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.

My Favorite Kale Salad

I put together this kale salad last week and both my dad and I fell in love with it. It’s a simple recipe that you can whip up in about 5 minutes because of the pre-cut kale and pre-shredded carrots. Just toss all the ingredients into a bowl and enjoy! You can even make this salad ahead of time because the kale retains its crunchy texture overnight.

My Favorite Kale Salad
2 cups pre-shredded kale
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped cucumbers
pinch of black pepper and red pepper flakes
3 cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp your favorite dressing (I love Tara Stiles’ Dijon dressing, a light drizzle of ranch, or Italian dressing.)

1. Mix all ingredients into a bowl and enjoy.

What I would add next time:
– boiled egg or chickpeas
– sprinkle of goat cheese, feta, or parmesan
– almonds

Daily Discovery: Jamberry Nails Review

Capture

Hi, everyone! Ever heard of Jamberry nails? You’re about to. My aunt, a Jamberry consultant, recently sent me a few pairs to choose from to do a review. I’ve used them before, and I really liked them. You can choose to do a full manicure with them, or use a few as accent nails. Since it’s the holiday season, I decided to go with this holiday-themed nail.

Jamberry nails are nail wraps. You apply them with heat from using either the Jamberry heater or a hair dryer, and each sheet of nail wraps should be able to give you at least 2 manicures and pedicures. You’ll love these if you’re a huge fan of nail art (like those tuxedos of Zooey Deschanel’s), nail color, and saving time and money, but you’re not a fan of:

– paying someone to do it for you
– applying fake nails
– doing it yourself
– waiting for polish to dry
– smudging your manicure or pedicure minutes after you’ve finished them
– yucky nail polish smell

And for all the cooks and foodies out there, I also love them because since I spend a lot of time cooking and cleaning dishes, they don’t fade or smudge.

Here’s what you’ll need to apply:
– hair dryer (or Jamberry nail heater)
– applicator stick
– tweezers (I didn’t end up using these– you can use these to grab and hold the nail wrap while you heat it.)
– nail scissors
– clean nails (You can use a wipe or I use hand sanitizer.)
– nail file

Before beginning, make sure to find the right size nail for your fingers and push back your cuticles.

You’ll receive instructions on how to apply the nail wraps, but here’s a brief idea of how the process goes.

youwillneed

Take your applicator stick and use it to pull the nail wrap off the sheet. Grab your hair dryer and on a medium heat (and on the low setting), heat up the back (sticky) side of the nail. It took about 20 seconds for me. Once it’s heated, apply it to your nail.

applyingwithstick1

Use the applicator stick to push the ends of the nail wrap into your cuticle and then smooth the nail out over your nail.

usesticktosmooth

Using your nail scissors, trim off the excess around your nail.

usescissorstotrim

Use a nail file to smooth down the excess. When using the nail file, make sure to use it at a 90 degree angle.

fileatninetydegreeangle

And you’re done! I decided to use the wraps as accent nails, and painted the rest of my nails red. It isn’t featured here, but I found gold glitter polish and put that on over the plain red nails.

done

To shop all the available options, please shop through my aunt’s link: http://tessdillashaw.jamberrynails.net/product/santa-suit#.VIyhwCvF9nI

You can also follow her Facebook page.

It is too late to order for Christmas, but it isn’t too late for the sparkliest day of the year: New Year’s Eve. Ring in the new year with these beauties:

Gold Sparkle
Fade Out
Sugar & Spice

Leftover Thanksgiving Breakfast Bake

I love cooking, but I admit that I’m not very adventurous. I love the idea of cooking with your intuition and just taking a risk once in awhile and creating something without a recipe, but I don’t do it often.

But the day after Thanksgiving while my family decorated the tree, I went into the kitchen and stood in front of the fridge. I eyed all the Thanksgiving leftovers we had and I felt my creative juices starting to flow.

I gathered up the leftover ham and stuffing, followed by some eggs, cheese, green onions, and green bell peppers.

And what I made, with all the doubt I had about it (and kept announcing to my family), was amazing. My father and I ate it over the next couple of days, and it’s a great filling for breakfast burritos. (Make sure to bake them in the oven for an extra-crispy tortilla.)

Leftover Thanksgiving Breakfast Bake
A filling recipe that will leave your family happy and ready to decorate for the holidays. They won’t even know you used Thanksgiving leftovers.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup to 2 cups leftover stuffing, chopped into cubes
4 green onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup to 2 cups of leftover ham, chopped into cubes or sliced into strips
10-12 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, Colby jack, or a mix of cheddars

Directions
1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Turn on the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Add the stuffing cubes and cook about 5 minutes, until they start to turn golden brown.
3. Add the onions and green bell peppers to the stuffing and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the ham to the stuffing mixture and stir to combine, heat for 1-5 minutes.
5. Turn off skillet and remove from heat.
6. Spoon mixture into a greased oven-safe casserole dish.
7. Pour eggs over the mixture and sprinkle with cheese.
8. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
9. Enjoy!

Staring at the Stars

I love living in the city. I love the amentities; I love not having to drive to a larger town for things such as going to the mall. I love that there’s always something to do if you search for it.

But there’s one thing missing that I forget about from time to time: the stars. The gorgeous, twinkling, and yet so mysterious lights in the sky. The city lights, though I love them, take over for the stars. The neon lights, traffic lights, car lights, take their place. Instead of looking at the sky, we look out over the city and all of its twinkly lights.

And while it’s beautiful, sometimes it feels great to find that wide, dark, and open space where you can find the stars and look up instead of out.

When I feel nervous or anxious, I go outside. I take a deep breath and instead of looking out, I try to look at the sky instead. It puts everything in perspective.

In the city, you don’t see the stars much. You might see some, and you might forget how many there actually are.

Here, in my hometown, I remember the stars. I can stare up at the vast darkness dotted with twinkling lights and really remember what it’s like to see so many. It makes me wonder how I could ever choose the city over the beauty of that vast dark sky. It makes me wonder how big our world, our universe, that space really is. It makes me wonder why I ever do anything else at night other than just stare at them.

Remember the stars. Remember to look at them once in awhile. Remember to take it all in.

If you can’t see the stars where you are, search them out. Take a friend, or two, or three.