I'm back from my vacation to New Mexico, so inspired by the ingredients and flavors that I experienced there. But I haven't had much time to play in the kitchen this week, since I embarked on a new journey on Monday morning...a summer intensive 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training!
If you think that I'm spending all day in a headstand or in lotus pose, I'm not. In addition to the physical asanas (the poses & postures of yoga), I'm studying the supporting anatomy of the body, theories of teaching, the Sutras, and more. It's a lot to learn in a short amount of time, and the learning doesn't end when I leave the classroom. The study of yoga is a life-long adventure, one that I'm thrilled to have started many years ago and am taking to a deeper level this summer.
All of the studying and physicality of the training means that I need to support my body with nourishing foods - even more so than normal. I'm relying on nutrient-dense drinks and energizing meals that are easy to prepare and simple to digest. Besides being very hot this month (not ideal for heating-up the kitchen by cooking), I don't have the spare time to exert my energy cooking complex recipes, as much as I'd love to be doing that activity, too.
One of my favorite drinks to sip on throughout the morning hours is my homemade raw cacao-walnut milk. I've been making my own nut milks for years, as it's the only way that I can make sure that the ingredients that are going into my body are exactly what I want to be putting into my body. Packaged nut milks, regardless if they're organic or not, are filled with preservatives and emulsifiers, to keep them shelf-stable and from separating. By making my own nut milk, I don't need to add these ingredients, just the basics. Nuts, water, a pinch of sea salt. Sometimes I add additional ingredients to flavor my milks - raw cacao powder and raw local honey are the ones I reach for most often.
The question that many of us who make our own nut milks struggle with is what to do with the leftover nut pulp? I often freeze the pulp, especially when it's unflavored (just nuts, water, & salt), and later I'll use the pulp as a flour in a baked item. Earlier this week, when I made a batch of my Raw Cacao-Walnut Milk, I had the thought to use the pulp immediately in a snack recipe. A raw energy bite seemed to be the best way to use the walnut pulp, and I'm glad I created this recipe! These delicious bites have been coming along to training with me everyday, they're simple to munch on during class time or as a subtly-sweet bite in the later afternoon.
So, I'm suggesting that you start making your own nut milk; even if you chose to drink dairy milk, there are many nutritional benefits to adding more nuts into your diet. Walnuts are my nuts of choice lately, they're full of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. And the combination of walnuts and cacao can't be beat, in my opinion. If making your own nut milk sounds like a difficult task, I promise that it's easier than it sounds, no fancy equipment is needed. And having the nut pulp to easily turn into these energizing bites makes it even more worth your while.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions, and let me know if you try my recipes. I love hearing from you!
Wishing you a relaxing weekend, full of delicious food, health & wellness.
Ingredients: (note - use organic whenever possible)
1 C pitted dates
2 T walnut-cacao milk
1/4 t sea salt
1/3 C walnut pulp (from walnut-cacao milk recipe - see below)
1/4 C walnuts, finely chopped
1 T cacao nibs (optional)
Place the dates, walnut-cacao milk, and sea salt into the bowl of a small food processor. Pulse to break-down the dates into a smooth purée. Remove from the food processor to a medium sized mixing bowl.
To the mixing bowl, add the nut pulp. Use your hands to combine the date paste and the nut pulp into a homogenous dough. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
While the dough is chilling, wash and dry the bowl of the food processor. Add the walnuts and pulse to chop into a fine crumb. Pour the walnuts into a small bowl, add the cacao nibs, and gently toss to combine. Set aside.
Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into 10 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball and place on the lined baking sheet. Roll each ball in the walnut-cacao nib mixture, pressing the crumbs to stick to the entire surface of each piece. Return to the baking sheet and chill for an hour to firm.
Store the bites in a covered container in the refrigerator or freezer.