’Tis always the season for healthy treats and nourishing delicacies to off-set the other indulgences during times of celebrations. This recipe has as many variations as one could wish, all depending on the goodies in your cupboard at the time of preparation. They travel well and are a favorite of children and adults of all ages. It combines the sweetness of dried fruits with the protein pack of nuts and seeds to make it a truly festive addition to the dessert table. It is also a handy nutritional boost to take along on those “are we there yet?” long car rides and trail walks. These fruit and nut balls have the ability to survive well without refrigeration and always enhance the dessert table.
We all know the value of nuts and seeds in our modern diets. They are a supreme source of protein, iron, fiber and potassium. Along with essential fatty acids they provide a good source of calcium for healthy bones. The newly “discovered” seeds, ironic since they have been around for centuries, that are becoming tremendously popular are chia, hemp and flax seeds. They are very popular with those who like to make smoothies to start their day with optimum health and abundant energy. This is one way to avoid carbs in the morning by drinking a protein packed shake filled with these super foods.
Adding Acai (the Brazilian antioxidant miracle) and goji berries (the most nutritionally dense fruit on the earth) to smoothies are also the latest rage. Would you believe, Goji berries have 15x more iron than spinach? Most nuts should be consumed in the raw form since they have more value than in the roasted state and would even be more beneficial when pre-soaked in pure water (preferably not from the tap). One can soak the nuts and dried dates/ figs/nuts for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator before use, draining off the liquid and reserving that for later use. I offer you 2 recipes for these naturally sweet treats which can enhance any gathering.
Soak 5 (pitted) dates or
2 Figs (fresh or dried) and 3 dates
1/4 c soaked and drained raw cashews
1/4 c currants
1/4 c walnuts
1 teas. vanilla extract
1/4 c roasted cashew butter (no salt or sugar)
1/3 almond butter “
1/8 c soaking water
Combine all ingredients in a food processor for a few minutes (use pulse option so you can scrape down sides) until desired consistency. Use wet hands to form balls of medium size. Roll balls in any treat you like, for example: flaked coconut, or chopped pecans and/or walnuts, ground hemp seeds, or even mini vegan chocolate chips. Best if chilled for a few hours before serving but not necessary. These can be frozen for later use and because of the consistency of the nut butters can be eaten right out of the freezer. Now is that what FUN is?
Recipe #2 : Fabulous Fig Treats
3 fresh figs soaked
1/2 c roasted cashews
1 tbsp. maple syrup
2 tbsp. fig butter
1/2 c chunky peanut /almond or cashew butter
1/3 c ground hemp seeds
1/4 c shelled pistachios
Follow instructions above to create balls and use your imagination to roll them in your favorite festive toppings.
Have Fun and Eat with Health in Mind !