Sunday, July 29, 2012

Recipe: Peanut Butter & Chocolate Energy Bites [Energy Bite Attempt #1]

You've heard that pregnant women are ravenous and eat all the time, right? Crave weird things? Always eating? Sounds familiar. It's true that your body burns about an 300-400 calories a day while you're pregnant, building that baby and all that. What you probably don't know (unless you've been through it yourself) is that you burn 500-600 extra calories a day nursing. And you are freaking hungry all the time. Especially when you make the transition to a plant-based diet and are eating lower-calorie meals, even if you are cramming your face at mealtimes.

In fact, in a recent study, 100% of Ians polled about their wives' hunger complaints were, to quote "fed up." One annoyed source said, "We ate like two hours ago. Seriously!"

The latest scientific data on Ians and their wives' hunger.
After spending admittedly way too much time on Pinterest lately, I've come across dozens of recipes for vegan energy balls. Apparently, there are a million ways to make these. What a great solution to my nearly-always gnawing sense of hunger!

Today was the first attempt, and I give it a B on the success scale. Easy? Super. Delicious? Yup. But the texture isn't quite right; they're a little crumbly and it was difficult to roll them into balls. I also think I would toast my wheat germ next time as there is a bit of a grainy aftertaste. They firmed up nicely though, so maybe I needed to chill them for more than 30 minutes.

But, and I can say this confidently as I was "helping" my mix as I was making it, these fit the bill, at least for now. Ian is also a little obsessed.

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Energy Bites [Energy Bite Attempt #1]
These should make around 24 bites. Or a little less if you happen to sample the dough a few times while you're mixing it to make sure it's absolutely delicious.

 - 1 cup oatmeal
 - 2/3 cup unsweetened, raw coconut flakes
 - 1/2 cup ground wheat germ (I would like to try ground flax seeds next time, or toast and then chill the wheat germ in advance)
 - 1/2 to 2/3 cup natural, unsweetened peanut butter (I used a 1/2 cup and I think it needs more)
 - 1/3 cup agave nectar
 - 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
 - 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet dairy-free chocolate chips

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the oatmeal, coconut, and wheat germ/ground flax together.
  2. Add the peanut butter, agave nectar, and vanilla and stir until combined. Add the chocolate chips.
  3. Cover and refrigerate dough for 30-60 minutes.
  4. Shape dough into small balls, about 1 inch in diameter by grabbing a large spoonful of dough, compressing in your palms a few times, and then rolling between your palms to smooth.
  5. Keep the energy bites refrigerated; most of the recipes I looked at said they should keep for about one week (as if they'll last that long!).
The Energy Bites are around 85 calories each with 3 grams of protein.

Variation #1: For the nut-lover, omit chocolate chips and add chopped walnuts instead. About 90 calories per Energy Bite, protein increases to 5.5 grams.

Variation #2: Omit chocolate chips and add 1/2 chopped craisins. About 85 calories per Energy Bite with 3.5g protein.

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