Chocolate Date Balls

These date balls are a creation I made by throwing any food I had in my cupboards that could be eaten raw into my food processor and hitting blend…Anyways I think the end result is a delicious and healthy treat. You can change up the recipe as you like (add more or less ingredients and add your own ingredients). This is another recipe that you can make gluten free by either leaving out the oats or using gluten free oats.

I wanted to keep the recipe raw but you could also probably use some kaluha or rum in place of the water if you want to spice up the recipe a bit 😉

I took these up to my roommates and they were gone in minutes!

Ingredients:

6 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup quick oats
1/4 cup unsweetened chocolate chips
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp cocoa powder
6 tbsp water
2 tbsp hemp hearts
2 tbsp chia seed
1/2 cup natural peanut butter

Method:

1. Toss all ingredients into a food processor and process until well blended (can keep some chunks of chocolate chips etc)
2. Put into the fridge for at least an hour
3. Roll into balls and store in the fridge

Like I’ve mentioned in most of my posts feel free to stray from the ingredients as posted, I don’t think I’ve ever made one recipe the same twice. Experiment and make your own creations!
Some things to try: add some molasses or honey instead of a few of the dates, use more oatmeal, add some cinnamon, roll balls into chia and hemp seeds instead of adding them into the processor, be creative!

Enjoy!

Using eatracker I’ve provided a nutrient analysis of this recipe but it’s a bit rough as I forgot to count how many balls came out (and I may have eaten the equivalent of a few balls while making them 🙂 ).

Nutrient Analysis

Nutrient Amount Per Serving
Calories (kcal)

67.5

Fat (g)

3.5

Saturated Fat (g)

0.8

Trans Fat (g)

0

Cholesterol (mg)

0.0

Sodium (mg)

1.1

Potassium (mg)

100.7

Carbohydrate (g)

8.6

Fibre (g)

1.7

Sugar (g)

5.0

Protein (g)

1.9

Vitamin A (RAE)

0.5

Vitamin C (mg)

0.0

Calcium (mg)

14.2

Iron (mg)

0.4

Vitamin D (μg)

0.0

Vitamin E (mg)

0.4

Thiamin (mg)

0.0

Riboflavin (mg)

0.0

Niacin (NE)

1.1

Folate (DFE)

9.1

Vitamin B6 (mg)

0.0

Vitamin B12 (μg)

0.0

Coocoo for Cocoa!

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To eat chocolate or not to eat chocolate, that is the question…Well new research suggests to eat chocolate is the answer! YAY! But remember everything in moderation of course 🙂

The health benefits of cocoa are numerous from lowering blood pressure, to lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) and perhaps having a benefit in helping with erectile dysfunction in men. Note that I said these benefits are in cocoa so dark chocolate is what you’re after for the heart healthy benefits and the higher the cocoa content the better. This means that milk chocolate, which has a higher sugar to cocoa ratio, and white chocolate, which is cocoa free, are not part of the answer. Stick to dark chocolate with 75% or more cocoa.

Research points to antioxidants in chocolate called flavanols for the heart healthy properties of chocolate. Flavanols are present in higher amounts in darker chocolate and only in miniscule amounts (12mg/oz) in milk chocolate (compared to 709mg/oz in 100% dark chocolate). As a rule: the more %cocoa solids and the more bitter the taste, the higher the flavanol content in the chocolate.

Using cocoa powder in baking is also a great way to get the benefits of chocolate. Cocoa is the most concentrated version of chocolate as the chocolate flavour comes from the solid particles of the cocoa bean.

English: Cocoa, Cocoa powder, on a sheet of pa...

There are different versions of cocoa powder including natural unsweetened cocoa powder, dutch processed cocoa powder and instant/sweetened cocoa powder.

Baking usually calls for unsweetened or dutch processed cocoa powder. Be sure to check your recipe for which kind of cocoa powder it calls for. Cocoa powder is naturally acidic and has a more bitter astringent flavour. Dutch processed cocoa powder is alkalized to increase its pH content (making it more basic) producing a milder flavour. Recipes that call for cocoa powder (natural cocoa powder) rely on the acidity of natural cocoa powder to react with baking soda for leavening. If you were to use dutch processed cocoa powder for the same recipe you wouldn’t get the leavening effect. Use Dutch processed cocoa in recipes that use baking powder instead of baking soda. Also note that processing cocoa can reduce flavanols by as much to 60-90% so dutch processed doesn’t have the same antioxidant content as natural cocoa powder.

Instant cocoa powder is sweetned and this is the kind ususally used to make hot chocolate mixes.

Although dark chocolate does contain antioxidants and studies are pointing more towards the health benefits of chocolate, remember that even dark chocolate is full of calories, fat and sugar. So what’s the bottom line? As I always like to tell my clients, everything is ok in moderation. So having a couple of pieces of dark chocolate is not deterimental to your health or weight loss goals (especially if you are replacing pie, cake and ice cream with chocolate) just watch out for how much you eat. I prefer dark chocolate anyways as I find it more satifying than milk chocolate and I’m happier with a smaller amount.

 

Grill up Some Vegetables

Brussels Grill: Mixed vegetables

The warm summer months are approaching, meaning that BBQ season is just around the corner. With this come the media messages about the dangers of barbecuing.  Although there can be some risks associated with grilling, if done properly, this form of cooking can be a great way to get outdoors and enjoy local summer foods.

When meat, especially red meat, is cooked using high heat (like on a BBQ) cancer causing compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are formed. These compounds are increased when fat drips off of the meat producing a hot flame and when meat gets burned. Below are some simple ways that you can reduce these compounds.

–          Cook meat at lower temperatures

–          Use a digital thermometer to check meat doneness and prevent overcooking

–          Marinade meats using low sugar marinades

–          Flip meat using tongs or a spatula instead of a fork

–          Precook meat using an oven, stove or microwave then finish it off on the BBQ

–          Choose lower fat meat options like fish or skinless chicken

Another way to reduce HCAs is to go meatless on the BBQ.  Explore a farmers market or your backyard to get the best picks of local and in-season vegetables and fruits. Look for recipes that use summer produce like beets, spinach, tomato, lettuce, peaches, onions, peas, strawberries, broccoli and zucchini. Below are a few tips to get you started:

–          Grill marinated peppers, zucchini and eggplant then toss them into a sandwich, add to a green or pasta salad or top a pizza

–          Try grilling up some portabella mushrooms with cheese and serve on a burger bun instead of using a hamburger patty

–          Make kebabs using lots of peppers, cherry tomatoes, onions and mushrooms and only a couple of pieces of meat

–          Grill up peach halves with brown sugar and serve for dessert

Canada’s Food Guide recommends that adults eat 7 to 10 servings of vegetables and fruits a day. Be creative and enjoy the bountiful produce that summer has to offer.

For More Information Visit:

Health Canada

How to Grill Vegetables

Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

I was perusing through pinterest the other day when I stumbled across this 2 ingredient cookie recipe and I just had to whip up a batch (with my own modifications of course) to see if they were as good as they looked…they were. They are super easy to make and they only require a few ingredients (depending on how much you want to jazz them up). I didn’t really measure the ingredients so I’m just going to list the apporximations I used but basically you want the dough to be liquid but hard enough to hold it’s shape. These are great as a snack or for breakfast with a glass of milk and a 1.2 cup of berries (to make a complete meal).

You can also cater this recipe to your preferences/dietary needs by using gluten free quick oats to make it gluten free or leave out the chocolate chips (or sub carob chips) to make it vegan.

raw cookies

Ingredients:

1 Ripe Banana
1 Large spoon full of Natural Peanut Butter
1 small scoop of apple sauce
1 cup of quick oats (or gluten free quick oats)
Handful of chocolate chips (carob chips or raisins)
Shredded coconut
Chia seeds
Hemp seeds
splash of vanilla exract

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Mash the banana, then add applesauce, peanut butter, and vanilla extract, mix well
3. Stir in the quick oats, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, chia seeds, and hemp seeds
4. Scoop in balls onto a greased cookie sheet (makes about 16)
5. Bake for 10-15min (longer cooking will result in harder cookies)

Enjoy!