Lemon Coconut Energy Bites

These lemony little gems were dreamed up out of necessity. I had three lemons in the fridge that needed to be used before I left for Victoria for five days. I had been meaning to try a raw lemon bar recipe with them, but I never got around to it. As lemon bars aren’t really portable I knew I had to save that recipe for another time. So I decided to use most of the same ingredients that would have gone into the lemon bars (lemon juice, coconut, oats, and dates) to make some energy bites for my trip.

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I have to say that I am very happy with how these turned out! Bright lemon flavour, a hint of coconut and nuttiness, and a natural sweetness from the dates and coconut. These lemony little bites of chewy goodness are perfect for travel and on-the-go snacks. Or you may just want to stand by the fridge and scarf a few down! Don’t worry, that’s okay too.

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Collage, lemon bars 1

Collage, lemon bars 2

Lemon Coconut Energy Bites (Yields 32 small squares)
1 1/2 cups oats
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup sliced/slivered/chopped almonds (raw or blanched)
Zest of 2 lemons
1 1/2 cups pitted dates (20-25 dates)
Juice of 3 lemons (about 1/2 cup)
Optional: 1/4 cup vanilla or berry flavoured protein powder (I like Vega One)

Notes:
If your dates aren’t soft then you should let them sit in a bowl of hot/warm water for at least 15 minutes before using.
I prefer to cut these into small squares because they pack easily into storage containers and I can choose the size of my snack better, however you could also make larger bars, or roll the dough into small balls. Totally up to you.
For gluten-free, just make sure your oats and protein powder are gluten-free.
For nut-free, use sunflower seeds or more oats, in place of the almonds.

Add the oats, coconut, almonds, lemon zest, and protein powder (if using) to a large bowl of a food processor and pulse until it is at your desired consistency: less if you like a chewier bar with larger pieces, or more if you’d like a finer texture.
Add the dates and process until they are in small pieces and mixed up with the other ingredients.
Add the lemon juice and process until everything is thoroughly mixed and clumping together. It may be crumbly, but should stick together when pressed.
Line a baking dish with parchment paper. I use a 11″x7″ pan, but the size doesn’t really matter as long as it is at least 8″x8″. Dump the mixture into the lined pan and press down until the top is relatively flat and even. With a sharp knife, cut into small squares or bars. Place the pan in the fridge for at least an hour, then transfer the squares or bars into an airtight container. Store in the fridge or freezer.
The energy bites will soften a bit when at room temperature, but they shouldn’t fall apart. Enjoy!

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I’ve shared this post with Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays (8/27/13), Allergy Free Wednesday (8/28/13)Gluten-Free Wednesdays (8/28/13)Raw Food Thursday (8/29/13), Healthy Vegan Friday, Wellness Weekends (8/29-9/2/13), Gluten Free Friday #55.

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Raw Vegan High Tea at Indigo Food Cafe

Jem and I recently enjoyed a day of exploring in Vancouver (like being tourists close to home, for us Surryites) and decided to make raw vegan high tea at Indigo Food Cafe one of the stops along our way. I was very excited to discover the existence of vegan high tea somewhat close to home and I’ve been quite eager to try it.

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Indigo Food Cafe is a cozy little place in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood, owned by chef Lovena Galyide and her daughter Kat Galaida. It’s eclectic mix of decor, including antique-style sewing tables, brightly painted chairs, a 3D green lizard on the wall, and hanging framed photos of animals makes for a cute, casual, and charming atmosphere. I also loved that on a hot sunny day the front window provided enough light that the inside lights weren’t turned on, and the front entrance was kept open.

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Our choice of organic fair-trade loose leaf tea, I had Green Rooibos and Jem chose Pear Sencha, came in cute little coloured personal tea-pots and our food came beautifully displayed on a 3-tier glass serving tray. It honestly looked so good all together, that I was cautious at first to eat anything and ruin the display, but of course I eventually dug in. The hardest part was deciding what to try first!

Our tray was filled with kale chips, stuffed buckwheat crepes, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed tomatoes, raw pizza, coconut yogurt with berries and raw granola, chocolate ganache, lemon-goji truffles, mini berries cheesecake, and mini coconut cream pies, one of each item for each of us. Jem and I took our time and savoured everything, but I think we were both pretty full about half-way through. All together, all those little bites added up to quite a lot of food!

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Love those little tea pots and pretty dishes!

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Excited for high tea!

We both thoroughly enjoyed everything that was included in our high tea! Jem’s favourite was the raw pizza, but she commented (pretty much the best compliment a raw/vegan cook/chef can get from an omnivore) that she “wasn’t aware that I was eating vegan or raw food, it was just really good food”.

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Raw pizza bite.

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Tomato stuffed with macadamia cheese, with marinated mushroom, and a sprout.

I really don’t think I could choose a favourite, though the raw pizza and the coconut yogurt bowl were definitely standouts. The pizza crust had awesome taste and texture, and was perfectly balanced by the zucchini, tomato, and garlicky cheese sauce on top. I also loved every little bite of the home-made coconut yogurt, full of fresh berries, and covered in crunchy raw granola, and wanted to keep on eating it when my little bowl was empty.

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Enjoying a lemon-goji truffle.

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From the top right: mini berries cheesecake, chocolate ganache, and mini coconut cream pie.

And let’s not forget about the desserts! They were all amazing! The chocolate ganache was rich, creamy, with intense chocolate flavour, just as great chocolate ganache should be. The lemon-goji truffles, had a bright refreshing lemon flavour and were perfectly chewy. The berry cheesecake was a little soft from the heat by the time I ate it, so it was more like rich berry pudding, but it was delicious. And last, but not least, the mini coconut cream pie was delightfully cool and creamy.

This was the first time that I’ve ever been to Indigo and I think the high tea was the perfect way to start, as you get a wide variety of both savoury and sweet bites, most of which are also available as larger versions on the regular menu. The menu is mostly raw and gluten free, with a few cooked dishes including perigees (both savoury and dessert ones) and cabbage rolls, obviously an ode to Galyide’s Ukrainian heritage. I would definitely go back for the high tea again, and would also love to try some other things on the menu.

Raw vegan High tea at Indigo Food Cafe is available through reservation only. The cost of $27 per person includes your choice of organic fair-trade loose leaf tea and a variety of both sweet and savoury bites, around ten different items per person. More information on high tea, as well as the complete menu, and info for raw food classes is available on the website.

I’d highly recommend checking out Indigo Food Cafe if you are in the Vancouver area.

Also, just a heads up that you can now find my restaurant reviews in the ‘Dining Out‘ page under the menu heading ‘Reviews’. I’ve also created a new Pinterest board called “Vegan in Vancouver” where I’ll be sharing photos of vegan food I eat out, as well as links to my reviews.