Boxes are packed. The fridge is bare.
Tomorrow, Mike and I will say goodbye to Denver and move to St. Louis (where I spent almost 20 years of my life before living in Colorado) so he can start working at a great new job he was recently promoted to. We are sad to leave this beautiful state, its endless adventures, and the people we've come to love, but we are excited for new opportunities. And we'll be back. How can we stay away when the mountains are calling?
To get through moving out day (and moving IN day the next), we will need snacks. Lots of them.
One valuable lesson that my parents taught me when I was growing up is to pack food instead of buying on-the-go whenever possible. Our family road trips were always equipped with fresh fruit, raw veggies, pretzels, and sandwiches to keep us full and happy. I'm not above a fast food stop on a road trip (I'm a dietitian but I'm also still a hungry human being), but homemade snacks can save time and money on the road and and allows you to know where your food came from.
These energy balls make a great addition to any road trip snack collection, and they have saved my life many times when I'm hungry and dinnertime is still an hour or more away. They've become a staple in my refrigerator; the healthy fats and protein help curb hunger while the carbohydrates in the honey and oats give a quick energy boost and drive away any afternoon drowsiness. The ingredients, overall, are nutrient-rich, whole, and filling. One of these delicious little treats has 75 calories, 8 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of protein, and 4 grams of healthy fat. And the taste? Think Reese's peanut butter cup, only better.
On another note, I suggest trying locally-sourced honey whenever possible. The flavor of honey can greatly vary by region due to different pollen sources, and becoming acquainted with your area's honey flavor can be a fun food adventure. In fact, because honey never spoils, I'd recommend collecting a small jar of sweet, local nectar as a souvenir from each city you visit while traveling. Anecdotal evidence suggests that seasonal allergy sufferers may find some relief in local honey, although no peer-reviewed scientific research studies have proven this yet. The theory is that bees carry pollen from local plants - the same plants that are wreaking havoc on your sinuses - and make it into honey, and when you eat that honey, it has sort of an immunization effect in your body, making you more resistant to the negative effects of pollen. Remember that honey should never be given to babies under 1 year old due to potential risk of botulism.
Makes ~22 one-inch balls
Adapted from Allrecipes.com
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup natural nut butter (almond, peanut, whatever you like)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
- Lightly toast the coconut flakes in a pan over medium-high heat, tossing occasionally to ensure even browning. Remove from heat when golden brown.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir well to combine.
- Grab a small chunk of the oat mixture and roll into a 1-inch ball. Repeat with the remaining mixture. You should end up with 20-25 balls. Refrigerate for about 2 hours or until firm.
Labels: appetizer, chocolate, peanut butter, snack