medjool dates

chocolate-hazelnut truffles & pecan-cardamom date balls (vegan)

17th December 2016

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These make a wonderfully healthy addition to bring along to a festive celebration or wrap them up in some recycled paper, a ribbon with a little bit of nature tucked in somewhere for a well-wisher or loved one.  They are always appreciated.  Some other ideas are this homemade raw halvah or zesty mango bliss balls or these chocolate covered caramels  Or an assortment of all three!

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chocolate – toasted hazelnut truffles

You could experiment with the different variations of these chocolate balls by adding orange or lemon zest, fresh mint, peppermint essence or even delicately salted.  For a smoother consistency, grind the nuts first, and then add the rest of the ingredients.

I like how toasting brings out the rich flavour in the nuts. If wanting to keep the truffles raw skip the toasting process.

Inspired by Donna’s Date Chocolate Balls & Green Kitchen Stories

Makes about 18 – 20 balls

ingredients 

15 large Medjool dates, pitted

50g dried unsweetened shredded coconut

100g toasted hazelnuts/almonds

1 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

2 – 4 Tbsp cacao/carob powder

1 Tbsp water

1 tsp cinnamon powder

preparation 

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

2.  Place the hazelnuts on a tray and toast for 12 minutes, roll in a clean tea towel to remove some of the skin.  The toasting brings out the warm rich hazelnut flavour.

3.  Place all the ingredients in a food processor, and pulse for about 1 minute or until the mixture comes together.

4.  Take a small amount of the mixture and roll into small round balls.  If you are having trouble with the mixture coming together, place the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes. Roll the balls in cocoa/carob powder, finely chopped toasted almond flakes or shredded coconut.

5.  Place in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving, or package them into a jar tied with ribbon or raffia for a holiday gift offering.

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pecan – cardamom spiced date balls

I love these bite-size balls for their exotic taste!  If possible, grind your own cardamom as the taste is so much more fragrant, fresher and more intense.  

A recipe inspired by Anna.

Makes 18 – 20

ingredients 

12 large medjool dates, pitted

50g dried cranberries/goji berries (if using goji berries roughly chop)

50g dried unsweetened shredded coconut

100g raw pecans

1 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

2 Tbsp freshly ground cardamom

1 Tbsp water

1 tsp ginger powder/1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger

preparation 

1.  Place all the ingredients in a food processor, and pulse for 1 minute or until the mixture comes together.

2.  Take a small amount of the mixture and roll into small round balls; half the size of a golf ball.  If you are having trouble with the mixture coming together, place the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes. Roll the balls in finely chopped toasted pecans or shredded coconut.

3.  Place in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving.  Or package them into a jar tied with ribbon or raffia for a holiday gift offering.

4V7A9372_1980x1297Goodness shared by Stacey

amaranth almond date bars with carob (vegan)

17th February 2016

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The sun is shining!  I got to open the door to welcome breezes and beautiful silent visitors.

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These are lovely, chewy decadent bars, for a special treat that everyone loves after a busy day.

Goji berries are earthy, slightly astringent and mildly sweet.  Known to be abundant in antioxidants, trace minerals, essential amino acids, Vitamin C, and beta-carotene.  Amaranth has a sweet, nutty flavour and is exceptionally high in protein and calcium.  Which makes these quite the ‘superfood bar’!

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amaranth almond date bars with carob

Makes 8 large rectangular bars/16 square

Inspiration & recipe slightly adapted from here.

‘If popping your own amaranth feels a little challenging, you can purchase it already popped/puffed or if amaranth is hard to find, replace with popped quinoa.  The goji berries can be replaced with dried raspberries, sultanas, or any dried fruit of choice.’

ingredients

1 cup popped amaranth

100 grams pitted, soft Medjool dates (about 5 large dates)

1 Tbsp coconut oil – melted

½ cup home-made almond butter

pinch salt

zest from 1 large lemon

1½ tsp freshly grated ginger

2 Tbsp coconut flakes

3 Tbsp finely chopped almonds

3 Tbsp finely chopped dried goji berries plus 1 Tbsp (for garnishing)

1 Tbsp dried shredded coconut (for garnishing)

carob coating

2 Tbsp coconut oil

¼ cup carob powder

¼ cup maple syrup

½ tsp vanilla essence(optional)

popping the amaranth

Directions from ‘At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen.’

‘Popping amaranth seems challenging at first, so if you burn your first batch, which I did, you get the hang of it.  It’s easy and fun.  Once you get the temperature of the pan correct, the popping happens fast (in about 15 seconds).  You need to remove the popped grain from the pot immediately to avoid burning.’

Makes about 1 cup

¼ cup amaranth

1.  Warm a small heavy-bottomed pot with a lid over high heat for 2 minutes, add 1 tablespoon amaranth and cover pot immediately.  Count 5 seconds and shake pan; you will hear the grain popping rapidly.  Shake again, or until all the grains are popped.   I could never get all the grains to pop, but this is no problem, as even the unpopped grains are crunchy.  Quickly transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining amaranth, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Set aside.

amaranth bars

2. Line a 7-inch x 7-inch square dish with baking paper.

3.  Place the dates in a bowl and mash with a fork.  If your dates are not soft, soak them in water for a few minutes, then drain well and proceed to mash. Add coconut oil, almond butter, salt, lemon zest, ginger and coconut flakes.  Mix well, pushing down with the back of a fork, until combined.

4.  Add the amaranth, chopped almonds and 2 tablespoons of dried goji berries, incorporating everything evenly.  The mixture may seem dry, but this is fine as it will be packed tightly in the dish.

5.  Using your hands or the back of a spoon, press the mixture very tightly into the lined dish, until completely even and flat.  Place in the fridge while preparing the carob coating.

carob coating 

6.  Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan, then turn off the heat, add the maple syrup and carob powder –  whisk until smooth, then stir in the vanilla essence – set aside.

7.  Remove the amaranth slice from the fridge, then using a spatula, spread the carob coating evenly over the slice.  Sprinkle with the remaining dried goji berries and shredded coconut.

8.  Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour, until cold and firm.  Using a sharp knife, cut into bite-sized squares or rectangular bars.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.  The bars will keep up to 2 weeks, probably longer if they last that long.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

green smoothie

27th February 2013

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What makes this green smoothie so good is the wide spectrum of amino acids, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, chlorophyll, fibre and enzymes that will give your body the health, energy and strength it needs. The blending helps breaks down the cellular walls of the leafy greens, enabling our bodies to assimilate all these nutrients.

I try to not use the same leafy greens every day, rotating the greens daily or every few days.  Mixing up your leafy greens will ensure that you are rounding out all the different vitamins each green carries. Plus, each different leafy green contains small amounts of alkaloids, so when you switch them often, you are giving your body a chance to work on the different alkaloids equally.

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Rotate your leafy greens according to the family.

Crucifers:  kale, collard, arugula (rocket), cabbage, bok choy, radish greens, mustard greens, broccoli

Amaranth:  spinach, chard, beets

Asteraceae: dandelions, leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce

Apiaceae: parsley, cilantro, anise, celery, chervil, dill, fennel, parsnip

Poaceae: wheatgrass

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green smoothie

Serves 4 large glasses

This recipe originated from Anna.   When I lived in Israel, I would receive a call most mornings to say that my smoothie was ready and waiting for me. The green smoothie was a distant memory until I found the recipe tucked away giving it life again.  I believe it came from Donna, who on one of her trips to Israel, went around one morning to Anna’s kitchen to learn the secrets of the green smoothie and came back with this delicious recipe.  We have been enjoying the green smoothie in the afternoon, when the children get back from school, needing a pick-me-up.   

I use my Vitamix blender as it has a very powerful blade.  If using a normal blender, I would peel the lemon and apple.  There are so many recipes out there, and there are limitless possibilities.  This one is my favourite combinations.

ingredients 

1 large green apple, quartered and cored

2 large Medjool dates, pitted

2 Tbsp dried unsweetened cranberries

½ lemon, peel and all

1-inch chunk ginger, chopped

½ avocado and/or ½ banana

a handful of sunflower sprouts or mung beans sprout

small bunch of parsley

a generous mix of greens (spinach, kale, rocket, chard, lettuce or radish leaves, arugula,….)

1½ cups almond milk   or nut milk of your choice (nut milk in the carton is pasteurised to keep the shelf life long, so therefore it has little nutrients.  It is much better to make your own)

1 cup unsweetened apple juice

preparation 

1.  Place all the ingredients in the blender. The blender will be quite full.

2.  Blend until creamy and smooth.

3.  Pour into glasses and enjoy!

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Goodness shared from Stacey

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