Make it // Power balls
January 11, 2012
Are you on a health kick or detox this month? I didn’t plan to, but having a stubborn head cold that has refused to shift since Christmas has spurred me to make some dietary changes so I’m feeling 100% for our snowboarding holiday to France in a couple of weeks.
I’m not doing anything strict or silly, but following on from an informative chat with a medical herbalist for an article I wrote for AOL recently, I’m trying to ditch alcohol and caffeine, sugar and trans fats; cut down on bread and pasta; and up my intake of fruit and raw vegetables.
Whether you are actively trying to eat healthier or not, I think we are all familiar with that dip in energy levels that can hit mid morning or mid afternoon. It can make it all to easy to reach for a caffeine fix or something sugary to give an artificial and temporary boost, which tends to be followed by another slump.
In a bid to find a high-energy, low sugar solution, I started looking on my favourite healthy eating sites and blogs for ideas. I came across these dried fruit and nut bites at Whole Living and Sunday night power balls from Louise at Table Tonic. I decided to follow and adapt the latter and wow, what a revelation!
They may look like something you'd leave out to indice the birds, but I promise they are delicious and so worth trying. Super simple to make; packed with flavor and crunch; just sweet enough; and absolutely fantastic to beat those energy slumps and hunger pangs. I adapted the recipe to use regular dates rather than the medjool variety as that’s what I had left over from Christmas – and you may want to do the same as they are quite pricey in the UK. I think regular dates are less moist though as a few tablespoons of cold water were needed to bind the mixture together.
On the subject of blitzing food, I can highly recommend the Russell Hobbs mini food processor if you’re looking for a new machine. I find it fantastic for everything from soups to pastry, breadcrumbs to pesto and while it may be on the small side for families, it’s fantastic for a small household and takes up very little space.
So back to the recipe – I love that it is completely adaptable to what you have on hand. I used regular porridge oats and added almonds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and a couple of dried figs. Next time I may throw in dried cranberries and apricots. Louise recommends storing the balls in the freezer which I’ve not tried yet as ours is the size of a glove compartment, but I’ve found them perfect from the fridge.
Adapted from Table Tonic
(makes around 20 balls)
- 1 cup porridge oats
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 250g pitted dates
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- ½ cup sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of sea salt
- Cold water, as needed
1. Place all ingredients (except dates and vanilla) in a food processor and blend on high until finely ground.
2. Add the vanilla and dates and blitz until well combined. If the crumbs don’t hold together when pressed between your fingers, add cold water – a tablespoon at a time - until it sticks together easily.
3. Wet your hands and roll the mixture into small golf balls. Store in fridge or freezer – they can be eaten straight from the freezer as the oils in the nuts and seeds will prevent them from freezing.