Monday, September 14, 2009

power balls

I've played around with this recipe for quite some time and the more I make these, the more I love them. They are high in protein, as low in sugar as you'd like, easy, and very versatile. There are so many options in the ingredients that you can use whatever you have on hand and they will still turn out great. You don't have to cook them, you can mix them all in one bowl, most sick pregnant mamas can handle them, and you can hide things in there that you want your kids to have. What's not to like?


1 cup of any or all of the following:

nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, whatever you have on hand)
seeds (sunflower seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds)
shredded unsweetened coconut
dried fruit

1/2 cup grain (wheat germ, dry oats, puffed rice cereal, granola, not plain flour...only use what you would take a bite of straight)

1 cup nut butter

honey, 3 Tbls. to start

optional: health food additions (bee pollen, 2 tsp. raw butter, probiotic powder, 2 tsp. wheat germ oil, 2 tsp. flax seed oil, blackstrap molasses)

optional: cocoa powder and/or chocolate chips


In your food processor, finely process any large nuts, seeds, & dried fruit. If you don't have a food processor, you can finely chop them, it will just extend the preparation time. Grind the flax seeds, if using, in a separate grinder. (Grinding the flax seeds before using them allows your body to digest them more fully.)

In a large mixing bowl (your counter-top mixer if you have one), use a wooden spoon (or mixer paddle on a counter-top mixer) to mix together the chopped nuts, seeds & fruit, grain, nut butter, honey & any of the optional ingredients.

Test for sweetness. Add more honey if desired.

You should have a "dough" that will cling together on its own. If not, add a little more honey and/or nut butter to achieve this consistency.

Roll into balls, about 1-inch in diameter, and store in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

5-minute shortbreads

I am in love with my new method of cutting in butter using my large-capacity food processor. We were invited to a potluck today in which each family was to provide their own lunch, but to bring a dessert. I enjoy potlucks quite a bit, but when every family brings a dessert, I quickly suffer from sweets overload. I considered cutting up a big watermelon, but since it was my first potluck with these folks, I thought shortbreads would make a better first impression. :-)

Here's the recipe:


2 1/2 cups flour
2 sticks butter (not margarine)
6 tbls. granulated sugar


Put all the ingredients in the food processor. Pulse several times until the mixture looks like crumbs. Turn on a low steady speed until the dough begins to cling together. Turn on a medium steady speed until you have a nice looking shortbread dough. Start to finish time in the food processor? About 2 minutes.

I hate hate hate rolling things out. (Really it's just the cleaning part before and after that I hate so much.) So, I shaped mine into 4 equal shortbread logs. They ended up about the same diameter as the long cookie dough packages you'd find in the dairy section, but about half the length.

Cut these into rounds to make cookies. Refrigerating for 2-24 hours first will make for more uniform cookies. However, they will also cut just fine right out of the food processor. I cut one log for after dinner and refrigerated the other three logs to cut this morning for our potluck.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until you see the first edge of the smallest cookie turn brown.

Shortbreads are so forgiving and hard to mess up that I'm always surprised they aren't a staple in everyone's dessert repertoire. But they always seem to garner such surprised and happy reactions at potlucks, I have to assume they are not. We'll see how the response goes today!

Happy shortbreading!