Back in my wayward youth in the far off 70’s I was raised pretty much exclusively on hippy vegetarian food. Seeing as I grew up (through my elementary school years) in Marin County, CA, and it was the 70’s after all, that seemed to me the norm rather than the exception. I’m talking old school hippy vegetarian, the likes of the original Moosewood cookbook, and lots of things involving tofu, wheat germ, and (heaven forefend) carob.
The result of such an upbringing was that when I went away to college, I thought things like chicken fried steak and chipped beef on toast were exotic and fascinating, but that’s another story.
Occasionally I miss those old standbys of hippy vegetarian comfort food, and lately I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with peanut butter balls. For those of you who aren’t into such things, peanut butter balls basically consist of some peanut butter, with some other binding agents and something to dry them out enough so that they don’t stick to the hands of children or nostalgic adults. Back in the dim time, dry milk powder and wheat germ were popular additives.
When you’re done, you get little balls of peanutty goodness, just bursting with protein, some fat, and just enough sugar (usually honey) to make them attractive. A great snack for kids on the go, since they’re full of energy and not full of sugar and starch.
Anyway, I’ve been experimenting a bit, and have come up with a pretty decent combination of stuff.
- Peanut butter (my personal favorite is Maranatha organic)
- I’ve also tried adding some sesame butter (also Maranatha brand) and almond butter with good results
- Wheat germ (adds fiber and has a nice texture)
- Flax seeds (a nice crunch, and lots of Omega-3s)
- Barley malt (a nice mellow sweetener, and lots of vitamins)
- A little honey or agave nectar (a low-glycemic alternative to honey)
- Dry whey powder (protein, nice filler, I use Bob’s Red Mill brand)
- Instead of whey powder, I’ve also used soy grits (about the texture of fine cornmeal) which was good but adds a very slight bitterness
- I’ve also tried substituting some flax seed meal for some of the wheat germ, which adds some nutrition and didn’t seem to affect the taste.
- Raisins (my favorite are organic “flame” raisins)
Mix all that up in a bowl, check the consistency (should be like playdough) and roll into little balls. I’ve tried rolling the balls in either wheat germ, or coconut, which makes them less sticky. My kids especially liked the coconut.
A quick, nostalgic (at least for some of us) and healthy snack. Mmmmmm, good