Caffeine isn’t the only game in town. Try these mid-day snacks to add a little spring to your step!
• 10 dates, soaked in water to soften
• 1 cup raw almonds, pulverized (using a food processor or coffee grinder)
• 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
• 2 tablespoons poppy seeds or chia seeds
• 1/2 cup goji berries (optional)
• 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
Soak the dates in water. If you think to do this an hour or more in advance, it’s fine to use room temperature water. If you’re pressed for time and only have a few minutes for soaking, use hot water. The idea is to soften the dates so that they are easily blended into a soft paste.
Measure out a cup of raw almonds and put them in a food processor or coffee grinder.
Add a heaping teaspoon of quality cocoa powder.
Blend or pulse for another few seconds to bring ground nuts and cocoa powder together.
Add eight soaked and mildly crushed dates to the mix. Add a little water to create proper texture.
Mix together on low until the dates and almond/ cocoa mixture blend well. You want the texture to be such that you can pinch off teaspoon-size chunks and roll them up with your palms into bite-size balls (similar in texture to cookie dough). If need be, add another mushed up date or two, but always be conservative in adding extra dates, as once the mixture gets too moist, it’s very difficult to fix by adding more nuts.
Once desired consistency is achieved, add the goji berries if desired, and once again, mix well.
Finally, roll into balls, then sprinkle each with coconut shreds. Refrigerate unused portion and keep for up to three days (I guarantee they won’t last that long!).
Health-Nut Banana Bread
3-4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
4 heaping tablespoons whey protein or hemp seeds
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups whole-wheat flour (alternate choices are quinoa or kamut flour)
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup flax seeds, ground
1/4 cup nuts of your choice, diced
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 heaping tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/4 – 1/2 cup almond milk (depending on how many bananas you use and their consistency, add as needed at end)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds to sprinkle on top before baking
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9 x 5″ pan.
Combine all ingredients except almond milk and seeds. Consistency of batter should be like a very thick soup; add almond milk as needed.
Pour batter into baking pan, spreading evenly. Sprinkle pumpkin or sesame seeds on top.
Bake for 50 minutes, or until golden brown on the surface (use a knife to poke into middle – if it comes out clean, it’s done). Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve with butter or honey.
Chili Lime Toasted Almonds
• 2 1/2 cups raw almonds
• 3 tbsp sesame oil
• 1 tsp dried red chilli flakes or chopped fresh red chilies
• 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
• zest of 1 fresh lime
• 1/2 fresh lime, juice only
• 2/3 teaspoon sea salt
• 1 1/2 tablespoon tamari
Heat a large frying pan to high with no oil. Add almonds and cook on medium/high heat for about 15 minutes, stirring every 15-30 seconds. Look for a change of colour and a slight smoking/toasting/burning smell. Remove almonds to a side plate.
Add sesame oil, chill, and garlic to the frying pan. Stir and cook on medium heat for about 30 seconds. Add tamari sauce and the almonds. Bring to high heat, add sea salt, lime zest and lime juice. Combine well and cook for another minute or two.
Remove almonds to a wooden board or a large tray, ensuring all the seasoning is scrapped off the frying pan and added to the almonds. Cool off completely and enjoy!