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Hungry and festive?

Now, this is not something I usually write about, however, living a healthy lifestyle is not about deprivation, but about all things in moderation. This tasty holiday treat falls into the category I wrote about a few weeks ago, where you have it for a special occasion and that is it.

This homemade bar will be free from added sweeteners, oils, and preservatives. You will get an added antioxidant blast from the dark chocolate and cherries, and a healthy dose of fiber. At about 150 calories per serving, this is a treat that can be enjoyed without guilt, in moderation. This super tasty treat makes a great gift and can be a fun family project.

Holiday Fruit and Seed Bark

3/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries (I like to mix them)

1/4 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

1/4 cup raw sunflower seed kernels

1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger

7 ounces dark chocolate (70 percent or greater)

Combine cherries/cranberries, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and ginger in a bowl and stir them well. Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty foil and chill the pan.

Place the chocolate in a double boiler or heatproof bowl and cook over simmering water, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is melted. Stir in half of the fruit and seed mixture and spread onto the prepared, chilled pan. Using a spatula spread the chocolate mixture as evenly as possible into an 11x9 inch rectangle. Immediately sprinkle the remaining fruit mixture evenly over the top of the chocolate mixture and chill for about 10 minutes.

Break into about 10, 3-inch pieces and serve or keep chilled for later use.

This bark should be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and should keep for up to three weeks.

Corinna Maggy is the owner of Women On Weights, a health and fitness program developed specifically for women. She is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist. Corinna offers private personal training, small group classes, and individual weight management programs. She can be reached at 605-3549 or by e-mail corinnamaggy@yahoo.com.

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