Spring is here or, at least, that’s what our clocks reported when many of us begrudgingly sprung forward last night. While I may not like losing an hour today, I do relish the idea of longer days before the sun sets.
Because I tend to look on the bright side, longer days means more time outdoors, less need for electricity and more natural light, more time to cook a few healthy dishes to nourish and feed us throughout the week and more time to read, rest, relax and spend time with those who matter most.
Take a Hike
As spring dances into our lives, longer daylight means more time for hikes and that’s exactly where you’ll find me. Exploring the hundreds of miles of hiking trails is what I crave right now and yesterday I went with some friends to explore an incredible trail on the way to the Santa Fe mountain.
Ranging in ages from an impressively spry and agile almost 70 (who led the way) to my almost 52 years young, four of us piled in the car and headed a few miles north to Bear Wallow hiking trail. We encountered maybe five other people on the majestic four miles as we traversed through a towering forest of aspen and fir trees along the snow-covered trails of the Sangre de Cristos.
We were immediately overcome with a sense of peace, tranquility and silence–all we could hear was the wind blowing in the trees, our own footsteps in the snow and the distant sound of water running in a nearby stream.
It was the epitome of Zen and we could have hiked all day as the blue skies tempted us to keep walking, but we also could have used a boost of energy. A little snack. Something to nibble on when we finally reached our halfway point and sat down by the stream to rest, relax and take it all in.
Had I been packing my new favorite energy balls, I suspect we would have pushed through to the other side, where, already tired, we were stymied by the reality of a 45 degree uphill hike. Instead, we turned around and headed back to the route we came–which also ended up being an uphill hike, but we pushed through, laughing all the way.
In preparation for many more hiking trips this spring, I made these energy balls so we don’t have to turn around next time. Instead, we’ll sit on the bench, which is a fallen tree, sip on some water and snack on these apricot, cashew and coconut balls while we are calmed by the gentle sound of the running stream below us. The combination of a super low sugar dried fruit, apricot, combined with protein from the cashews and healthy fats from the coconut will be the inspiration we need to rise up and take on the other half of the Borrego Trail.
Even if you’re not into hiking, these good + good for you energy balls make a great between-meal snack and are a smart way to curb and control the realities of being hangry. Drop a few into Jr’s lunch, make them for your next office meeting or book club gathering or have a bag of them stashed in your purse. They come together in minutes, cost a mere fraction of the price of a store-bought protein bar and taste like a tropical paradise. That, my friends, is a trifecta you can’t say no to.
Apricot, Cashew and Coconut Energy Balls
The combination of these three ingredients combined with the zest of a lime make you swear you're in the tropics. Sweet, but not too sweet, and loaded with healthy fats and protein, all you need is a food processor to bring these healthy energy balls to life. I promise they will save you the next time you are hangry, stabilize your blood sugar and help you push through until the next meal. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.
- 1/2 cup dried apricots unsulfured
- 1/2 cup raw organic cashews
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 lime zested
- 2 tablespoons water
- Pinch kosher or sea salt
Add all of the ingredients, except the water, to the food processor and turn the machine on.
As the ingredients break down, you will want to add 1 tablespoon of water to help it along. Then add 1 more tablespoon of water and that should help bring it together.
It will take up to 3 minutes or more for everything to break down and become smooth. Once it forms a ball or comes together like this in the food processor, it is done.
Using wet hands, carefully remove and place the batter in a bowl. Using your hands or a tablespoon, scoop a bit and roll it into a ball. Do this until you have about 12 balls.
Store the balls in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to eat. Alternatively, you can also store them in the freezer.