saucepan warm the tahini, maple syrup, rice syrup, oil, and vanilla on low heat. Just until the ingredients melt together. Do not let it boil. 

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine.

Press the mixture into the baking pan. Place into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before removing from the pan.

While the granola bars are cooling, melt the chocolate in a double boiler.

Remove the granola bars from the pan, and slice into bars. Drizzle with melted chocolate. Let the chocolate set before storing. Can be store in an airtight container for a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.