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Epic Orange and Chocolate Date Balls of Awesomeness

Testing and creating new recipes is a passion of mine, a passion born of growing up as a picky eater, and learning to cook food that I enjoyed since my Mom had no plans to become a short order cook.  I’ve had multiple successes and failures in the kitchen, but for the most part the meals I create are enjoyed by both family and friends.  And since stumbling upon what I call the JERF movement (just eat real food), I strive to incorporate real, whole, unprocessed foods into my diet as much as possible.  But, please don’t think my diet is bland and boring.  Trust me, I don’t sit around eating steamed veggies and dry chicken every day, although I wish I could sit around eating bacon all day (but that’s just a wish my heart makes).  I want the meals I create to be both visually exciting and full of flavor.

One recipe in particular, involving date balls, gets rave reviews every time I whip a batch of these treats to share.  There are many date ball recipes floating around on the internet, and I am excited to add my own personal spin to on the standard date balls to the mix.

These date balls include the following ingredients:  dry roasted almonds, mejool dates, unsweetened shredded coconut, enjoy life chocolate chips, cocao nibs, vanilla extract, orange extract, sea salt, coconut oil, and Barney’s chocolate almond butter.


After mixing the ingredients together (using the instructions detailed below) and shaping them into balls, you get these lovely things:


The date balls are fine as is if you stopped at this part of the recipe, but if you enjoy coconut and want an added layer of flavor, you can roll the balls in a mixture of unsweetened coconut and cacao nibs to get these beauties:



These treats are easy to make and fun to share.  If you create this recipe, I would love to hear what you think of them!

Epic Orange & Chocolate Date Balls of Awesomeness – recipe yields 15-20 date balls (depending on size)


  • 1 cup dry roasted and unsalted almonds
  • 20 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup + 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (divided)
  • ½ cup enjoy life chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • Zest from ½ orange
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ cup Barney’s chocolate almond butter
  • ¼ cup cocoa nibs


  1. Process almonds in a food processor until they look like crumbs (don’t process too long or it will turn into almond butter).   Empty almond crumbs into a separate bowl.
  2. Process the medjool dates until they are sticky and in small pieces.  It may form a ball in the food processor.  You’ll want to break this ball apart before the next step.
  3. Once you have processed the medjool dates, add back into the food processor the almond crumbs.  Then add in 1/2 a cup of unsweetened shredded coconut, vanilla extract, orange extract, orange zest, sea salt and chocolate almond butter.  Process the ingredients in the food processor until it looks like the ingredients start to stick together.  If the mixture is still crumbly, add more medjool dates, 2 or 3 at a time, until the mixture becomes sticky and you can form the dough into balls.
  4. Once the dough is ready, add the chocolate chips and use the pulse feature on your food processor until the chocolate chips have been incorporated into the mixture.
  5. Form the dough into  balls using 1 or 2 tbs for each ball (depending on how big you want them to be) and place the balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Once you have finished forming the balls, add the remaining1/2 cup of shredded coconut and ¼ cup cacao nibs in the food process and process for 20-25 seconds.
  7. Lay out the shredded coconut/cacao nib mixture onto a plate and roll each date ball in the mixture.   Once each date ball has been coated, place them back on the parchment paper.  Repeat this step as necessary until you have used up all of the date ball mixture and coating.
  8. Refrigerate the date balls for 30 minutes or until you are ready to serve them (you can also freeze them, although you may want to defrost for 10 to 15 minutes before serving).

Notes :

  •  If you can’t find dry roasted unsalted almonds, you can roast 1 cup of raw almonds at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Let the almonds cool for about 10 minutes before moving on to the next step of the recipe.
  • If you have difficulty finding Barney’s chocolate almond butter, you can substitute with regular almond butter, or any other kind of nut butter you may prefer.
  • You can substitute cocoa butter for cacao nibs.
  • This recipe is great even without the orange extract/orange zest if you would prefer not to add it.

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Paleo F(x) Part 2 – New Food Finds

Part 2 of my recap discusses some great food finds during Paleo F(x).  If you missed Part 1 of my recap, you can read about it here.

Paleo F(x) 2014 wasn’t only about presentations and panel discussions.  Attending Paleo F(x) gave me a chance to sample many grain-free, gluten-free and Paleo friendly food options.

The main section of the conference floor area was set up with different booths that allowed conference attendees to sample products brought by different vendors.  There were a lot of vendors, and below are some of the items that caught my eye:



Choffy is made out of roasted cacao beans, which are then ground up and brewed to make a chocolate drink.  Choffy has roasts that are made from cacao beans from all over the world, including Ghana, the Ivory Cost, and the Dominican Republic.  The chocolate drink can be made using a french press or coffee brewer.  The owners of Choffy were there the entire weekend to hand out samples, and I purchased a bag of Ivory Coast Choffy to take home after sampling and enjoying the flavor profile of this lighter roast.

Eating Evolved:


Eating Evolved makes chocolate bars with minimal real food ingredients (gluten free, soy free, dairy free chocolate bars  made with fair trade cacao and none GMO ingredients) that are delicious, and left me coming back for more samples each day.

The company’s motto is, “It’s food, not candy.”  I can get behind that!


I tried the 72% dark chocolate bar with sea salt and almonds.  The sea salt added an additional depth of flavor I really enjoyed.  When I came back to purchase some sea salt and almond bars to take back home with me, they only had one bar left.  I ended up buying that bar, as well as two of the 85% dark chocolate bars to enjoy.

Jilz Gluten Free Crackersz:


These crackers were legit, and very flavorful.  They are made out of almond flour, organic sesame seeds, organic flax seeds, organic chia seeds, organic tapioca flour, apple cider vinegar and seasonings.  They come in three different flavors – Mediterranean, Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper, and Tuscan. I ended up purchasing a package of the sea salt and cracked pepper crackers.

Kosmic Kombucha:



For those of you not familiar with this drink, Kombucha is a drink typically made from sweetened tea that has been fermented, and has been shown to have a variety of health benefits (Click here for more information on the health benefits of Kombucha).

Despite the drink’s health benefits, I have not fully embraced this drink into my everyday lifestyle for several reasons.  First, Kombucha is pretty pricey, selling anywhere from $3 to $4 dollars per bottle.  Second, Kombucha has a very distinct taste, and until that weekend I had not tried a brand of Kombuch that I enjoyed.  During the conference, I sampled several flavors offered by Kosmic Kombuch, and ended up really enjoying the Mint Julep flavor.  It was so good in fact, that I stocked up on several bottles to take back home with me.


Base Culture:


I’ve tried many different store bought gluten-free/grain-free breads, and tried my hand at making several different sandwich bread recipes.  Some recipes are better than others, but I have only sampled one or two recipes that really stand out in my mind as being good, at least until Paleo F(x).  Initially, I had only casually strolled by the Base Culture booth with no intentions of stopping.  However, I decided to picked up piece of bread to sample as I was walking past.  I didn’t have high expectations when I popped it into my mouth, but after i actually tasted the texture and flavor and realized how good it was, I slowed down and decided to take a better look at the company.  I was able to talk with the owner to find out more about the company and its products.

The company is based in Florida, and offers for shipping grain-free and gluten-free products that compliment a Paleo lifestyle.  The sandwich bread offered by Base Culture was delicious, and actually tasted like a (somewhat denser) version of sandwich bread.  Even more amazing were the almond butter brownies (pictured in the front board shown below).


I wanted to sample those brownies every time I pasted by the booth, but I resisted (for the most part).  Unfortunately, the company’s owner, Jordann Windschauer, didn’t have any products for sale.  She came to Paleo F(x) to promote her company and get the company’s name out, and had only planned to offer samples of her products.  I kept trying to get her to agree to sell me whatever products she had leftover after Paleo F(x) had ended, but because she wasn’t set up to sell anything that weekend, it wasn’t an option.  However,  Jordann was kind enough to look for me the last day and personally give me several additional samples of the almond butter brownies to take home.  Yeah, that pretty much just won me over 😉

I knew I couldn’t go to Austin during Paleo F(x) without a trip to Picnik, a coffee shop/restaurant that offers Paleo/Primal/Grain-Free/Gluten-free food and drink options.


I swung by there during a lunch break, and was so glad I did.  I got to meet popular blogger Liz Wolfe from Real Food Liz, who was only going to be at Paleo F(x) for one day due to a scheduling conflict.  She was just as funny, witty and kind in person as she is on the weekly Balanced Bites podcast she co-hosts with Diane Sanfilippo.

She was also gracious enough to pose for a picture.


After stepping into the restaurant to look at menu, I knew I had come to the right place when I saw this:


I wasn’t very hungry, so I decided to go with a chai tea latte made with butter, MCT oil, and grass fed whey-protein.

There is so much more about Paleo F(x) that I want to share with you guys.  In the final installment of my recap  (I know it’s a lot, but I couldn’t fit it all in two posts), I’ll share my experience meeting some of my favorite bloggers during the conference.

Have any of you tried out the products I mentioned in this post?  If so, I’d love to read about your experiences trying them out in the comments section.