I recently volunteered to cook for a cookbook fundraiser to support an amazing program called First Descents, a non-profit that sends cancer survivors and fighters to outdoor adventures such as surfing and rock climbing. The goal of the program is to empower and inspire participants through physical challenges and educate them on the healing powers of food as a way to nurture both mind and body. The nutrition program is focused on using whole foods as well as local and organic when available.
The week leading up to the cookbook photo shoot volunteers were given a list of various delicious recipes to choose from. “FD Crack Bars” peaked my interest simply because I eat some form of an energy bar on a daily basis due to its convenience quality when on the go. And I certainly could not ignore the fact the name of the recipe suggests the bars are highly addictive once consumed. Let me tell you, these had me hooked at first bite. While I freely admit I don’t often allow the words “raw” or “vegetarian” to enter into my food vocabulary, these bars have crushed the idea that raw, vegan, etc. cannot be healthy and delicious for you all at the same time. Filled with dried fruit, nuts, seeds, coconut, and chocolate these are the perfect way to fend off the mid-afternoon slump. The dates provide sustained energy while the nuts and seeds are key sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals. And I almost forgot to mention the best part: No baking skills required. Simply prepare the mixture in a food processor, press into a pan, and refrigerate.
I had a fantastic time learning more about First Descents from the fundraiser project sponsor who is a cancer survivor and graduate of the program the day of the photo shoot in San Francisco. I also had a chance to get out my camera and play around with the food styling props on hand (thank you, Numnums!) all the while eating the yummy dishes prepared by the other volunteers who came that day. This fundraiser was a perfect example of how food brings people together and fosters creativity all the while supporting such a fantastic cause.
If you are interested in purchasing Volume 2 of the First Descents cookbook it will be available in mid-March through the groups website. In the meantime, make these bars!
- 1 cup Medjool dates
- ½ cup raisins
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- ¼ cup cashews, raw
- ¼ cup almonds, raw
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds, raw
- ¼ cup pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or orange extract
- ¼ dark chocolate chips
- ¼ cup coconut, shredded
- In a food processor, process the dates and raisins with coconut oil until it forms a ball.
- Process the nuts, seeds, extract, chocolate, and coconut.
- With the food processor running, add the dried fruit, one portion at a time to nut mixture.
- Continue to process until the mixture sticks together. You can add small amounts of water or coconut oil to achieve this.
- Press into an 8x8 pan lined with parchment.
- Refrigerate 15-30 minutes.
- Cut bars into any size that suits your needs.