13 January, 2012

Spirulina Power Balls

Have you ever eaten a Spirulina Protein Power Ball?  I have to say, they are yummy.  I was first introduced to them when I saw them at the check out of our local health food store.  I thought they looked interesting, and knew that Spirulina was very very very healthy for you.  So, at the check out, I decided to pick up three of them to try.  One for me, one for my husband D, and one for my friend Mary.

When I arrived home with my fair, the three of us sat down to inspect the Spirulina Balls and eat them.  I opened mine up and devoured it immediately - Raving how D and Mary will love them.  D and Mary were looking at the Spirulina Balls with disgust.  They were green and brown and did not look very appetizing.  In addition, the concept of eating Spirulina (Algae) was not really enticing for them.

So, with a lot of encouragement, jokes and laughter, they finally tried the Spirulina Balls. Mary was so excited.  She loved them!  She now eats them daily!  D, he like them, thought they were tasty, but can't quite get over the appearance to eat them regularly.  Especially if we buy them.

So, with Emma and Liam reaching an age where they can chew nuts, I decided it was time to find a recipe for these to add to our arsenal of healthy snacks.  A recipe that I came upon is by Teresa Cutter, The Healthy Chef.  Teresa posted a wonderful recipe and article about the nutrition benefits of all of the ingredients in her Spirulina Power Balls.  And let me tell you, they taste wonderful.

We make them according to the recipe, but we are also just beginning to venture out to twist up the recipe to include Chia Seeds for additional Omega 3's.

Emma and Liam love this snack - and I love that they love this snack because it is so healthy for them.  And I must say, D now will eat them with all of us as well, because he can't be left out!

I have posted Teresa's posting and recipe below.  I hope you enjoy them!  If you have a recipe for Spirulina Protein Balls, please share as I am always looking for additional yummy recipes!

Do you ever have those days where you’re just rushing around with no time to spare and in need of some quick nourishment.  I normally  grab a few pieces of fruit or nuts when I’m travelling, trying to munch it down in the car and often spilling my almonds everywhere, making a total mess.  This week I’ve been playing around in the kitchen and thought I’d make up a large batch of one of these yummy Protein Power Balls to take on road trips. They take around 10 minutes to make and end up being much healthier and more  cost effective then buying them in the gym or supermarket. I’ve thrown in some spirulina which add an extra boost of amino acids and combine well with the nuts and protein powder.
A spoonful of Spirulina is rich in iodine, which is needed for healthy thyroid for metabolism.  Spirulina is a member of the single-cell blue algae family and is about 70 percent protein to support a healthy immune system. Raw nuts such as almonds, walnuts, cashew and brazil are full of good fats, protein, antioxidants and fiber.  Studies by the American journal of clinical nutrition found that eating a small handful of raw nuts per day can help control weight and reduce hunger,  food cravings as well as help lower cholesterol.  For an omega 3 boost you can swap all the nuts in this recipe for walnuts.  I also  love adding cinnamon to a lot of the food I cook because it has the power to help your body metabolize sugar and reduce insulin levels. Eating as little as 1/4 to 1 teaspoons of cinnamon a day  is all you need to see the effects as well as cut cholesterol from 10 – 25 percent. Feel free to add more when making this recipe.
This batch of power balls should last up to 4 weeks in the fridge and make a delicious healthy snack or meal any time of day.  Enjoy.
Makes 20 protein balls
200 g  (2 cups) whole raw almonds
200 g  ( 2 cups) whole raw cashew nuts
199 g (1 cup) pumpkin seed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 scoop (21 g) natural vanilla protein powder (optional)
1 teaspoon spirulina powder
16 whole fresh pitted dates
squeeze orange juice or lemon
coconut to roll
Combine all the dry ingredients into a food processor.  (almond, cashew, cinnamon, protein powder, pumpkin seed and sea salt) process until you get a crumb like consistency.  Add dates and vanilla and process again.  Squeeze the mixture and it should start to combine, if now add 2 more dates.  Squeeze over a little orange or lemon juice and process for the last time.  The mix should come together when squished with the hands.  Using a small ice cream scoop or teaspoon divide mix into 20 balls.  Roll in coconut and store covered in the fridge until needed.
Nutrition per ball:
Protein: 6 g
Carbs: 6.1 g
Total fat: 12 g
Saturated: 1.5 g
Fibre: 2.5 g
kilojoules: 665
Calories: 159
NOTE: you can also use sulphur free dried apricots or prunes  in place of the fresh dates.

05 January, 2012

Moments to Remember

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but
by the moments that take our breath away.         
Hilary Cooper

For the past few months or so, I have not been on the computer writing a post to the blog.  I have been spending my time with my children, family and friends. 

During this time, I have found myself treasuring moments, filing them away in my heart and mind, knowing that when I am older, I will look back and be so grateful I experienced them.  And today, I experienced one of those moments that I would like to share.

My youngest son Owen is 10 months old.  He is my active little guy.  He loves to crawl around, follow his brother and sister, throw little balls and chase them, and generally, investigate how everything moves and works.  Yesterday he came down with a stomach bug and has not been feeling well since.  

Last night, he slept 13 hours, he awoke to have a drink of milk, and then went back to sleep for another few hours.  When he woke again, he ate a little applesauce, and then wanted to be held.  

My older two were in bed, so it was just Owen and me.  Owen did not want to crawl around, he did not want to look at a book, he did not want me to walk him around.  Owen simply wanted to sit in my lap, in the rocking chair, with no music, no talking, and no movement.  

As I sat there, I slowly merged into the moment, observing his sweet little hands resting upon my arms (which were snuggling him closely.)  I saw his ankles crossed and his adorable little feet resting in my lap without socks.  I saw his chest gently rise and fall with each breath, I saw his eye lashes flutter, and....I saw (and felt) him calm down into the moment with me.

And then I closed my eyes to allow myself to sense the moment.  I felt the weight of him gently blend into my lap, I felt his soft hair on his head against my cheek, and then I felt the calmness.  We started to gently merge into a feeling of....love.  The love I felt was overpowering.  I sat there with him in my lap, in awe of his presence, and felt immensely blessed that he came into my life.  And in that moment, a tear flowed down my cheek.  I did not move to wipe it as I normally do, rather I let it fall and just held space for the moment.

We sat there for what seemed like a long time, yet, I do not think it was too long.  When Owen moved to rub his eyes, indicating he was tired, we both took a stretch, had another snuggle, and I took him to bed.  As I said "sleep well little baby" and walked out of the room, my heart smiled with love and blessings.