Monday, April 30, 2012
A CHOCOLATEY TRIBUTE
Chocolate. Just the word makes some people [like my prior self] go a little crazy. I admit, I used to be an addict. The smell of chocolate would make my mouth water and taste buds jump.
A couple of years ago a friend of mine met and quickly fell in love with her now husband just months prior to his military deployment over seas. Without giving away too much of her story [which is now published and a book I highly recommend if you are looking for a good read], this particular friend decided to fast from sweets for the whole of his leave. A few of us decided to join her in her endeavor [misery loves company right?] and thus began our year long furlough from sweets, including chocolate.
Oh how the first weeks were tough. Each time I thought of the "pain" [yes, I realize this is an extremely exaggerated use of this word, especially in this context], I was reminded of both the woman who had to say good bye to the man she loved and the man who was time zones away doing a job with little glory, immense sacrifice, and a lot of hard work. My meager sacrifice paled in comparison to what these two people were going through. But it was a sacrifice - one that kept me connected in a small way to these two people I care about.
One of the unexpected benefits of this fast was that, as time passed, I noticed my cravings change. I went from dreaming of sugary snacks and desserts to wondering where on earth all the fruit had gone. I longed for berries in a way I never had. Peaches were a pure delight and melons - well don't even get me started. It seemed this fast was slowly detoxing my body and teaching it to yearn for the best the earth had to offer in it's raw, unadulterated form. As the loss of something I once held dear morphed into a gain I never saw coming, I was reminded of what a little sacrifice and a bit of faithfulness can bring.
This is a lesson I haven't forgotten, one that has really impacted the way I view desserts and sweet snacks now. Rarely, and I mean very rarely, will I add sugar [including sucanat] to a recipe. Dried, whole dates have recently found their place as my go-to sweetener and soon fresh stevia leaves will rival their number one spot. Honey and maple syrup also grace my kitchen and come out when a little extra sweet is necessary. A little aside, honey also happens to be an effective allergy remedy. I combine it with bee pollen to beat those nasty spring time sneezing and faucet nose episodes.
If you are interested in the story I am referring to [which you should be!], go here.
1/2 c. organic, extra virgin, unrefined coconut oil
1/4 - 1/2 c. creamed honey [to taste]
2 tbsp. raw cacao powder [or replace with 2 tbsp. carob powder if caffeine or chocolate is an issue]
2 tbsp. carob powder + more for powder coat
1/4 - 1/2 c. ground flaxseeds [I go heavy on the flax but you'll have to adjust to your taste preference]
1/4 - 1/2 c. shredded coconut [optional, you could also add a nut butter]
pinch of sea salt
Combine all in a medium size glass bowl. You will probably need to use your hands to really get everything mixed together well. Break off tablespoon sized portions and form into balls or logs. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and freeze 10 minutes or until firm. Enjoy!