Posts Tagged With: Chocolate

Chocolate Love

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m grateful for Chocolate! What food group better addresses my emotional needs? None.

If decadence had a flavor it’d be chocolate. Don’t you agree?

You know, it is American Chocolate Week here in the United States, March 16-22. Not that I find American chocolate all that amazing, it’s not really one of our strong points. I think of it more as a holiday wherein Americans celebrate chocolate’s wonders, magic and joys.

Nothing else warms me quite like a cup of Hot Chocolate with hazelnut.

Hot Chocolate with hazelnut. Ahhh.

Chocolate can gentle me awake on especially groggy mornings. Hot, in a mug, with a dash of hazelnut and cream, its soothing heat penetrates and slowly shakes the Sandman’s dust from my brain. Once a daily ritual, it’s now become seldom, more special in its rarity.

I’ve experienced chocolate in a main dish, which is surprisingly not as weird as you’d think. A Mexican wonder of rich spice and complex flavors, Mole adds an interesting twist to an often overtired food genre.

Has anything escaped being dipped in chocolate? I think not.

What a messy treat!

What a messy treat!

From my earliest memories of a chocolate dipped soft serve ice-cream cone, to my more recent love affair with chocolate covered cinnamon bears, I can only conclude that everything’s better dipped in chocolate. Cookies, cake, apples, pretzels, strawberries, pineapple, caramel, nuts, cherries, marshmallows all reach their natural order of perfection when joined by chocolate. Did I mention coconut? I should have mentioned coconut. Now I have.

I suppose carrots and celery might not mix well with the creamy succulence of chocolate, but pretty much anything else ramps up a notch by pairing off with a bit of the creamy perfection of melted chocolate.

Give me a box of chocolates and I’m your friend for life. Seriously. Keep in mind that I prefer milk chocolate to dark, unless mint gets involved. A box with a map included for navigating the hidden treasures beneath the twists and twirls and peaks of chocolate gift wrapping will make my heart go all a flutter.

Mmmm, Manna.

Mmmm, Manna.

A chocolate factory in Phoenix creates what our family refers to as “manna,” also known as “the food of the Gods.” Cerreta’s turns the standard chocolate mint on its head by encasing a delightfully rich truffle in a blanket of green-mint-melt-in-your-hand-before-it-gets-to-your-mouth white chocolate. Oh my Hannah! You have to try one. Worth every penny you invest in them. I can make one last a good ten minutes by taking teeny bites and letting them simply sit on my tongue, becoming one with my taste buds, serenading my mouth. Another thin sliver of a bite slips over my lips, one after another, until ten minutes later, I’m finally, blissfully, practically in heaven. Mmm. One is enough for a while.

The only thing close to Cerreta’s perfection is a Lindor truffle. The centers of those playful round orbs of Swiss chocolate seem nearly liquid.  Just thinking about it makes me salivate. I figure Switzerland must be one of the happiest places on earth if it can produce such wonders and others like them.

I may need to make a chocolate run here any minute now.

Up close and personal with Texas sheet cake.

Up close and personal with Texas sheet cake.

Other favorites include the infamous Texas Sheet cake, which is mostly butter with some chocolate and sugar added for good measure. I can make myself content with any chocolate enhanced slice of cheesecake. Pour some ganache on a dessert and resistance is futile.

MSH will occasionally arrive home from some errand and quietly slip a Cadbury fruit and nut bar onto my nightstand. I won’t see it until I’m tucking in for the night. Like an unexpected kiss, I feel cherished and known and cared for by such a gesture.

Sometimes the small things bring a smile, turning the corners of my mouth northward.  Sometimes it’s the sticky, lick your fingers kind of things that make me grin. Today it’s both.

Categories: Food, Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Few True Things

photo-18 copy 20Heaven has shined on me recently. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say I visited heaven recently. Perhaps both are true. Either way I’ve had a few thoughts without any details. Maybe I’ll elaborate on some of them in the coming weeks.

A few things I’ve learned this weekend:

  • Time can and often does slow down when you’re with someone you love.
  • Serendipity happens when you least expect it.
  • Being open to those thoughts that have been pushing on a locked door inside your head just might take you somewhere surprising.
  • Being cold can feel exhilarating or miserable depending on the circumstances and even more so, on your attitude.
  • Breathing very cold air in a very warm bed produces happy dreams.
  • Just because something makes you nervous doesn’t mean it’s going to feel bad, you might even experience sheer bliss.
  • The stars look brighter and appear closer from inside a bubbling hot tub.
  • The best recommendation for a great place to eat always comes from a local resident.
  • photo-18 copy 21There’s no such thing as too much hot chocolate or too much whipped cream on your hot chocolate.
  • Saying goodbye never feels good.
  • Saying hello outshines saying goodbye like sunlight outshines a starless night.
  • Chocolate goes with everything.
  • I’m a mountain girl at heart and will probably always feel restless living in the desert.
  • Say yes to trying something different, the chances for joy lean in your favor.
  • Blue comes in more shades than any other color of the rainbow, and I pretty sure I saw most of them in the past three days. Green comes in a at a close second.
  • Taking a different path downhill from the one you take uphill can make all the difference.

photo-20 copy 6

Hoping none of this comes across as too vague or too pie-in-the-sky. But, if it does I’m not too worried about it. I’m feeling saturated with love, joy, relaxation and warmth.

Hoping you’re able to find similar things in your days.

Categories: Joy, Nature, Outdoors, People | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Oh, Delicious Indecision!

Pumpkin pie, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki...

Every  year as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I have to ask my family this crucial question.  What kind of pie are we going to have this year?  Seems like a simple question, with a simple answer.  But, no.  Not for our family.  My husband says “Pecan” and my son says, “Pecan.”  Then my middle daughter says “Apple and Pecan.”  My youngest daughter says, “Chocolate… and Apple, and I get to help make the Cherry pie this year.”

Then the short debate happens wherein daughter 2 and daughter 3 both claim the other one made the cherry pie last year.  Weaving the lattice top crust is a lot of fun and it looks pretty cool.  Not to mention the filling is the easiest pie we do, open can, dump into unbaked pie crust.

Photo of a slice of coconut cream pie. Taken a...

Coconut cream pie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Doesn’t anyone want Coconut Cream or Banana Cream?” I ask imploringly.  Silly me.  I’m the only one who likes either of those kinds. If I want to, I can make a cream pie.  A bit of whipped cream and a sprinkle of coconut or some slices banana. Nice.

Then someone always says, you should probably make a Pumpkin pie, since it is Thanksgiving.  “But no one likes Pumpkin!” I counter.  “I’ll eat some, says my husband, “And I’ll have some too,” says middle daughter.  “I might,” says my son with little commitment in his voice. A few years ago we acquired a son-in-law who loves Pumpkin Pie.  So if he’s in town, that debate settles itself.  A pumpkin pie goes on the “yes” list.

What about Daughter 1, what kind of pie does she want? Someone invariably asks. That’s my oldest daughter who doesn’t live at home anymore.  Sometimes, I actually call and ask her what kind she wants, but she says, “oh whatever you make, Mom, will be great!”  When she did live at home, she liked to eat some of the apple pie filling before it got baked.  We don’t get to see her for Thanksgiving this year.  Dang.

So I count the votes, “Okay, so that’s one Apple, one Pecan, one Cherry, one Chocolate and one Cream pie.”

“Can’t we have cheater cheesecake too?” My husband asks.  “That’s not really pie,” I say, “it’s cake.”

American cultural icons, apple pie, baseball, ...

Then he reminds me that we always run out of Pecan.  And Apple.  So I add another one of each of those to the list. And, he reminds me that the chocolate sits forlorn in the fridge, untouched.  Chocolate being ignored is a strange phenomenon.  I’ll have to investigate that some time.   So maybe I won’t do the chocolate pie this year either.

I like to fantasize about other flavors; Lemon Merengue, Strawberry, Peanut Butter, Key Lime, Blueberry, Peach. Mmmmm.  But those are for another day.  Maybe a Sunday treat sometime during the year.  I should make a list and magnet it to the fridge so I don’t forget.

The final pie count? 2 Apple, 2 Pecan, 1 Cherry, 1 Cream and 1 Pumpkin.

I like to think of pie as the topping on the whole Thanksgiving day.  A symbol of the richness, the sweetness, and the abundance of my life.  We don’t have everything, but we have all that we need.  Family, friends, freedom, work, meaning, hope.  Life is stuffed full of goodness even when it feels otherwise.  Especially on this singular day of  giving thanks, I celebrate all that is right and good and delicious about my life.

Categories: Food, Joy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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