Last week, I joined Andrea Robertson of Body and Balance and lululemon for a fantastic community event that combined so many of my favourite things: great people, Gatineau Park, snowshoeing, yoga and food! The event, Snowshoe, Soulfood, & Savasana, was something that Andrea had been dreaming up for a while and she was finally able to bring it together with a little help from lululemon and some of my hearty, healthy cooking.
About 30 of us met at the entrance to Gatineau Park in Old Chelsea just as the sun was setting. We strapped on our snowshoes and, as a group, we hiked about 4 km through the snowy paths to Heritage cabin. In the cabin, we warmed up by the fire and enjoyed a candlelit dinner of veggie chili with avocado, cashew & cilantro cream and cocao bites (made by me!). After dinner, I spoke to the group about food and immunity and shared some tips on how to maintain a strong immune system during the winter months. Andrea also led the group through a fantastic yoga class, which was much needed as we prepared to make the trek back to the parking lot. This was such a fun and memorable evening, I look forward to similar events in the near future. Stay tuned!
Since the cocoa bites were such a hit, I’ve decided to share the recipe. As you’ll see, this is a “choose your own adventure” style recipe. Play around with it to create your favourite version. Lately I’ve been using sunflower butter and omitting the chocolate chips altogether, sticking with cocao nibs for a lower sugar option and they taste fantastic. The full recipe is below.
COCAO ENERGY BITES
Makes approximately 40 balls.
3 cups nut butter (sunflower, cashew, smooth almond or peanut butter)
2/3 cup maple syrup
¼ cup cocao powder
1 cup dried cranberries (Amy’s tip: choose juice sweetened cranberries for a healthier, lower sugar option)
1 ½ cup desiccated unsweetened coconut
1 cup mini dairy free chocolate chips (reduced sugar options: 1/2 cup cocao nibs & 1/2 cup chocolate chips OR 1 cup cocao nibs)
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 or 2 big pinches of sea salt
Stir together the nut butter and maple syrup. Once well combined, mix the rest of the ingredients together (reserving ¾ cup coconut) until it is sticky and you can form balls. I use a heaping tablespoon of the nut butter mixture and roll it into balls in the reserved coconut to create a nice even coating (see the photo below). Place the balls in an airtight container and transfer to the refrigerator where they can be stored for up to 2 weeks. You can also store the balls in the freezer for up to 2 months. Enjoy!