Right after New Year’s, I walked into Walgreens and saw them already working on the Valentine’s Day candy display. It was an explosion of pink and red packages. You know the kind. Bright heart-shaped boxes wrapped in cellophane and piled high next to the “Squeeze Me! Teddy Bears.”
I was there again last week and the same display was still up. I got to thinking how long that candy must sit on the shelf before it’s sold. From the time it’s manufactured to the time it’s purchased, gifted, and consumed, what are we looking at? Three months? Five? Eight?
Ick. Those are the kind of thoughts I push away!
If you’re looking for a last-minute treat for your sweetie, flee from the drugstore and head to the kitchen. These Chocolate Cherry Chia Power Treats pack in so many of my favorite nutrition superstars.
Raw Cacao Powder
An aphrodisiac if there ever was one, raw cacao (unprocessed, unsweetened chocolate) ranks high on my list of special occasion indulgences. I love adding it to my date balls for a boost of antioxidants and mood-lifting flavor.
Three ch-ch-ch-cheers for chia! You already know I’m a huge fan of the mighty seed for it’s healthy omega-3 fats and fiber. But don’t limit chia to smoothies or baking alone. It’s an excellent addition to these power snacks, adding a little crunch and texture with all that megawatt nutrition.
I’m beginning to think dates would be one of my desert island foods. Of all the natural sweeteners out there, they’re consistently one of my favorites. They’re perfect for raw treats because they’re both sweet and sticky, so they create dough in a snap.
In power balls? Really? Why yes indeed! Avocados are packed with heart-healthy potassium (even more than bananas) and beautifying good fats that help keep our skin moist, supple, and hydrated. Texturally speaking, they increase the fudge factor of these treats.
If you can find tart dried cherries that are not sweetened, scoop them up! Cherries are a super fruit that offer incredible antioxidants and blood sugar balancing properties. Darkly pigmented fruits like cherries, blueberries, and pomegranates are nutrition powerhouses. Because cherries are on the Dirty Dozen list, choose organic whenever possible, whether fresh or dried. (You can purchase unsweetened tart dried cherries here, although they are packaged in a facility that may contain other allergens. I get mine at my local co-op.)
If you want more of a mini candy bar shape, it’s super easy to form the balls into bars instead, as shown above. You can also crumble the dough into marble-sized pieces over a bowl of berries or fresh fruit for a chocolatey raw “streusel” topping. Add a dollop of coconut cream and a mint leaf and you’ve got a fast and highly nutrient-dense dessert perfect for any time of year!
I’m guessing my Valentine’s Day this year will consist of a nice dinner at home, maybe a movie or a DIY spa night, and a night of 8+ hours of quality sleep. I live on the edge. :)
What are your big plans? However you spend the day, I’d highly recommend adding these treats to the schedule. And if it’s just you enjoying them in the quiet of your kitchen, so be it. We all deserve a little treat once in a while.
For more festive and healthy Valentine’s Day treats, here are a few that have caught my eye lately:
- Raw Vanilla White Chocolates from Nourishing Meals
- Chocolate Dipped Power Balls from She Let Them Eat Cake
- Vegan Chocolate Milk from Healthful Pursuit
- Chewy Paleoleos from The Spunky Coconut
Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with those you love!
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 6 tablespoons raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- ⅔ cup (packed) pitted Medjool dates
- ½ medium ripe avocado, pitted
- ½ cup dried tart cherries (unsweetened if possible)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons (packed) finely grated orange zest
- In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process the shredded coconut, cacao powder, coconut flour, and chia seeds for 30 seconds until finely ground.
- Add the dates, avocado, cherries, maple syrup, and orange zest. Start by pulsing 8-10 times, then process until the mixture holds together when pinched with your fingers, about 1 minute.
- Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (or freeze for longer storage).