Introducing guest blogger Natalie Cumberbirch w/ a recipe for #YardHard Coconut Peanut Energy Balls

Well hello everyone!

Isn’t this exciting, Vancouver’s very own, Yard Athletics, is now blogging and I’ve been asked to write a little something for it! What a pleasure it is. For those of you who don’t know me, let me introduce myself. My name is Natalie, and I am Ilans younger sister. Since day one, I’ve always looked up to Ilan. Ilan played the cello, Natalie wants to play the cello. Ilan plays hockey, Natalie wants to play hockey. Ilan is a badass, Natalie is still trying to be a badass. He is (to this day) my motivator and mentor, as I aspire to have his work ethic, passion, and energy in all that he does.

Some of you may know me from his Snapchat account, I used to star on that platform, often in a horrific and very unattractive state. Maybe you’ve eaten my food, as I am the owner and operator of Food by Natalie Cumberbirch, a very petite meal delivery service in Vancouver, B.C., or maybe you’ve had the pleasure of watching me struggle through one of The Yards insane yet addictive workouts! Either way, it’s an honour to meet all of you lovely Yard Athletics supporters.

Ilan asked me to write a post and I must admit, I have never written anything for the public eye. Maybe you already figured that out based on my poor writing skills, but I hope not! Anyways, here goes nothing.

As I mentioned earlier, I run a small meal delivery business in Vancouver, B.C., catering to families, businesses, professional athletes, bachelors and everything in between (the delivery services are temporarily on hold but I promise they will resume in the future). Every week, I would email out a varying menu, and the client would select what they’d like and for how many people it was to serve. Everything made was geared towards your health conscious individual; a variety of proteins, healthy fats, tons of seasonal vegetables and bright colours. I cater to many busy families and individuals, so providing that quick and easy snack for in between pick-ups, soccer practices and workouts was what I aim to provide!

In November 2017, I  packed up my Vancouver life with a short three weeks notice, and moved to Paris, France. I was offered an amazing opportunity, working as a Pastry chef at the two Michelin star restaurant, L’Atelier de Jöel Robuchon. I’ve now been in France for just over three months, and although I’m exhausted by the work, I absolutely love it. The Parisian life, the baguettes, cheeses, croissants and wines; the zero self control I’ve learned I have, and all the knowledge I am soaking up from these world class chefs.

It’s been an amazing time thus far, but I do miss home and my catering gig. Interacting with clients, creating menus to fit their dietary needs, and having freedom in the kitchen to create whatever I want. And then to watch friends and loved ones enjoy your creations- it’s a special kind of work!

I’ve decided to share a recipe near and dear to my heart, one I drool over and stuff my tiny Parisian freezer with. Life can be busy, and getting the proper nutrients for your workouts is essential to your progress. If you’re anything like me, you get out of bed 10 minutes before you have to leave the house, and often grab a quick banana or peanut butter toast as your pre workout. Well now, you can spend a lazy Sunday afternoon blending up these super easy little sweet treats, and grab them before you head to your next Yard workout. They taste amazing and are packed with healthy fats and natural proteins, perfect for before or after your workouts. Or at 10pm on a Friday night, watching sports highlights on your couch, with a glass of wine or beer. Cause everyone does that, right?!

Feed them to your loved ones, feed them to your children, feed them to yourself. They’re even dog friendly, so go crazy! Enjoy these little balls of heaven. And don’t forget, Yard Hard baby.

#Yardhard Coconut Peanut Energy Balls

Raw almonds 1 c.

Raw pecans ½ c.

Dates, roughly chopped ¾ c.

Peanut butter (or any nut/ seed butter of your presence) 1 ½ c.

Chia seeds ¼ c.

Coconut flakes, unsweetened ¼ c. + ½ c. for rolling

Hemp hearts ¼ c.

Maple syrup (optional) 1 tbsp.


Simply place the first three ingredients in a food processor, or high powered blender (ie. A Vitamix– worth the investment) till the nuts are pulverized and the dates come to a slight paste.

Incorporate your preferred nut/ seed butter and blend that together. Your mixture should be a bit wet; if it’s not, add a few drops of water, or coconut oil works too.

Add in your chia seeds, coconut flakes, and hemp hearts, and lightly pulse to incorporate. I like the energy balls a bit textured, so often add these last ingredients with a spatula by hand.

Maple syrup… I don’t generally add it, but if you want them a bit sweeter, throw it in! Lastly, roll your balls into 1 tbsp rounds (or however big/ small you want them!) , and toss in flaked coconut.

I immediately freeze these individually on a baking tray, and once fully frozen, transfer to a ziplock bag or container. They keep in the freezer, in a sealed container, for up to 2 months.

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