Julia's Guardian Angel Fund

Thursday, March 21, 2013

No Sugar Added - Nut Free Energy Bars - SunButter Balls and Cherry Garcia Balls

I cannot eat Larabars because I have a tree nut allergy.  At Christmas, I make the most divine Sun Butter Cups (think Reese's without the Peanut Butter because of our SEVERELY allergic kid).  Said child mourned the fact she, too, could not have Larabars, which are a staple for several of my children.  So, I came up with this truly divine concoction.

These are not sugar free.  I just don't add any additional sugar above and beyond what is in the ingredients.

SunButter Balls

10 dates, pitted and soaked in boiling water to soften, then drained
1/4 c. cocoa
1/3 c. SunButter
Optional Add-ins:
2 Tbsp. Chia seed
3 Tbsp. Hemp seed
3 Tbsp. raw sunflower seeds
3 Tbsp. chocolate chips

Place the dates in a food processor or blender like "The Ninja" and process them until they are finely chopped.  Add the cocoa and SunButter.  Puree until combined.  If you don't want them smooth, just process until mixed.  Remove from the processor and add any "Add-ins" by hand.  Shape into balls and store in an air-tight container. 

With the crunch of the seeds and chocolate chips, these taste like peanut butter cups without all the allergens.

Cherry Garcia Balls
(I love Cherry Garcia Ice Cream - I'm sure this is much better for me than ice cream.)

10 dates, pitted and soaked in boiling water to soften, then drained
1/4 c. cocoa
1/3 c. dried cherries, soaked in boiling water to soften, then drained
Optional   Add-ins:
2 Tbsp. Chia seed
3 Tbsp. Hemp seed
3 Tbsp. chocolate chips

Place the dates in a food processor or blender like "The Ninja" and process them until they are finely chopped.  Add the cocoa and cherries.  Puree until combined.  If you don't want them smooth, just process until mixed.  Remove from the processor and add any "Add-ins" by hand.  Shape into balls and store in an air-tight container.  

These are seriously addictive, but totally squelch any chocolate or sugar cravings I might have.

Enjoy!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

St. Patrick's Day

Our St. Patrick's Day will revolve around four of our six children dancing in their first ever Irish Step Dance performance.  Today our day is full.  Hubby and oldest son attended our Archdiocesan Men's Conference.  All four kids have a pre-show dance practice as I write this and this afternoon, three children sing at Mass with the Children's Choir.  With Mass out of the way, we will focus on St. Patrick tomorrow.

We're an Irish bunch here.  My husband is half Irish.  I am probably a quarter Irish, maybe more like an eighth...I want to be a quarter :-).  So, is it any wonder we have four children with Irish names or named after Irish descendants?  My husband and I were too broke buying our first house to go on a real big honeymoon, but we took a "second" honeymoon after a year and a half of marriage to go to Ireland.  And, taking Irish Step Dance was a dream come true for my girls and one boy.  The others go along.

Today when we get home from church, I will be putting the girls' hair in tiny curlers so they have the springy Irish curl (no wigs, please).  That will take about an hour.  One daughter has waist length hair.  The other has uncooperatively straight hair!  That will be followed by Tylenol, but I digress...

Tomorrow I want to be all about St. Patrick's Day.  We will feast on Green Scones (recipe to follow), rashers of bacon and green tea.  After we finish breakfast and get ready, we will have a quick lunch before heading out to the Day of Irish Dance at a local exhibition hall.  We will finish up our day by eating at our favorite family restaurant run by an Irish family.  Every year they put up a new calendar with the countdown to St. Patrick's day starting January 1st!  Got to love that!

Happy St. Patrick's Day.  I hope you will be wearing the green and eating or drinking something that comes from Ireland.

St. Patrick's Irish Scones
(AKA Mint Avocado Scones)

2 c. Bisquick (so sue me...the recipe works, okay?!)
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. mashed avocado
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp. mint extract
3/4 c. chocolate chunks or chocolate chips (optional, but many gave up chocolate for Lent here, so it is not optional!)
1-2 Tbsp. sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Cut the avocado into the Bisquick and sugar.  Add the chocolate chunks and combine.  Add milk and mint extract.  Stir just to combine.  Place dough in a round on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Pat and press down to flatten into a circle about 1" thick.  Cut with a sharp knife and, if possible, separate a bit.  Sprinkle top with sugar.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool slightly and enjoy with a good cup of Irish coffee.