Goodness Gracious– Great Balls of Energy!

Back when I posted about my OCD food prep extravaganza, a lot of readers wanted to know more about those energy, um, balls. Some people asked how kid-friendly the recipes were, others wanted to know about the process of making them, and then there were the readers who just demanded the recipes, already!! It’s high time to revisit those delicious balls, no?

First of all, the recipes I made for our trip to Calgary– Chocolate Blueberry, Banana Walnut, Apple Cinnamon, and Mango Coconut– all came from a book called The Thrive Diet by Brendan Brazier. Brazier is a professional Ironman triathlete who specializes in vegan and raw-foods nutrition, and his book provides recipes that are specifically targeted to athletes who are on (or moving toward) a plant-based diet.

Well. I am an almost-vegan, and I am a highly trained athlete to boot (Zumba class once a week counts, right?), so I am clearly the target audience for this book. Can I get a witness?

Anyway. These recipes have already been published in a bonafide, purchasable book and are not online– free for the whole world to see, so I’m not going to reproduce them here. (That would be stealing, and stealing is bad!) Luckily, Brendan himself has shared something very similar to my favourite recipe online, so I can at least provide the link to the recipe (and instructional video) here. (Full text appears below, with my helpful– and/or irreverent/distracting– hints listed beside each ingredient.)

Chocolate Blueberry Energy Bars

  • 1 cup fresh or soaked dried dates (I soak dried dates.)
  • 1/4 cup almonds (I am all about almonds, in any shape or form.)
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup roasted carob powder (or cacao to make 100% raw) (I’ve been using cacao lately because it is delicious and chock-full of antioxidants, but carob– or even regular cocoa powder– work just fine. I know this from experience.)
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed (I practically live on ground flaxseed, So nutty and yummy!)
  • 1/4 cup hemp protein (It’s possible to eliminate this ingredient if you don’t happen to have hemp protein stocked in your hippie pantry. I use a vanilla chai-flavoured hemp protein in this recipe, but I think it would taste just as yummy without it. If you eliminate this ingredient, I would suggest upping the quantity of another dry ingredient– or ingredients– so that your bars don’t end up sticky and runny like cake batter.)
  • 1/4 cup unhulled sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

In a food processor, process all ingredients except frozen blueberries. Remove mixture from processor and put on a clean surface. Lay frozen blueberries on surface and knead mixture into blueberries. Flatten mixture on the clean surface with your hands. Place plastic wrap over top; with a rolling pin, roll mixture to desired bar thickness. Cut mixture into bars. Alternatively, form mixture into a brick; cut as though slicing bread. As the bars dry, they become easier to handle. For added convenience, make extra batches and store in freezer for future snacks.

For more information, visit www.brendanbrazier.com.

——–

These aren't the Chocolate Blueberry Bars-- they're actually Cacao Truffles! Can you tell I have a thing for coconut?

The recipe in the book is very similar, but it also includes some cooked buckwheat to boot. Cacao, blueberries, and buckwheat: what more could a granola girl hope for? 🙂

When I make these bars (or, in my case– balls), they definitely do not look as neat and bar-like as they end up looking in the video. Mine end up being rather wet and refuse to take any bar-like form whatsoever. Hence, the balls. It’s way easier, in my humble opinion, to just roll the batter into balls and call it a day. Rolling pins? Plastic wrap? No thank you. Plus, balls trump bars in many other ways: they look cuter, they more closely resemble bear scat (um, in a good way? A delicious way?), and they are decidedly harder to talk about with a straight face. (Because I am twelve. She said balls!!! And coco-NUTS!! Hahaha!!!)

I make a huge batch of these (and other energy-bar recipes) and then freeze them. I wrap them individually (much to Marty’s frustration on the road– they can be a wee difficult to unwrap when you are otherwise occupied riding a bicycle.) Take out of the freezer as needed– they never freeze solid and they taste really great cold.

As far as the kid-friendliness of these bars goes, a lot would depend on your particular children. Kids like my niece would most likely refuse to eat them based on looks alone, but once you get over the sorta-sketchy visual appeal of them, they taste really good. Especially the chocolate blueberry ones– like brownie batter almost. So good. For other children, these balls would be a no-brainer. They’re small, portable, easy to whip up (if you have a food processor or good blender), and you know exactly what’s in them: no preservatives, dyes, artificial sugars, or radioactive ingredients. I think they’d make great snacks for teenagers, too– they really do provide great energy and are fantastic to have on hand during any sort of exercise. Call me nuts, but healthy snacks like these really make me happy! (This is perhaps Reason #897 why I do not have children of my own: Come on, kids! They only *look* like animal dung!)

Ahem. Thank goodness I’m only an aunt and not a real mom…

18 responses

    • If I could figure out a way to get them to Japan without them drooping into pathetic little blobs, then yes! As it stands, they’re best when frozen (at least partially), so you’ll have to spend some time in your kitchen. 😦

    • Most people can be vegan/almost vegan for at least one meal a day. Let’s be honest now. The truth is, vegetarian and vegan food is VERY DELICIOUS but has that stigma of being too wimpy/hippie/diet-y/girly for those strong, bold, powerful, and athletic types. Once you get past the stereotypes, though, it’s amazing, nourishing food. 🙂

  1. I want to try these now! they look delicious…
    my poor kids…they’ve taken every nutritional side road I’ve jumped on–I think they can hang with giving these a try.

    😉

    blessings
    jane

    • I definitely had a very, um, *discerning* palate when I was growing up– I refused to eat anything besides bread, rice, plain pasta, and cheese. That’s why I can sympathize with kids who wouldn’t want to give these energy balls a whirl. They look a little on the ‘crunchy’ side, no?

      That said, they seem pretty tasty to me now that I’m an adult– we all change!

  2. Ah the free weblink recipe, yay! Thanks for sharing. Seems to me though that my pantry is not hippie enough. If I do make these, they’d become not so powerful balls. Cocoa instead of carob. Hulled instead of unhulled sesame seeds. Hemp protein?!!? What fancy grocery store are you going to? 😉

    • I just bought some hemp protein from the Pharmasave near the Royal Jubilee hospital. You can add a few scoops to make a shake, or you can add it to these balls for an extra kick. (You can actually find it in the PowerBar/NutriSlim section of most grocery stores, but like I say– I don’t think it’s essential.) And as far as the cocoa/cacao, unhulled/hulled goes, it shouldn’t matter. Any step in the right direction is still in the right direction, no?

      • Pharmasave? When did pharmacies become extravagant grocery outlets?

        Yeah, I figured the cocao and unhulled seeds wouldn’t matter, but it’s almost admitting defeat of these AMAZING balls before you even started. 🙂

        • It’s only the Jubilee Pharmasave– I don’t think most pharmacies are that savvy! They’ve got THE BEST prices on a bunch of pre-packaged organic/natural foods– Bragg’s, tamari, Green & Black’s chocolate bars, Cocoa Camino chocolate, nut butters, grains, tea, coffee, coconut butter, etc. I have no idea why this particular Pharmasave is so hip to today’s organic scene, but you should seriously check it out. LOW LOW LOW prices on excellent ingredients!

    • They do! That Pharmasave has EVERYTHING! I almost don’t want to tell too many people about it, in case it becomes too popular for them to sustain their low prices. However, I’d highly recommend you go check it out. The most random Pharmasave in all the land!

  3. I was contemplating hulled hempseed in lieu of unhulled sesame (which taste rather bitter to me)… I guess I could up the quantity of almonds and flax instead of adding the hemp protein powder (which I’ve had in the pantry before but don’t currently have), yeah? You’ve got me wondering whether my picky eater (who’s 6) would prefer bars to balls… It would be worth the extra effort if I could persuade him to give them a go – great for his lunchbox. Thanks for the resource!

    • Not a problem– glad to help out! 🙂 I think the hemp seeds would actually sub quite well for the sesame seeds, and as long as you up some of the dry ingredients like you said, there should be no worries taking out the hemp protein. Good luck!

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