Monday, August 19, 2013

Energy Balls & BBQ Sauce

I managed to make it through Whole30 without making a lot of my own condiments. It helps that the salsa we like (Mateo’s from Costco) is Whole30-compliant. As Joe remarked one evening, “Thank GOD salsa is on Whole30.” I stuck with olive oil and balsamic or red wine vinegar for salad dressing and never really needed anything else for those 30 days. After Whole30, a few non-compliant things slipped back into my diet (Sriracha, for one), but I never did buy any barbecue sauce because, inevitably the second ingredient is some sort of sugar. When a craving for some barbecue chicken hit, I decided to make my own.


This is not the kind of gloppy, sticky, molasses-thick barbecue sauce I’m used to, but it’s okay. I had to warn Joe that it was definitely more of a sharp vinegar, tomato-based flavor. I think I will tweak the seasonings in the next batch to try to get a bit more of a rounded flavor, but this did the trick on some chicken breasts one night.

It Starts with Food BBQ Sauce

1 cup Tomato Sauce
1/3 cup unsweetened Apple Sauce
2 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp Coconut Aminos
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp Hot pepper sauce
1 tsp Chili Powder
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 clove Garlic
1/2 Tbsp clarified butter or coconut oil


In a bowl whisk the tomato sauce, apple sauce, vinegar, coconut aminos, mustard, hot pepper sauce, and black pepper. Heat the butter/coconut oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and remaining spices to the pan stirring until fragrant (about 30 seconds only). Whisk in the tomato sauce mixture. Bring to a boil, then GENTLY simmer uncovered for 25-30 minutes until it is reduced and flavorful. Remove from heat and allow to cool


Fueling for long runs is a challenge. Most commercially available products have all kinds of sketchy chemicals and sugars. Some people use unsweetened applesauce or dried fruit, and I’ve had success with Larabars before a run. I purchased a large tub of dates at Costco and wanted to experiment with making my own dried date/nut balls (yes, I am giggling as I type that because I’m 12). These are great mid-run or as a small snack. I made them tablespoon size, which is more than one bite, and covered them in coconut flakes. The cocoa gives them a chocolate flavor as well.


Energy Balls

20 dates, pitted
2 cups almonds or pecans
2 tsp cocoa powder
Coconut flakes or cocoa for dusting

First, soak the dates in water until they are soft and easily blended into a paste (an hour at room temperature or in boiling water for a few minutes.)
While the dates are soaking, grind the nuts in a food processor. Add the cocoa powder and pulse to blend together.
Add 6 dates to the food processor, lightly shaking them to dry. You want a little additional water to help them come together. Process on low until they are blended.
Continue adding dates until the mixture becomes a ball or begins to stick together somewhat firmly. Then, pinch off and roll into balls. If desired, roll them in cocoa powder or coconut to coat.