Tag Archives: chocolate

How did I miss National Donut Day?!

2015_National_Doughnut_Day

Did you miss your free donut?

Did you know that Friday was National Donut Day?  I did not.

This was brought to my attention – alas, too late! – by a client who updated me on this very important holiday.  While giving an update about the past week, she mentioned that she and her husband had to have a donut on Friday for this reason.  She chose it, enjoyed it, and did not feel regret later, so this was viewed as a successful choice.

This got me thinking:  How many days like this are there on the calendar?  I was surprised, but now I am so much more educated on the subject!  Yes, there is a National Pizza Day, a National Cupcake Day, a National Cheeseburger Day, and a National Jelly Bean Day.  There are also days to celebrate chocolate, chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate ice cream.  Is anyone surprised?

Hmmm.  Is there a National Carrot Day?  It turns out there is . . . AND a National Carrot Cake Day.  National App Day?  Sure, AND National Apple Pie Day.  There is no National Cauliflower Day, nor is there a National Collard Greens Day, but there is a National Brussels Sprouts Day.  Go figure!

Anyone looking for an excuse to splurge on sweets every day of the year is probably in luck.  Today is probably something like National Cinnabon Day, but don’t take this as a reason to run out and get one . . . unless you decide to consciously choose it, enjoy it, and not regret it later – and you don’t need a special day on the calendar to do that.

Advertisements

Dark Chocolate Is A Weight Loss Aid? There’s more to the story!

Unknown

People tend to believe what they read in the media.  Journalists wouldn’t give us bad information . . . would they??

A recent study pulled a bit of a fast one on the media.  The apparent results of the study, which were reported in many respected international journals and newspapers, reported that adding dark chocolate to a low carb diet increased weight loss by 10% when compared with the same diet without the chocolate.  People also kept the weight off better.

But wait!  Before you leave your computer and rush off to the nearest convenience store for your weight loss miracle, you should know just one itty bitty detail.  The study behind the study was intended to find out how difficult it would be to get bad science into the mainstream media.

It turns out that it wasn’t hard at all.  A strategic press release was all it took to get the journalistic world going.  The chocolate study, which had several major flaws, was picked up by major newspapers and scientific journals, apparently without much further review.

The lesson is this:  Be careful not to change your diet based on information you get from the internet and the newspaper.  Attention-grabbing headlines do grab us.  When you are checking out at the grocery store, read a few just to remind yourself what an art it is to draw us in.  Until you see several reputable studies that come to the same conclusions, just keep walking.

I have yet to find a “too good to be true” eating plan that isn’t just that – too good to be true.

Post-Pilates Double-Chocolate Cupcakes

DSC02227These yummy, moist cupcakes are rich AND light – the perfect little snack after your holiday season workout, pilates or whatever.  

Why are these healthier than run-of-the-mill chocolate cupcakes?  (I realize that using “run-of-the-mill” to describe any chocolate cupcake may be a stretch, but I am referring to the usual bakery cupcake.)

These are all-natural – no artificial sweeteners, egg substitute, or any other fake food – and contain relatively little sugar and butter.  The chocolate flavor is provided by the unsweetened cocoa powder and dark chocolate pieces, adding antioxidant pizazz to every bite.  With just a dusting of powdered sugar in place of the usual frosting, the calorie count is much lower than the norm – just 156 per delicious serving.  The single serving size is nice too, isn’t it?  Ready-made portion control!

1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 ounces)

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup butter, softened

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup 1% low-fat buttermilk

1-1/4 ounces dark (70 percent cocoa) chocolate, finely chopped

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir with a whisk.

Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined (about 3 minutes). Add eggs and vanilla, beating well. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to granulated sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in chocolate. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups lined with muffin cup liners. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.

Per cupcake:  156 calories, 6g fat (3.4g sat), 24g carb, 3.1g protein, 132mg sodium

From Cooking Light

 

It’s Just a Cake, Kim!

This is what I told myself today – IT’S JUST A CAKE, KIM!

It’s 100 degrees in Milwaukee today, and I decided to bake a cake.  I should have known this was a bad idea, for several reasons, but we have kids in town tonight, and a birthday to celebrate.  The family chocolate cake simply had to be made.

The cake is very delicate and difficult to frost on a cool day.  Today, it was virtually impossible.  The layers crumbled and broke as I removed them from the pans, but I was able to get parts of them aligned.  It looked malformed already as I tried to frost the outside.  What a mistake to even try that!  I should have quit while I still had something that looked like a cake.

Several silent outbursts later – @#$%^&* – I gave up.  I know it will taste good, delicious in fact, but part of me wanted to toss it and tell everyone that I decided not to make it.  Here it is . . . the world’s ugliest cake!  But it really is only a cake. Life is good.   🙂

Chocolate Supply Predicted to Fall Drastically

Do I have your attention now?  If the U.S. supply of chocolate became scarce – which it is not – do you think you would crave it more?  If it were available only for a limited time – say, the 15th of March was the only day you could eat it – would you spend the day stuffing  yourself full of whatever chocolate you could get your hands on?

This sounds ridiculous, since of course we know that chocolate is not only available, it is abundant and ubiquitous.  It is likely that many of you even have opportunities every day to eat free chocolate, since so many work stations generously share chocolate or other treats with the entire office.  How thoughtful!

Food scarcity is usually not a real issue for most Americans.  In fact, it could be argued that ads for all kinds of tempting treats are constantly testing the limits of our will power.  In the midst of everyday stress, many people feel they are missing something if they don’t take part in the “food as fun” mentality, which is what so many food manufacturers are really peddling.

So . . . even though we would agree that food is not scarce, I see and hear evidence of feelings of scarcity in the struggles of many dieters.  Food scarcity in our country is more often a feeling than an actual reality.  The problem for people’s health is that feelings drive behaviors.

When a black and white thinking dieter allows a small deviation from expectations, the flood gates often open.  They essentially have created their own “limited time only” window, after which they vow to return to their rigid ways.  This is a mind-generated scarcity, not anything based on actual availability.

Mmmm . . . homemade pumpkin pie in May

I really wanted pumpkin pie yesterday.  Yes, in May!  Isn’t pumpkin pie one of those foods we overeat at Thanksgiving dinner, supported by the belief that the third Thursday in November is the only time we can have it?  But, hey, I can make it any time of year – what a revelation!  The urgency to overeat based on scarcity just isn’t there now that canned pumpkin is on the grocery shelves all year round.

I hear countless stories like this, usually around holiday time.  “I can only eat my Aunt Lenore’s cheesy potato casserole when we go to her house for the holidays.”

“Well,” I question, “Isn’t it possible for you to make her casserole any time you want?”  Of course the answer is yes.  If you truly think there is something you can only get once a year, I would love to hear your argument.  Let’s challenge the scarcity feeling!  I see lots of people struggling with food issues, but actual scarcity of food is almost never the issue.

Thoughts drive feelings, and feelings drive behavior.  Eliminating the scarcity argument may not solve all of your eating issues, but it can get rid of one of the faulty reasons for overeating that continues to glide side by side with dieting mentality.  After all, isn’t strict dieting just a way of creating a sense of scarcity where it really does not exist?

Here’s my pie crust recipe – from a 1979 edition of Family Circle magazine.  I adapted it by replacing vegetable shortening with butter to cut out the trans fats.  Honestly, it takes me 10 minutes to make it, including rolling and forming.  I just toss everything in my food processor and it forms a nice ball, ready to roll out.  Why would anyone buy a frozen crust?  Homemade is SO much better.

Flaky Butter Pastry

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. sugar

1/2 cup butter, not softened

3 to 4 Tbsp. cold water

1.  Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor bowl with metal blade attachment.  Process to lightly mix.  Add butter, cut in several pieces.  Process to consistency of coarse meal.

2.  Slowly add water while processing until dough begins to form a ball.  Remove dough ball and roll out to 12-inch round.  Fit into a 9-inch pie plate.  Pinch and flute the edge.

3.  Prick pastry all over with a fork.  Fill and bake according to individual pie recipe.

I like to roll it between two pieces of wax paper, because that makes it easy to get in the pie pan.  Just take the top layer off after rolling out the dough, pick up the dough with the bottom layer and place it (paper side up) in the pan.  Remove the wax paper before filling.

For the filling, I have never found anything better than the Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe that has been around forever.  Now, since today is Mother’s Day, I’m heading to my mom’s house to take her a piece of homemade pumpkin pie and some spring flowers – at least one of the gifts is seasonal!