I was going to be picking up my nephew from kindy, and I was looking forward to it. He goes to the same primary school I went to, which I remember with fondness as I had spent a good 6 years of my childhood there. My brother told me that when his grandmother picks him up from school, they have a little ritual where she gets a donut for him. This aunt didn’t want to be outdone, so I racked my brains for what treat I could bring for him. It was hard, as adult paleo foods (liver, grass fed jerky etc.) don’t seem to hold much appeal for kids for some odd reason. But I eventually came up with an idea which I thought would work. My nephew is fascinated with spiders and stick insects, so I thought of making spiders out of protein balls and making the legs out of a paleo cracker recipe I found on the web. Using the rest of the dough, I would pipe irregular blobby sticks to become stick insects.
Things didn’t start off too well. The balls themselves tasted great but when I tried to insert the legs into the spider body, the balls fell apart, so I had to attach the legs with melted white chocolate. The stick insects didn’t look like much, but I bargained on the power of imagination to fill in the gaps.
After all that, it was time to leave and join the throng of parents collecting their spawn. We had a fun walk home, with the promise of ‘spiders’when we got back. Alas, my attempts at marketing to children didn’t go down well; my nephew found the prospect of eating spiders and stick insects repulsive and refused to have a taste. Not to mention that there was also a tube of Pringles being offered, my little protein bliss balls were no competition for the bliss point engineered by Big Food. So we ate the protein balls ourselves, and they proved to be very sustaining as we chased our nephews in the park and played at being zombies.
Goji Protein Balls
- 1 cup of nuts (walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, macadamia etc.)
- 4 dates, pitted, finely chopped
- 4 prunes, pitted, finely chopped (if you don’t have prunes, omit and use 6 dates in total)
- 2 Tbsp goji berries
- 1 cup of shredded coconut
- 2 Tbsp Mayvers Hazelnut & Cacao Spread
- 1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil, cocoa butter or ghee, melted (+ 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, optional)
- 1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp honey (to taste)
- 2 Tbsp chia seeds
- pinch of salt
- 1 Tbsp protein powder (I used whey isolate)
- 1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
- Water, to bind, as necessary
- Process the nuts until a meal forms. Use whatever nuts you have on hand or takes your fancy. I used the Omniblend and it was very quick, only took a couple of seconds. Be careful not to overprocess them otherwise you will have nut butter.
- Add the remaining ingredients up to and including the protein powder, add a teaspoon of water and process until combined, scraping down the sides as necessary.
- Add the pumpkin seeds and process briefly, to break them up a bit without pulverising them. This is because I wanted to be able to see the pumpkin seeds in the balls, but if you don’t mind, you can process it with the other ingredients.
- Tip the contents out into a bowl and squish a little bit together with your fingers to test whether the mixture is moist enough to form balls. If the mixture separates easily, add a little water sparingly until the mixture is sticky enough to form balls. Form into balls, pressing the mixture together firmly in bite-sized portions. Can be eaten immediately or refrigerate for a firmer ball.
Optional: Drizzle balls with melted dark chocolate.