Hey, ballers! I know, I know--I completely skipped December, January and February, which was very uncool of me. I had great intentions...gingerbread cookie dough ballls in December, blueberry muffin balls in January, chocolate covered cherry balls in February...so I will either work those in to future ball-of-the-month posts or wait until next year. Sorry for the slacking off. December is pretty intense for me, and the juice cleanses take over my life in January and February because people start panicking after the holiday indulgences. But, I am back in the kitchen, tinkering with new recipes to share with you featuring my favorite little healthy snack spheres.
So March makes me think green, of course. St. Patty's Day, the fresh new grass starting to emerge, and the sweet little buds peeking out in the trees all make me pretty happy. Green is fresh, healthy and full of energy. Some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet are green. One of my obsessions throughout the winter was having a matcha green tea latte every morning. Matcha is a little grassy, a little crisp, and my homemade nut milk mellows it out perfectly. A few drops of vanilla or orange liquid stevia makes it dreamy delicious.
So what's the deal with Matcha? Well, it is the king of all green teas--the highest quality powdered green tea available. The process by which it is prepared and ground is very intricate and delicate, so it is a bit on the pricey side, but well worth it. Matcha is pretty much a rockstar in the world of health food. I listened to a podcast interview with a doctor who beat breast cancer naturally, and one of the tips she gave to the listeners was to drink matcha every day. Here are a few health benefits to consuming it:
*is super high in antioxidants
*contains cancer-fighting catechins
*is high in chlorophyll, making it a natural detoxifier
*slows the rise in blood sugar after a meal, preventing insulin spikes and subsequent fat storage
*helps to raise metabolic rate and speed up fat oxidation
*contains compounds that are effective in fighting against various bacterial, viral and fungal infections
*contains L-theanine, which helps to induce relaxation without drowsiness
*provides clean energy without jitters
Impressive, right??? You can put this powder in ANYTHING--add it to smoothies, homemade granola bars, salad dressings, and even frosting! The recipe below is one of my favorite uses for matcha powder. Keep these babies in the freezer or fridge and enjoy when you need a little boost!
Pistachio Matcha Energy Balls
(adapted from downshiftology.com)
3/4 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup roasted salted pistachios*
12 medjool dates, pitted
1/4 cup shredded coconut
2 t. matcha powder
1 T. coconut oil
1/4 cup roasted salted pistachios (for rolling)
1. Place 1/4 cup pistachios and the cashews in a food processor and pulse until the nuts have broken down into a powder.
2. Add all other ingredients except the other 1/4 cup pistachios to the food processor and process until everything is blended.
3. Roll into balls and set aside.
4. Process the remaining 1/4 cup pistachios into a powder, and roll the balls in the powder. Place in the freezer or fridge to set.
Let's talk ingredients, because the matcha isn't the only good thing going on here.
Coconut oil is full of amazing properties. It's anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, boosts the metabolism, and it's comprised of medium-chain fatty acids which means your liver converts into into energy rather than storing it as fat. So coconut oil helps you feel full while providing a nice clean energy boost!
Pistachios and cashews are both full of fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals.
Dates sweeten these little balls naturally, and they are high in fiber, potassium, copper and magnesium, so take that, sugar!
*raw pistachios would probably be ideal from a health perspective, but there are a couple reasons I used roasted, salted pistachios. Firstly, I can't find raw pistachios anywhere. They are likely available on Amazon or Nuts.com, but I haven't looked. Secondly, the roasted salted nuts give these balls a wonderful salty/sweet contrast that makes them super delish.