I am a big fan of the delicious energy balls that I get to order at our local superfood bar, Rawr – they are scrummy sweet treats packed full of nutritious ingredients – I love them, and they are just right for a little something to go with a lovely herb tea or golden milk (never tried golden milk? You should, it’s delicious!). So I was really pleased to get hold of a review copy of Energy Balls: Improve your physical performance, mental focus, sleep, mood and more by Christa Sczebel and published by Chronical Books.
I have no idea about the health claims made for these recipes, but I know for myself, I always feel better in body and in mind, when I am eating food that is packed full of nutrients. These days, where previously I might have gone for a piece of cake, a Wispa bar (my all-time favourite!) or crisps for a snack, although I still have those now and again, I’m much more like to go for something like this. So it’s great to have an opportunity to make some for myself, and learn more about the benefits of some of these ingredients, especially the ones which are new to me.
All the recipes are 100% vegan, no-bake and gluten free. And having recently tried to find vegan and gluten-free sweet treats that weren’t packed with an awful lot of undesirable ingredients in my local super-market, I can really see the appeal of a book like this, where you can have complete confidence in what you are putting into your food.
As you can see, the styling of the book is lovely – it’s fully of really tempting pics, especially as I imagine it’s rather difficult to take delicious-looking photos of lots and lots of things that all look quite similar!
The book is divided up into sections with different recipes for Breakfast, the Lunch-Box, Brain-Boosting, Performance-Enhancing and Bedtime. It’s packed full of information about the nutritional content of the ingredients, calorie content and a run down of the benefits of the ingredients used.
I tried a couple of recipes. The first, Salted Caramel and Chia, was delicious, but I found the mixture very difficult to work with – it was so wet – possibly due to my inexperience in making this kind of food. I’m hoping this will get better as I get more experience of what different mixtures should look like – a bit more information or some step by step photos would have been helpful.
The second, Cinnamon Raisin, I didn’t like as much, finding the recipe almost impossibly sweet – although the little snacks all seemed to disappear soon enough, so SOMEONE around here liked them.
One down side, if you are on a budget, and haven’t experimented with this type of food previously, is that there is an awful lot of non-standard ingredients (i.e. not what you’d have in your store-cupboard or even at your local supermarket) and expensive ingredients, like dried whole bananas, nut butters, coconut nectar and chocolate protein powder, and lots of them used in only one or two recipes.
The other issue is that you need a really decent blender or food-processor. I have an Kenwood food-processor, that works ok to blend everything up, but it makes a dreadful noise as it does so. But if you are a person with a snazzy high-powered blender, then this might well be a book to add to your library.
I felt slightly put off by the above caveats about the expense and the lack of helpful detail in these recipes. But, as I flick through the book again for this review, it has renewed my enthusiasm to try some more recipes, and invest in a few more of the ingredients. I really like the sound of Lime and Coconut, Carrot Cake, Toasted Coconut Fudge and Vanilla Chai Latte… and plenty of others too, and I can see them becoming part of my weekly eating, if they taste as good as they sound.
Have you had experience of this kind of ‘cooking’? I’d love to hear about any favourite recipes you might have.