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Superfood Energy Bites (Raw, Vegan, Paleo)

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I am very excited to be teaming up with Prana (Cherry Creek location) this summer to do various nutrition and fitness workshops. The first one is happening this weekend, and in preparation I was on the hunt for a delicious finger food to share.

You know how sometimes you need just a little something...something sweet, but salty, gooey and crunchy, and...chocolaty? And of course healthy, too. Well, these energy bites should satisfy on all accounts. 

This one was inspired by a recent post from one of my favorite food blogs, Detoxinista. These delicious little morsels are full of minerals, antioxidants, protein, omega 3's, and fiber. Not to mention naturally sweetened by only dates and cranberries. I made two variations as an experiment and both turned out great. (I don't know how it happened, but the Berries N' Chia kind of tastes like bubble gum, and I am not complaining.)

Btw, I've been trying out some different superfood powders. So far these are my two faves and are a key ingredient for the energy bites. 

Chocolate Walnut Energy Bites

Makes about 25-30 small chunks

Time: about 20 minutes

You'll Need:

  • 1 Cup pitted dates
  • 1.5 cups walnuts
  • 2 packets (1/8 Cup) Perfect Food brand Raw Green Super Food (chocolate flavor)
  • 1/8 cup cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1/8 tsp salt

In a food processor, blend the walnuts first for a few seconds. You don't want them too chunky otherwise the mixture won't hold together as well.

Add in the remaining ingredients and process for another 30 seconds or so. Ready? Stuff's about to get messy. Use your hands to roll the "dough" into balls of whatever size you choose.

Keep them as is, or roll them in a layer of cocoa.

Berries N' Chia Energy Bites

Makes about 25-30 small chunks

Prep Time: about 20 minutes

  • 1.5 cups pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 packet Amazing Grass brand "Amazing Meal" superfood mix, pomegranate flavor
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/8 tsp salt

This one is just as delicious and even easier to make. Throw all the ingredients into the food processor and give it a whirl .

You can also use a rolling pin to flatten the "dough" out on a piece of parchment paper and cut into bars. Enjoy!

Save Your Scraps: Homemade Veggie Broths

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CYMERA_20140330_210042 My favorite part about this recipe is not so much the broth itself, but that it gives me a really good use for all the veggie scraps that would otherwise get tossed. So for the last week and a half I've been saving and freezing all the parts of my vegetables that I don't eat. 

Let's see what we have here....

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Looks like there's some broccoli stems, kale and celery stems, the tops and insides of bell peppers, some chard that was about to go bad, beet green and leaves, onion skins, basil plant stems (leftover from Basil Vinaigrette recipe), jalapeno tops (from Salsa recipe), and some carrot shreds. 

There really is no right or wrong ratio of veggies to water, but for those of you who need some serious structure, here's what I did:

  • About 1 gallon ziploc bag of frozen veggies, packed in
  • 6-8 quarts water
  • Optional Extras: herbs and spices, salt, garlic (I used one clove garlic, about a tsp of sea salt, 2 bay leaves, and a sprinkle of crushed red peppers)CYMERA_20140330_210243

Make sure all your scraps have been WASHED at some point. It's easiest if you just wash all veggies before freezing. Bring everything to a boil in a big pot over the stove. Reduce heat to low and let simmer (covered) for about 2 hours. When broth is done, strain the liquid through a colander into another pot or glass bowl.

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At this point you can continue making some kind of soup with the broth, or store in the fridge for later use. Sipping on veggie broth by itself is a great way to give yourself a big nutritional boost, especially when feeling sick, stressed, or fatigued.  Add a spoonful or two of nutritional yeast in there, and your taste buds and body will celebrate even more!

 

Salsa: Pineapple Habanero and Easy Tomato

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CYMERA_20140313_135731 Tomorrow is my 26th birthday, and you know what I really want to make? Something rich and chocolaty, smothered in frosting. Topped with bacon. Buuuut...I already decided to make salsas for tomorrow night's party, so I'm stuck with jalapenos and cilantro instead. No chocolate. No bacon. Seriously though, these are actually both really delicious recipes that I'm looking forward to sharing. 

Side note, I got hit with some nasty cold/flu earlier this week. I was freaking out a bit because I didn't want to be sick over the weekend. So I've been slamming this "immune juice" multiple times a day and am feeling almost 100% better already. (This is in combination with a couple 11-hour sleep nights as well!)

  • 2 small oranges, or one big one
  • 1 Tb fresh ginger
  • handful of spinach 
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 large carrot
  • little bit of water to help with blendingCYMERA_20140313_143931

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Ok on to the salsas.

Pineapple Habanero Salsa

Roast time: 30 minutes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Makes about 5 cups salsa

You'll Need:

  • 4 cups chopped pineapple (about 1 medium sized pineapple) (I can imagine that mangos would be a great sub for this recipe....)
  • 1 cup packed cilantro
  • 2 habanero peppers (roasted) 
  • 1 yellow onion
  • sprinkle of cumin
  • dash of salt

Preheat over to 400 degrees. Dice the onion into small chunks, and place on a baking sheet with peppers. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until peppers begin to wrinkle, stirring onions once or twice along the way. Turn oven up to broil, and bake for 3-5 more minutes. You want your peppers to brown and even bubble slightly, but keep a close eye on them while on broil because they go from brown to black very quickly! 

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While peppers are baking, chop up pineapple into small pieces. A food processor does this nicely.CYMERA_20140313_135310

Once the peppers and onions are done roasting take just one cup of the diced pineapple, 1 cup of cilantro, cumin, salt, and the habaneros and blend them in a food processor or blender.

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Note on habaneros: Don't underestimate the heat on these little guys. I recommend removing the seeds. Remember, you  can always add them in later if you still want more kick. Stir this mixture in with the remaining pineapple chunks as well as onions. 

 

Easy Tomato Salsa

Roast Time: 30 minutes

Prep time: less than 5

Makes about 4 cups salsa

You'll Need:

  • 1 - 28 oz can whole tomatoes
  • 4 cups cilantro, packed
  • 1-2 roasted jalapenos (seeds included)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • dash of salt

Everything goes in blender. Done. 

This is a really easy go-to for salsa, and can be even easier if you buy the canned jalapenos rather than roasting your own. You can also add in onions, corn, or beans for extra flair.  

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Whew. I'm actually sweating a little bit just from taste-testing!