Saturday, February 2, 2013

Paleo No Bake Chocolate Pumpkin Balls - Two Ways

Batch #1 - No Bake Chocolate, Pumpkin, Coconut Macaroons ! Dessert!

Even the kids will like these!

Today I planned to make fish taco's but I ended up working out with my hubby at home and then going shopping and ran out of time.

I was leaving for shopping at a weird time -- too early for lunch but I knew I'd be gone long past lunch and starving. No worries.........protein bars to the rescue. I try and keep a container of home-made protein bars in the freezer for after the gym, snacks and sometimes for a meal (with fruit or something else portable). It did the trick as I didn't end up in the Ikea cafeteria but I noticed I was getting low on protein bars so I decided to try a new batch when I got home. I suggest if you are trying to go "clean" you keep a batch of some sort of protein bars/balls on hand so you will be less tempted to cheat or be forced to eat fast food when you are on the run (the options can be pretty limited out there). Doesn't hurt to make them chocolate (dark of course).

I happened to have some pumpkin in the fridge from yesterday when I made some no-bake Chocolate macaroons (picture above) for dessert so I threw it in with the protein balls (picture below).  The thing with protein bars is you can pretty much throw anything in them as long as they stick together. I used pure pumpkin puree in mine but you could probably use a couple tablespoons of melted coconut oil if  you don't have pumpkin. And if you do open a can of pumpkin you can always freeze the leftovers and use it in a pumpkin loaf or pumpkin muffins another day.

The no bake macaroons are a yummy treat and only take minutes to make - but I wouldn't use them as a "protein bar" more as a dessert - even my picky kids liked them.

Paleo No-Bake Chocolate Pumpkin Macaroons
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (organic would be great)
1/4 cup blanched almond flour or almond meal
1/4 cup cocoa powder - I use 100%/organic
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup pure pumpkin puree
3 tbsps honey
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsps melted coconut oil

Mix together all the dry ingredients. Add in the pumpkin, honey, vanilla and coconut oil and mix well. I used a tablespoon measuring spoon to make 1 tbsp sized balls that I placed on waxed paper. This recipe made 12 balls. You should keep them in the fridge or freezer and serve cold. You can roll them in more shredded coconut if you want. 

Batch #2 - Paleo Pumpkin, chocolate, walnut, coconut protein balls.  Rolled in chia seeds and some more coconut!
Protein balls au naturel!
Paleo Chocolate Pumpkin Coconut Sun Balls  - makes 14 balls
1 cup pitted dates (loosely packed)
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup 100% cocoa
1/4 cup pure pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 unsweetened shredded coconut

If you have packed dates you wont need a full cup. Mine were loosely packed but pretty dry so I soaked them in warm water for about 10 minutes and then drained. I put them in the food processor and pulsed them until they were broken down into small pieces. I then added the next 4 ingredients and pulsed until well blended (but be careful you don't do it so much that it turns to nut butter). I then transferred to a bowl and mixed in the pumpkin, vanilla and coconut until thoroughly combined. Form into balls - 1 tbsp each and place on waxed paper. I then rolled a few of them in a mixture of coconut and chia seeds (for fun) and left the rest of them bare.  Keep these in the fridge or freezer and serve cold. 

Feel free to adjust the recipe for whatever you have in your pantry - pecans/almonds/macadamias. Don't be a slave to the recipe (i.e. driving around for the exact ingredients) - just experiment a bit. If they are too dry to stick together add some coconut oil if they seem to sticky add some extra shredded coconut. Get crazy and be proud you just made an unprocessed protein bar with no wheat or sugar. Yay!

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