Chocolate Energy Bites

Chocolate Energy Bites

A friend and I went on a hike on the beach bluffs in So Cal and we needed a healthy treat to take along.  I threw together these delish energy bites and they were a big hit!  I even had leftovers  and took them to my team at work to give them a little fuel while facilitating the Chopra Center’s Perfect Health Teacher Training course.

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Health Benefits:

No added sugar!  Balanced mix of healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates plus the added benefits of Shakeology’s superfood blend to give you tons of sustained energy.

Ingredients:

1 ½ Cup raw almonds

1 ½ cup raisins, dates, or unsweetened dried cherries

1 scoop chocolate superfood nutrition or protein powder.  (I use Shakeology)

1 tablespoon 100% unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon coarse ground kosher salt

1 to 2 tablespoons coconut oil

½ cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut (optional)

 

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Arrange them beautifully on a plate and serve as a treat. No need to tell anyone they are actually HEALTHY!

Method:

Add ingredients to your Vitamix in this order: almonds, dried fruit, Shakeology, cocoa powder, salt and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.  Use a food processor if you don’t have a Vitamix.Start the machine on low speed, don’t be shy about using the plunger tool to mash the mix into the blade (don’t worry, a Vitamix will turn off before it overheats).  If the mix is too dry, add the remaining coconut oil.  When the mix is ready the fruit and chocolate will be completely integrated and the almonds will be in ground into small, pebble size pieces.  Empty the container on a clean surface. Using your palms, roll spoonfuls of the mix into bite size balls and roll into the shredded coconut.  Serve in mini muffin papers to make them a little more special.  Presentation counts, we eat with our eyes, too!

If you substitute your own chocolate protein powder for Shakeology, just be sure that the scoop isn’t too big or the mix will be too dry.  If it does turn out dry, just add more coconut oil.

Salted Peanut Chocolate Spread

IMG_1112Winning a baking contest at the County Fair has always been on my bucket list, and this year it was my mission to enter a gluten free, healthy dish into a county fair cooking competition.  As a kid, I remember most of the fun in going to the county fair is walking by the food vendors and getting a whiff of some salty-sweet heavenly aroma, and feasting my eyes on treats I had never heard of but just HAD to have.  Just because I live a healthy gluten free life now, doesn’t mean I have to miss out on this great American summer food tradition.  I know my diabetic, vegan and vegetarian friends agree.

In a world where bacon is it’s own food group, I knew a recipe that is gluten free, dairy free and low in sugar would be an oddity at a County Fair cooking competition.  I believe a healthy diet can be just as satisfying to the taste buds as it is nourishing to the body, and I wasn’t going to compromise my passion for healthy food for a blue ribbon. I would much rather enter the contest and risk losing, than sell out on myself.

In the end, I did not win the blue ribbon, but I had a blast talking to people about my healthy and delicious style of food.  I shared my Salted Peanut Love Spread to the other participants and spectators, and everyone loved it and wanted the recipe!

Salted Peanut Chocolate Spread Recipe

(Inspired by the #LoveYouSticker campaign)

Ingredients:

1 cup lite coconut milk

1 cup Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chips

2 tablespoons honey

1 ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground kosher salt + a pinch to dust the finished product (optional)

¾ cup all natural unsalted peanut butter (I used Adams All-Natural)

dash of love

Method:

Gently warm the coconut milk in a saucepan on low to medium heat.  Watch the milk closely to avoid scalding.  Meanwhile, add the chocolate chips to a food processor or high powered blender (I use a Vitamix). Once the milk is hot, not boiling, stir in the  honey until completely combined.  Add the hot milk mixture to the Vitamix and let sit for 30-60 seconds to start melting the chocolate.  Start the Vitamix on low and slowly turn up the speed to 5-6 and let blend for 1-2 minutes.  Add the salt and blend an additional 30 seconds.  Spoon in the peanut butter and continue to blend for about one minute, or until silky smooth.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape out the mixture in a serving bowl or jar and allow the sauce to cool.  Sprinkle the remaining salt and a little dash of love on top before serving. Spread the Love onto fruit, breads, friends, and wherever a little love is needed.