Chocolate Box for Chocoholics
Chocolate for Chocoholics
This lens is dedicated to all chocoholics and aims to give you all the good news that you already guessed about chocolate -- which chocolate is best for you, the history of chocolate and more....
The 12-step chocoholics program: NEVER BE MORE THAN 12 STEPS AWAY FROM CHOCOLATE!
Can't Live Without Chocolate?
No problem. Scientists may one day claim you need the stuff to be at your healthiest.
It's a theory growing from a study of the diets of a small Indian tribe in the Panamanian islands. High blood pressure is virtually unheard of within the group. And tribe members drink three or four 10-ounce servings of cocoa per day. Coincidence?
The Panamanian tribe doesn't drink run-of-the-mill cocoa. Because of the gentle way they process their cocoa beans, their cocoa is chock-full of epicatechin, a flavonoid that helps widen and relax blood vessels. If the tribe's lack of high blood pressure (as well as other diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer) does turn out to be because of epicatechin, researchers speculate that the flavonoid could one day be given vitamin status.
Other Potential Reasons
But before you buy stock in Hershey's, there's still research to be done. The tribe members also eat lots of fish and fruit, and their diet or their lifestyle -- or both -- may be part of the lack-of-disease equation. So far, researchers have ruled out genetics.
What remains true: Flavonoids are good for your heart; lots of research points to this. But dark chocolate is just about your only hope for chocolate that hasn't had its flavonoids completely destroyed by processing. And if you need to cut calories to lose weight, a little bit of chocolate goes a long way.
Article used with the kind permission of RealAge.com
Prince William Chose Chocolate!
Kate and William's wedding cake chose a multi-layered fruitcake with a floral design...BUT there was also a McVities chocolate biscuit cake! This was Prince William's favorite cake as a boy. Good taste I say...
McVities has been making biscuits since 1830 and what an advert they got!.
Studies show you can lower blood pressure with dark chocolate.
Health benefit of chocolate
Just a nibble a day can keep blood pressure at bay!
Between January 2005 and December 2006 Dr Dirk Taubert of University Hospital of Cologne, Germany conducted a study with 44 adults aged 56 to 73. All participants had hypertension but no other health problems.
Dark chocolate contains polyphenols which is a group of chemical substances believed to have health benefits.
During the study participants were randomly selected to receive a 30 calorie (0.126 kilojoule) square of dark chocolate and the other group received a square of white chocolate that has no polyphenols. The dark chocolate used was 50% cocoa.
After 18 weeks those eating the dark chocolate had a three-point drop in systolic blood pressure (that's the top reading) and a two-point drop in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom). There were no changes to their weight, cholesterol or blood sugar.
Dr Taubert concluded that "Chocolate may be helpful for reducing blood pressure and therefore, the risk of heart attack and stroke".
So, chocoholics, go eat your dark chocolate square and be healthy.
Healthy Chocolate Recipe Books
Here's a range of books that feature the health benefits of chocolate plus a low fat cookbook featuring our favourite food.
More Good Chocolate News
...keep the good news coming , I say.
Eating dark chocolate, having plenty of sex, and eating cold meat and fish for breakfast all boost your brain power! The eating of chocolate can help sharpen the mind and possibly even help fight fatigue -- helping you when you've had a lack of sleep. Yes, it may even help the effects of aging.
As many chocolate lovers will know, trying to resist chocolate is futile as you end up eating a whole lot more than you would have -- particularly women.
The NZ Sunday Star Times(4 Jan 08) states that "A stroll followed by a glass of chocolate milk could help maintain muscle function and promote longevity among older people."
Dark chocolate has been found to be as effective as asprin in preventing blood clots.
It has been found that the Kuna Indians of Panama who drink large quantities of flavonoid-rich cocoa do not suffer age-related rises in blood pressure.
What more can I say? Chocolate is just magic.
Chocolate Beauty Tip
According to a recent article in Real Age Chocolate is great for your skin. It does have to be dark chocolate but a daily dose makes the skin smoother, more hydrated and less sensitive to the sun. >>Read the article here and there is also a recipe for Healthy Hot Cocoa.
Chocolate Health and Beauty
As true lovers of chocolate we've always known that it IS healthy...
Terri Grace of Nimwue Skin confirms that chocolate has many benefits and that dark chocolate in particular "contains high levels of chromium, a substance that is proven to control blood sugar". When asked how it affects the skin she confirmed that the overall diet does show on the skin but it is high-glycemic foods that are the culprit. Cocoa is a low-glycemic food and so does not affect your skin.
Zest, Wednesday 31 March 2010.
Remember Valentine's Day with Chocolates!
Dark chocolate truffles look the part. These hand made chocolates are heart shaped with a pretty design on each. Flavorings are orange, raspberry, chocolate and espresso. Traditionally chocolates make a romantic gift, especially for the chocolate lover!
Vote on your favorite chocolate
Easter -- A Chocoholic's delight - Easter eggs and chocolate...yumm
Remember to eat milk chocolate in moderation...but you can eat more of the dark stuff!
Steak and Kidney Pie
What....on a chocolate lens? This is a new treatment of an old favourite
2 lb steak and kidney cubed pieces
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp salt and 1/4 tp black pepper
3 tbl butter or dripping
1 clove crished garlic (optional)
1 breakfast cup coarsley choped onion
1/4 tsp each dried savoury and majoram
1 1/2 cups water or stock
1 desertspoon Bournville Cocoa
Pastry for crust
Sprinkle the meat with half the flour, seasoned with pepper and half the salt. Brown in the butter. Sprinkle on the remainder of the flour and gradually add the stock. Add the rest of the salt, garlic, onion and herbs and cook on a low heat until tender. Mix the cocoa to a paste with cold water and stir into the steak and kidney. Pour into a pie dish and cover top with pie crust. Bake in a hot oven (450 deg) for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 for a further 20 minutes, or until the crust is nicely colored on top.
4 oz Unsweetened chocolate
1/2 c Butter
1/2 ts Vanilla extract
3 lg Eggs
1 1/4 c Sugar
3 c All-purpose flour
1/2 ts Baking powder
1 c Hazelnuts or walnuts; chop
1 Egg white; lightly beaten
Melt chocolate and butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Beat eggs at medium speed with an electric mixer until frothy; gradually add sugar, beating until thick and pale (about 5 minutes). Add chocolate mixture, stirring until blended. Combine flour and baking powder; stir into chocolate mixture. Stir in nuts. Flour hands, and form dough into a 13" log. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush with egg white. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes; cool on a wire rack. Cut log with a serrated knife crosswise into 24 (1/2-inch) slices, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes on each side. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Chocolate Pecan Cheesecake Bars
1 pk Chocolate cake mix
1/2 c Butter or margarine -- Softened
1/2 c Pecans -- chopped
8 oz Cream cheese -- softened
14 oz Sweetened condensed milk
1 ts Vanilla
Heat oven to 350. Grease 13 x 9 pan. In large bowl, combine cake mix, margarine and egg; mix at low speed until combined. Stir in pecans. Reserve 1 cup for topping; set aside. Press remaining mixture evenly in bottom of greased pan. Beat cream cheese in medium bowl until fluffy. Add remaining filling ingredients and beat at medium speed until smooth. Pour over crust; sprinkle with reserved topping. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Cut into bars. Store in refrigerator.
A Brief History of Chocolate
It was over 2,000 years ago that the Aztec and Mayan Indians discovered the importance of the cacao plant.
The frothy beverage that came from the crushed cocoa beans was used in Mayan sacred ceremonies and among royalty. References to a plant etched on the walls of their temples referred to the "food of the Gods".
The Aztecs served a warm beverage that they called "chocolatl" or translated "warm liquid". Only certain honored members where allowed to partake of the ceremonies where chocolatl was consumed. The Aztecs also used cocoa beans as a currency.
The beans where brought to Europe by Christopher Columbus who presented them to the King and Queen of Spain. It was thought that they had no value.
It only when Hernando Cotes was offered the chocolatl beverage by the Aztecs while in what is now Mexico that his interest was aroused. He decided to try experimenting with sugar cane to sweeten the bitter taste for the Spaniards. Realizing the potential of this cocoa bean he established plantations.
Back in Spain the beverage became popular when mixed with spices and served hot. Spain now saw the potential and began planting cacao trees in Venezuela, Jamaica, Peru and Ecuador. Spanish monks were appointed to process the beans for consumption.
Mass production began with a mechanized press in early 1800 and more people now had access to the beverage. In 1847 a British company introduced a solid chocolate made by blending cocoa powder with melted cocoa butter and sugar.
Some thirty years later a Swiss, Daniel Peter, began adding milk to the chocolate and this made chocolate even more popular. Henri Nestle joined forces with Peters and formed the Nestle Company.
In World War 1 the US Government supplied chocolate bars to the troops serving overseas as it was noticed that chocolate was a great source of energy.
Recipe: Chocolate Cake In A Jar
Makes an unusual gift
1 stick plus 3 T. butter or margarine
3 c. white sugar
1 T. vanilla
2 c. applesauce, unsweetened
3 c. white flour
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
Prewash 8 pint-sized wide mouth canning jars (be sure to use the kind
that have no shoulders) in hot, soapy water. Rinse well, dry and let
them come to room temperature. Grease insides of jar well with
Beat together butter, and half of sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and
remaining sugar, vanilla and applesauce.
Sift dry ingredients together, and add to the applesauce mixture a
little at a time. Beat well after each addition.
Pour 1 c. of batter into each jar, and carefully remove any batter
from the rims.
Place jars in a preheated 325 oven, and bake for 40 mins.
While cakes are baking, bring a saucepan of water to a boil, and
carefully add jar lids. Remove pan from heat, and keep lids hot until
ready to use.
When the cakes have finished baking, remove jars from oven. Make sure
jar rims are clean. (If they're not, jars will not seal correctly)
Place lids on jars, and screw rings on tightly.
Jars will seal as they cool.
Cakes will slide right out when ready to serve.
Eat within 1 month.
"Nine out of ten people like chocolate....the tenth person always lies."
Chocolate Bites - Bits and Pieces About Chocolate
- Chocolate n. 1. A preparation of the seeds of cacao, roasted, husked and ground (without removing any of the fat), often sweetened and flavored, as with vanilla. 2. A beverage or confection made of this. 3. Dark brown. 4. A divine substance inspiring passion in those who consume it.
[Sp., from Nahuati chocatl bitter water]
- The start of: Mars Bar 1932, Aero Bar 1935, Maltesers 1936, Kit Kat 1937.
- Swedish botanist Linnaeus christened the cacao tree Theobroma which translates from Greek as 'the food of the gods'.
- Chocolate is first recorded as being for sale in England in 1660
- AD 600 The Maya in Yucatan cultivated the cacoa tree and used the beans as currency
- The flavor of milk chocolate starts to deteriorate after about six months whereas the flavor of dark chocolate, like a fine wine, improves for up to 24 months.
- Sir Hans Sloane (1660 – 1753), Queen Anne of England’s physician, is reported to be the first person to mix chocolate successfully with milk – for restorative purposes.
Chocolate Festivals Worldwide
Salon Du Chocolat, Chocolate Lovers' Festival, Eurochocolate, Chocolate Rush, Garfield Park Chocolate Show, Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival, these are just some of the best chocolate festivals celebrated all over the world. And they are usually attended by hundreds of thousands of chocolate lovers like me. They flock to these events to view and taste fantastic creations from world-renowned chocolatiers and take pleasure in chocolate inspired activities.
Even in New Zealand there is a festival. The famous Cadbury Jaffa Race is held down the world's steepest street, Baldwin Street, Dunedin each July.
...what's a Jaffa? Well, it's a marble sized round ball of cocolate coated with a crunchy orange shell.
Your Very Own Chocolate Festival
A Chocolate Lovers' Party
Don't force a sit down, four course meal. Do it just like you would on a regular barbecue Sunday. Serve grilled chicken, pork chops, pasta, and mashed potatoes, anything you are familiar with! Now, the simple chicken pieces and pork chops can be made magical by adding chocolate inspired sauces like mole, a Mexican, chili-chocolate essential. Round it up with chocolate desert such as chocolate cakes, pastries and don't forget to serve a pile of different kinds of chocolates. Make sure to have tons of them because you will be using them on games and other activities, anyway! You don't need to buy those expensive gourmet chocolates, just grab the regular ones, your favorite brands - unless the gourmet chocolates are really what you're going for.
If you want to serve fondue, then prepare fondue matches like marshmallows, pretzels and fruits. Do some research on wines that would go well with chocolates!
Set the Stage
Take out your best linens. If you have chocolate designed-linens, that would be great! You can line two or three tables with them. One table will be for eating and the other for chocolate and wine tasting. It can also be a place where you can display desserts that fellow choco lovers may want to indulge in anytime they want to while at the party.
Decorate your party area by incorporating chocolate brown colors in your design. Set the sound system and make sure you have great happy music to match the ambiance. And finally, make sure that your programme is ready along with the materials that you would need in games or activities.
Here's a list of things that you can do at your chocolate party aside from chocolate and wine tasting. You may choose one or few of them, at least whatever is possible and could easily be done without having to spend so much.
1. Game - Who Can Eat The Most Chocolates?
2. Chocolate Painting – where you use chocolates and your hands to draw pictures
3. Stage an exhibit on the history of chocolates, print pictures and put them on display so everyone could have a look and learn while having fun
4. Choc Poker – Use chocolate pieces as chips. Your guest may take home whatever chocolates they can win.
5. Bake-off Challenge – Who Can Make the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie?
6. Special cooking demonstration – learn a new chocolate recipe and share it with friends
It's so simple, right? You don't have to wait for a special occasion to throw a chocolate party! Being a chocolate lover is reason enough. But if you want to make your birthday, Thanksgiving, reunion or any get together fancier let the chocolate lover in you come out and let your loved ones experience a feast that was originally made for gods and kings!
A Wairarpa "chocologist" (in New Zealand) says our choice of chocolate flavours and centres says a lot about our true personalities.
Read the article Chocolate and personality linked says 'chocologist' here.
Chocolate Lover Or Chocoholic? - Can you really get addicted to chocolates?
Chocoholics Anonymous hasn't been born yet but there has been much debate about chocolate addiction in recent years. There seems to be a heightened need for people to draw the line between chocolate lovers and chocolate addicts or chocoholics. Scientists have even isolated the results of the likened effect of chocolates to the marijuana, a prohibited drug that causes euphoria or a sense of well being but carries the dangerous chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
It has been said that food cravings, such as for chocolates, are often caused by emotions. Sudden shift from being happy to a less relaxed state can prompt the mind to look for food that could alleviate the anxiety. This is evident in people who have seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or women who have premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Women are more prone to chocolate addiction than men. Women often turn to these sweet temptations during heightened emotional stress. That is why it is a well known fact that chocolates carry uppers such as caffeine that elevate the blood pressure and quicken the breath thereby giving the person a feeling of high.
Many women experience food cravings on a monthly basis in close relation to their menstruation. Changes in hormonal levels affect the mood and consequently this leads to craving for certain type of foods which in the case of many women is chocolate.
Most women claim that they get immense satisfaction upon eating chocolates which merely started as a habit. It just totally makes sense since metabolized sugar produces serotonin in the body, a chemical responsible to the feeling of elation. And who wouldn't want to feel happy, in the first place!
Recent studies made in Europe found that allowing participants to eat liberal amounts of chocolates, and cutting them back from eating the same resulted to the people salivating at the sight of chocolates. They felt anxious, deprived and depressed.
Another study conducted at Princeton showed rats that were fed with sugar experienced anxiety once sugar was removed from their diets. Their symptoms were like that of nicotine addicts made to quit cold turkey – shaking and their teeth chattering.
However, despite test results, researchers still believe that although the symptoms are similar, chocoholics are not addicts. There is no true chocolate addiction, as there is no definite chemical found in chocolates that are addictive. What the subjects are experiencing are anxieties based on breaking the habit of eating chocolates or that habits formed by eating something sweet when changes in moods occur.
5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake
Something for the kids to bake themselves...
4 tablespoons Flour
4 tablespoons Sugar
2 tablespoons Cocoa
3 tablespoons Milk
3 tablespoons Oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
Small splash of vanilla essence
1 large coffee mug (not extra large, just normal)
Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well. Add egg and mix thoroughly. Add milk and oil and mix well. Add chocolate chips and vanilla and mix again
Cook in microwave on high for 3 minutes (1000 watt)
Cake will raise over the top of mug don't worry - placing mug on a plate is a good idea. I also suggest spraying the mug with oil to avoid sticking.
Allow to cool a bit
You can tip it out on a plate if you wish
EAT and enjoy!
Take the Poll
Dreamstime Photos have been used
Do you think you will try any of these recipes?
I’ve always loved chocolate covered nuts and although I can’t say I’ve tried these ones I love the look of them in their gorgeous reusable box. They are handmade chocolate covered mixed nuts and freshly roasted jumbo cashews (one of my favourite nuts). You could indulge yourself while watching your favourite DVD with your favourite person...better than popcorn!
Made in the USA
Books by the UK King of Chocolate - ...Lord of the Cacao
Willie is different to other chocolatiers as he roasts his own cocao beans -- " because that's where the secret is". He uses chocolate in .and on everything. Savory, sweet no matter.
It's more good news chocolate lovers...dark chocolate that is!
A list of 15 Superfoods that help you lose weight shows dark chocolate helps to lose weight! Thought so...mind you you do have to have every good thing in moderation!
Here's what was said on NZ Lifestyle Yahoo
"A new study from Denmark found that those who eat dark chocolate consume 15 per cent fewer kilojoules at their next meal and are less interested in fatty, salty, and sugary foods. And research shows that dark chocolate can improve heart health, lower blood pressure, reduce LDL ("bad") cholesterol, decrease the risk of blood clots, and increase blood flow to the brain. Dark chocolate boosts serotonin and endorphin levels, which is associated with improved mood and greater concentration; it's rich in B vitamins and magnesium, which are noted cognitive boosters; it contains small amounts of caffeine, which helps with short-term concentration; and it contains theobromine, a stimulant that delivers a different kind of buzz, sans the jitters."
Photo: I took this picture especially for this article! Yes, I did eat it AND it shows one of the other Superfoods mentioned...NUTS! It's all for research you see
This is my absolute favorite Lindt Chocolate. When I make my morning porridge I break up a couple of pieces into the hot oats, give it a mix and enjoy! You will see that oats are a Superfood too! I must be well on my way to loosing weight...yeah right!
Final Chocolate Nibbles - To round off your chocolate experience....
- For a wintertime taste sensation try some raspberry or peppermint scnhapps in hot chocolate.
- Chocolat -- a traditional chocolate drink.
Break 40 g of sweet chocolate pieces into a small amount of water or hot milk in a saucepan on a low heat. Cover the pan.
Once chocolate has softened, take it off the stove. Using a small whisk or wooden spoon make a smooth paste.
Add two or three tablespoons of boiling liquid (water or milk), stir, and then add the remaining liquid. Stir cotinuously, but do not allow to boil.
Pour into an elegant cup or glass, admire, then drink.