Raw Cocoa Sesame Seed Almond & Peanut Butter Oat Balls

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Whenever I get a craving for something sweet,  I invariably turn to ToneItUp.com’s Peanut Butter Protein balls recipe. It’s a decadent protein packed crunch that will have your tastebuds calling for seconds and thirds.

Yet, being the chocolate lover I am, I can’t help but include some dark chocolate or cacao nibs. After a whole week of craving, I finally succumbed to the call of the late night “baking” Sirens and made my version of K&K’s recipe.  (Note: there is no actual baking involved; just some old fashioned mixing with a spoon).

I made two small batches: the main difference being the nut butters and the sesame seeds.

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Almond Butter Balls

~1/3 – 1/2cup of raw unsweetened almond butter

pinch of sea salt

~1/4 – 1/3cup of a mixture of molasses & maple syrup (to taste: you can add more or less)

handful of craisins

~2-3TBSP dark cocoa powder

1/3 cup of gf oatmeal

1/4 cup of white, raw, untoasted sesame seeds

handul of raw, grated coconut

1. Mix the almond butter with the molasses and maple syrup over a burner, just until the mixture is smooth.

2. Add in oats, cocoa powder, craisins, salt and coconut.

3. Oil hands so the mixture won’t stick and shape the mixture into bite-size rounds.

4. Roll each round in the white sesame seeds for a delectable coating.

Peanut Butter Balls

Follow the recipe above except for the following substitutions:

-Swap the almond for peanut butter.

-Swap the craisins for golden raisins. 

-Swap the white sesame seeds for black sesame seeds.

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To Serve: You can eat them immediately; but I prefer them refrigerated or frozen.

Enjoy:-)

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GF pancakes

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Gluten free pancakes for breakfast this week.  Just threw in a pinch of this and a pinch of that into a bowl a la Amelia Bedelia:-)

Actually, it’s a medly of brown rice flour, flaxseed meal, one ripe banana mashed, half an apple-grated, cinnamon, vanilla essence, oatmeal soaked in warm water & blended, almonds-crushed, aluminum-free baking powder, salt and arrowroot powder.

I couldn’t be bothered to measure on a quiet Sunday morning; so I just put in what felt right.

Every bite is laced with the flavors of banana, apple and vanilla.  A drizzle of maple syrup and all is right with the world.

Falafel Bites

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I wanted a change from my weekly hummus ingestion, so l decided to make falafel bites. Hey, sometimes a texture change is all you need to bring some variety to veg cooking.

One ravenous night I had stopped at Whole Foods and picked up a container of delicious fried chickpea bites w/ a hummus dip. It was more than enough to satiate my appetite that night.  What’s more, anytime I stop by WF, I can hardly stop myself from purchasing it.

The initial crunch gives way to a hearty mouthful of garlicky chickpeas. Though I love the humble chickpea dearly, falafels have always disappointed me with their dryness and lack of aromatic flavors (at least the ones that I’ve tried).

These were different for two reasons: the dip and their itty bitty size. While the bites were still dry when eaten alone; pairing it with a tangy dip initiates an amazing gastronomic experience.

I loved it so much that I just had to try to recreate it.  I’m sure you can get creative with dip choices: yogurt and dill; tahini and lemon; cilantro, parsley, basil pesto; etc. I paired mine with a bit of hummus and some chimi churri: just delsih!

Homemade Falafel Bites

Ingredients
2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight with 1oz. of apple cider vinegar

4-5 cloves of garlic

1/2 large red onion

2tbsp tahini

1/2tbsp olive oil

1tbsp chia egg (mix w/ 4tbsp of warm water until it becomes viscous)

Sprinkle of the following herbs and spices to taste: rosemary, thyme, oregano, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric, black pepper, red pepper flakes and salt.

1. Boil the chickpeas until soft; add a couple of crushed cloves of garlic and crushed ginger to help neutralize the enzymes that produce gas.
**This step takes me about 1.5hrs. A pressure cooker would decrease the time by half.

2. Drain all water and discard all the crushed pieces of ginger and garlic.

3. After the chickpeas have cooled; toss them into the food processor with the remaining cloves of garlic, olive oil, chia egg, tahini, onion and your herbal spice blend.

4. Process to a chunky consistency.

5. Shape into bite-size pieces. Bake @ 400F for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through.  You can also fry them for a sumptuous snack.

6. Pair with your desired dip and enjoy!

Going Vegan…Again

I heard a sermon on Sunday that got the wheels in my head turning. Yes, it was fashioned to persuade non-lent takers to partake in the Lenten season. And yes, it had all the lore and awe of the prophets’ dedication and remembrance of the Lord. Yet, what struck me was the question the deacon posed: what are you giving up for lent? At first, I smirked; I had this lent business in the bag. I mean where else does a vegetarian laud over one’s will power and dedication to a cause that seems unsurmountable to the layman carnivore? But, I had a second thought: what could I possibly give up? An addiction, a tendency, something I held dear. As the deacon listed all the wiles and temptations we should stay away from, I realized that in order to truly understand even .000001% of the passion on the cross, sacrifice, however small, was necessary. We spiritually cleanse when we let go of all our worldly addictions and look through a fresh set of eyes. My goal for this lenten season is to cleanse inside and out. Diet-wise, I’ll challenge being vegan for lent; while hopefully gaining a novel perspective on life.

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One if my meals this week.