Do something that feels pointless every once in a while. Sit on the couch and watch your favorite movie that you've seen 453 times for the 454th time. Do handstands in the living room (just please be careful of the unforgiving furniture that could potentially puncture your foot if you aren't yet a master of the art of the graceful handstand). Go for a walk. Dance. Close your eyes and just be.
Test an avocado brownie recipe because you bought too many ripe avocados and are bored and your tastebuds need to be amazed at the fudginess that is an avocado brownie (do it). Whip up some cookies late at night even though you have pages and pages to read and a hundred notecards to memorize but just don't feel like doing that.
These past two weeks saturated with studying have puréed my brain into what feels like peanut butter. I'd come home, collapse on the floor for a solid fifteen minutes, get up and sip on some water, then return to studying. Ahhh, the life. Rarely has the idea of cooking up a creative meal sounded more appealing than throwing veggies and chicken in my beloved cast-iron skillet to roast in the oven because that requires minimal brain power. Yesterday, though, I FINISHED. I finished 10 weeks of 17 quizzes, 12 midterms, 6 finals, 4 projects, and a research paper.
So, last night, I was all giddy and excited to finally have some blog time. There was time, sure... but there was still no brain power. After photographing this recipe, I sat down to write and stared at my screen for longer than I care to admit. I googled tips to help conquer writer's block and found an article in which the author told me to just write, even if it's just a jumble of letters that aren't words because doing so frees up space in the mind so that actual words can appear.
Didn't help. And I was probably less patient than I should have been, but still.
So, I threw my favorite weeknight dinner in the oven because the motivation and ingredients to cook a creative meal we're still absent and I sat on the couch and watched, like, eight episodes of Shawn Johnson and Andrew East's YouTube channel. They're hilarious. It felt extremely pointless, but restful, so maybe it wasn't that pointless after all.
About a week ago, burnt out on studying like the last nub of a candle wick, I threw three of my favorite ingredients into a blender because testing out a recipe for some protein bites somehow sounded pointless but restful. Pointless because I have boxes and boxes of bars in my pantry, yet restful because the kitchen is... well, my resting place. Multiple spoonfuls of the peanut-butter-date-protein-powder mixture from my blender told me this was destined to be a recipe. I had something there, and I wouldn't have had it, had I chosen not to pursue a little bit of "pointlessness" after yet another day saturated with studying.
I also wouldn't have had this realization, had I chosen not to pursue a little pointlessness last night after 10 weeks of 17 quizzes, 12 midterms, 6 finals, 4 projects, and a research paper. Ya' know?
SO, now that that's been said, I have a couple thoughts on these power bites:
I used "power" instead of "protein", even though they do have protein powder, because the latter seems like such a turn-off when reading a food label, right? I don't know about you, but I'm kiiiiiinda' tired of seeing recipes for protein pancakes and protein brownies and protein coffee. Not every food needs added protein. These, though, are a snack and I added protein because, by the middle of the day, I usually need something with a little more umph to it that just a couple dates with peanut butter.
The protein powder is optional. If you choose to leave it out, I recommend swapping in some mixture of flour and cacao powder to maintain the consistency and flavor. I haven't tried it without protein powder, but if you do, let me know how it goes!
I used crunchy peanut butter, but you can use any nut butter - just keep in mind that consistency and flavor will probably change. Depending on the nut butter you use and whether it is smooth or creamy, you may need a little less or a little more than my recipe calls for. Add it in little by little and taste as you go.
Makes about 16 bites
1 1/2 cup Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
3/4 cup natural peanut butter
3/4 cup protein powder (this is my absolute favorite and is not a sponsored link!)
1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks
1 tsp. coconut oil
Sea salt, for topping
Line a baking sheet or large tray with parchment paper.
Toss the dates and peanut butter (or any nut butter you choose) into a blender and pulse to combine.
Add the protein powder, 1/4 cup at a time and continue pulsing to combine everything. You may need to periodically scrape down the sides of the blender to re-incorporate any powder or chunks.
When the dough is sticky enough to hold itself together, roll it into golfball-sized portions and then flatten into 1/2"-1" thick discs (it should make about 16). Place these on the baking sheet/large tray and refrigerate while you prepare the chocolate drizzle.
Microwave the chocolate chunks and coconut oil at 30-second intervals until completely melted. Take the sheet/tray out of the fridge and drizzle a spoonful of the melted chocolate over the top of each bite. Sprinkle each with just a touch of sea salt and refrigerate again until the chocolate drizzle is solidified.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
Take a bite and enjoy!