Time permitting, when I get home from work, one of my favourite things to do is to spend a bit of time making a mess of the kitchen. Whether that’s cooking up lunch for the next couple of days, trying to add cocoa or peanut butter to whatever I can get my hands on, or just making some dinner to tuck into that night. Some time alongside the hob is good for the soul, the body, and the wallet. If you’re savvy with your money, and organised with your meals, you can eat proper, good food, and spend much, much less than you might expect. One of my pet hates is when people say that it’s expensive to eat healthy. It isn’t. You just have to be willing to make time to cook, go to the supermarket with a list, find your store cupboard favourites, and get used to eating fruit and vegetables that are in season, or ones that are reasonable and available all year round.
With this in mind, I’ve spent a fair bit of money in the past on ‘energy’ bars and balls when I never actually needed to. Though, I guess such is the nature of a lot of easy to buy, processed foods. Whilst I would always prefer to take cooking my own food over prepackaged meals thrown together in a factory in Blighty, when it comes to the odd snack here and there, it’s easy to be drawn to the ease of it. ‘Healthfoods’ most definitely included. I’m not disputing the fact that the wave of real healthfoods taking over the market isn’t an improvement, it is, and it offers up better nutritional choices for people. Although essentially it’s an industry, and it’s a business. So if I can save money for my own pocket, not put it in someone else’s pocket, and spend 15 minutes using my own hands to make something instead, all the better. The nature of the food industry is an argument of mine I’ll ramble on about another day, but for now, here’s some date and cocoa ball goodness, inspired by Kate Percy’s Go Faster Food cookbook.
Makes 25 regular sized balls. 30 if you count the mixture I ate whilst making them.
200g dates chopped – soak them for 10 minutes in hot water if you’re using a smaller blender/ Nutribullet
40g cocoa powder – 35g gram for balls, 5g for rolling
1 x scoop protein powder
1 x tablespoon cinnamon
2 x tablespoon nut butter (Peanut, almond, cashew – what ever takes your fancy)
20g goji berries
1 x splash water / almond milk
Chuck all the above ingredients into a food processor, whizz until you get a consistency that’s sticky enough to roll into a firm ball your hands, not dry, yet not gloopy. If it’s too much like the latter, add some more cocoa powder until you get a rollable consistency. Either use a teaspoon or tablespoon to gauge equal sizes, depending on whether you’d like little or large bites. Once you have your balls, roll in cocoa, and voila. Eat as they are, or pop them into the fridge. You can also freeze them if you like more bite.
Feel free to improvise. Don’t have cocoa? Use ground almonds. Don’t have goji berries? No biggie, just leave them out. As mainly dried and cupboard ingredients are used for these, they’ll last for a week or two. Though I know mine won’t be sticking around for too long.