Last weekend my mom and I went hiking. Driving out of Vancouver we were greeted by the curving seaside roads and ghostly purple mountains along the horizon. Driving in BC isn’t quite like driving anywhere else I have experienced. Each turn brings a new amazing sight and the landscape reveals itself as you twist along the highway, following the arcs of the mountains and the ocean. I still can’t quite contain myself amidst this natural beauty.
We found ourselves staying at a tiny, beautiful cabin in the woods. The plan was to pack snacks, stay the night, and leave at the break of dawn to start our 18km round trip hike (the leaving at dawn didn’t quite work out). Even though we only stayed the night, it was one of the most charming little places I have been. A collection of small wooden cabins heated by fireplaces in the woods beside a rushing river. The sound of the river echoed in my ears as I dozed off beside the fireplace, so loud that I almost couldn’t sleep, but soothing me into a lull as the fire warmed my toes.
In the morning (albeit later than we intended) we headed out. The hike up to Garibaldi Lake isn’t particularly noteworthy on the terrain front, besides the fact that it is about 6km of steep uphill walking. The path is wide and fairly even, not as twisty or diverse as some of the hikes I’ve been on. That’s not to say it wasn’t gorgeous; the endless spindling trees and trickles of small streams are as breathtaking as ever. I am a firm believer that the journey is as magical as the destination, but on this particular hike Garibaldi Lake stunned me into silent admiration.
It is the bluest water I have ever seen. Turquoise and sparkling. It feels like a storybook illustration, the kind you know only exists in the faraway reaches of your mind or on the pages of your favourite fantasy books. I have rarely felt as overtaken by a view as I did by this one. It was hard to turn my back and make my feet carry me down the mountain and trek the dusty path back to the car.
Some places stick to you like they were already there, waiting to be seen and felt. I know I’ll be back, I’ve already booked a trip. In the meantime I will snack on these granola bars and conjure pictures in my mind of this beautiful blue-green lake nestled in the snowy mountain peaks.
These blueberry lemon cacao nib granola bars are some of the best I have ever made. They taste almost jammy, like someone swirled fresh blueberry jam through a bowl of seedy granola.
We took these on the hike with us and they were the perfect, quick substantial snack.
I dry roasted the almonds and pumpkin seeds to give them a nutty, toasted taste. The pumpkin seeds also add a little crunch, giving texture variation and a super satisfying bite.
One of my favourite parts is the cacao nibs. Healthy chocolate that also gives you lots of energy and nutrients. Done deal.
Just for a little twist I zested one lemon into the mixture and it just ties everything together. I like when nutty, sweet flavours are complimented by a bit of salt and tang, and the lemon zest did the trick.
I hope you make these and bring them hiking! Or just for a walk to the park. Or even just to eat for breakfast when you’re in a rush.
Lots of love to everyone. xx
Blueberry Lemon Cacao Nib Granola Bars (Raw)
Makes 8 large or 16 small bars.
I used a mixture of almonds and pumpkin seeds for this recipe, but you can really pick whatever nut/seed combo you prefer.
- 1 cup soft dates (18-20), pitted
- 1 cup mixed almonds and pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup cacao nibs
- 1/4 cup dried blueberries
- zest of one lemon
- pinch of salt
Prepare an 8×8 inch baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 and lay almonds and pumpkin seeds on a baking tray. Toast in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes, until golden brown. Set aside.
Add the tahini, honey or maple syrup, and coconut oil to a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until just melted and whisk to combine. Remove from heat. Set aside.
Add the pitted dates to the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth and gooey (mine formed into a ball in the food processor). Remove the blended dates and add to a large mixing bowl. Add the toasted nuts/seeds, the rolled oats, coconut, cacao nibs, dried blueberries, lemon zest, and salt to the bowl. Pour the tahini/honey/coconut oil mixture into the bowl and stir with a spatula to combine (or use your hands) until the dry and wet ingredients are well incorporated.
Pour the mixture into the prepared parchment lined baking pan and pat down using your hands until it is smooth and evenly distributed (see photos above). Freeze for 20 minutes and then cut into bars. These can be stored in the freezer, fridge, or countertop. Enjoy within a week if not frozen.