Happy 2018!  

Now that the holiday smoke has cleared, what’s your plan for making healthy lifestyle shifts this year?

I have some simple ones you can make every day.  I am going to be sharing some “New Year, New You” tips on ABC7-TV Chicago this Monday, 1/8 in the 11 AM News (tune in, if you can ;)

{This post is sponsored by the American Pecan Council.}

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I love nuts.  In particular, delicious, nutritious pecans.  When you bite into a plain pecan your tastebuds burst with a sweet flavor.  Sweet-tasting pecans are not just for the holidays as they offer a ton of every day culinary possibilities.  Pecans are tasty topping for oatmeal and salads; a coating for fish and chicken breast, mixed into energy bars and balls (like I am doing here) and blended in smoothies.

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Pecans are a versatile nut that offer a ton of “good” monounsaturated fat, plus they provide protein, fiber, phyto (plant) nutrients, such as sterols and flavonoids  – a health-enhancing compound also found in colorful produce.  Plus, pecans among nuts are the lowest in carbs and highest in fiber, which means they can keep you full longer (and this may bode well for your waistline!).

Let’s make some pecan energy balls today. . .

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Dates are the bomb. I just pop one in my mouth for a sweet treat.  I love to use dates to naturally sweeten dishes, too.  In these energy balls, dates are the perfect sweetener and binding agent (they keep it all together!).

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It’s super simple to make this energy balls, just toss all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse away.  Don’t over pulse them, though, as coarser is better.  Don’t be afraid to give the nut mixture a good squeeze in your hands while making them into balls – as it has to be forced into conform sometimes. 😉  Enjoy these nourishing morsels on the go or before or after a workout.

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Coconut Pecan Energy Balls with Masala Spice*

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Makes 12 balls


1 cup raw pecan pieces

1/2 cup flaked or shredded unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup dates, pitted

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 Tablespoon coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garam masala spice (optional)


  1. Add pecans and coconut into a food processor and pulse until crumbled. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse repeatedly until well combined. Be careful not to pulse it too much as a coarse texture mixture gives the best results.
  2. Roll into 12 small ping pong sized balls and place on a parchment lined sheet pan and cool in the fridge or freezer. Once chilled you can stack in a storage container, or place in a resealable bag, and continue storing in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or freeze.

*Recipe used with permission from americanpecan.com.  

Happy & Healthy New Year!