Monique and I have a monthly ritual that involves the two of us, plus two or three other friends (and sometimes all of our spouses) heading out of the cozy Temecula Valley to breezy, gorgeous Vista. There, nestled right in the middle of an old town filled with salons, yoga studios and Sunday morning breakfast spots, is The Yellow Deli. Now, I don’t know much about the people that run it. I know that they’re of a specific religion and that they grow a lot of the food and tea they sell. I know that they built the restauraunt (and others in various locations) with their own hands. I also know that eating there requires patience and a love for the people you’re dining with, because it might take a while to get your food. Don’t show up starving! But the sheer charm in the hand-crafted elements of the Yellow Deli, from the tables to the menus so carefully doodled with black ink, is sure to keep spirits bright. After all, our world is always so go, go, go! Why not relax and eat in a tree house once in a while? I’m especially fond of the Yoga Vista Special, but my lunch-mates usually order the Yellow Submarine or the Morning Star Rancher.
Last month it was just girls, so we spent an especially long time upstairs at the Mate Bar, sipping coffees and teas. I’d never noticed their strange basket of green bars before, but since everything else is just fantastic I decided to give it a chance. It wasn’t until the next day, the bar having been forgotten in between fits of caffeine-induced laughter, that Monique and I broke into it. At first I thought the taste was a little on the strange side, but the more I snacked, the more I realized there was something magical about it. “Yellow Deli Magic,” we like to call it. The staff there won’t give me a full recipe, naturally, but they did give me a few ideas about what was inside. Matcha makes it green and that seemed like a great jumping off point for Google.
This recipe for Matcha Energy Bars comes from Mama Moderne. I used it to get an idea of what to add, but tweaked it a little based on what I had in my kitchen, too. The best part is making them is quick and there’s very little clean-up that you can’t just toss in the dishwasher. No cluster of bowls to be hand washed!
Recipe: Matcha Energy Bars
- 1 cup natural peanut butter
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut (I used sweetened because that’s what was on hand!)
- 1 tablespoon Matcha green tea powder
- 1/3 cup agave nectar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup peanuts
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (out of carob, sadly.. so these aren’t 100% vegan, but you can make them so!)
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- Preheat oven to 325° F. Prepare an 8” x 8” casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Combine the peanut butter, rolled oats, shredded coconut, Matcha green tea powder, agave nectar, water, vanilla extract, and baking soda in a food processor and pulse until well combined. The mixture should have the consistency of a thick paste. If it is too dry add a few tablespoons of water until a thick paste forms. Transfer to a medium size bowl and fold in the nuts, sunflower seeds and chocolate chips by hand.
- Press the mixture evenly into the prepared casserole dish. Bake at 325°F for 15-17 minutes or until the bars feel firm to the touch and look dry. Allow to cool. At this point, I transfer the casserole dish to the fridge and let it chill for 20 minutes. It makes them easier to cut. Cut into eight even bars. Wrap each bar in plastic wrap or aluminum foil for easy transport.
Number of servings (yield): 8
One thing I don’t usually do is discuss nutritional facts, but I think it’s important to note for these type of bars. Are they snacks or are they meal replacements? Considering the amount of healthy fats, the calorie count is much higher, so be cautious when popping one of these in your mouth. I ate an entire one and found myself to be immediately full. I’d consider cutting them into sixteenths instead, to take the calories down and to not be tempted to keep eating just because it tastes good!
The next item made of Yellow Deli Magic that I’d like to deconstruct is their iced Peach Mate. Or perhaps that vegetable lentil soup I had today. It’s a good thing we have to drive to Vista to eat this magical food, otherwise my waistline and my wallet would be in trouble!