Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine's Day Chocolate!

Happy Valentine's weekend my loves!!!

I've always thought that Valentine's Day was a strange holiday (if you can even call it that). From back in elementary school when you handed out those little valentines cards to your friends and your secret crush, and tried to figure out whether little Tommy LIKED you, or just liked you like he liked everyone else he had to give a valentine card to so as not to leave anyone out.... To high school and college when then, no longer forced to be fair and hand out valentines to everyone, you had the obvious distinction between the happy in love couples with their flowers and candy, and the wishing, maybe a little lonely singles without the roses or sweet-tart hearts.... To today, when it just seems silly to me that there is this one day of the year that everyone is supposed to show the ones they love just how much they love them- isn't that what every day of the year is for??? I love the idea of Valentine's Day, obviously -candy and roses? Duh, I am a girl!- but the pressure and the hype and press it gets seems so silly to me. (And yet here I am writing about it. Ha.) What I'm trying to say is that maybe we should all take the message that this day is supposed to be about- Love, honoring the people you care about, telling people in your life how much they mean to you, and taking a second to think about how grateful you are to have all the love you have in your life- and carry that through our everyday lives. Though fun, there is no need for a holiday to remind us who we love and why- we can remind ourselves of that everyday. And if you are single and don't have a romantic love in your life, it doesn't have to be a sad "woe is me" day like Hallmark and Eharmony and FTD flowers would have you believe. Look at all the blessings and love in your life, and especially the love you have for yourself, and start cherishing it! Give yourself a Valentine gift that you really love, whether that is a day at the beach, a day to do nothing, a day spent with friends or family, a day with your favorite Erotica book (heehee), or a day spent making and eating healthy, no guilt chocolate (recipe to follow). Just love yourself and cherish who you are, because that person is beautiful.

Ok, so I want to share this recipe with you. It is one of my favorites because it is shockingly delicious and also healthy. All the ingredients are whole, non-processed, organic and raw, so your body will actually thank you for eating this chocolate. The health benefits of raw chocolate are significant- loads of antioxidants, lots of magnesium, fiber, iron, calcium, zinc, copper, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and E. Pure cacao also contains flavonoids (organic compounds that have antioxidant effects) that can help prevent arteries from clogging, lower blood pressure and also combat against cancer by inhibiting cancer cells from multiplying and growing. I also just learned that cacao has natural anti-depressants and MAO inhibitors :) Chocolate, you say?? Yes!! But we're talking about chocolate that isn't processed and loaded down with toxins, sugars and excess non-natural chemicals that your body isn't made to process. I guarantee that once you eat the real deal, you won't ever go back.

Simple, yet healthy and delicious chocolate

*1/2 cup raw chocolate powder (cacAO, not cocOA) I use Navitas Naturals or Ultimate Superfoods brands- find at Whole Foods

*1/2 cup cacao butter, liquid This comes in solid chunks, same brands as above, and you can melt it either on very low heat on the stove (if you aren't concerned with keeping it raw, which is technically under 115F), in a dehydrator if you have one, or you can melt it in a bowl by putting the bowl over boiling water. I usually get lazy and just melt it on very low heat on my stove.

*2 tablespoons raw agave nectar This is a natural sweetener, much like honey, except from a plant source. 2 tbsp is a base line, but if you like it sweeter, just keep taste testing until you get the chocolate to the sweetness you like

*Brazil nuts (optional, but add great texture and source of selenium)


It's super easy. If using the Brazil nuts, slice and set aside in a small bowl (slicing is the hardest part!). Stir the remaining ingredients together in a separate bowl until smooth. Pour chocolate mixture over Brazil nuts and stir so that the nuts are fully coated with the chocolate. Then pour onto plate or into fun molds and place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. Store in the freezer.

You can also do many variations, like adding raspberry sauce, coconut, or sprinkling chia seeds on top... Use your imagination and have fun!!

Hope you love it, and yourself, this Valentine's Day :)

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