Having three square meals a day is said to be the healthier option to snacking. Or if you are inclined that way tea might become the fourth square meal. The English certainly can’t claim to be guardians of the tea culture [I mean the meal not the beverage] as it is very popular in Asia too.
In Malaysia there is a multitude of delicacies that cater specially to tea such as pisang goreng [fried bananas] and kuih muih which has no real translation in English and the simple term “cake” simply doesn’t do justice to these bite size Malaysian delights. In India there are samosa, pakora, urad dhal vadai and much more.
The boundaries get even more blurred in Australia. My husband and in-laws call lunch “dinner” and they call “dinner” tea.
We’ve done away with the formalities at our home and just snack all day. Ha! Just kidding. Breakfast and dinner are the main meals at our home and in between, we snack in moderation. I don’t believe snacking to be unhealthy as it promotes eating in smaller quantities thereby regulating insulin levels and boosting metabolism. This is just my opinion as science is still split on this issue.
Snacks get a bad rap because they consist mainly of processed food. If that snack is wholesome and especially if you made it yourself, it should be part of the day’s overall, healthy consumption.
One snack I like to leave in the fridge is bliss balls. At the health food store they cost about AUD$2.50 to 3.50 a ball and they are small. So usually one is not enough. You can save a lot of money by making your own. They last in the fridge for several days and having them handy to reach for every time you get the urge to snack, keeps you away from those heavily processed packets of crisps or even commercial chocolate. Just take a look at the ingredients on each chocolate bar and you will find sugar listed first.
Product ingredients are listed by quantity, from highest to lowest amount.That means that the first listed ingredient is what is most used by the manufacturer. When I looked at the ingredient list of every brand of chocolate on the shelves of my supermarket, I found only one that did not have sugar as the first ingredient. Don’t get me wrong. I love chocolates. Who doesn’t, right? But I satisfy my chocolate craving by making my own chocolate cakes, peanut butter chocolate ice cream and kefir chocolate sauce that is so versatile it can be used for a multitude of things such as spooning it over a bowl of blueberries and strawberries or… as with this recipe, by making cherry chocolate oats bliss balls.
The wonderful thing about bliss balls are that they are made with raw ingredients and you can mix and match ingredients so that you can have a different type of bliss ball each time. This recipe is an oats based bliss ball.
Oats are technically gluten free but they tend to get “contaminated” with wheat as they are grown with wheat and processed together with wheat.
I don’t have a problem consuming gluten and so I don’t mind the “contamination” but my concern is the phytic acid in the raw oats that is difficult for the digestive system to break down. You don’t want to give up on oats simply because of that as it is soooo nutritious. The solution is to unlock the nutrients that the phytic acid is holding hostage and you do that by soaking the oats in acidic water for 24 hours.
I buy organic raw oats and roll them in my hand mill. I cover the rolled oats in water and a little lemon juice or whey for 24 hours. Then I dry them out in my Excalibur dehydrator. This greatly reduces the phytic acid and allows your body to extract the nutrients from the oat kernels.
I have a jar of fermented cherries sitting in my fridge and now is a great time to use them in my bliss balls.
Cherry Chocolate Oats Bliss Balls
3 cups oats
1 cup honey
6 tbsp tahini
15 fermented cherries chopped into small pieces
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 cup desiccated coconut
After soaking and dehydrating the oats, grind to a semi-powder in a dry blender. Add honey, tahini, cacao and mix together. Then scatter the cherries over the mixture and incorporate it fully into the mix without breaking the cherries too much. As they are fermented cherries, they should be soft but not mushy.
I mix them all by hand. Grind organic dehydrated coconut in a dry grinder till it becomes fine like powder.
Pinch a little of the mix and roll it into a bliss ball half the size of a golf ball. Keep doing this until the entire mixture has been turned into bliss balls. Roll each ball in the powdered coconut. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge to set. The cherry chocolate oats bliss balls will harden and be ready to eat in four hours
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup wine
1 kg cherries
Mix the honey and wine together and pour over the cherries in a mason jar. Do not add water. The natural juices from the cherry will in time seep out to provide more liquid. Shake it well and then place it in the refrigerator for two weeks before using. Best used within three months.
Cooking Tip: Avoid using water even if you find the mixture too thick. It will make the balls mushy. It should be hard and not soft and if you like the bliss balls very hard adding fat such as butter, coconut oil or other fat will make them harder/more firm.
Related article using fermented cherries: Potato Chocolate Cake