I had a couple of great, ambitious recipes planned for this week.
As I type, I’m debating about whether or not to spill the beans.
I may go back for a re-do. . . because they both flopped.
“Flopped” as in, I threw them in the garbage.
I still think they were pretty good ideas in concept, just not in execution.
I learned some things about myself through the process though, so it was all worth it.
I started to think my lesson was that I just don’t cook “healthy” very well, and I should stick to what I am good at.
I like what I am good at: Sweets, bacon, and hot cheesy things like pizza and enchiladas.
I really was kind of down on myself for not being a very good “healthy” cook.
Then I realized: That’s not even true.
I cook some pretty yummy healthy things.
I cook “healthy” on a regular basis, and our family eats “healthy” as our daily norm.
I like veggies and whole grains, legumes, and fruits.
I like “light” food, and I can make it pretty well.
The lesson I really learned, is that I’m not good at trying to turn sweets into health foods.
I want my sweets to taste like sugar and decadence, and I want my healthy food to taste the way it’s supposed to – fresh and bright and light and umm, healthy. . . .
So if I love a particular cookie, I should make that cookie.
And if I want to make that cookie dough and eat the dough, I should make the dough, and eat it – right from the bowl.
I should have a bite (or two), fully enjoy it, and move on.
I should NOT try to turn the dough into energy boosting protein balls.
I should NOT try to substitute chickpeas for the Crisco.
I should NOT try to leave out 15/16ths of the sugar and expect that this protein ball will taste anything close to good.
But I did do all those things.
And they didn’t work.
Into the trash went that experiment. . . .
HOWEVER – On round two, I did find a combination of powerful, healthy ingredients that work nicely together as long as you’re not expecting to pop a bon-bon into your mouth and slide into eye-rolling, pure bliss because of the act.
What I found was a thick, satisfying, mixture of healthy ingredients that combine to make up little balls of fuel to power through a busy morning or a hearty workout.
They don’t taste like candy. They taste like HEALTH FOOD.
I was pretty thrilled when the toddler came back for her fourth ball.
I was feeling smug and satisfied and excited that I found something that she seemed enjoy without reserve.
Then I found approximately 1.5 balls ground into the living room carpet.
Ok. So they get a 2.5 out of 4 from the toddler.
When the six-year-old tasted one, he smiled and said, “Mmm! I like it!” with a nod.
Then I noticed the flared nostrils as he was chewing. . . . Not a good sign.
And then he said, “I like them, but don’t put them in my lunch!”
So much for success with the kiddos.
Well, I can tell you this: I certainly don’t mind them. But I am one who enjoys “squirrel bread” (this is what the family calls 12 grain breads with lots of nuts), greek yogurt, and walnuts in my salad. I like a hint of earthy wheat germ in my muffins. I eat lentils and black beans and hippie food and like it. I love veggie sandwiches.
So the thing is, I will probably be eating these alone.
And I’m giving you the recipe with full disclosure.
They’re earthy and nutty. They have a somewhat grainy texture like many of the protein bars you find on the shelf at the supermarket. But they are just sweet enough. They are thick like peanut butter and have a nice body to them. The almond and coconut work nicely together. They are health food, but tasty healthy food.
You’re not going to plop down on the couch and eat 15 of them in one sitting. You’ll eat two or three and feel good about the snack choice you’ve made.
Then you’ll power through your tasks.
The kids may not beg you for more (but they might), and if they eat a couple? You’ll smile inside knowing they just got a whole mouthful of healthy that they weren’t even suspecting!
Healthy Coconut Almond Bites
1/3 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/3 Cup Old Fashioned Oatmeal
1/3 Cup Sweetened, Shredded Coconut (plus a little extra for coating, if desired)
1/3 Cup Golden Raisins
2 Tablespoons roasted soy nuts
1/2 Cup Almond Butter
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
1 Tablespoon Light Corn Syrup
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1/2 Teaspoon Almond Extract
Combine first five ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add in remaining ingredients. Process on low speed until mixture combines and begins to stick together.
Using a half tablespoon measure, scoop mixture into hands and form into balls. Place on plate or cookie sheet.
If desired, pulse a little extra coconut until finely ground and roll the balls in it to coat. (I found this was almost pointless – as only a little bit of the coconut stuck to the outside. But it does look a little prettier.)
Store balls in a sealed container in the fridge.