Hi! It’s been an amazing week. I worked my tail off and am now sitting and semi-watching The Hangover 3 (and semi-enjoying it) while trying to fit in this blog post. This Shabbat was one of those Shabbats where I felt like I was drugged with sleep. It happens that when we turn off the electronics, have meals together and rest I actually well, relax. And when I relax I get that all-over feeling of pure exhaustion. I mean that exhaustion that seeps into your bones and no amount of coffee will help me recover from. I drink water all day long in the hopes that it’ll slap me in the face and wake me up but ultimately, I never feel awake. It’s even worse when we go to bed at the obscenely lame but glorious hour of 8 or 8:30 on Friday nights. We tend to average roughly 10 hours of sleep on Friday nights, and as parents of a 1 and a half year-old, that is the sweetest of all gifts. However, the price we pay for that kind of blissful Friday night sleep is more exhaustion. Why? Why does that happen?!
OK, I know why it happens. It’s the one day a week we relax. As much as I love Instagram and am super plugged-in at all times (’tis the life of a food blogger), I need my day of unplugging. I don’t think I could function without it. Hell, my husband and I need it so we can remember to connect to each other. I think I owe my relationship to the power of Shabbat.
But anyway, enough of this accidental love letter to Shabbat. I want to talk about the really cool things that happened this week. First, there was my latest post for The Huffington Post (read it here). Then, my amazing friend, Francine, co-author of the delicious food blog, Feta and Arepa), surprised me by nominating Jewhungry for The Kitchn’s Homie Awards. So, thanks to her beautiful gesture and the extreme patience of my family and friends, Jewhungry made it into the top 5, which means it’s in the running for an actual Homie Award. So, what’s the big deal? What would I win? Glory. Glory and a SH*T TON OF SITE TRAFFIC. Here’s the thing, I’d really like traffic. I work EXTREMELY hard on this blog. Cooking inspires me creatively and I have made some actual lovely friends from this food blog (not to mention the fact that we’re eating better these days too), but the fact of the matter is that I work this hard and invest a lot into this blog because I’d like it to be successful. So, yeah, as much as I am so grateful for my friends and family who read this blog, it’d be really cool if other people found out about this blog so I could grow a little, you know? A Homie Award would do that. It would help this blog grow. It’d help kosher get on the culinary map and ultimately, that’s my biggest goal. Therefore, if you wouldn’t mind, I’d REALLY love your vote. You can vote for Jewhungry here.
So, about this recipe. This recipe is a take on one that was introduced to me by the mother of all mothers, my sister-in-law, Misty. Misty is an amazing woman and an incredible mom. Back before every mom on the planet had a blog (including this mom) and was showing everyone how to eat healthy, she was eating healthy and making everything from scratch for her family (those lucky ducks). She’d make mini whole wheat pancakes by the dozens and freeze them for on-demand eating. She was making green smoothies before the world could imagine expensive, designer smoothies sold at your local Whole Foods. She was the originator. She was also one of the folks who inspired me to cook. One of her creations was this delicious granola treat that my husband and I so affectionately (and maturely) dubbed “Misty’s Balls”. In trying to stay away from refined sugar and cut down on the peanut butter that is found in the original recipe (the original recipe calls for peanut butter, shredded coconut and 1/2 of brown sugar), I subbed some of Misty’s original ingredients to build a ball more suitable to my taste buds but please don’t misunderstand me, there will never be a better “Misty Ball”.
Sunflower Granola Balls
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats – use gluten-free oats if needed
1/2 cup creamy sunflower OR peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut sugar (I like Madhava Coconut Sugar)
3 tbsp sliced almonds
2 tbsp cocoa nibs
1/4 cup craisins, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the oats on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and toast for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
Meanwhile, combine the sunflower butter, honey and coconut sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the coconut sugar has completely dissolved (or come as close to it as possible – I find that the coconut sugar doesn’t dissolve quite as evenly or smoothly as brown sugar but it’s all good), stirring continuously so as to prevent scorching.
Add the toasted oats, sliced almond and craisins to the sunflower butter mixture along and stir to combine. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes – DO NOT LET IT COOL LONGER than 10 – 15 minutes. The longer it cools, the less likely it will all be able to congeal.
Working with dampened hands, shape into 12 one-inch balls and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.