Sunday afternoons I’ll often spend with my girls in the kitchen doing some lunchbox baking. How good is it that we can plant the seeds of real food nutrition when they are so young, because really, what kid doesn’t like rolling up ‘chocolate’ flavored gooey-ness between their little palms with a taste test or two along the way?!?! Baking with my little’s tends to end up more mess and more timely with their ‘help’… Totally worth it in my book!!!
This week’s prep had been as much for me as it has for them because I’m about to start a 12-week fitness challenge tomorrow with my local gym. So these protein packed raw snacks will definitely be appreciated as a sleep deprived mama reaches for the actual chocolate pick me up for breakfast and remembers they are there instead!
Whether you call them ‘Energy Bites’, ‘Bliss Balls’ or ‘Protein Balls’ these nutrient dense little snacks, loaded with whole-food clean ingredients are great for an on the go treat or for lunch boxes. There are sooooooo many variations to making bliss balls and you may find a little trial & error is needed to arrive at your perfect recipe. You can easily substitute out nuts as well when need be for nut-free lunchboxes.
This is one of my go-to favourite recipes, especially when I’m trying to reduce sweet-tooth satisfactions as anything that tastes remotely like a ‘Mint-Slice’ or ‘Peppermint Patty’ is a perfect substitute in my humble sugar-loving opinion! Almost every ingredient below could be substituted with a similar textured ingredient if you don’t have on hand – the important part is just trying to get them to a nice texture so they aren’t too sticky but do hold together well.
1 Cup Raw Cashews
1 TBS Flax Seeds
2 TBS Chia Seeds
1/4 cup Cacao
2 TBS Coconut Butter *TIP: I make mine in a big batch Thermomix then store in fridge for subsequent batches, but can also purchase- just look for ingredient list of just coconut and coconut oil
8-10 Pitted Medjool Dates
1 TBS Tahini
1 TBS Maple Syrup or Honey *Optional (not necessary with dates, but some people like just a little sweetener with the cacao)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract (I also make this and will post a simple recipe soon)
4-8 drops depending on preference, *Peppermint Vitality Essential Oil – Here is a link to purchase from me if you like: https://intertwined.co/young-living-oils/ (Just touch base with any questions during the ordering process, it is possible to just get peppermint, but you might like to look at the oil sets as the link will encourage you toward).
*Conflicting opinions exist around peppermint oil & children as well as essential oils & ingestion. Some people advise not to use peppermint in young children, other experts in the field advise it is fine when done so according to proper dilution and usage instructions. For our personal use, I am comfortable with my children ingesting these small amounts of peppermint in a recipe like this – in fact, they ingest more peppermint oil in their toothpaste than they do in these bliss balls!
Add Cashews, Flax Seeds, Chia Seeds and Cacao to Thermomix or Food Processor and mill down to chunky powder, scraping sides down if necessary.
Add remaining ingredients and combine (speed 8 on thermo for 15 seconds, scrape sides and repeat 5 seconds if needed).
*TIP: I add my peppermint oil drops to the spoon of vanilla extract for more consistent infusion.
Form into balls of your size preference. *TIP: I find my girls eat these when they are bite-size but don’t like them if they are bigger (also, less sticky fingers), but my husband and I like them a bit bigger so we can just have one and it can fill us up.
Coating: Roll on a plate of your choice for coating: My favorite is a blend of 1 tsp Cinnamon, 1 TBS desiccated coconut and 1 tsp rapadura or coconut sugar 🙂
Store in air tight container. *Approximate calories 85 per 1 inch ish bliss ball.
*TIP: I prefer to store in freezer, they never go fully hard and last longer in packed containers for the day if frozen.
Did You Know?
• Peppermint generally grows best in moist, full sun or partly shaded locations.
• The term “mint” is derived from the Greek name “Minthe,” a mythological nymph transformed into
a plant by the goddess Persephone after she learned of her husband Pluto’s love for Minthe.
• Ancient Romans and Greeks used to adorn themselves in crowns made of peppermint.