Meet the lady behind the bars. 


The Beginning. 

When I was five I started cooking with my grandmother and mother. Cooking and baking became a large part of my life from that point on. I was very lucky to understand the importance of good food; I used local food as much as possible and frequented organic farms when I had the chance.  For years I baked Challah every Shabbat (Friday)  and for the past 40+ years make 4000 holiday cookies...every year. I was always a cook and an eater, becoming a chef didn't fit into my plans until later.

For as long as I can remember I have cooked, canned, and baked for myself and my friends. A stop at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh's Culinary Program afforded me the official title of Certified Chef followed by a few years as the Giant Eagle Market District as a demo chef. This morphed into a personal chef opportunity which unfortunately skidded to a halt before it began. Cooking as a profession was on hold for the last 6 years due to my husband being in
an accident a few years ago and a bout of breast cancer for me in 2012.


Over the past 6 years I have become a vegan- or what I like to call vegan-ish. I do not eat meat or dairy but I do eat fish.  In 2009 I noticed my cholesterol had consistently risen over the last 10 years.  At that rate I would soon be a candidate for cholesterol lowering drugs.  Nope! I did not want to take anything that wasn’t completely necessary. 

There had to be another way.  

Always a cook, even in times of trouble. 

Always a cook, even in times of trouble. 

 A friend told me about how she went vegan- as a result her cholesterol went down 35 points. It was clear this is what I needed to do. By the next week- poof!-I was vegan. I stopped eating meat, cheese, all dairy, eggs and animal fat. Quickly after my transformation, I became obsessed with vegan baking since I am first and foremost a baker. I began to bake all kinds of vegan cookies, brownies, and other goodies. A year after beginning my vegan journey (even with all the goodies!) my cholesterol had dropped 65 points. 

Everything was looking good until I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  In 2014 after my chemo, radiation, and surgeries, I'd gone back to my Veganish diet.  I got a blood test and my cholesterol was higher than when I'd started being a Vegan.  Talk about depressing!  Sometimes chemo can increase cholesterol so I buckled down and became an even stricter Vegan.  Six months after having been really, really good, my cholesterol had gone down to about where I'd started.  Still unhappy, I spoke with my doctor and she suggested I eliminate cream (which I'd not had for years) decrease sweets and alcohol and increase fiber. Fewer sweets? Damn.


Barb's Bars.

My husband suggested I stop eating chocolate. Talk about kicking a woman when she's down! My hubby expects ME to give up chocolate? I gave him the “you’re crazy” look and headed to the kitchen. I was committed to making myself a Veganish chocolate snack that was high in fiber, healthy, satisfying AND tasty. This was the beginning of Barb's Bars.

The bars have changed a bit since then- it’s less about the need for my chocolate fix and more about nutrition as a whole. After working on a few different types of bars and giving them to my family and friends we realized that they were delicious, satisfying, and pretty good for you too. I started baking Barb’s Bars professionally in the spring of 2015 and never looked back.

Here’s to thinking outside the box, never making compromises and fueling whatever you do that makes you a badass. 

Hugs and Chocolate, 


Barb is a bad ass
Working on my flexibility Harmony Pilates Studio, Shadyside, PA!

Working on my flexibility Harmony Pilates Studio, Shadyside, PA!

Recipes of Interest

Recipes of Interest



Vegan "Donut" Muffin

Vegan "Donut" Muffin with

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote


I am constantly perusing recipes on my phone.  If I find something interesting I place it on my desktop, or if it looks really good, I print it and 95% of the time try it.  Because of the internet, my ridiculous collection of cookbooks has been reduced to three shelves instead of six,  with a promise to never buy any more COOKBOOKS!  That didn't last long when I saw used cookbooks by Alice Medrich on chocolates and desserts.  I mean honestly, the most expensive of the four was under $7 and was in Excellent condition. Then there was the Julia child and Jack Peppin cookbook for $1 at a church sale.  That is not really buying a cookbook, it is a donation.  I delude myself often!!

My latest recipe find was  Donut Muffins from the King Arthur website.  I dislike muffins-if I want cake I will eat cake- but Iove donuts but don't eat them because they don't "agree with me."  That is such a funny saying, like the donut is pro life and I am pro choice, it doesn't agree with me so I won't eat it.  No, it repeats on me, yet another funny expression, as if all day it reminds me I ate a donut.  Well that is actually exactly what it does!  I digress, I made this muffin immediately because if it tastes like a donut...nirvana!

I made the recipe as is, almost, I added a strawberry rhubarb layer (it is RHUBARB season) and it was incredible.  It tasted like a DONUT!  So knowing the recipe works, the next step was to make it vegan!  I have had many many failures trying this transition but have gotten to the point where I know what will work and what will not..  I have become fearless with flaxseed meal.  I immediately substituted 1 T of flaxseed for each egg with 3 T of water.  The butter was changed out for Vegan Smart Balance.

So here is the recipe.



  • 1/4 cup vegan margarine
  • 1/4 cup sunflower or saff oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 T flaxseed meal in 1/2 of water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 to 1 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg, to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or Organic All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup cashew milk



  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin. Or line with 12 paper or silicone muffin cups, and grease the cups with non-stick vegetable oil spray; this will ensure that they peel off the muffins nicely.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugars till smooth.
  3. Add the liquid flax seed mixtuere  beating to combine.
  4. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla.
  5. Stir the flour into the margarine mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.  The vegan batter was very thick and needed more liquid because the cashew milk is so thick.  Add 1/4-1/2 cup water to get a thinner batter consistency.
  6. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the cups nearly full.
  7. Bake the muffins for 15 to 17 minutes, or until they're a pale golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.
  8. Remove them from the oven, and let them cool for a couple of minutes, or until you can handle them. While they're cooling, melt the butter for the topping (this is easily done in the microwave).
  9. Use a pastry brush to paint the top of each muffin with the margarine, then sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar. Or simply dip the tops of muffins into the melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon-sugar.
  10. Serve warm, or cool on a rack and wrap airtight. Store for a day or so at room temperature or freeze
  11. Yield: 12 muffins.