Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Little Balls of Nutty Energy (Raw, Potentially Vegan, Gluten Free)

My life is currently full of little balls of nutty energy. In more ways than one. I have to confess that I'd choose that any day over Large Gangly Balls of Moody Angst. We'll get to those snacks in a few years (um, chocolate anyone). For the time being, it's been all about high energy foods around here. In fact, I even considered doing a week of snacks. But before I do I should say this: People have different opinions on snacks. Some people (we'll call them Americans) seem to think that snacks are a necessary part of every two hour interval in the day. To the tune of goldfish, fruit snacks and granola bars. Some people (we'll call them French) consider snacks a necessity for the under-two crowd only and consider them a danger for everyone else. To the tune of providing a warning along with their snack commercials. I admit that I, though not really so French in most ways (cute shoes; huh?), stand decidedly a little more on the French side of the line in this instance. Which means I should be issuing a warning with this post. So I will. These little balls contain a lot of energy. Another word for energy when we speak of food is calories. Oh sure, they're natural, good-for-you calories, but they're still calories. If you happen to be a 30-something adult woman, you might want to be a little careful around these things. If it's an hour before dinner, you might want to hide them from your kids. Know this: You can pop them into your mouth quicker than you can register that you're full. And that can be a little dangerous.

So, why, why you are asking, am I posting such evil to this blog? I have my reasons. The biggest one is named Kip. Let me tell you something about Kip. If a meal is not easy, he'll skip it. This is pretty foreign to me. I have to be pretty much unconscious to skip a meal. But not Kip. If he gets busy or focused or whatever, he just won't eat. Lately he has been very busy and very focused. And he hasn't been eating. There are days when he'll skip breakfast and lunch and come home exhausted and starving at dinner, only to head off to his real job at night and be hungry and snacky all night long. Kip never asks that I make him anything. He takes his meal skipping in stride. But it worries me. However, I'm not always around either to fuss over him and make him a sandwich. Truth be told, he wouldn't want me to even if I was. Which is where little balls of nutty energy come in. He can grab one or two or four and be gone about his crazy day (or night) and have plenty of healthy energy to keep him going. See, it's like one of those old Snickers commercials where they showed people dancing or whatever and then they had a handful of nuts in their hand. They closed their hand around it and blam there was a Snickers bar. Boy, I loved those commercials. They didn't come with warnings either. And I'm pretty sure I considered Snickers a health food for many years. But that's not the point. The point is that these are much much (and did I say much) healthier than Snickers bars. They're raw, whole food, high in fiber and non-meat iron. They're gluten free and could be vegan if you sub agave nectar for the honey. But they do pack a similar caloric punch that can be good for any crazy busy meal skippers you happen to know.

They can also be good for mornings when you're running late and you or your kids need something quick for breakfast. Or lunches where you're stuck out doing errands and your kids are about to melt down. They're good for school lunch "desserts" and I expect that they're really good for those human vacuums known as teenagers.

So go ahead and make a few. Just know that if you have the metabolic curse of being a 30-something-year-old woman, you should take yours in dainty French nibbles.

Little Balls of Nutty Energy
Makes about 16-18
adapted from Raw Cookie Dough Bites
Prep time: 7 minutes
Cost: $1.62
(Okay--I'm guessing here: I'll fix if I figure it and it's way off: almonds: .50, walnuts: .75, oats: .07, chocolate chips: .20, honey: .05, coconut oil: 05)

Note: Naturally your nuts and oats must be raw if you want this to be a raw food. Also, be sure that your oats haven't been exposed to foods with gluten if you're observing a strictly gluten-free diet.

Note on coconut oil: Originally this recipe had double the honey (4 Tbsp). I didn't think it needed the sweetness, but it did need something that would help hold the balls together. I add the coconut oil for this purpose (as I prefer fat to sugar in my recipes). You could probably use a splash of milk or more honey if you'd rather.

2/3 C almonds
2/3 C walnuts
2/3 C oats
1/4 tsp cinnamon
dash salt
2 Tbsp honey (or agave nectar if vegan)
1-2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 Tbsp dark chocolate chips (optional)

In food processor (I used a small blender, which also worked), combine almonds, walnuts, oats, cinnamon, and salt. Process until it's about the consistency of cream of wheat.

Add honey, coconut oil, and vanilla and process.

Add chocolate if using. You can process it a bit or leave it in chip form.

You can probably store at room temperature for a couple days, but I just kept them in the refrigerator.

Roll into 1-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet or plate.


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