With winter setting in, I have become utterly ravenous! No food is staying in its packet for very long at the moment. I remember a doctor friend of mine explaining to me that it’s a myth that we get fat over winter because the body’s metabolism is generally working much faster to keep it warm. We supposedly need the extra food to in order to function properly. Hmmm…
While that does make sense, I suspect means that we’re only supposed to have one extra Tim Tam per day rather than the three or four we really want to have with a giant mug of creamy hot chocolate. In all seriousness, when you feel cold you really yearn to feel nourished. I’m definitely all for looking after my body but rather than stock up on sugar laden treats, I decided to bring out my Thermomix and start making some healthier snacks again.
I was also prompted to make something easy and healthy with the arrival of some fantastic ingredients from Cheap Super Foods: organic cacao, organic black chia seeds and organic mesquite flour. I had been wanting to try mesquite for a very long time so needless to say, I was very excited and couldn’t wait to try out some recipes; the sooner the better as I was desperately needing some in-between-meals bites to get me through the day!
You may already be aware of the many nutritional benefits of cacao and chia, such as their antioxidant property (if not, please click on the links for a full rundown of everything that is totally amazing about these superfoods) but I suspect most people will not have heard of mesquite. I certainly hadn’t until my raw food experiment had me busily researching what I actually could eat and enjoy. Mesquite was described as nature’s caramel and when I opened the bag to take a whiff, I could understand why.
Actually, mesquite has a more complex aroma and flavour than plain old caramel. Like Tonka Beans, it vaguely smells like something you’ve experienced before yet you can’t quite put your finger on it. On second whiff, it smells like something entirely different, but still good. It sort of reminded me of roasted soy bean flour (kinako). If mesquite was a bottle of wine, I’d love to read its label :)
To make quick use of my lovely superfoods, I simply revamped my recipe for Really Healthy Chocolate Balls to produce something with a different taste and texture. I’m very partial to popcorn so these ‘Super Duper ‘balls make use of my favourite snack as well a whole bunch of other ingredients that are tremendously good for you. The mesquite is only subtle in this which may be good for people who aren’t too sure if they do like the flavour or not. To me it made the balls taste a little malty and caramel-y at the same time. Win!
How’s this for satisfying your sweet tooth without an ounce of guilt?
- 50g rolled oats (replace with gluten free grain like quinoa flakes if oats cannot be tolerated)
- 50g pecan or other nut
- 150g Medjool dates, pitted
- 2 tbsp mesquite flour
- 1 tbsp raw cacao
- 2 tbsp black chia seeds
- 1 cup (50g) popcorn (preferably just lightly salted, no butter)
- 2 tbsp flaked almonds, if desired
- 2 tbsp of Agave Syrup (or Brown Rice Syrup) if/as needed
- Place rolled oats and pecan nuts in TMX bowl and blitz on Speed 5 for 3 seconds only. This should produce a rough meal of oats and nuts.
- Place pitted dates into TMX bowl and process on Speed 4 for 3 seconds.
- Add mesquite, cacao and chia to TMX and process on Speed 4 for another 3 seconds.
- Add popcorn, lightly crushed by hand into the TMX bowl (and flaked almonds if using) and give one shot of Turbo to combine.
- Test mixture by taking a small amount and squeezing together. If the mixture holds together, you can finish here.
- If the mixture does not hold together, add the Agave Syrup a tablespoon at a time until the mixture does hold well. Use Speed 2 for a few seconds to blend the syrup with each addition.
- Roll mixture into balls of preferred size and store in fridge. The popcorn will unfortunately start to get a little soft but my bet is that it won't last that long :)