Thursday, July 02, 2015

A Homemade Life: Fruit Nut Balls

The last actual vacation Thatboy and I took was in August of 2011, when we headed to Cannon Beach.  Vacation time is a luxury neither of us really have, especially when Thatboy spends a week of his 2 weeks with his family for Christmas, and uses the rest when they come to visit us.

In fact, he maxed out his paid time off when TFIL died, and hasn't been able to re-accrue very much.  When Thatkid was born, he was able to take off for 5 weeks, this time around, he only got 2.5 weeks.  So while he was off, we decided to treat the time like a staycation.  With Thatkid, there was a lot of laying around the first few weeks, but this time, we've been a lot more active (and truthfully, I think I'm paying for it.  I was actually anxious for Thatboy to go back to work so I could rest!).

One of the things Thatboy wanted to do was go hiking in Julian.  I pointed out that Julian, being 40 miles east of us, was also at least 20 degrees warmer, and it was already in the 80s by us.  Not exactly hiking weather.  But Thatboy was undeterred by logic, and so last week we went hiking in Julian.

We headed to Green Valley campground, which sounds like the place to go if you're looking for a campground in east county in the summer.  Because both "green" and "valley" sound like places that wouldn't be too hot.

The draw of Green Valley was an easy hike to a waterfall, although unsurprisingly the docent warned there wasn't much of a waterfall this time of year. 

The lack of waterfall, meant there were small pools of water dotting the creek, perfect for the boys to splash around in and stay cool. 

The low water level meant that there were smooth rocks for Thatbaby and I to sit on, shaded by an overhang of trees.

Both of the bigger boys slipped and splashed and got wetter than they were expecting, while the littlest boy and I stayed nice and dry in the shade.  Eventually we packed it up and headed in to town where we grabbed dinner before heading home.

Wizenberg provided us with the perfect snack for our hiking adventure - trail mix balls!  She, of course, doesn't refer to them in that way, but if you break down the components, that's exactly what they were - nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate.  The perfect combination of carbs and protein, in an easily portable vehicle.

These snacks are unsurprisingly easy to eat, and easier to lose track of how many you've eaten.  Sweet, salty, and chocolatey.  Not intended for summer hikes, but I highly recommend bringing them if you have one in your future summer plans.

Fruit Nut Balls (From A Homemade Life)
1 cup walnuts
1/2 lb pitted dried cherries
1/2 lb dried figs
1/2 lb pitted dried apricots
1/2 lb pitted prunes
1 - 2 Tbsp Grand Mariner
1/2 cup powdered sugar
10 oz semi sweet chocolate, coarsley chopped
  1. Pulse walnuts in a food processor to chop finely.  Place in a large bowl.
  2. Place half of the dried fruit in a food processor and pule to chop finely.  Add to the walnuts.  Repeat with remaining half of fruit.
  3. Add 1 Tbsp of Grand Mariner to the fruit and nuts and stir to incorporate.
  4. Place the powdered sugar in a shallow bowl.
  5. Pinch off some of the fruit nut mixture and roll into 1 inch balls. Roll each ball in powdered sugar and placed on rimmed baking dish.  Let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
  6. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper.  Heat chocolate over a pan of simmering water until melted and smooth.
  7. Working one ball at a time, use a small spoon to dollop chocolate on top. Shake the ball lightly to coax the chocolate down its sides. Place on the lined baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining balls and refrigerate 2 hours.

1 comment:

  1. First Congratulations!!! Looks like you guys had an enjoyable outing.

    Happy 4th of July!