Early morning alarms - as in 4am early - can equate to lack-luster energy. I know this fact to be true. You see, I USED to get up long before the crack of dawn for my once upon a time fulltime gig working as studio floor manager with Global Toronto’s “The Morning Show”. With my bizarre schedule and twisted body clock, I know that I need reliable sources of fuel to get me going before we go “live” at 6am. I have found that a cold, tall glass of “green juice” and a few nutrient dense snacks do just the trick. Here, I am going to share one of my go-to recipes for a yummy breakfast bar that I frequently provide to 2 of my most important clients – the show’s hosts; Liza Fromer and Kris Reyes.
Feel Alive Raw Lemon Bars
8X8 cake pan
1 1/4 Cup natural almonds
1 1/2 Cup soft dates*
1 Tbsp all natural vanilla extract
Zest from 1 organic lemon**
2 Tbsp juice from above lemon
1 1/4 Cup dried coconut (shredded or flakes)
1/4 Cup goji berries (link) or dried cranberries
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
* TIP: If your dates are hard, simply soak for 5-10 minutes in warm water and then discard the liquid
** TIP: You can use a lemon zester OR simply peel the zest using a good quality veggie peeler!
1. Process almonds in food processor until they resemble a gritty flour.
2. To the processor, add the dates, vanilla, cinnamon, lemon juice and lemon zest. Process on low for about :30 seconds to start the breakdown of the dates. Continue to process on HIGH until VERY well combined - the mixture should stick together well, and be sticky to the touch.
3. In a separate bowl, combine coconut, goji berries and salt. Add the date and lemon mixture. Combine with your hands, until well mixed and the coconut is distributed evenly throughout.
4. Dump the mix into a parchment lined pan and press firmly into the pan, smoothing out the top with a spatula (the parchment will aid in removing the filling when it comes time to cut them up!)
5. If you can resist diving in for a taste straight away, try refrigerating the finish product for an hour or two before you cut them into bars - the colder they are the easier they are to divide up!
You can experiment with the flavour combos here as well. Try substituting in raisins for half of the dates. Or use a combination of other nuts, sunflower, pumpkin or sesame seeds in place of the almonds – any of your favourites should work!
The dates in this snack provide an instant blast of energy, and the monounsaturated fats and protein from the almonds (the seed of the fruit of the almond tree!) help reduce the glycemic load of the fruits, while also providing of fibre to boot!