Maca Cacao Bites

A slightly crunchy nutrient dense bite sized treat with hints of chocolate, caramel, and vanilla make them the perfect healthy and addicted snack! 

I have a variety of bite sized ball recipes on my blog and I usually just make them for taste, throwing whatever is in reach that I love into the food processor praying to the bliss ball God that they turn out OK. These, on the other hand a purpose. Don't get me wrong, I love adding copious amounts of nut butter and coconut butter to my bites; but this time I wanted every ingredient that I added into the food processor to have a nutritional benefit and serve a purpose for my body and mood. 

These last few weeks have been a whirlwind, I have been feeling super overwhelmed with working two jobs full time, 24-7, transitioning out of one and moving into something else. No complaints, I couldn't be more excited, yet anxious, and want to hide in my bed / never come out from underneath my covers kind of moments, but more to come on that later. It is crazy to experience both super highs and super lows within just a few days and even a matter of minutes. The more overwhelmed I have been feeling, the more I tend to turn to superfoods to look for help to properly fuel my body. Hence, why I made these little snacks over the weekend.

Maca powder, besides cacao powder and turmeric, is one of the top three things I can not live without in terms of superfoods. I've noticed that the more I have incorporated it into my diet on a daily basis, a few times a day, especially during the time of the month, I am pretty symptom free- no cramps or body pain, and I have more energy overall. Just by adding a few tsp. here and there into my  smoothies, oats, chia puddings, every single morning seems to have really helped in balancing out my hormones.  Here is what I love about it, besides the taste = caramel! 

Increases energy and stamina
Can help balance your mood (anxiety, depression, mood swings, stress)
Help relieve menstrual pain (cramps, body pain) 
Balance hormones

Let's talk cacao powder. It is such a win win situation, where you can have this deep rich chocolate taste/fix with no sugar AND so many health benefits. I love Philosophie Cacao Magic, because it doubles as my protein blend. It has 10 grams of protein and no added sugar and is filled with hemp protein, chia seeds, maca powder, vanilla, cacao nibs etc.  The ingredients are clean, makes me feel good from the inside out and gives me such a burst of energy. Cacao powder is said to boost your mood/anti-depressent, yay happiness!, high in antioxidants, the fiber in cacao helps aid in digestion, and full of iron and magnesium. Raw cacao powder is my go to usually after a tough workout or when I am feeling in a bit of a funk, the kind where you just can't snap out it, not matter what. I usually add a few tbsp. into my smoothies and it gives me that natural burst of energy that I am looking for or sees to enhance my mood almost immediately. Maybe it is the comforting aspect of the dark rich chocolate, but it does the trick!

Collagen powder is something new that I have been incorporating into my routine for the last 6 months and I have noticed a huge difference not only digestion, my skin, but in how strong and healthy my hair has become. I swear it grows inches over night. As someone who suffers from SIBO and leaky gut, I truly believe that the collagen peptides I have been using on a daily basis has helped heal my stomach and brought relief to many of my digestive systems. It also contains a good amount of protein in each scoop (up to 18g!). You can see other recipes where I have used the collagen peptides such as here, Dark Chocolate Avocado Pudding, No Bake PB bars, and my Maca Almond Butter Banana Bread
 

I'll bore you with one more! I normally add chia seeds, but have recently started to use ground flaxseeds because I have noticed that my body has an easier time digesting them. Flax is very high in both soluble and insoluble fiber which help improve digestive health and help gut inflammation ....so in other words help get things moving and keep your bloating down! 

So, all of these thoughts when through my head as I tried to think of a nutrient dense snack and of course I wanted it to taste super satisfying. I didn't add in any extra sugar, because there isn't any need to. These are rich in chocolate and the maca gives them a hint of caramel. I tend to stay away from adding extra sugar into my snacks such as dates, honey, or maple syrup because I prefer to "sweeten" them up with things like cinnamon, vanilla, and almond milk! 

Ingredients:
Makes about 12


1 cup cashews
1 cup sprouted almonds or walnuts
2 tbsp. ground flaxseeds
3 tbsp hemp seeds
5 tbsp. cacao (*I used Philosophie Cacao Magic Superfood protein blend)
1 tbsp. maca powder
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
few dashes of pink sea salt
4 tbsp. of unsweetened vanilla almond milk

See notes about sweetener options!

Directions:

1. Add the cashews and the almonds to your food processor and pulse until you almost reach a flour consistency. I prefer a little crunch, so I do not grind the nuts up completely. 

2. Add the remaining ingredients, besides the vanilla almond milk and pulse.

3. Add the vanilla almond milk and pulse until a dough forms. If the dough is not sticking together, add 1 tbsp. of vanilla almond milk at a time or place in the fridge to firm up the dough before you roll into balls. *If you add too much almond milk the dough will be too sticky. 4 tbsp, should be the perfect amount. 

4. Roll the batter into balls and then roll them into shredded coconut flakes, cacao powder, and hemp seeds!

Notes:

1. If you aren't using the Philosophie cacao magic (which doubles as cacao powder and protein) add the same tbsp. amount of your favorite chocolate protein powder into the mix OR you can nix the protein powder all together and just add about 4-5 heaping tbsp. of cacao powder

2. If you want the bites to be sweet, add either dates, maple syrup or honey to the mixture after you have added all of the dry ingredients. 
1) Dates: start with 5-6 chopped dates. Add to dry mixture, pulse until combined, then add the almond milk and vanilla
2. Maple syrup and honey: start with 1 tbsp, mix, taste, then decide if you need more. If you are using a liquid sweetener you may need less almond milk. 

3. Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or freezer for longer!

 

 

I adapted the recipe from adapted from Jessie over at Fairing-Well

Paleo Gingerbread w/ a cream cheese spread (GF/DF)

Ok, I am just going to put this out there....and say that I personally think that I might like this better than the paleo chocolate zucchini bread on my blog that you guys make all the time and maybe, just maybe, any banana or pumpkin bread that I have made! Hopefully I am not kicking myself for saying this later and you guys actually do enjoy this, since I am the only one testing this bread...the woes of living alone; talking to yourself when recipe testing and thinking you've hit the jackpot....but trust me!!

This bread is super light, moist (& yes, moist! I know people tend to cringe when they hear that word, but how else am I supposed to describe it?!), and just tastes delicious. I imagine this is what all things Christmas would taste like if it were mixed together and then baked in the oven for about 35 minutes. 

Did I mention the bread is paleo too? I tend to find paleo breads a little easier to digest, lighter on the stomach, and just all around less dense. Also, it is full of iron, calcium, and minerals thanks to the molasses, which also gives it such a bold taste! The molasses paired with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and the ginger give the bread such a warm spicy feel making this bread perfect for the holiday season. I also added a little coconut vinegar to the mix to keep the bread moist. Have you ever noticed that when you add a little this into your baking dishes it helps keep the bread from becoming so dry? The coconut vinegar that I used is from Better Body Foods, and essentially can be used the same way that ACV is used. It is packed with things such as amino acids, potassium, vitamins, fiber, and FOS; a prebiotic for digestive health! Also, if you are allergic to dairy, like me, and you see a recipe call for buttermilk, you can mix coconut vinegar together with almond milk as a replacement! 

I topped off the gingerbread with a little bit of dairy free cream cheese from one of my favorite brands. The two flavors just go together, like PB & jelly. You don't really need to do anything to the cream cheese, but I decided to get a little fancy and add some vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and almond milk to the food processor with the cream cheese to give the bread a little something something. 

So make this for a healthy treat, breakfast, a snack, or your coffee's side kick, because it is super delicious! 

Breakfast/Snack
Makes 1 loaf
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 35 minutes
total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

paleo gingerbread coconut vinegar.JPG

Wet ingredients
4 eggs
1 tsp. Better Body Foods coconut vinegar (optional)
1 tbsp. vanilla
1/4 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
2/3 cup blackstrap molasses
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

Dry ingredients:
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup almond flour (*did not try oat flour)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. pink himalayan sea salt
1 heaping tsp. ginger
1 heaping tsp. nutmeg

Cream cheese topping
1/2 cup dairy free cream cheese * I use kite hill plain dairy free cream cheese
1 tbsp. vanilla
sea salt to taste
a pinch of cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg
 

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and either line a 9X5 pan with parchment paper or grease it lightly with coconut oil. Set aside. 

2. In a medium size bowl or your vitamix, mix together the wet ingredients

3. In a different bow, combine the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. 

4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients or add them to your vitamix and mix until well incorporated. 

5. Pour the mixture into your prepared loaf pan and bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. I checked after 30 minutes and decided that it needed another 5 minutes. 

I keep the bread in the fridge for up to a week then I would freeze after that! To heat it up, pop it in the oven for a few and you are good to go!

Cream Cheese spread:

In a food processor combine all of the above ingredients (cream cheese, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and sea salt). You also can leave the cream cheese plain or taste test as you are mixing and add in anything else. I would say that this part of the recipe is more to taste and not an exact measurement.