As you read this post, I am probably terrified. Gripping the hand of my seatmate. Hurtling through the air at the speed of 576 mph. Oh, and also incredibly excited to descend upon the great city of New Orleans for Mardi Gras! Woohoo!!!
That’s right, Ragini (who you may remember from my Junk in the Trunk Cookies) and I are going to visit our friend Nisha, who is currently doing grad school smartypants things at Tulane! After asking Nisha the all-important questions of “What clothing should I bring?” and “Can we use your shampoo and conditioner?” (Either way, I was going to use hers . . . Spirit’s luggage fees are crazy!) I asked myself the next-most important question: What snacks should I bring?
You see, ever since I decided to overhaul my nutrition and fitness for the New Year, I’ve been trying to eat healthier items to fuel my body efficiently. With a few splurges along the way, of course. I mean, it would’ve been fiscally irresponsible to pass up the $5.99 fried fish, oysters, and shrimp lunch special at Aw Shucks today!
In researching healthy travel snacks, I came across a mythical thing called a Larabar. Okay, fine, I must’ve been hiding under a rock to miss these babies. In case you’ve been under a neighboring rock, Larabars are energy bars made with all-natural ingredients (like dates, cashews, almonds, etc.). I tried out a couple and decided to put my own spin on them to take along for my New Orleans trip.
Behold, the Almond Joy Ball! I am crazy about the Almond Joy candy bar – that delicate combination of coconut topped with almonds, all covered with chocolate. Yummm. In an effort to make these a bit healthier, I took a page from the Larabar book and made these snacks with unsweetened coconut, raw almonds, dark chocolate bits, and dates. I may or may not have started to eat my travel snacks before I even finished packing last night. Whoops? Whatever, I’m going to NOLA!
Almond Joy Balls
Yield: Approximately 12 1-inch balls
1) 1 cup dates, chopped
2) 1 cup almonds, chopped
3) ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
4) ¼ cup dark chocolate chips (or chunks)
1) Place the dates in a food processor and chop until the dates clump together.
2) Combine the dates, almonds, coconut, and chocolate chips in a bowl. Fold mixture together with hands until well mixed, then separate and roll into 1-inch balls. Enjoy!