This is probably the first Halloween in my adult life that I could buy trick-or-treat candies before the evening of the event. Partly I'm just getting better about self control (not really) but mostly because I make treats here at home now that satisfy my sweet tooth in a healthier way. Today I spent a couple hours in the kitchen and took some pics so I could share with you here. First I'll show you these fruit and nut balls I make. They're my version of a LARA bar, only cheaper and guaranteed fresh. Here's everything I use in them:
I buy the nuts and fruits in the bulk section at the local cut-rate-bag-your-own grocery store (called Winco here). A couple scoops of each. I did measure them today and there's about 1 cup each of walnuts, pecans, toasted almonds, cherries, dates, and figs (which I bought the big bag of at Costco). I send it all through the food processor and mix it in a big bowl
For the figs, I nip off the stem at the end, and while I'm cutting each one individually I go ahead and slice it in half also before processing.
Now the three types of nuts and the three types of fruits (all of which can be changed up to meet your own taste) are all in one big bowl.
Wash your hands real well and remove all rings and start mixing with your hands. This is where you will also de=lump the dates. Then pour in about a third cup of melted coconut oil and about 3 Tbsp of agave nectar. Also about a tablespoon of GOOD vanilla (no more grocery store stuff! Shop the kitchen section of discount stores like Home Goods, Tuesday Morning, Ross, TJ Maxx, etc) Blend and blend and blend with your hands.
I've recently started adding a couple handfuls Chia seeds (you can't tell they're in there but you know they're good for you) and I recommend adding them last and mixing with a wooden spoon (otherwise most of them will just stick to your hands).
Then I use a tablesoon to scoop a fairly compressed (push it into the side of the bowl as you scoop) amount. Scoop it out of the spoon and using my hands basically press it into what looks to be a meatball. (which is one of the many names we call these, having not decided on a definite name yet. I'm also particular to Schweddy Balls.)
Then roll them around in some finely shredded unsweetened coconut. This soaks up some of the sticky wetness that you had to add to hold it all together.
Put them in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
So that when you make up smaller baggies full of them they won't get all mushed together. We always have one bag handy in the door of the fridge and more bags with 8-10 in each standing by in the freezer.
I recently added some dark chocolate bits that I ran through the processor. Two things made me decide not to do that any more. 1) they tasted WAY too good straight out of the fridge and I ate them like there was no tomorrow and 2) John said that by the time he ate the few I managed to send in his lunch they were room temperature and the chocolate made the ball rather 'greasy' overall.
These are great to add to lunches or on hikes, etc. A couple midmorning really helps stave off hunger pangs. One time I did add up all the calories that went into a bowl and divided it by the number of balls I got out of the batch and it was right around 100 calories. But they're 100 calories that are pretty good for you, I'd say. ;-)
I'll be back soon and tell you how I make Almond Joy bites that are actually good for you!