balls

Mocha Quinoa Truffles (GF + Vegan)

mocha quinoa trufflesI need chocolate. Everyday. I love chocolate in all it’s raw, unprocessed and darkest glory. I think we all need chocolate, it’s good for the soul. Seriously. A bowl of mocha quinoa balls

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

Charles M Schulz

See, this man is sooooo right. Love + chocolate = just perfect. Definitely a cup of coffee too. Or even some mocha quinoa balls!Making mocha quinoa balls

When I fancy some sweet in my life I go to these delicious chocolate, walnut and coffee infused balls of goodness. An immediate snack that’s so amazingly yummy but shockingly good for you, like really, eat these mocha quinoa bites for good health. Yes, real chocolate is good for us, always has been and always will be – dark and unadulterated cocoa. So thankful.A loada balls

The great thing about and date/nut balls are they’re beyond adaptable, just see them as your sweet, nurturing, flexible and friendly snack. Any nut would work, the quinoa can be subbed for oats, more nuts, almond flour, coconut flour, if you don’t like mocha then ditch the coffee, if you hate chocolate…….only kidding, who doesn’t like chocolate, right? You get the point though – put in what the hell you want and bust some serious balls. Mocha quinoa balls

I used quinoa to pack these out and up the protein content as I had a little left over from lunch and they added a nice nutty texture but brown rice would also be good. Have you noticed how there’s never ever, like never ever any leftover chocolate? Strange……

These sweets/truffles/power balls/bites are truly free. Free from dairy, soy, gluten and processed sugar. Enjoy the purest and loveliest of plant goodness.

Easy recipe for mocha quinoa balls

Mocha quinoa truffles

(makes 16 balls)

1 cup dates
3/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon maca
1 tablespoon espresso/coffee powder + 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine the ingredients in a food processor + pulse to a dough. Scrape down the sides + redistribute if necessary.
Make 14-16 balls, place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes + enjoy straight away or store in an airtight container for later.

Pistachio, Pumpkin Seed + Herb Falafel (Gluten Free + Vegan)

Pistachio, Pumpkin Seed + Herb FalafelFor me falafel is a full on, fill me up, give it to me now crave food. It’s pure comfort food. When I want something filling, fresh, warming and healthy yet satisfying this is it. The thing is I rarely make falafel and it’s not like it’s easy to get in fast food joints around here either. Oh, what I would do to have a little local cafe nearby that baked me falafel when I needed it most, now that would be good. Until my make believe plant based Arab inspired fast food joint opens I’ll be making this myself and more often.

I am in love with North African flavours so naturally falafel is pretty high up there on the favourites list, I definitely ate my fair share (ok, more than is fair!) in Egypt. Were they better? Ummmm, not necesserily! The trouble is most falafel is deep fried as that’s in fact the traditional way of preparing it but it’s way toooo oily for me and so unnecessary as IMO they taste so much better baked. These pistachio, pumpkin seed + herb falafel are fragrant, lightly spiced, fresh, crispy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside and devastatingly good, in taste and for health! Yes, every recipe on this blog is healthy………

This here is falafel, just how it should be.Green falafel + yoghurt mint dressing

Baked not fried.Green falafel + yoghurt mint dressing

Russ was on ball making duty as it’s not my forte and his balls are so uniform, round and smooth (humour me). And green, nice and green thanks to the mint, coriander, pistachio and pumpkin seeds. Not only does this add a nice touch visually it really ramps up the nutritional density too. This pistachio, pumpkin seed + herb falafel is high in protein, contains only heart healthy fats, low in sodium and the herbs provide immense anti-inflammatory and ant-bacterial benefits. You just gotta love fresh green herbs. Russ making falafel

These little blighters are super easy to put together and can be whipped up in 15 minutes flat,  get somebody else to roll your balls and it’ll be quicker than that! I’ll send Russ round?Easy recipe....

Extra tasty served in fresh crisp lettuce leaves, the best way. Gone are the days when I felt self conscious eating from a lettuce or cabbage leaf, where others would sometimes make comments in confused wonder or assume I was just a weird eater. I’m not sure why either as it’s one of the most delicious ways to eat food minus the heavy carb and gluten load, just ask the Koreans. Since living in Korea for a year I soon learnt to love the leaf wrapping as they wrap everything in a fresh lettuce leaf, a crunchy wad of cabbage or a crisp sheet of seaweed. Oh I do miss that place and it’s food, but not the soups so much, particularly the ones where they sneak tiny bits of pork into it and tell you it’s vegetarian! Back to the leaf, Korean supermarkets have entire refrigerators dedicated to housing the most pristine, organised and colour coordinated lettuce leaves you have ever seen. Our local store even had a designated lettuce leaf handler (nice guy too), in charge of bagging, weighing and most importantly keeping the green, purple and red (yes, they put a lot of love and affection into their lettuce!) display looking beautiful. Tangent….yes falafel…..eating out of a lettuce leaf = good.

Falafel, lettuce wraps + salad

So, although I’m no longer leaf wrapping on a daily basis I always take up any opportunity to use fresh plant- powered wraps, especially if there’s falafel involved. I do wonder if I’ll ever be able to eat from a leaf again without thinking about Korea!! Good times.A whole lotta lettuce wrap

Falafel is a classic veggie staple and is delicious served with a big salad and if lettuce leaf wraps aren’t for you a wholewheat pitta would be amaze-balls (get it?) too. I like both, falafel wrapped in lettuce and stuffed in a pitta, finished off with generous dollops of minty dressing. Oh dear, now that is delicious.Falafel in hand

Pistachio, pumpkin seed + herb falafel

(10 balls)

1 can drained chickpeas (240 grams)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 small onion, chopped
small handful fresh mint
small handful fresh coriander
1/4 cup pistachios, shelled
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon cumin
salt & pepper

mint dressing:
small handful mint, finely chopped
2 tablespoons yoghurt + 1 of water

Method:

1. Rinse + drain chickpeas, set aside. Place garlic, onion + green herbs into a food processor or blender + pulse until roughly chopped. Add the nuts + seeds + pulse to a rough texture. Add the chickpeas, cumin + salt/pepper + blend until fully combined so that it retains a rough like texture. You may need to redistribute the mixture with a spoon in between blending.
2. Form 10-12 balls from the mixture + place on a baking tray lined with grease proof paper. Bake falafel in the oven for 20 minutes until firm + crispy on the outside. Combine the mint dressing ingredients in a small bowl or cup + set aside.
3. Serve in lettuce with a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds + a drizzle of mint yoghurt dressing.

Vegan Coconut Chia Balls

coconut chia ballsOh my, hello coconut powder, woweeee, where have you been all my life? I wanna tell you guys how amazing this stuff is but you should check out a more informed write up about coconut powder’s wonderful versatility because I want you to get involved. It’s not coconut flour nor desiccated coconut but pure coconut powder and I reckon I found another absolutely delicious way to put coconut powder to work- vegan coconut chia balls. So simple, yet sooooooo bloody tasty and the best part is these cost nothing, well they cost a little tiny bit. I got a huge 1 kg bag for £3 from my local Indian supermarket and probably used only 50 pence worth for this one recipe. Thank you very much. Coconut powder is officially high up on the list of my coconut loving, coconut milk on tap (now there’s a thought) and creamy curries make this stuff pretty special…..oh god, what would happen if there was no coconut….shudder. Life would be pretty awful though, wouldn’t it?delicious coconut chia balls

My day was filled with dull training and long team meetings, oh and what a drag it was to see the sun finally come out only to be stuck in a huge strip lit meeting room. That’s the worst for me – being cooped up indoors when there’s sunshine and blue skies outside but luck was on my side as my meeting finished really early! Obviously I came straight home to make these delicious coconut chia balls whilst sitting outside in the sunshine and generally chillaxing. Yes I did just use that word.

Making coconut + chia balls

I think people across from the canal, usually walking dogs wonder what I’m doing with my kitchen utensils and camera laid out all over the garden furniture. I do get some funny looks! Oh no, I just had a horrid thought, soon it will be winter and really cold so where am I going to make all my food…………of course I have a kitchen but it’s really not the same as al fresco food prep! I guess I’ll survive, inside, in my kitchen…..just like normal people!The ball making station!

So the mixture only made 10 balls which really wasn’t enough for me so just double or triple the mixture for a larger batch because they really don’t last long. Packed full of creamy coconut and ultra satisfying, I can honestly say that these are way tastier than any shop bought sweets I’ve ever had. You know what I love on top of all that, there’s no ridiculous ingredients or additives either, zero hydrogenated fats and very low in sugar. In fact they’re a very healthy treat. You know what else, coat these in some raw dark chocolate and you can say goodbye to Bounties forever!Ball station!

I just wanna persuade you to make these coconut chia balls, so here goes: they contain the amazing superfood chia and coconut, very cheap to make, no blender involved so minimal mess and super duper quick to throw together, healthy and better than a Bounty! No problemo If you don’t have any chia to hand as sesame seeds, cocoa, carob or any crushed seed or nut would work wonders as a coating. Enjoy. Delicious coconut chia balls

Vegan coconut chia balls

(makes 10 balls, yeah double this recipe!)

1 cup coconut powder
pinch of fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 cup crushed chia seeds

Method:

1. Add all the ingredients to a bowl + combine well.
2. Using your hands form 10 small smooth coconut balls. The mixture should be very maleable when squeezed together but if it’s a bit dry just add a little extra coconut oil.
3. Lightly dampen the outside of each ball + roll in the crushed chia seeds.
4. Transfer to freezer for 30 minutes + store in an airtight container if you haven’t already devoured them. Consume within 4 days.

Almond, Cocoa + Maca Energy Bites

Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together? I’ve been dipping into some seriously decadent dark chocolate truffles the past few nights, and whilst they’re good, there just seems to be something missing. I think its the bite, there isn’t any really! I need some texture, some nuttiness, something to get my teeth into when it comes to sweet treats. I do like a sweet treat after dinner so I gave these almond, cocoa + maca energy bites a shot, and they worked despite the guess work. They worked really well.Energy bites in a bowl

Question: how healthy are these power balls packed full of these raw ingredients? Answer: way too healthy for words.Raw + healthy ingredients

These bites are completely free of refined sugars and full of heart healthy fats, vitamins and antioxidants. This really is good mood food, I swear I felt better after a couple of these nutrient dense chocolatey nut balls. Thank you cocoa and almonds. The dates provide a natural sweetness and more vitally the binding force for the rest of the ingredients. Not only is maca super good for you, it lends a super malty cereal undertone, a bit like malted milk balls (you know, maltesers!) but nicer. Packed full of goodness, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, deliciously rich, nutty and taste like they should be bad for you. This here is raw almond, cocoa + maca energy bite success. Cocoa + maca energy bites

I blitzed the ingredients in a Vitamix as I don’t own a food processor and it worked fine. A little prodding, poking and scraping was required but all in all I’m happy to do the recipe again in a blender. Yep, a food processor would be better but a blender really is fine with a bit of extra work. Super simple process

These are super quick to put together and really adaptable too, I used almonds purely because I had a surplus but any nut would work well. Same goes for the maca powder as I reckon coconut powder, extra cocoa, carob, ground chia or hemp seeds would be great in an energy bite. Just mix it up and make your preferred ball of energy.

Are you team blender or team food processor? Maybe both?Delicious cocoa + maca energy bites

Almond, cocoa + maca energy bites

(makes 10 bites)

1 cup almonds
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons maca powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 dates

Method:

1. Blend the almonds until chopped finely but not to a flour as you need some texture. Set half aside.
2. Add the remaining ingredients to a food processor and blend until a sticky dough forms. If like me you’re using a blender you may need to scrape the bottom of the jug to redistribute the dough or pat the sides. Add the remaining almonds and blend once more.
3. Transfer the dough to a bowl and fill a smaller bowl with tepid water. Using your hands form 10 small bites, using the water to dip your fingers for a more pliable consistency.
4. Transfer the bites to the freezer for 30 minutes and store in the fridge for up to a week. You’ll eat them before then, take my word for it.

Note: Date sizes vary a lot so you may need a little more or less. To achieve a more pliable dough it’s advisable to dip your fingers in tepid water for a smoother, more uniform bite.