Memorial Day weekend is coming, bringing with it lots and lots and LOTS of food. And I don’t know what it’s like where you’re at, but here it’s in the 90s already! And you know what that means…pools. And lakes. And…bikinis. Yes, it’s already swimsuit season! Yikes! Are you ready?!? It kinda snuck up on me, I gotta admit, but I am trying to incorporate more and more natural sweets (as in honey, fruits, etc) into our diet so we don’t look like the michelin man when we bare it all at the first water-type event this year. Of course, can’t do anything about the whiteness (trying to avoid that pesky skin caner) but we CAN do something about the shape of our bodies and our overall health!
(Sorry, little peptalk for myself there. Ahem. Ok, back to the recipe…)
If you are watching what goes in your mouth this weekend (like me and my husband) and are kinda scared about the next 72 hours of festivities and merriment, may I suggest these Honey Almond Date Balls as a sweet and healthy alternative? You might want to double or triple the batch because once people taste them, they will want more. Seriously. Jeremy doesn’t even like coconut and he LOVES these things. I left the recipe alone for the most part except instead of rolling the balls in more almonds, I rolled them in unsweetened coconut.
1 c. Raw Almonds (do 2 cups if you plan on rolling the balls in almonds)
2 c. Pitted Dates, preferably Medjool
¼ c. Raw Honey
⅓ c. Dried, Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grind almonds in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a baking sheet and toast in oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until fragrant and a shade darker.
Roughly chop dates and add to food processor. Pulse until finely chopped and dates form a ball. Remove from processor to a bowl. And the almonds and honey to the dates. Mix together until evenly incorporated.
Using a damp washcloth to dampen your hands periodically, for the mixture into 1" balls and roll in the coconut.
Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for a few days or transfer to the fridge and they will keep for a couple of weeks.
Last week I posted some healthy dessert recipes and I had my eye on a couple to try myself. I decided to start with the Sunny Oat-Date Bars. I just happened to have a HUGE bag of dates sitting on my counter that I had been meaning to make into a dessert but had never taken the time to find a recipe. These bars were the perfect thing to use them in!
I made some minor adjustments to the recipe and overall the results were delicious. They turned out a teensy bit crumbly so I’d recommend eating them with a fork. And after I simmered the dates and orange juice, I had no liquid left over to add to the dry ingredients, it just turned into a very thick mixture. So even though I didn’t have any of the orange/date liquid to add to the oats, it still worked fine. I absolutely LOVED this recipe and found I could hardly stay out of the bars. The flavors of orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and dates was ah-mazing. Pretty sure a healthy recipe becomes not so healthy when you eat 2-3 times more than you should! Oh well.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x9 pan with cooking spray.
In a small saucepan, combine the dates, orange juice and orange rind. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occassionally, until dates are very soft and the mixture has turned very thick (about 5-8 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Once cool, mash until smooth.
In a large bowl, whisk together oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, honey, maple syrup and vanilla. Add oil mixture to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Press ⅔ of the oat mixture into the pan and spread the date mixture over the crust. Stir pecans into remaining oat mixture and drop by spoonfulls onto the date mixture and spread evenly.
Believe it or not, there are some people on diets this time of year. Yes, DIETS, preparing/starving themselves for the two month long eat-o-rama that begins around mid-November and doesn’t stop until somewhere around the new year. I myself believe in moderation and balance and try to get plenty of exercise and eat an overall healthy diet (I definitely do NOT believe in starvation and “diet” trends). And I am most certainly planning on indulging during the holidays but in moderation.
So, for those more health-conscious readers out there like myself, I thought I would provide you with some healthy dessert options for you to bring to those family get-togethers. Some are most definitely more healthy than others; there are low-fat, low-calorie, high-protein, low-sugar, etc. Options! That’s what I’m all about. 🙂 I’ll definitely be testing a couple (the Date Bars and Honey-Almond Cake are calling my name!) to see if they are worthy of the upcoming family festivities. I’ll post my results!