Dates: a food ancient people loved and considered a sweet treat. High in iron, B-6, fiber, and Magnesium- they’re also good for you. So a good for you fruit seems to be a great snack option, right? Well, that’s all good and fine if dates were delicious. But on their own they are not. They’re sweet, but not very tasty. The ancient people are horrible, horrible liars. Dates by themselves do not taste great, and look a bit like a cocoon or bug- which creeps me out.
So how do you make something healthy (but ugly) tasty? Without coating it in butter, ranch, or sugar- things that make healthy not so healthy? You make the dates a transport device for chocolate. Pretty much everything covered in chocolate is better. I once had cocoa dusted Brussel sprouts and it made them non-disgusting. So really, adding chocolate makes food better. And cocoa itself is good for you- it contains iron and protein, as well as fiber, which are all good additions to fruit. Then by adding almonds and pecans you’re getting magnesium, potassium, calcium, and more fiber. These things are fiber monsters. You’ll never have to worry about pooping again! So each ingredient that goes into this recipe is good for you, and the flavors meld together to make a really tasty snack. Plus, the natural sweetness of the dates makes the truffle taste indulgent- without adding sugar or anything bad for you!
Date Truffle Balls
1/3 cup pecans
1/3 cup almonds or almond flour (I used almond flour)
1 1/3 cups dates (pitted)
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk or water
Pecans, almonds, cocoa, and coconut flakes for coating
- Place pecans, almonds (almond flour), pitted dates, cocoa powder, and vanilla in food processor. Blend until smooth. With whole pecans and almonds, this can take some time.
- After all the items are blended, check the consistency. If the paste is too firm (too difficult to roll into a ball) add milk or water.
- Roll date mixture into balls, then roll in pecan, almond, cocoa, or coconut to coat.
- Refrigerate or freeze after making.
This recipe is a simple, delicious way to make a healthy snack. I always refrigerate the date balls after making them to firm them up- they can get pretty soft and messy. One mistake I made the last time I made these was letting the mixture sit for too long. It made it too moist- the juices starting releasing from the dates and it made rolling the balls more difficult. I refrigerated the mixture in between batches and that seemed to firm them up enough to roll them. Another option is to add more almonds or pecans- this will make the mixture easier to work with and less runny.
Overall, I think this snack is a great one. I grab a few before I run and they give me a bit of a pick-me-up. And each ball, depending on the size, has about 60 calories. The coating also impacts the calories- I used almonds, pecans, and sweetened coconut, and this causes fluctuations in the nutrition for each ball.
No matter how good for you something is, you’re not going to eat it if you hate it. I’m not a huge fan of dates. But when you add other flavors, it creates a whole new taste. And all the other ingredients add more good-for-you vitamins! So you have a super food that tastes super incredible! And if you have kids, it’s a great way to con them into eating healthy. And who doesn’t love tricking kids into doing things that are good for them?! (Note to people who don’t have kids: DO NOT offer healthy candy to stranger’s children- you’re going to jail). On my quest to lose weight and eat better, finding things I enjoy eating is the best way to go. And these healthy chocolate salty nut balls are a dream!
Breakfast- the foundation of a good day. But when you are employed full time (or are incredibly lazy, both of which I happen to be), it can be difficult to find time to make something each morning. I have found that including protein into my breakfast makes me feel full for longer, and also keeps my blood sugar from shooting up and then crashing. But making eggs every morning is time consuming, and not really logical for a person like me that wants to wake up as late as possible and then watch Judge Judy. So, I need a way to make something healthy that doesn’t take forever and require effort of any kind. I have found that making large portions over the weekend, and then splitting it up during the week, works best for me. That’s where the following recipe comes in handy:
SLOW COOKER EGG CASSEROLE
- 6 large eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- onion powder
- garlic powder
- 1 can diced mushrooms (4 oz, a small can)
- 1 cup (packed) baby spinach
- 1 cup shredded cheese (I used mild cheddar)
- 1 cup turkey ham, diced
- In a bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, yogurt, onion powder, and garlic powder together until smooth.
- Stir in the mushrooms, spinach, cheese, and turkey ham.
- Spray slow cookerwith non-stick cooking spray.
- Pour eggs mixture into the bottom of slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on HIGH for 90 minutes to 2 hours. Eggs should be set.
(recipe taken from https://www.365daysofcrockpot.com/recipe-for-slow-cooker-egg-spinach-and/)
Now, I did some things differently than what was in the recipe, so I updated it from the site I took it from to reflect what I did. The recipe called for ham, but I don’t eat pork so I used turkey ham. It was also less fatty, so better for me. I used fresh baby spinach, but some recipes recommend using frozen.
One thing I can say right off the bat is- do not use a round slow cooker! Or if you do, make half the recipe. I also have an oval slow cooker, and this gives the eggs more of a cooking surface. The round slow cooker did not allow the eggs to firm in the center, and so I ended up stirring the mixture to get more of a scrambled egg consistency rather than a casserole. And this worked better for me, because I will put the eggs on toast or a bagel. But if you want more of a quiche, use a larger, wider slow cooker to get that.
Another thing I noticed about this recipe was that the spinach released a lot of liquid, and the eggs got runny. Next time, I think I will cut back on the spinach, or cook it first so it does not release so much liquid into the eggs.
Overall, the taste was great and it ended up being a perfect breakfast for me. I put the eggs on wheat toast or a bagel to make a sandwich, but they can also be eaten on their own. It’s an easy, healthy way to make breakfast. And it doesn’t taste like normal diet food (aka: sand and sadness), so it makes it worth eating. Healthy and delicious? Good for me and not gag-inducing? Perfect.
I estimate that my serving is about 250 calories (I’m estimating about 6 servings). If you want fewer calories using less cheese (or a low fat version) would reduce the total. Overall I’d say the recipe is a great option for someone who wants to eat a healthy, filling breakfast, but may not have a ton of time each day to make one.