You’d think that knowing of a certain events’ approach, seeing as it’s actually an annually re-occuring event, would cushion the touchdown of said event. Of course, I’m talking Summer-Break. A third of the office is well, out of the office – or rather “Home Office” – one third is dreamily anticipating being out of the office and the other third has one foot out of the door already, counting down in hours and seconds rather than weeks.
This, along with rising temperatures, always creates a slightly downwards-tilted spiral in work ethics – at the bottom of which, fanged and tentacled, waits the business summer hole monster. Of course, once halfway down the spiral already, everyone notices the destination and the manic rush to get everything and anything possible done as fast as possible begins. Everything is last minute, everything is market super urgent and even those of us who actually prepared for the break, preemtively paced their work accordingly even, get inevitably sucked into that whirlpool. In a mad scramble like this, regular healthy meals are usually the first thing to take a hit. Breakfast is skipped, a quick bite for lunch tucked in between hits of the mute button on conference calls, dinner… with 37°C outside? Let’s have a cold one and call it a day! Well. The few that haven’t had any plans to take time off in Summer surely do now. To keep spirits (and blood sugar levels) up during this time, the least I can do is prepare healthy snacks to keep us going til the gong announces Dinner’o’Clock. Luckily, these little health-bomb energy balls, my personal favorites out of my whole collection by the way, are both prepared and eaten fast enough to comfortably fit in between tightly packed meeting schedules! Here we go, for a batch of 25-30 (depending on their size) you’ll need…
The Very-Berry Muesli Energy Balls
100g Rolled Oats
75g Dark, intense Forest Honey
50g Almond Butter
50g Almond Flour
Alt: 50g Tiger Nut Flakes
20g Dried Black Cherries – make sure they’re not sour cherries, they would be very capable of knocking off your socks
10g Goji Berries
30g Dried Cranberries, finely chopped
30g Sliced Almonds, lightly toasted
25g Dried Blueberries, finely chopped
Opt: 25g Raw Chocolate Nibs
1 Tbsp Barberries or Dried Cape Gooseberries/Physalis, finely chopped – either works deliciously well, Acai Berries would be the deluxe version of that hint of acidity
1 Tbsp Sunflower Seeds, lightly toasted
½ Tbsp Poppy Seeds,lightly toasted
½ Tbsp Linseeds, lightly toasted
1 Tsp Sesame Seeds, lightly toasted
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 Tsp Ground Allspice
¼ Tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 Generous Pinch of Fine Sea Salt
Opt: 100g Dark Chocolate
Opt: 1 generous Pinch of Vanilla Seeds
Fleur de Sel Flakes
1) In case you haven’t developed a habit of having a stash of seeds like the one listed here toasted and stashed away in little jars, place them in a wide pan and lightly toast them on medium-low heat until the sesame seeds start to pop.
2) Pop the oats and almonds into a blender or food processor and give them a couple of pulses until they’re fine in a coarse kind of way. I know that sounds silly but you’ll know what I mean when you see it. Just don’t powder the lot~
3) Roughly chop through the berries and place them in a large mixing bowl.
4) Add everything else – minus the chocolate, vanilla seeds and fleur de sel – to the bowl, snap on a pair of CSI gloves (you wouldn’t believe the dye-power dried blueberries have…) and knead the lot until everything comes together in a well-combined, lightly springy dough.
5) Line a tray or cutting board with a sheet of baking parchment and sprinkle it with fleur de sel flakes.
6) Roll the dough into bite-sized little balls of very berry joy and place them on your salted tray.
7) Now comes the optional part – I usually skip this if I make them during the hot months since our regular hikes are often accompanied by a handful of energy balls and chocolate has the nasty habit of not agreeing with being carried through the great outdoors during Summer.
8) Roughly chop the chocolate and melt it in a waterbath-setup.
9) As the chocolate’s melting, slowly stir in the vanilla seeds (if you’re skipping the chocolate “feet”, feel free to add them to the dough).
10) Take the bowl off the heat, grab your tray and make your way through the rows of energy balls, dipping the bottoms into the chocolate halfway and setting them back onto the salted tray.
11) Once you’re done, place the tray in a cool spot of your house and allow the chocolate to cool off and set completely.
12) Transfer the Very Berry Bites into an airtight container, seal the lid and hide the box in the fridge until the serious need for a pick-me-up reminds you of the delicious little gems waiting for you~
Stay calm, stay cool, stay healthy and…