Tag Archives: chocolate

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pancakes Will Wake up the Weekend

My daughter and I make pancakes on Saturday or Sunday every weekend. We usually do this in our pajamas and we always make a disaster zone out of the kitchen. It’s delicious bonding time that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Except maybe chocolate. But with these pancakes, absolutely no sacrifices are made.

The two of us love chocolate, strawberries, and pancakes so it seemed that marrying these ingredients would be an exciting way to get out of our standard blueberry pancake rut. We were pleasantly surprised. She enjoyed dropping her favorite fruit in to the batter and I enjoyed indulging in something at breakfast that beat just about any dessert I’d had recently.

In this recipe, you get to have a rich, satisfying serving of chocolate without overdoing it, all the while filling up on a whole grain pancake loaded with fresh, juicy strawberries. (more…)

Double Chocolate Peppermint Donuts Make Christmas Morning Sweet

Quick, it’s Christmas morning, the kids are going bonkers, Santa and Rudolph departed hours ago (wink, wink), and you have a house full of hungry guests to feed – what do you do? Simple: Bake up a batch or two of these delectable and healthy double chocolate peppermint donuts to tide everyone over ’til lunch. Santa would certainly approve.

A few weeks back our editor assigned me the task of dreaming up a “Christmas morning recipe” and my mind immediately went to something sweet. Two things you should know about me are that 1) I absolutely adore donuts, and 2) there’s nothing I crave more during the holidays than all-things chocolate and peppermint. These cravings came together to form one amazing recipe that is perfectly suited for your holiday breakfast table.  (more…)

Treat Yourself to a Frozen Hot Chocolate This Warm Winter Season

Where I live, it was 71 degrees while I raked the leaves out of my yard yesterday, and last week I comfortably wore flip flops. All of this warm weather is backed up by a new report from the National Climatic Data Center that says 2012 will go down as the hottest year on record. It’s hard to believe Christmas is less than four weeks away when we’ve yet to pull out our winter coats!

While any other winter we’d be stirring up hot chocolate by now to stay warm and cozy, this year we need something to keep us cool. That’s right, we’re making Frozen Hot Chocolate and think you should, too!

It’s still creamy, chocolatey, and topped with marshmallows, but it’s blended with ice and sipped with a straw instead. Our Frozen Hot Chocolate was inspired by the original at New York’s Serendipity. As delightful an experience as that candy shop trip can be, their version has 340 calories. Ours, however, makes 140 calories sound pretty indulgent! (more…)

Cacao vs. Cocoa, Plus 6 Delicious Cacao Recipes

Cacao is one of those elusive ingredients that I’ve dared not used up to this point. Many of my more experienced, sophisticated blog friends use it quite frequently in their dishes. Raw cacao cakes and fancy spelt cookies with cacao nibs – sounds dreamy and all, but my timid self couldn’t possibly brave those wild waters…right?

If you’re in the same boat as I am when it comes to cacao, what do you say we venture into these unchartered waters together and claim some of the delicious bounty for ourselves?

Cacao vs cocoa: For starters, there is a pretty big difference between cacao and cocoa. Cacao (pronounced kuh-cow) is the name of the actual tree that produces chocolate. Its species name is Theobroma cacao, which produces cacao seeds that are then dried and fermented. The end result is what we more commonly know as cocoa, which can then be processed into cocoa powder, cocoa butter or all kinds of chocolate.

In baking you may see a recipe that calls for cacao nibs, which are not as sweet at chocolate chips thus giving the recipe a more sophisticated, healthy appeal.

Health benefits: The health benefits of cacao are more abundant than that of chocolate since it is unprocessed and the vitamins and minerals are preserved in its raw state. Because of this cacao contains much higher levels of antioxidant flavanoids, which are extremely beneficial for fighting free radicals in the body. In fact, according to lifesuperfoods.com cacao contains the most antioxidants of any food tested so far, including blueberries, red wine, and even black and green teas. (more…)

Oprah’s Favorite Things Returns with 6 Items for a Healthier Lifestyle

In 1996 Oprah greeted her audience with a treasure trove of free gifts and prizes as she debuted the hottest giveaway daytime TV had ever seen. Oprah’s Favorite Things has grown to be the stuff of legends, and people would give arms and legs to have a seat and a chance to take home the media mogul’s top picks for holiday gifts. Oprah’s a giver, a giver of high-quality, high-end, premium gifts and it’s hardly anything you’d find on a clearance rack.

Since the end of her wildly popular daytime talk show, Oprah’s Favorite Things has faded in to TV history. But now through her OWN network, O Magazine, and a new partnership with Huffington Post, Oprah’s breaking the two-year hiatus with the announcement of 48 items on the 2012 Favorite Things list.

Some of it is quite posh and not likely to make it on to the holiday budget of most of her fans (like a nearly $2,000 Jetson-style battery-powered scooter), but some of it is completely in reason. Even better, a few items on her list are even good for you!

Top of the list is the Q37ci elliptical trainer. It’s a pricey addition to a home gym at $3,099, but it certainly pays for itself with dedicated use. She says her trainer Bob Greene turned her on to it and she loves the various options for total body workouts in one machine. (more…)

Pimp That Recipe: The Ultimate (Healthier) Chocolate Chip Cookie

By Abra Pappa for NutritiousAmerica.com

What is more delicious than warm chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven? Not much I tell ya, not much. We all should have a reliable, delicious chocolate chip cookie recipe in our back pocket to wow impromptu guests and convince our kids that we are, indeed, super mom.

Trouble is most cookie recipes begin with ingredients that need..well.. pimping! I encourage you to push beyond your baking comfort zone to try this nutrient dense, crazy delicious treat. The ingredients here should easily be added to your arsenal of real food, health promoting pantry staples.

So let’s pimp that recipe! (more…)

Cows Being Fed Gummy Worms: The Health Consequences

Is there any food match more appropriate than sprinkles atop an ice cream sundae? Maybe, but none as colorful. Below the sprinkles is the obligatory mound of whipped cream, which stands tall above two scoops of ice cream. It’s expected that this dairy dessert be decorated with sprinkles and cherries and maybe even gummy worms, but would you ever think of those ingredients as feed for cattle?

It’s been reported that, in light of the worst corn harvest in six years (per the USDA), that many cattle farmers are turning to candy and other junk food to feed their cows. Yes, one penny-pinched farmer in Indiana, trying to feed 450 dairy cows on a budget, got a good deal on ice cream sprinkles. He told the Orlando Sentinel that it was a “pretty colorful load,” and in an effort to keep down costs.

With less corn feed available, a standard for large cattle operations, the price is becoming out of reach for some farmers. In addition to ice cream sprinkles as part of the new cattle diet, other farmers are finding bargains on junk food snacks like cookies, gummy worms, marshmallows, fruit loops, orange peels, dried fruit, and even Mexican food.

Orville Miller, a dairy farmer in South Central Kansas, told KWCH that he uses scraps from a local chocolate factory and Mexican food scraps from another local factory to supplement his cows’ diet at a savings of almost 50 cents per cow per day.

It’s a way of recycling,” he said, as he feeds his cows chocolate pieces, soft taco shells and refried beans. “It’s high fat, high energy feed,” Orville says, which is necessary for his cows to produce hundreds of pounds of milk a day. (more…)

Chocolate May Help Lower Blood Pressure

It seems there’s been a lot of news circulating my favorite food lately: Chocolate. And this time, research is pointing to one more benefit of this delectable dessert.

A new study from the UK-based research group, Cochrane Collaboration, suggests that chocolate consumption truly is good for your heart. And no, we’re not making this stuff up.

As reported by NPR, a collection of 20 studies analyzed the compounds in cocoa known as flavanols and found they may help reduce blood pressure. This is because flavanols have been found to help the formation of nitric oxide in the body – an effect of relaxed blood vessel walls.

The studies required participants to consume either dark chocolate or cocoa powder every day ranging in portion size from 3 -100 grams. For reference, a 1.5 ounce Hershey’s bar weighs 43 grams, and a single Hershey’s kiss weighs 4.5 grams.

Results showed participants saw small reductions in blood pressure: 2-3 mm Hg on average (mm meaning millimeters of mercury).

Karin Ried of the National Institute of Integrative Medicine and the University of Adelaide in Australia was pleased with the findings, but doesn’t believe this means chocolate is the new go-to treatment for high blood pressure. Instead, she contends that flavanols may be a good component to come alongside other treatment options in hopes of controlling and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. (more…)

Dark Chocolate Brownies for Julia Child’s 100th Birthday

If you have any level of love for food, then you likely recognize the name Julia Child. My earliest memories of Julia stem back to childhood when my parents would mention not only how talented of a cook she was, but also how vibrant of a personality she had.

When I began taking more interest in cooking as an adult, Julia’s recipes would inevitably surface from time to time and I always recognized how incredibly high quality they were, and how she executed them with such professionalism and love. This, I hope, is the way I approach food every time I enter the kitchen.



Julia passed away just two days before her 92nd birthday in 2004, and today would’ve marked her 100th birthday. In commemoration of a chef who brought classic French cooking with her own unique twist to America and beyond, we’re celebrating her the best way we know how: By cooking. (more…)

Scientists Discover Way to Replace Fat in Chocolate with Fruit Juice

Good news for chocolate lovers! Scientists have discovered an innovative way to slim down the calorie contents of your favorite chocolate bars by substituting 50 percent of the fat with fruit juice. Finally, some healthy developments surrounding dessert.

As reported by the Times of India, chemists at the University of Warwick found a way to remove much of the cocoa butter and milk fats that most chocolate bars are laden with, and replace it with “tiny droplets of juice measuring under 30 microns in diameter.”

The science behind this makeover, which was published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry, requires a new technique that maintains the Polymorph V content of the chocolate. Polymorph V is the substance in fat’s crystal structure that gives chocolate it’s glossy appearance and firm texture, and makes it melt slowly and smoothly in your mouth.

Scientists were able to replace the fat with an infusion of orange and cranberry juice, milk, and dark and white chocolate by using a method known as Pickering emulsion. This emulsion not only prevents the small droplets from merging together, but will also help prevent the ‘sugar bloom’ that appears on chocolate that’s gone a little past its shelf life. (more…)