When I was in the hospital after delivering Mackenzie, the food was beyond gross. I survived on fresh fruit that Scott brought me from home, and these yummy treats called “Date Nut Pop ’ems” that a co-worker sent me in a care package.
I got hooked.
The beautiful thing about them is they have no added sugar or oil and yet they are sweet and filling. The ugly thing about them is they cost $15.95 + shipping for a 1 lb container online. That is an addiction I just couldn’t justify. I should note that I also suffered during pregnancy from (among other things) a fierce addiction to Larabars. They are nearly $2 a bar.
Something had to be done.
So, I took a closer look at the ingredients lists. Dates, various kinds of nuts and seeds, and various kinds of spices. Hmmm…
Scott found a 2 lb tub of dried dates at Costco for $6.49. Almonds and walnuts are $3.50-$4.50 a lb at Costco. Raw sunflower seeds at Trader Joes? Just $1.49 a lb.
And so an idea was born and I am proud to say… I’ve perfected a yummy snack full of only healthy things for about 1/4 of the cost! (And my sweet husband insists mine taste better).
I’ve found in my experimenting that the “recipe” is very forgiving. It would probably accommodate different kinds of nuts and seeds just fine, and the texture is a personal preference. Scott likes his a bit more coarse and less date-y than I like mine. But here is a great starting point:
1 c. almonds
1 c. walnuts
1/2 c. raw shelled sunflower seeds
10 dried medjool dates, pitted
Put the nuts and seeds in a food processor and let it go 30-60 seconds depending on the texture you’d like. Scott likes 30 seconds, but 60 seconds will make it smoother and easier to shape into balls.
30 seconds still has nut chunks:
60 seconds leaves it smoother, almost like a nut butter:
Add the dates and cinnamon. 1 tsp for “plain” treats and 1 1/2 TBS for cinnamon-y treats. You can also add 1 TBS of cocoa powder at this point for a REALLY decadent treat. Those are too rich for Scott but oh-so-delicious and a perfect chocolate fix for me.
Food process for another 10-20 seconds or so, until everything is well-incorporated.
It should start sticking together some:
Then wash your hands and make balls! I have a one-handed technique that works well for me, but the idea is just to smoosh and shape and how you handle the smooshing is up to you. 🙂
Ta-da! ~30 date nut balls that are perfect for a quick snack.
Interestingly enough, two of my other favorite snacks made their way into the photo. Fresh pineapple and sweet peppers from Costco. Yum!
I make two batches of the date nut pop ’ems and store them in a tupperware in the fridge.