I’m not sure I should start off a food blog post with this story, but I’m going to. The other week the whole family went to Henry’s little friend Bella’s first birthday. It was such a lovely birthday but the aftermath was not cool, seriously not cool. Two nights later my husband and I woke up vomiting and continued for the rest of the night and well into the morning. My lovely husband was quick to blame my chicken salad from that day saying ‘it must be that, it had chicken and lettuce, it was definitely that without a doubt’. Thanks for the confidence dear husband. Then I received a text from my friend who’s daughter’s birthday it was. Everyone, yes everyone (well the adults at least) who went to the party spent that night hugging the toilet bowl. Apologies dear husband? So I’ve now renamed the party the Bella Birthday Wipe Out. My husband vowed never to attend another kid’s birthday party again. Lucky for him Henry followed up the tummy bug with a chaser of hand, foot and mouth (no not the disease cows get, it’s a real thing but yes I did think the same thing when I first heard about it) so my husband didn’t get to attend the my other friend’s child’s birthday the next week which by the way had the same people there from the previous week so I was a little nervous for my tummy but luckily we call came away unscathed second time around!
So why start a food blog post with a terrible story about tummy bugs? Not that appetising, I clearly didn’t study marketing at school, right? Well after being knocked around by the tummy bug I really felt like I needed a bit of a health kick. I have never gone on a diet in my life, well actually I lie, when I was 18 I did this stupid thing called the cabbage soup diet. Anyone remember that little gem? All you ate was cabbage soup. That’s it. Sounds so appetising, right? Well I took it on because everyone around me was doing it so it had to be good (ha!). I got two days in then gave up when my friends ordered Indian take out. Succumbing to the Indian take out was a good call. This week I also decided to try a detox/cleanse a.k.a. diet. I have been reading a lot recently about the importance of detoxing your liver for optimal health and this is what this little puppy was going to help with. I have been getting sick a lot recently and thought this might help (I now realise that it’s probably just caused by the lack of sleep and rest that comes with having two little boys). I found it on the GOOP site and had all these visions of me looking like Gwyneth Paltrow full of energy and vitality. In a nutshell you ate a very restricted ‘clean’ diet with no allergens…and you must poop everyday…for 21 days. I did better than the cabbage soup episode, three days in I’ve caved and eating Mexican for dinner…then pizza the next day…then fries the next. The detox made me feel truely horrible. I had no energy, my skin broke out and my brain was so fuzzy. Then I just binged on junk which is something I never do, I never crave junk like that and usually am pretty balanced with my eating. All in all it was a complete fail…never. again. I feel so much better now, back eating what I normally do. It’s about what we do most of the time, and so eat healthy most of the time and enjoy the occasional treat…it’s sustainable and a far more enjoyable way to live! Diets are so not cool, so not cool.
These little bliss balls are sweet. They are chocolatey. They are a truely delicious little treat. A perfect midmorning or afternoon snack…and…they are only full of stuff that’s good for you: dates, almonds and cacao (or cocoa if you wish). They are so easy to make all you need to do is throw all the ingredients into a food processor, blitz for a few minutes then roll out. I actually find it quite relaxing rolling out the balls and I even get my little three year old to help out – he is always more than willing to help out when there is chocolate involved. He just loves these. I keep a stash in the fridge and when I dish them out he thinks he’s getting a highly coveted sugary chocolate lolly and I’m secretly giving myself a high five knowing he’s eating a healthy treat. Kid’s love them. The recipe is very forgiving so feel free to play around, add different nuts or flavours like orange or peppermint or even espresso powder and you can even half the quantity easily. I do warn you, the ingredients are a little expensive but a little goes a long way. You can always substitute the cacao with regular cocoa powder and halve the recipe to keep cost down.
So don’t go silly like me people, don’t go on any crazy detoxs or diets. Instead, just relax, be healthy…most of the time…and of course eat lots and lots of these basic bliss balls…they’re healthy so you can right?
Basic Bliss Balls
- 2 cups 350g/14oz whole raw almonds
- 350 g/12oz fresh Medjool dates approx 20 dates
- 2/3 cup raw cacao or cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
Place almonds in a food processor and pulse for approximately 1 minute or until the almonds resemble bread crumbs.
Add the dates and cacao powder and process until the mixture is moist and starts clumping together.
Using your hands roll into balls and dust with a generous amount of cacao powder. I like to make my bliss balls about 1 tablespoon in size which is perfect for children but feel free to make them bigger or smaller, whatever takes your fancy.
1. I normally dust my bliss balls in cacao powder but they are also delicious rolled in ground almonds. Just add an extra 1/2 cup of almonds when you’re blitzing them at the start then reserve it before add the dates and cacao.
2. These bliss balls are delicious as is but you can also experiment by adding other flavours such as peppermint or vanilla extract, espresso powder or substitute other nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts or pecans.
3. If you are feeling super lazy then you can always substitute the whole almonds for almond meal/flour but I do think it tastes better if you process the almonds yourself.
4. Make sure you use the juicy, fresh Medjool dates that are found in the fresh fruit and vegetable section of the supermarket. They are more expensive than the dried ones in the baking aisle but a little goes a long way and the others are far too dry for this recipe.