Make it Vegetarian: Cranberry Sauce Stuffed Vegetarian Bean Balls

Cranberry
I’ve made these vegetarian bean balls stuffed with cranberry sauce at least 10 times in the past three months. They take about 5 minutes to prep and 20 minutes to cook. Serve them with this delicious Brussels sprouts salad (I use feta instead of the blue cheese and slivered almonds instead of pecans) and oven roasted potatoes.

The bean balls were adapted from this recipe from Daily Burn for Cranberry Stuffed Chicken Meatballs.

Cranberry-Sauce Stuffed Vegetarian Bean Balls

1 can white beans, drained and smashed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon Worchestershire
1 tablespoon ground sage
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
pinch of salt and pepper
Cranberry sauce (the whole berry kind or homemade)

1. Mix all ingredients except for cranberry sauce into a large mixing bowl.
2. Using clean hands, take out a tablespoon of the mixture (either eyeball it or measure with a measuring spoon) and put it in the palm of your hand. Using a teaspoon, scoop out the cranberry sauce and insert it into the center of the mixture in your hand.
3. Cover the cranberry sauce with another tablespoon of the bean mixture, and then work with it until it forms a ball.
4. Place the bean balls onto a greased baking sheet and bake in the oven at 425 for 15-20 minutes.

Energy Ball Recipes

EnergyBall Recipes (1)

I’ve wanted a food processor for years, but every time I decided to go get one, something told me no.  I would put the food processor back on the shelf and walk away. I have done this at least four or five times a year.

And yet, I’d see recipes for energy balls, nut butters, hummus, etc., and try them in my low-powered blender. The outcome was OK, but not great.

But about a week ago, I was blessed with a food processor from my boyfriend’s sister. I couldn’t believe it! I finally had one!

Yesterday, a chocolate craving hit me around 2 p.m. and I decided that after going to the store, I’d use my food processor to make the energy balls I’d been dying to make for years now and have them turn out correctly. (Most energy ball bases, I’ve noticed, are made with dates. Dates in a low-powered blender? Not good. Here’s a trick I heard but haven’t actually tried if you want to make them in a low-powered blender: soak the dates to soften them. I’ve read anywhere from 15-30 minutes will do.)

After seeing so many energy ball recipes, you can build your own easily. It goes a little like this:

Base. Something sticky. Ideas:

  • Dates
  • Agave Nectar
  • Maple Syrup
  • Nut Butter
  • Honey

Fillings. Any combination of the following (but the possibilities are endless!)

  • Nuts (Almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, pistachios)
  • Seeds (Pumpkin, sunflower)
  • Nut butters (Almond, Peanut Butter)
  • Oats
  • Dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, currants, cherries)
  • Chocolate (Cocoa powder, chocolate chips)
  • Canned Pumpkin
  • Coconut

Flavorings and Spices. This is where it gets really fun. Try

  • Crushed Peppermint Candies or Peppermint Extract (holidays)
  • Pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and cinnamon
  • Vanilla extract
  • Coconut extract

Phew! Those are a ton of combinations, but again, the possibilities are endless. Play around with the ingredients. Don’t be afraid to get creative.

I made two versions yesterday:  A chocolate date ball adapted from one of my favorite recipes from Chocolate Covered Katie’s cookbook, and a No Bake Cookie inspired one.

And boy, did the energy balls turn out EXACTLY how I wanted them too! They were creaming, not too sweet, and stuck together perfectly.

Version 1: Chocolate Coconut Energy Balls

This recipe was adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie’s recipe for “Anytime Fudge Balls” from the Chocolate Covered Katie Cookbook. (Please go buy it! It’s amazing and a wonderful healthy dessert cookbook. I look through it at least once a day.)

9 pitted dates

½ cup slivered almonds

1 tbsp cocoa powder

2 tbsp dark chocolate chips

Unsweetened flaked coconut

¼ tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp agave nectar*

Pinch of salt

  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until crumbly but stick together when you ball it in your hands by making a fist.
  2. Roll into balls, try not to eat them all, refrigerate.

Version 2: Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip, Coconut, Oat Energy Balls

9 pitted dates

Heaping ¼ cup crunchy peanut butter

½ cup old fashioned oats

2 tbsp semisweet chocolate chips

¼ cup unsweetened flaked coconut

¼ tsp agave nectar

  1. Pulse in food processor until crumbly but sticks together when you ball the mixture in your hands by making a fist.
  2. Roll into balls, try not to eat them all, and refrigerate.

Baked Banana Cranberry Bars

I found this recipe for baked oat bars on Oh She Glows the other night and decided to whip up a batch of my own. I made a few changes, so below is my adaption of Angela’s original recipe. For hers, you can (and should!) find it here.

The biggest change I made to the recipe was patting out the oat mixture until it was fairly flat. This resulted in a crunchy edge and the day after they’d cooled and been placed in the fridge overnight, a thin, slightly crispy, and chewy texture.

Baked Oat Bars with Bananas, Cranberries, and Currants
Adapted from this Oh She Glows recipe.

2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup 2% milk or milk of choice
1/4 cup oil (I used vegetable oil)
1/4 cup Turbinado sugar
1 tbsp ground flax
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried red currants
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup flour (I used all purpose)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups oats (I used old fashioned rolled oats)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Mix wet ingredients and then add in the rest of the ingredients.
2. Spread onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until golden brown.

Throwback Thursday: Popovers

Back in December, my boyfriend and I decided to make one of our favorite soups: broccoli cheddar. We love this Food Network recipe for a “healthified” version.

We wanted bread to go with it, but we didn’t want anything too heavy. We also were bored with buying bread from the store. My boyfriend suggested we tried popovers.

It has changed our lives. We made them several times, and each time, we giggled with delight (or at least, I did.)

It’s the little things.

Popovers, if you haven’t had them, look like a dinner roll, but on the inside are basically hollow. They’re a similar batter to a crepe, but are baked in a muffin tin in the oven. And, you guessed it, they “pop over” when they bake. The result is a light and airy muffin that’s basically hollow on the inside, making it the perfect vessel to put soup in. We love Alton Brown’s recipe, but have also made Mark Bittman’s recipe for popovers too. Both are delicious, but we prefer Alton’s because we weren’t huge fans of the sugar in Bittman’s.

Or, as we discovered, plain yogurt and apricot jam.

Popovers are versatile, easy to make, and delicious. They’re just enough of a change from a dinner roll to make a dinner come to life. They’re great savory and also as a vessel for something sweeter.

Have you tried popovers?

Easy Italian Salad

I have made this salad at least four times now, each time adding different ingredients. You can make this with bagged salad, but I prefer the fresh iceberg and romaine. This is a perfect salad to bring to a large gathering. It does take a bit longer to prep than my Easy Kale Salad, but it’s well worth it.

Easy Italian Salad
1 head iceberg lettuce
1 head romaine lettuce
1 red onion, sliced
1 container cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 small can sliced olives
3 tbsp pepperocinis
4 tbsp croutons
pinch of black pepper and sprinkle of red pepper flakes
Dressing of choice (try to keep it light)

Toss all ingredients into a bowl and do not add dressing. This will be prevent the leaves from getting too soft. If everyone you are serving it too agrees on one dressing, add it just before serving. Not too much! Drizzle the dressing around the edge of the bowl and then toss the salad. That’s it!

What I’d like to add the next time I make it:
– Cucumbers
– Shredded Carrots
– Shredded Kale

2015 New Year’s Resolutions

Be consistent. I got this from Gabrielle Bernstein’s video. I had an “aha!” moment when I watched that video: You can make great change just as long as you’re consistent. Being consistent makes it hard to give up the moment you “fail.” Being consistent makes it easy to make change because you are understanding that you’re human. It’s a way to acknowledge that you are ready for change. Change takes commitment.

Love yourself and others. Jesus said to love others as yourself. Work on loving yourself and spreading that love to others. This could be a simple as not participating in body-shaming of yourself or something else (yes, celebrities count too!). Be love to yourself and others by making a healthy meal and inviting loved ones to partake. Be love to yourself and others by making a commitment to focus on posting positive things on social media, such as an encouraging quote, story, or song.

Those are mine.

What are yours?

More general goals for me? I’d like to read more. I’d like to write more consistently on my blog, practice yoga and meditation daily, and continue journaling and writing poetry.

Happy New Year! May you be blessed.