Coco Cacao Balls!

When I was eighteen years old, living in a white adobe house in Southern New Mexico, I was obsessed with raw desserts (in other words: with art). We had a farmer’s co-op right down the street, and I would walk over every morning to pick out fresh fruits, veggies and raw nuts. I had a popular little food blog that I would update religiously, with a new experiment every night. I had roommates and classmates and yoga students as my taste-testers, and no one objected to free treats in class!

I haven’t made many raw desserts since. I lived in New Mexico for a full four months, the longest chunk of time I’ve spent anywhere since moving to Philadelphia. It was my first little kitchen, and, though temporary, a haven of creative energy for me. Making these little balls made me reflect on those days, and the delightful similarities of then and now. I was on university exchange at the time — studying art, film photography, theatre and dance; teaching yoga in the desert; blogging like crazy. It was a joyous time of creative expression and self-discovery. I wistfully dreamt about becoming a real artist. Maybe I could really do this all my life? But, after that semester, I returned to my medical studies (in between travelling for yoga) and put those thoughts aside…

I’ve been hungering since then for raw, physical making. The shaping and sculpting of wild messy materials, of the desires coiled up in my heart. As I ground and shaped these balls, I felt a very primal, childlike joy re-kindle in me. My inner artist is alive, and she is stronger and wiser than ever.

NOTES

I hand-ground all my nuts in the tiniest mortar and pestle (🙄), so this took me waaaay longer than it really needs to take – BUT, now I know it’s possible without a food processor! lol! This dessert literally came out of blood, sweat and tears (I was crushing the nuts so hard that I banged my finger on the mortar and pestle and started to bleed, which made me cry…) but really, this is one of the simplest and most classic raw desserts that you’ll find on pretty much every raw foodie’s blog.

I love these balls because you really can’t go wrong – I’ve never made the same ones twice, and it’s a constant ongoing experiment of whatever’s in my cupboard. All you need is something sweet and sticky (dates, honey, etc) – and something rich and filling (I love pecans + macadamia nuts best!)

THE SIMPLEST INGREDIENTS

  • 1:1 ratio of dates to nuts. Seriously. So easy.
  • Whatever fun spices and additions you’d like!

WHAT I USED
(measurements totally approximate – most of it was mix and lick and taste and see! 

  • 8 fresh Medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconuts + more for decor
  • 3 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • glob of local honey from the hood
  • gogi berries

STEPS

  1. Grind all nuts in a food processor (or, if you’re still living in ancient times like me, crush ’em by hand!)
  2. Un-pit (de-pit?) dates and chop in food processor (or use a knife and cut them into teeny weeny pieces)
  3. Toss all ingredients in a large bowl and mix ‘er up!! (I love the feeling of squishing dough between my fingers, but you do you.)
  4. Once fully mixed, shape chunks of the big globby ball into cute little balls.
  5. Dip in shredded coconut (optional) because it’s pretty.
  6. Add gogi berry hearts! (totally not optional)
  7. Feed to someone you love! (most definitely not optional)

Enjoy, beloveds!! And a challenge for you: if you’re not already in the practice of artist’s dates, set aside one hour this week to do something purely creative, all by yourself. Cooking, painting, dancing, whatever – heck, it can be taking a walk in nature and creating a collage of sticks you find! May your heart be nourished and happy and full. Loving you always! ♥

 

ROASTED CARROTS + BACON-WRAPPED ASPARAGUS

When Bear and I started dating, he introduced me to the Paleo diet. After years of experimenting with different food choices – vegetarian, vegan, raw vegan, and feeling guilty for eating anything else but – this actually felt really good to me. It’s a little (a lot) ironic that my first food blog is on bacon, because I avoided this like the devil for years. As a yogi, it was almost impossible to eat meat without coming across judgment in every circle. People always asked me what I ate, and I felt compelled to keep a strict and “clean” diet.

Nowadays, I’m a lot gentler with myself, and I listen for what my body needs. This varies from year to year, from season to season, from location to location, with the amount of energy I expend, and the feelings I feel. When I got pregnant, I started craving grains in my diet again, and I ate accordingly.

That said — we do make it a priority to source the highest-grade food there is out there. Our meats are always pasture-raised, grass-fed and hormone-free, purchased locally and sustainably from farmers we trust. We buy small batches of local fruits and veggies, and eat them fresh within 1-2 days. Everything in our kitchen is organic and whole, and I cook our meals from scratch.

I made this little dish for dinner last night, and the pairing was absolutely delicious. Being a newbie in the kitchen, I loved how simple and easy this was to make. A quick prep, a roast in the oven, and voila! That’s my kind of meal.

bacon wrapped asparagus roasted carrots recipe

I didn’t have time to style any pictures because it was late and Bear wanted to eat (teehee), so this is all I have for you. But the colours and the flavours make this a gorgeous dish to serve at meals or a dinner party!

NOTES

The bacon is so rich in this dish that I chose not to use any oil – I simply alternated the placement of carrots and asparagus in the baking tray so that everything would soak in the goodness. I loved the garlic-y addition to the carrots, but simple pink salt will do. I read somewhere not to pre-heat the oven so that the bacon wouldn’t shrink, so I put the veggies in a little longer and let it all warm up together.

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

  • 4 carrots, sliced lengthwise in half
  • 8 thick stalks of asparagus
  • 4 slices of bacon, sliced lengthwise in half
  • pink himalayan salt or garlic salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • half a lemon

STEPS

  1. Slice carrots lengthwise, set aside.
  2. Slice bacon lengthwise (scissors are great here).
  3. Wrap bacon like candy cane stripes around the asparagus (lol!).
  4. Line a baking tray with parchment foil.
  5. Alternate placement of carrots and asparagus on baking tray.
  6. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top.
  7. Bake at 400°F for 25-ish mins, or until veggies are soft and bacon is crispy.
  8. Remove from oven, let cool for a moment, and squeeze a half lemon on top!
  9. Bless it up and savour it all. 😀

We enjoyed this little dish so much that I felt compelled to document (for myself) and share (for you). I’d love to hear about your favourite recipes and dinner go-tos. Now that I’m a domesticated homemaker (lol), I need ideas for new foods to cook! Wishing you love and light and hugs and happy meals! ♥

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
May all beings everywhere be happy and free,
May the thoughts, words and actions of my own life
Contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all

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