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May 2, 2016

Vegan Semisweet Cereal Bark

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We're back! If you've been following me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter (please do!) then you've probably been inundated with my pictures of food, sillyness, and Disneyland. So much Disneyland! 

My husband and I just had the best time exploring our old LA haunts. Our west coast lifestyle was very different than our current lifestyle in ATX. Not better, but different. Chiller maybe? This came to our attention while catching up with friends out there. The same beautiful and impressive people they were when we left - they all continue to be masters of conversation and hosting. Whether we were eating breakfast in their hill-top homes, walking through a park in Beverly Hills, or perusing the Museum of Jurassic Technology, our friends were at ease, confident in their space, and just not fussy. Their presence really forced me to look at how fussy I've become. I'm always fussin' about something.

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Did I mention that we ate the best food? From top to bottom and left to right: Coconut Kale Smoothie from Naturewell in Silverlake, Hearty Blueberry Oatmeal from Downtown Disney's Starbucks (thank God for a vegan breakfast option!), Notchos from Real Food Daily, Vegan Menudo from Malo in Silverlake, Vegan Froyo from Pinkberry in Burbank, and Vegetable Broth and Tempha from the Hollywood Farmer's Market.

Our trips to LA and Phoenix reawakened some lost pieces in us that we're thrilled to have back. Not only that, but the food we ate has energized our creativity and desire to explore more ingredients and cooking techniques. Texas is very immersive and wonderful, but I've gotten lazy in my cooking here. Austin is an amazing food town so that complacency is my own fault entirely. After eating like kings for a week though, I've been inspired to cut back on rice and beans, and find joy in working just a little bit harder in our everyday meals. 

As my cooking skills have grown I think I lost that love of exploration. It was replaced with a love of comfort which is kind of a sticky love, isn't it? It's easy to just stick to comfort instead of trying to grow. I'm ready for exploration and comfort to co-exist in my cooking.

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This Semisweet Cereal Bark is comfort all the way, but when I thought about making it I had a lot of discouraging thoughts like "No way, it's too easy." and "People usually make cereal bark with white chocolate so what if this is lame?" followed by a whole lot of "What if the cereal goes stale and everyone hates me?". So many what-ifs about something so trivial. See what I mean about fussing?

I'm glad that the curious side of me won out, and told the self-conscious side of me to get a grip. After all, it's only chocolate. 

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I think that sentiment is important to remember in the kitchen. It's only food, and it's not that big of a deal. If you're apprehensive about trying an ingredient or technique just remember that the first step at getting good at something is to be bad at it. 
That last line is becoming extraordinarily helpful in my quest to be less fussy.

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There are few recipes less fussy than chocolate bark. It's technically best to temper the chocolate, but I usually don't if it's just for us. Maybe my recent attitude about exploration and comfort will inspire me to be less lazy about chocolate, but this recipe has already been written so that will have to wait.

For our cereal bark I used a combination of cinnamon, berry, and peanut butter and chocolate cereal which gave it a very homey after-school snack kind of vibe. I think next time I make it I might do a vegan graham cereal with marshmallows for a s'mores inspired bark. Doesn't that sound so good? One of y'all do that and report back!

Vegan Semisweet Cereal Bark
Ingredients:
  • 12 ounces vegan semisweet chocolate
  • 2 cups vegan cereal of your choice
Directions:
1.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat.

2. Completely melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler. I actually don't have a double boiler so I used a metal pot that fits snuggly inside another pot filled with water.

3. Pour the melted chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet, and use a spatula to spread it out into a medium sized rectangle. Around 6X10 inches should be good. Bark is supposed to be easy so don't stress over the size. Just make it not too thick or thin.

4. Top the chocolate with the cereal, and let it set for a few hours until it's completely hardened. You can even put it in the fridge if you'd like.

5. Once the bark is hard use your hands to break it into largish pieces. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days for maximum cereal freshness.

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cereal bark, vegan cereal bark, dark chocolate cereal bark, easy cereal bark, gluten free cereal bark, dairy free cereal bark
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