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. 😉

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

rainbow brownie pizza (vegan, no added sugar, gluten free)

 

Rainbows and bright colors have been on my mind lately because here in Ohio, this time of year can be really hard. Those of you living in northern and cloudy climates who struggle with winter blues will know what I mean. #wink

Which is why the more color I see on my plate the better, like this recipe I shared last week. And this rainbow brownie pizza? It’s like a sweet reminder of the promise that summer is coming.

 

So let’s dig in, shall we?

 

To make the rainbow brownie pizza, I started with a base made from my favorite brownie recipe and spread on a generous helping of date caramel. Both recipes are free of added sugar and gluten free.

If you’re wondering why date caramel instead of the cream cheese often used on fruit pizzas, it’s because I try to avoid processed vegan products which often contain ingredients that are just as unhealthy as animal-based products. And I have yet to find a homemade cream cheese recipe that I’m happy with.

 

 

We could stop right there and I would be perfectly happy, but since this is a pizza, we need some toppings, right?

For this rainbow, I chose strawberries, mandarin oranges, pineapple, kiwi, blueberries and blackberries. Of course, if these aren’t your favorites, simply swap them out with a fruit of the same color. Easy peasy.

Regardless of the fruit you choose, I highly recommend going organic for the berries because of the high pesticide content conventional berries contain. The Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list is my favorite resource for verifying which foods I want to prioritize buying organic. And since this recipe requires only a small amount of each fruit, it won’t break the bank to make this switch.

Since we don’t have a traditional round pizza pan, I chose to make the brownie base in a 9″ cake pan, filling it only half way. If you do the same thing, either make only half the brownie batter or fill two 9″ cake pans. I personally recommend the second.

To keep things simple and added sugar free, I thinned a little of the date caramel with more unsweetened almond milk for the drizzle and sprinkled cacao nibs on top. I’m working on a chocolate sauce recipe and once it’s ready, you can bet I’ll be updating this recipe to include chocolate drizzle too!

 

Rainbow Brownie Pizza
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Cooling Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

Chocolate, fruit and date caramel come together in this easy to assemble dessert, snack or even breakfast recipe that gets rave reviews and pleases a crowd.

Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 1 Rockier Road Brownie recipe (without the topping)
  • 1 Date Caramel recipe
  • 1 package organic strawberries
  • 6-7 mandarin oranges, peeled
  • 1/2 pineapple, peeled and cored
  • 5-6 kiwi, peeled
  • 1 package blueberries
  • 1 package blackberries
Instructions
  1. Make the brownie recipe and either press onto a well-greased round pizza pan or spread batter into two 9" round cake pans well greased and lined with a circle of parchment paper on the bottom. Baking time 5-7 minutes less if spreading batter onto a pizza pan.

  2. While the base is baking, make the date caramel and prepare the fruit. Rinse the strawberries and slice in half, peel the oranges and pull apart each section. For the pineapple, cut into bite-sized wedges. Peel the kiwi and slice into rounds. Rinse the blueberries and blackberries and gently pat dry.

  3. When the base is done cooking, let it cool before spreading on the date caramel. To speed up the cooling, you can place it in the fridge.

  4. Arrange the fruit in a rainbow pattern starting with the strawberries around the outside and working your way inward with each color of fruit. Let the orange, pineapple and kiwi slices overlap slightly.

  5. For the caramel drizzle, take 1-2 tablespoons of date caramel and thin slightly with unsweetened non-dairy milk of your choice. It should be just runny enough to pour easily off a spoon and over the fruit. If desired, sprinkle with cacao nibs.