We've made it, yet again, to Friday. It's time to celebrate our successes from the week and take time to relax over the weekend!
One of my favorite Friday afternoon rituals is to prepare a nourishing snack for my family to enjoy throughout the weekend. If there's one thing that annoys me more than anything, it's mindless snacking. You know the feeling, we've all been there - standing in front of the refrigerator or pantry, stomach growling, and looking for an adequate solution to calm our nerves and satisfy our growling belly. You may reach for the nearest food on the shelf - our hungry bellies often steer us towards foods rich in sugar, fat, and salt. Sound familiar? The former Girl Scout in me says "be prepared", and having healthful snacks prepared and ready is the surefire way to feed yourself and your family well.
Earlier this week, I listened to a podcast episode in which well-known Virginia farmer and all-around real food advocate Joel Salatin spoke about the current state of our food system. That's quite a topic to tackle in a short podcast episode, but Joel's knowledge, experience, wit and humor shined though with every word that he spoke. One of the most striking points that was made during the episode was the realization that kids, in today's world, aren't taught how to do anything by themselves. When it comes to eating, kids don't know where their food comes from, just that it gets purchased in packages at the grocery store and magically appears on the shelves in their home. When we take the time and effort to make our food from scratch, there's a connection to the land, to the place where the food is grown and harvested.
This week's recipe, my Earthy Bet-Raw Cacao Energy Bites, have only a few ingredients in them, but pack a mighty punch of nutrition and energy. The ingredients used are readily available, thanks to modern convenience, but come from all over the world. Dates are now grown in California, but originally were cultivated in the Middle Eastern desert. Almonds are also readily grown in California, but are native to the Middle East; they are often paired with dates in recipes as they grow in similar locations. Chia seeds are an ancient Aztec warrior's source of energy and grow in South America. Beet powder, a concentrated source of the amazing nutrition found in beets, has been used since ancient Roman times as a prescription for a long and healthy life. Raw cacao powder is the purest form of chocolate and is extremely rich in antioxidants. When combined together, along with a pinch of sea salt, the result is more than the sum of its parts - it's pure bliss!
Take a moment to reflect on the week that has past and to prepare foods to feed yourself well, so that you may enjoy your time with your family this weekend.
Earthy Beet-Raw Cacao Energy Bites
Ingredients: (note - use organic whenever possible)
1 1/3 C pitted dates (I use Deglet Noor)
2/3 C raw almonds
1 T chia seeds
1 T beet powder
1 T raw cacao powder (I use Sunfoods)
pinch of sea salt
Place the dates and almonds into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine and breakdown the almonds into small pieces. Add the remaining ingredients and process until combined. Stop the machine periodically to scrape-down the sides of the bowl. The ingredients are fully combined once they’re a big sticky ball - this may take several minutes.
Remove the mixture from the food processor to a bowl. Cover a small baking pan with parchment paper. Divide the mixture into 16 equal parts and roll into balls. Place on the covered baking pan. Once all of the mixture is rolled into balls, gently cover the baking pan and chill in the refrigerator for an hour to firm.
Bring to room temperature to serve. Enjoy as a quick bite after a workout or as a sweet afternoon snack.
recipe yields 16 pieces
store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for several weeks
to make Earthy Beet-Raw Cacao Truffles, roll the room temperature Energy Bites in a mixture of beet powder and raw cacao powder (place 1 T of each in a small bowl). Chill the truffles on a lined baking pan and serve cold as a delicious nourishing dessert