Unfortunately day one of my newly renovated diet (read as: first day back from my parents house, and therefore away from all the cakes, crisps and other snacks) is also the day before I go and spend four days in a hotel in the south of England for work. I usually commute back and forth every day (2 hour journey, but definitely worth it), but I’ve been told that the next two weeks might be hellishly busy so I’m going to suck it up and stay down there for a few days.
This has two major impacts on what I eat: firstly I just buy for a couple of meals (in today’s case, one – tonight’s), since I won’t be around the house to eat anything. This is neither great on my bank balance nor on what I usually end up eating, since I’m less likely to batch cook and more likely to buy a ready-meal or something quick. Secondly, it means the fridge will be empty when I get back – a terrible state of affairs as it usually means I’m tempted to order a takeaway.
But I’m determined to remain as healthy as possible this week, so had been trying to plan out what I’ll eat – for both lunch and snacks – whilst I’m away. A quick tea break earlier was spent catching up on some youtube videos I’d yet to watch, when lo and behold I found an answer to my problems: Pumpkin Power Bites, adapted from the recipe in Ingrid Nilsen (MissGlamorazzi)’s latest YouTube video.
I’d been flicking through Oh She Glow’s cookbook earlier, despairing that the snacks all looked delicious, but I didn’t have half of the ingredients. Well, I didn’t have all the ingredients for the pumpkin power bites either, but only by about two items that were thankfully stocked in the shop five minutes away from me!
So without further ado,
Pumpkin Power Bites!
You will need:
1 1/8th cup (270 ml) rolled oats
150g shelled unsalted pumpkin seeds
1 1/4 cup (300 ml) chopped dates
60 ml honey
90 ml pumpkin purée
1 heaped tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp ground flax seed
1 tbsp water
Cooking spray (I used extra virgin olive oil spray, but you can also use coconut oil or whatever works best for you)
Pinch of salt
Pre-heat the oven to 190C/375F
The first thing to do is to get the pumpkin seeds roasting. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread out the seeds, then coat with a fine mist of oil. Sprinkle on a pinch of salt – I used pink Himalayan. Roast until the seeds have started to turn golden brown – this took about 15 minutes for me, although the recipe I adapted says it takes about 7. There are a couple of potential reasons for the difference here – firstly I may not have pre-heated the oven for long enough initially (there’s no indicator on our oven), and secondly I’m not a regular consumer of roasted pumpkin seeds, or indeed any seeds whatsoever. A flatmate two years ago roasted some unshelled pumpkin seeds once, but that is the extent of my experience.
Other than the seeds being ready for when you need them, one big benefit of starting by roasting the pumpkin seeds is that your kitchen will smell fantastic. I was unsure what they were supposed to look like, so they may have been slightly overdone. However, they looked fine to me, they didn’t taste burnt, and they seriously smelt so good. Perfect for a sunny, brisk, November afternoon. They continue to make a crackling noise for a good long while after they’ve been taken out of the oven too, which just made the whole endeavour even more atmospheric.
Next, place the dates, honey, pumpkin purée, peanut butter (I used chunky, sugar-free peanut butter, use whatever type you like best), ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, chia seeds, and pinch of salt into a blender and combine into a smooth paste. I added a tablespoon of maple syrup and a tablespoon of water to loosen the mixture a little when I ran into blending difficulty a little way through.
The paste didn’t blend nearly as much as desired for me. In the original recipe the paste looks smooth and dark, but mine is much lighter and the dates have hardly blended into it at all – most are still visible as small chunks. I suspect that my blender just isn’t powerful enough – I used a fairly cheap smoothie maker which seemed to have about a fifth of the power the blender in the video had. However, there may be other reasons for the difference – I chopped the dates up much smaller (and used more) than the original recipe called for which could have made it less likely that they’d hit the blades. I also changed some of the other quantities of ingredients.
However, the paste tastes good and does what it needs to do, so no complaints. I actually like the little pieces of date standing out.
Scoop the paste into a mixing bowl, then add the rolled oats, chopped dried cranberries, and cooled roasted pumpkin seeds. Grab a spoon or a spatula and thoroughly combine.
Finally, spray a little oil onto your hands (to help avoid sticking) and pick up a clump of the mixture. Shape into a little ball, and repeat until you’ve used all of the mixture. Of course, you could also flatten the mixture out onto a tray and make squares/rectangles, or be even more creative and make whatever shape you like!
Et voilà! Chill the power bites in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving so that they firm up and everything remains stuck together. Keep in an airtight container and they can last up to 2 weeks. Which is great because I’ll be taking some to work tomorrow and then will definitely be in need of a snack when I get back at the end of the week!
Let me know in the comments how they turned out for you. Did you add anything else? Take anything away? Would adding dark chocolate chips work do you think, or would they just melt in your hands?
- 1⅛th cup (270 ml) rolled oats
- 150g shelled unsalted pumpkin seeds
- 1¼ cup (300 ml) chopped dates
- 60 ml honey
- 90 ml pumpkin purée
- 150g cranberries
- 1 heaped tablespoon peanut butter
- ½ tsp ginger
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp ground flax seed
- 1 tbsp water
- Cooking spray (EVOO, Coconut Oil, etc..)
- Pinch of salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 190C/375F
- Line a baking sheet with foil. Spread out pumpkin seeds evenly, spray with a fine mist of oil and a pinch of salt. Roast until golden brown.
- Add the dates, honey, pumpkin purée, peanut butter, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, chia seeds, and pinch of salt into a blender/food processor and combine into a smooth paste. Add a little maple syrup or water to loosen if too thick.
- Scoop the paste into a mixing bowl, then add the rolled oats, chopped dried cranberries, and cooled roasted pumpkin seeds. Thoroughly combine.
- Spray a little oil onto your hands (to help avoid sticking) and pick up a clump of the mixture. Shape into a little ball, and repeat until all of the mixture has been used.
- Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.