Posts Tagged With: energy

Nutty Apricot and Sesame Energy Balls plus the benefits of soaking nuts and seeds

Nutty Apricot and Sesame Energy Balls

Nutty Apricot and Sesame Energy Balls

I love these little energetic things. The perfect way of cramming loads of nutrition and energy into the smallest possible area. These little balls are packed with protein power and full-on flavour and are highly portable! They went down a treat yesterday, I had to share them with you.

Nuts and dried fruits are nutritional power houses and contain vast amounts of good stuff; sugars and fats. The last two should of course be enjoyed in moderation and these little balls are perfectly portion controlled. Unless you make them the size of a cricket ball ( I prefer more of a squash ball size and smaller) then you’ll be getting the optimum levels of everything you need from a revitalising, healthy between meal booster.

PLAY BALL!
I have kept these very simple and natural. No added flavours, just the nuts, seeds and fruit. I like to use seeds primarily because they taste amazing, but they are also less expensive and work just as well as nuts. I used a good mixture of nuts, but you can mix and match with whatever you have handy. Nuts like walnuts, cashews and almonds blend smooth, it is more tough to get a Brazil nut to play ball! This is great when mixed with other nuts, adds a crunchy texture. The same can be said for sunflower seeds, once soaked they blend up nicely, unlike pumpkin seeds which take a little more blitzing action. If you have a high powered blender, non of this really applies, as they will take care of anything you put into them. They’d quite happily blend a bean tin I’m sure (this is an untested theory).

BENEFITS OF SOAKING YOUR NUTS
I mention nut soaking quite a lot in Peace & Parsnips, I think its important to know about and can really accentuate the flavour, texture and nutritional properties of nuts and seeds. It takes a little forward planning but is very much worth it. Nutrients are tucked away in our food and in some occasions, are missed by our bodies. They are not available to the body, so we miss out on all the goodness. This is known as the ‘bio-availability’ of nutrients and soaking nuts in water before using them opens up the nutrients to be absorbed by the body. They have known this for thousands of years in India and soaked almonds are promoted within the Ayurvedic diet for a number of health boosting reasons.

Soaking nuts in water, preferably overnight, inhibits the potentially harmful effects of enzymes inhibitors, tannins and toxins in nuts.  Nature doesn’t want seeds and nuts to germinate until the right conditions are present, by soaking nuts and seeds we are creating these conditions.  They literally come to life!  Enzymes are essential to good health, just as important as minerals and vitamins.  Soaking releases more beneficial enzymes that our bodies love.  Most nuts also taste better after they have been soaked, they plump up nicely and become crisp.  We normally soak to order, but you can soak in bulk.  This just means that your nuts need to be dried out a little.  You can do this in a dehydrator or in a low oven.  The nuts can then be stored in a air tight container and used on cereals and salads.

TOP FIVE REASONS TO SOAK NUTS, SEEDS (AND LEGUMES)

1 – Increase the amount of vitamins, especially B vitamins

2 – Produce greater levels of beneficial enzymes

3 – To make digestion easier

4 – Allows easier absorption of protein

5 – To limit enzyme inhibitors, tannins and potentially harmful toxins

We soak nuts in warm water and some people add a little salt.  Cover the nuts and leave them overnight, between 7 – 24 hours is best.  That’s it!

REASONS TO LOVE TAHINI (AND SESAME SEEDS)

Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds and is one of our favourite ingredients.  A wonderful source of vegan creaminess that creeps into dressings, sauces, stews/ curry’s or mixed with jam/ molasses/ maple syrup and lathered on toast and crackers.  Tahini normally comes in light and dark varieties, dark has a much more toasted, full flavour.  Its not only the delicious aspects of tahini that are attractive, nutritionally its a proper superstar, its is actually one of the best sources of calcium found in nature and also keeps your skin vibrant and muscles toned.  It contains 20% protein which is higher than most nuts and is high in very good fats of the unsaturated variety.   See our Foodie Fact below for more nutritional bits and pieces.

Feel free to sweeten them as you see fit (taste the mix before rolling up) but I think they are mighty fine with just the apricots.  Good dried apricots will not be bright orange.  Try and get some un-sulphured apricots, they are out there and well worth the effort and slightly higher expense.  Hunza apricots especially (from Afghanistan) are really interesting.  If you are living in an area where loads of apricots grow, you could dry your own and even use the kernels instead of nuts or seeds.  Apricot kernels are delicious and becoming quite popular in the UK.

We love to play around with combinations of nuts, seeds and flavourings. The possibilities are huge and its much more satisfying and cheaper to make these at home. The main thing is having a dried fruit to bind everything together, normally soaked so that they break down nicely into a sticky paste. Then add nuts and seeds to the equation, any type that takes your fancy and flavour with things like citrus zest, cocoa/ cacao, rose water, orange blossom water, vanilla extract, pomegranate molasses, spices……etc.  Energy balls are a medium for a healthy snack charged with all the nutrition we need when leading an active and healthy life.

Nice sticky mix

Nice sticky mix

The Bits – For 12-15 energy balls

300g mixed nuts and seeds (soaked in water for at least 7 hours beforehand.  I used cashew, walnuts, brazils and sunflower seeds)

150g dried apricots (soaked in water for at least 1 hour before hand)

4 tbs toasted sesame seeds

2-3 tbs light tahini

2-4 tbs sweetener (maple syrup, brown rice syrup etc)

Do It

Drain your nuts and place in your blender/ food processor.  Blend them for a minute of so, scraping down the sides of the blender a few times.  Add the drained apricots and continue to blend until a chunky paste is formed.  You can keep the apricot soaking water, its lovely and sweet.  The mix should be sticky, you will be able to form small balls with  it between our fingers.  Stir in the tahini and sweetener (if using).

Pour the sesame seeds onto a plate and spread out.  With damp hands (stops the balls sticking to your fingers) take a roughly squash ball sized amount of mix (3-4 tbsp) and roll in your palms into a ball.  Pop it onto the plate and roll in the sesame seeds.  Apply a little pressure when doing this to make them stick.  Place the finished ball onto a serving plate.  Repeat until all the mix is used up.

These energy balls will firm up in the fridge and keep well in a plastic container out of the fridge.   Of course, they will not be lasting that long…..!

Serve

These type of energy balls are designed to be portable and travel perfectly.  They are especially good sustenance when exercising, down the gym or hiking.  They are a boost anytime and sometimes I like to nibble one before a busy day in the kitchen.  Intensely nutritious and easy to roll.

Chocolate and Coconut Energy Balls

Chocolate and Coconut Energy Balls – a simple variation with walnuts, sunflower seeds, cacao, coconut and vanilla extract

Foodie Fact

Tahini is a great friend of the BHK.  Very high in many vitamin B’s and vitamin E.  It also contains lot of minerals like iron and potassium and contains chemicals that help our liver detox.  Tahini is alkaline which makes it easy to digest and helps with weight loss.  As mentioned above it is very high in protein and even higher in calcium.  Try a scoop of tahini in the morning instead of dairy products and you are covering yourself for calcium and a healthy raft of other things.

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Have you met Cosmos yet? He’s our new garden cat.  You may remember our dear Buster who has moved on…….where to we are not sure>  Cosmos is a character and it’s good to have him hanging out, lying down and occasionally purring.  Cats are great teachers in so many ways.

Cosmos - The new cat on the scene

Cosmos – The new cat on the scene

Categories: Desserts, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Raw Power Balls

Apricot Sesame and Tahini – Raw Power Balls

These are real super fuels, if you need power and energy, look no further.  These Raw Power Balls are like duracell batteries for the body.

We love a good raw bar.  Nutty or seedy.  Carob or crunch.  Nak’d and Nine Bar are just a couple on sale in the UK which are perfect when you fancy a treat but don’t want to eat a load of junk.  Making them yourself however is a lot more fun and allows your creative side to get busy.

These little balls pack a serious punch, tasty and like rocket fuel, your energy levels and vitality will leap when you try them.  We experiment with this recipe all the time and they are the perfect snack for a long day walking up steep hills (and then down again).  I eat them at work and they keep me rocking all day.  The measurements are rough here, they don’t need to be exact, handfuls are accurate enough.  This is a simple, quick snack that serves as a tasty last minute treat.

Packed with nuts and date, you need to take it easy with this type of snack.  They are very filling and packed full of sugar, hence the power.  Too many and you’ll negate any benefit gained from all that raw goodness (by getting fat!).

They don’t need any preparation, but the dates and nuts will be better for a soak.  They swell up and even taste better. They become softer and easier to blend.  Soaking will also release many of the useful enzymes and nutrients that are otherwise closed off to the body.  If you do decide to soak your bits, keep the juice, date juice is lovely and sweet and the nut juice is packed with nutrients.  We add it to juices, stews or soups.

You may also like to make these into a truffle.  Heat up some chocolate (in a bowl above a pan of steaming water) and roll you power balls in them until well coated.  Place on a tray, covered with baking parchment and stick them in the fridge.  Once the chocolate has hardened, they are ready to be enjoyed.  That’s surely a treat worthy of a special birthday walk or even a dessert in its own right (just make the balls slightly bigger).

On a wander, seeing some flowers.

Here are a few of our favourite Power Ball flavour combos:

The Bits

Makes six decent power balls

Basic recipe:

1 handful of good dates (we like medjool, soaked for 2 hours), 1 handful of almonds (soaked overnight), 1/2 handful of cashews (soaked overnight)

Dark Chocolate Orange

2 heaped teas cacao powder, 3 teas orange blossom water or 2 teas orange zest, 1/2 handful of raisin (soaked) 

Apricot, Sesame and Tahini

3 teas sesame seeds, 2 teas tahini, 1/2 handful of dried apricots (soaked and chopped)

Walnut Apple Pie

1 handful dried apples (soaked), 1 handful of walnuts (replace almonds), 1/2 teas cinnamon

Lemon Cardamom

2 teas lemon zest, 2 teas crushed cardamom seeds

Coco Choco Mint

1/2 handful of fresh coconut (blend first), 2 teas cacao powder, 2 teas finely chopped mint leaves

Vanilla Cashew

1 teas vanilla extract, use only cashew nuts

Very Berry 

1 handful of dried cranberry, 1/2 handful of dried blueberry, 1/2 handful dried cherries, 1 teas vanilla extract

Seedy Wonder

1/2 handful sunflower seeds, 1/2 handful pumpkin seeds, 1/4 handful sesame seeds, 1/4 handful poppy seeds

Ginger Bread

1/2 teas all spice, 1/2 teas dried ginger, 1 handful of pecans (replace almonds)

Maple Fig and Lavender (CAUTION – very sweet!)

1 teas maple syrup, 1/2 teas dried lavender, 1/2 handful dried figs (soaked and chopped)

Peanut Butter 

2 teas peanut butter, 1 handful of raw peanuts

The list goes on…………..like kids in a sweet shop……

Do It

The technique is always the same.  Put it all into a food processor, blitz until smooth (or chunky, you decide).  Get your hands in there and roll out a decent sized ball between your palms.  That’s it!

Place in the fridge for a while to make them firmer and a little less sticky.  They last for a long time in a sealed container in the fridge and can even be frozen and munched at a later date.

Chocolate Orange – Raw Power Balls

Serve

Preferably on top of a peak or in a forest somewhere far away from anywhere.

We Love Them!

Better than a biscuit and full of only raw goodness.

Foodie Fact

Dates give you a hefty dose of protein and fibre.  They are also high in calories, essential when wandering around the countryside (or city for that matter).  They are also a good source of Vitamin B and you’ll even get a splash of C thrown in as well.

Sun on flowers, taken on a walk in the woods

Categories: Desserts, Raw Food, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Nakd Bars (Raw)

Nakd Bars

My first look at a Nakd bar read:

Nature is nice 

Eatnakd.com

Want to look better, feel better and help the world? Replace over-processed foods with nourishing wholefoods and get ready to be happy. This satisfying slice of goodness is a great place to start. Hope you love it as much as we do! Nature is nice.

That was just the wrapper! I was sold. It didn’t matter what they tasted like, I loved the whole ethos behind these raw fruit and nut bars.  They come in an awesome range of flavours, like cocoa orange (our favourite), ginger bread (lee’s favourite), cocoa delight (jane’s favourite), cashew cookie (just plain lovely) and pecan pie (rather nice also).

Nakd bars are a lovely raw nutritious treat that we’d like to champion a little.  These goodies are simply made by mooshing nuts and fruit together.  The bars are chewy and crumbly and the cocoa flavours are intesly chocolaty.

Nakd are a great success story and are now in many supermarkets and high streets around the UK.  What an excellent option to other processed sweets.   Nakd bars contain no hidden nasties and are packed with nutrients.  They are vegan, wheat and gluten free, there is very little reason to not munch on one.  They even have the new ‘Nakd Oatie’ range which are all under 100 calories per bar, perfect nibbles to compliment a bikini body.

We can be outdoors types when the mood (and weather) takes us, Nakd bars are the perfect treat to have packed in your bag.  They are full of energy and are nice and little.  It seems they are becoming a favourite with many endurance athletes, who push the human body to the extremes.  Extreme challenges need extreme fuel and that’s what Nak’d bars give your body.  They are super charged and super tasty!

Get Nakd!

You’ll find all Nak’d things HERE.

The Beach House Nakd pot

Categories: B.H.K Reviews, Raw Food, Treats, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Apricot, Avocado and Kiwi Smoothie

Apricots

Today’s smooth one came out rather nice. The richness of avocado and the zing of kiwi, with the touch of sweetness from the apricot. A well-balanced cup of goodness.

Jane and I had just taken a long walk down to Trigonos Organic Farm in the nearby Nantlle valley.  It has been an absolutely stunning day in the hills.  We popped down to see Pete and the gang and also managed to pick up some delicious little onions, carrots and potatoes.  Pete grows some really interesting, rare varieties.

Down on the farm, Trigonos (taken in April with snow on the hills)

It is all go down there at this time of year, as it is in our own garden and we are picking up many tips from the wise bunch at Trigonos.  Today we learnt to always water your seedlings at night, especially when sunny.  There seems so many do’s and dont’s when it comes to gardening, I have just been sticking seeds in pots and the earth and hope for a bloom.  We shall see…

Nantlle Valley and a black pony

So smoothies.  We needed something filling, I was shooting off to work , so this is a nice thick one, reminiscent of a milkshake with its creaminess, but without all that fat.  Avocados are excellent for this, creaminess without the cow.  I’m sure all vegans will agree!

Happy blending!

The Bits

Makes enough for two cups:

1 avocado (seeded and scooped out), 4 apricots (de-stoned), 2 kiwis (peeled and quartered), 1 cup of soya milk (or milk of your choice)

Do It

In the blender, blitz for a short time until smooth.

Serve

In the nicest glasses available, will also make a delicious smooth topping for a fruit salad or dessert (ie CAKE!), you may need to add a little something sweet to the mix, maybe honey or dates would be nice.

Foodie Fact 

Avocados are technically berries and are sometimes called alligator pears.  They contain a wide range of vitamins and fat (good fats, they’re full of fibre), which is actually a good thing for raw foodist.  We will be needing alot of avocados in a few days (see raw June)!  Avocados actually help your nutrition absorption by up to 300-400%.

Apricot, Avocado and Kiwi Smoothie

Categories: Desserts, Garden, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Local food, Raw Food, Recipes, Smoothies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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