Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Zuzana's Power Balls

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I've always been a believer of holistic approaches as a first attempt to treating illness and battling disease. It only makes sense that what you put into your body will affect how you feel and how your body functions. Ever since I saw the documentary Food Inc. I have changed the way our family eats. Though we don't cut out processed foods completely, we have made a dramatic change in our lifestyle. It's a gradual process and I feel we are ready to move to the next level of wholesome nutrition by becoming even more discerning with our food choices. I have decided to cut white and even wheat flour out and just use almond flour (for now and will experiment with other types later on). I really want to take on the challenge of  a truly healthy (and maybe eventually Primal) diet.

My first experience with almond flour was today when I made Zuzana's Powerballs. Zuzana is a badass chick from bodyrock.tv. I can say that her FREE workouts are hardcore and will produce results. She is a true health nut. Anyway, on to the recipe! What I really love about these powerballs is how insanely healthy they are and the fact they taste so good you wouldn't really know. The coconut oil adds just a hint of the coconut flavor and because carrots are naturally sweet, the flavors really come together so well.

Every single ingredient in these powerballs has a health benefit:

Honey is a natural sweetner that is high in antioxidants.

Almond flour is low carb and gluten free.

Carrots are also high in antioxidants as well as vitamin A and recent research has found that the phytonutrients in carrots can inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells.

Spinach ( I added this, it wasn't an original ingredient) is of course another well known antioxidant super food. According to the WH Foods (World's Healthiest Foods), spinach was ranked number one for nutrient richness. WH Foods also mentions how in a recent study "spinach showed evidence of significant protection against the occurrence of aggressive prostate cancer."(2011)

Coconut oil Plays an important role in the prevention of diabetes and kidney and gall bladder disease. Mark from Mark's Daily Apple wrote up a great explanation of the health benefits of coconut oil here.

Almonds have so many health benefits to list that it's better to just link the source. Read about all the many reasons these nuts are so good for your body.

Now on to the recipe!  I changed a few things about how I put all the ingredients together and I also added spinach because it has such a mild flavor, yet is so good for you. I honestly couldn't taste the spinach at all. I used our Vitamix blender for making these, but a food processor would work fine too.

First, grind up one cup of oats to form an oat flour.

Then add 2 cups of almond flour to the oat mix and 3 tablespoons of baking powder.

Here is where I did it just a little different. I combined the 4 tablespoons of honey and the 4 tablespoon of coconut oil in a bowl together and mixed them up a little. I then stuck the bowl in the microwave on medium setting for 30 seconds.

Heating up the honey and coconut oil makes the mixture much easier to stir into the flour mix. After taking the bowl out of the microwave I found it was easier to use a fork to mash up the bigger pieces of coconut oil.

Dip your pinkie finger in and have a  taste. mmmmmm.

Add the coconut/honey mix to the flour and stir up. It will be clumpy.

Next add about a cup of carrots to the Vitamix blender and puree until mostly smooth. Then add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of spinach to the carrot puree.

If you don't have a vitamix, you can do as Zuzana suggested and cook the carrots until soft and then mash them up with a potato masher and add chopped spinach to the mix.

Add the carrot mix to the bowl and stir well. I kind of mushed it all together with a spoon.

Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Then roll the dough into balls (I made 20, but it depends on the size you roll). Then take some crushed almonds,  and roll the balls in the almonds.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Then let cool for 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!

Btw, my kids loved these! I had to take the plate away :)

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