sunshine bliss balls (vegan, dairy free, gluten free, no added sugar)

 

It’s funny, but often I get my recipe inspiration when I have an event or theme to work with. Probably because the possibilities are endless when it comes to dreaming up recipes and it’s one way of narrowing things down. LOL

I created these Sunshine Bliss Balls as I was preparing to head to Cincinnati a few weeks ago for a Bible Study Fellowhship leaders retreat. If you’re not familiar with BSF, it’s an international Bible study program and one that has been an ah-mazing resource for me and thousands of others around the world.

Anyway…

Whenever I travel away from home, I always prepare myself by packing “survival” foods because I’ve learned that most places are at a loss of how to accommodate a vegan diet in a way the stretches beyond a salad. Now, I never mind eating salads (see my last post), but when I’m paying for it, I want something more than I can easily make at home…and for much cheaper.

So I’ve learned that if I want to balance my diet, I need to supplement what is available with what I can bring.

One of the ways I do that is with snacks. Especially energy balls. Like these Sunshine Bliss Balls.

 

 

The beauty of an energy ball is they are extremely portable, typically contain a good mix of carbs, fats and protein and can satisfy a sweet tooth, snackish craving without any added sugar or empty calories.

This recipe took it’s inspiration from a date-orange slice recipe that my mom found years ago when we lived in England. I wanted to replicate the tanginess but take it in a different direction as well. Like adding fresh turmeric which is inflammatory and an antioxidant.

In these Sunshine Bliss Balls you will find:

  • dates
  • dried mango
  • dried apricots
  • unsweetened shredded coconut
  • almond butter
  • sesame seeds
  • fresh turmeric
  • orange juice

They are a little on the stickier side, so you definitely want to coat them in the unsweetened shredded coconut and keeping them in the fridge is a plus (although they can hold up at room temp). If you make them to travel, packing them in a sturdy container is essential.

Okay, ready for the recipe? Here you go!

Sunshine Bliss Balls
Total Time
10 mins
 

When you need a bright boost of macro- and micro-nutrients on the go, these Sunshine Bliss Balls are just the things.

Course: Dessert, Snack
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dried mango
  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1 cup medjool dates*
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated turmeric
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1 T sesame seeds
  • 1/16 tsp sea salt
Instructions
  1. If the mango, apricots or dates are on the dry side, briefly soak them in warm water to soften them. Drain, then add them to a food processor or strong blender along with the remaining ingredients and blend until thoroughly combined. You will scrape the bowl a few times to ensure easy mixing.

  2. Spoon out enough mixture to form 1" balls. Since the "batter" is sticky, have a bowl of water next to you to lightly dampen your hands as you roll each ball.

  3. Roll each bliss ball into unsweetened shredded coconut and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES

I highly recommend buying only dried fruit that is free from sulfur, additives and sugar.

It's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them as they are more moist than the pre-pitted kind. Obviously, you'll need to remove those pits before soaking/blending. 😉

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.

 

 

 

 

chia cherry goji berry energy bites (vegan, gluten free, paleo)

 

Whether you need a quick pick-me-up as you’re on the go or a little something to hold those sugar cravings at bay, these chia cherry goji berry energy bites are just the thing. Fortunately, they are much easier to whip up than they are to say (LOL) with just seven ingredients.

Since the name is kinds of a mouthful, I decided to shorten it to “Bing-Go Bites” for the bing cherries and goji berries. So much easier – and fun! – to say.

I created this recipe while I was packing for our mission trip to the Dominican Republic last month. I wanted something that would travel well, include both healthy servings of plant protein and fruit and provide extra nutritional benefits like antioxidants (cacao nibs, goji berries and cherries) and omega-3 fatty acids (chia seeds). Oh, and free of added sugars of course.

That sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it?

I had been dreaming up energy bites like this for awhile but hadn’t pinned myself to actually pull something together and what better time than the day you have to leave the country? Let me tell you, I was praying these would turn out the way I had imagined since I left myself zero time to test multiple batches. So grateful God answered that prayer with a speedy “yes.”

 

 

 

Let me tell you, I’m extra grateful I had these chia cherry goji berry energy bites (a.k.a. Bing-Go bites) on hand as we encountered a two hour wait to get through the airport in Santo Domingo and the virus I ended up coming down with was starting to kick into gear. They got the stamp of approval from other team members too.

If you try these, or the other recipes on my site, I would love to hear your feedback too! Good and not-so-good. Your comments are extremely helpful as I continue to both develop and improve on the recipes I share with you.

chia cherry goji berry (Bing-Go) bites
Total Time
15 mins
 

Whether you need a quick pick-me-up as you're on the go or a little something to hold those sugar cravings at bay, these chia cherry goji berry energy bites are just the thing.

Course: Dessert, Snack
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 1 cup date paste*
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 T chia
  • 1 T goji berries
  • 1 t cacoa nibs
  • 1/4 cup dried bing cherries
Instructions
  1. Add first four ingredients to a food processor and mix until thoroughly combined and smooth. Add the goji berries, cacao nibs and dried cherries and pulse until just combined.

  2. Scoop out mixture with a spoon and roll in your hands to form 1" balls. Place in an airtight container. Should be eaten within 1-2 days if stored in the cupboard or 5-7 days in the fridge.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES: If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using.

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • Date paste: I usually buy mine at a local Mediterranean/middle eastern store. If you don’t have one near by, you can make your own using Medjool dates (see Recipe Notes) Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.
  • I used the Navitas brand of cacao nibs which I bought online at vitacost.com. But you also can find them here.
  • I found the dried Bing cherries at Trader Joe’s. You can get them online here if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you. Make sure they are free of added sugar and sulfur!
  • The goji berries were from the bulk section at Whole Foods, but you can get them online here.

blueberry banana bread bars (vegan, no added sugar)

 

I love hard-working recipes – especially ones that can work as breakfast, dessert or a snack! And these blueberry banana bread bars are perfect for all three.

I have a particular soft spot for these since it’s one of the first recipes I tried (thanks to the inspiration of Angela’s muffin tops recipe at Oh She Glows) that didn’t require any added sugar. And didn’t end up a yucky gummy mess which can happen when you remove the dairy and the added sugar.

These blueberry banana bread bars are just one of the recipes featured in my 7-day plant-based refresh which you can sign up to receive for free here.

Not only do these offer a delicious way to use overripe bananas, but they are easy to make and can be made gluten free by using certified gluten free oats. Since they’re crowd pleasers, I’ve often brought them to potlucks and brunches.

Blueberry Banana Bread Bars
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

A versatile recipe that can be eaten as breakfast, dessert or a snack and is crowd-pleaser. Free of added sugar and can be made gluten free with the use of gluten-free oats.

Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 2 large bananas
  • 1/2 c. date paste
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 2 c. rolled oats gluten free if needed
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2-1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

  2. Add bananas, date paste and coconut oil to a food processor and blend well.
  3. Add the oats, coconut, vanilla, cinnamon and baking powder and blend well.
  4. Press mixture into a greased 8×8 glass baking dish, then top with blueberries, gently pressing the berries into the batter.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and the middle is firm, but yields slightly to the touch.

  6. Cool then cut.
Recipe Notes

If doubling the recipe, you will probably need to break up the steps further. Here’s what I do: First, coarsely blend all the oats and set aside in a large bowl. Then blend other ingredients per instructions above (without the oats). Next, stir the blended ingredients together with the oats in a large bowl. Continue with steps 4-6. I think this recipe works best with ripe to slightly overripe bananas.      *     If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using. 

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • Date paste: I usually buy mine at a local Mediterranean/middle eastern store. If you don’t have one near by, you can make your own using Medjool dates (see Recipe Notes) Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut: If you have a Whole Foods or natural foods store near by, check the bulk section! Or get it here.