“Almond Joy” Date Balls (Recipe)

I’ve had “make date balls” on my to-do list for the last few weeks. Why the last few weeks? Well, I was missing the key ingredient and kept forgetting to buy it. So, step one – buy dates! I finally remembered to do just that over the weekend. Step two – make date balls! On Monday evening, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work in the kitchen.

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As simple of a recipe as this is, you have to buy the right kind of dates. I’ve made something similar in the past using pre-pitted dates, and the texture was completely different. If you want balls with a Larabar like consistency, you have to buy the dates with pits and then take them out at home. You can find them in the bulk bins section of Whole Foods (where I went this weekend) or even at Costco. Wherever you buy your dates from, just make sure they aren’t already pitted.

One other note – you can easily make this recipe vegan by using dairy-free chocolate chips (I love the Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips). I promise you won’t be able to tell the difference at all!

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Soooo, I call these “Almond Joy” date balls. The quotes obviously mean that they’re supposed to taste kinda sorta like the candy but are a healthier alternative. When I told Vishnu this, using air quotes, he said, “Yeah, saying these taste like an Almond Joy is misleading. They’re really good though.” Air quotes, Vishnu, air quotes!!!

Anyway, I really love these, and so does Vishnu (as evident by a few missing date balls!). Personally, I find these to be the perfect post-dinner treat. And I especially love the taste and texture – sweet but not overly sweet, chewy, nutty, and just plain delicious!

Enjoy!

“Almond Joy” Date Balls
Yields approximately 12 small date balls

¼ cup raw whole almonds
1 cup dates, pitted and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips (use dairy-free chocolate to make a vegan alternative)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes

  1. Using a food processor, process the almonds until crumbly.
  2. Add the dates and process until a uniform batter starts to form.
  3. Add chocolate chips and vanilla extract and process until incorporated into batter.
  4. Scoop the date mixture into a large bowl.
  5. Add coconut flakes and sea salt and work the mixture with your hands to make sure the flakes are thoroughly incorporated.
  6. Pinch off about a tablespoon or so worth of dough at a time and roll between your hands to form balls.
  7. Store the balls in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or so.

Have you ever made date balls? What’s your favorite flavor combo?

Inspirational Monday

Hi, my name is Parita and I have a problem.  An inspirational/motivational quotes problem.  In fact, over the past few weeks, I’ve been collecting quotes and pictures on my phone, and they have officially taken over my photo feed.  Send help!

In the meantime, I thought I would share some of my favorites.  A little Monday inspiration if you will!

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Happy Monday…make it a great one!

Three Things Thursday (8) – Puerto Rico

I thought a Three Things Thursday post would be the best way to share more about my trip to Puerto Rico.

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Here we go…

1. Where we stayed – We stayed at the La Concha Resort which seemed to be located in a central part of San Juan. Everything about the outdoor part of the resort was perfect – multiple pools, beach access, great bars, etc. The guest rooms were pretty spacious as well. We stayed in a suite for two of the nights, and it was the perfect size for four people. The only negative thing about our stay at La Concha was the front desk staff. They weren’t super responsive and made multiple errors with our rooms. Other than that, I would highly recommend this hotel!

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2. Where we ate – I would say we had a good food experience in San Juan. The service was hit or miss, but the food was pretty decent.

  • Sofia Italian Kitchen & Bar – We ate here on night one, and I will be the first to admit that I was skeptical about trying Italian food in Puerto Rico. But to my surprise, the food was delicious. A few of the dishes were standouts, including the gnocchi, spaghetti alfredo, and mushroom tagliatelle.
  • Orale Guey Mexican Bar & Grill – We went to this little hole in the wall Mexican joint twice. We fell in love with the nachos and queso on the first night, convinced everyone that we should eat a proper dinner there the next night, and ended up receiving so-so food. There is likely much better Mexican food in San Juan, but this place was located across the street from our hotel and was the perfect late-night-I-just-want-to-eat kind of restaurant.
  • KOCO (in the San Juan Hotel) – We ate here on Saturday night for a more dressed up/fancy dinner. Not only was the food excellent (I shared lo mein and gnocchi with Roshni) but the ambiance was beautiful and very elegant.
  • Solera (in La Concha) – We had a poolside lunch here one of the afternoons, and I think everyone really enjoyed their food. My veggie burger, while not the best I’ve ever had, was surprising delicious. And the fries were perfectly seasoned and crisp.
  • Punk Burger Bar Bistro – I wish we had found this place earlier during our stay. I wanted to try everything on the menu! We ended up going on Sunday before our flights home, and because I wasn’t super hungry I decided to get an acai bowl with berries, banana, and peanut butter (my first ever!). Monica got a burger and fries and raved about the food as well. A must visit restaurant for sure!

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3. What we did – All of our days were spent poolside/beachside, and our evenings were filled with fun nighttime adventures!

  • Bioluminescent Bay kayak tour – So here’s the thing. I’m a pretty adventurous person. I like being outdoors and trying new activities. But put me in a small kayak and tell me to row around in the dark and I just can’t! While we did survive (thanks in large part to my kayak buddy Monica), I would say that this activity just wasn’t for me. Luckily, the bioluminescence and star-filled sky made up for the scariness of kayaking in the dark. And honestly, looking back, I find myself cracking up at the craziness of the whole experience. Makes for a fun story if nothing else!
  • La Placita – La Placita is basically one big block party occupied by both bars and clubs. We ventured over on Thursday night and spent the majority of our time dancing in one of the less crowded bars. A few people told us that the best time to go to La Placita is on Friday and Saturday nights. That’s when it’s supposedly bumpin’!
  • The Bar/Lounge at La Concha – We were lucky enough to stay at a place that had decent DJ and a big bar that came alive at night. Instead of leaving the comfort of our hotel, we opted to hang out by the bar on Friday night. Apparently, the La Concha bar/lounge is a popular hotspot for celebrities – too bad we didn’t see anyone famous!
  • Club Brava – Club Brava was our final destination, and it was a lot of fun. The club itself was fairly large with multiple levels, and thankfully the DJ on Saturday night was excellent. We truly danced the night away!

 

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Well, there you have it – Puerto Rico in a nutshell! I had so much fun celebrating Sweeti and can’t wait for all the wedding fun in May!

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Your turn to share – what are three things you’ve been thinking about/doing this week! If you’re a blogger, write a post and link back to one or all of the hostesses: Raj from Pink Chai Living, Nisha from Love Laugh Mirch, or Salma from The Write Balance.  Then share a link to your post (not your blog’s home page).

Pink by Ruchi

First and foremost, thank you all so much for the residency match/move love!  We’re excited about all the upcoming changes, and I look forward to sharing more as we go.

So today I have a slightly different kind of post lined up for you.  Today I want to share more about my friend Ruchi and her business.  Her story is a pretty incredible one, and I volunteered to help her share it via my blog.

Ruchi and I met in 2007 through her then boyfriend/now husband who is a friend of mine and quickly became friends ourselves.  I love her spunky personality and fun loving nature. 

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Then in 2010 she got married and made a permanent move to India.  We all wondered how she would adjust to living in a familiar but very different country so far from her family and friends.  But guess what…she adjusted just fine.  Actually, better than fine.  Ruchi really embraced her new life – she learned how to drive, she learned how to speak Hindi, and she started her own business – Pink by Ruchi!

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In her own words, Pink by Ruchi is…

Custom. Design. Garments. Pink by Ruchi is the answer to all of your fashion dilemmas. We bring you fresh and unique pieces created to fit your style and needs. The company is one of the first of its kind; producing each product in India while servicing clientele in America and Europe. We specialize in traditional Indian wear, fusion (Indo-Western) and Western, so whether it’s a cocktail dress you desire or an intricate bridal lengha, our team can make it happen.

I can personally attest to the quality of Ruchi’s clothing and design and also to the care she takes in assuring each and every client is satisfied with their purchase.  I bought a super cute dress from her when she was in Atlanta for a trunk show and absolutely loved picking the fabric and talking through the final look.  Made me feel fancy!  But more than anything else, I know how much passion and creativity Ruchi brings to her business.  She really understands the desire to look good and feel confident and aims to bring just that to her clients.

And the best part is that she works with clients in India, the US, and Europe.  Your location almost doesn’t matter! 

If you’re wondering how this whole design-your-own-clothing thing works, I highly recommend checking out her site and booking a free consultation.

If you’re interested in following along as she designs and shares her beautiful clothing, check out the Pink by Ruchi Facebook page and Instagram account.

And finally, this isn’t the last you’ll be seeing of Ruchi!  She’s going to guest blog on MIS occasionally and share more about her business and other fun fashion stuff.  Because let’s be honest, I need all the advice I can get!

Do you consider yourself a fashionista?  Have you ever designed your own clothing?

The Adventure Continues!

The adventures of Vishnu and Parita continue…

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We’re moving to St. Petersburg, Florida this coming June for Vishnu’s intern year.  And then in June of 2016 we’ll be moving to Chicago for his radiology residency!

I’m really excited about our upcoming moves for a number of reasons – the biggest being that my sister and Adarsh will also be in Chicago at the same time as us for their own residencies!

But more than anything else, I’m SO proud of Vishnu for pouring his heart and soul into medical school, the residency match process, and all the craziness that comes with this territory.  There’s no one else I’d rather be on this journey with!

The adventure truly continues!

Stay tuned :)