Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate’

Snack Wars: Battle Ice Cream

May 12, 2010

The weather is getting warmer and you know what that means…it’s time for ice cream!  In this week’s frozen confection face-off we pit the old-time favorite against it’s higher class cousin, gelato.  Get out those spoons–it’s time to battle!

Round One: Calories

For consistency’s sake we’re comparing chocolate ice cream and chocolate gelato.  (The superior flavor, if you ask me).  The average half-cup serving of gelato has about 220 calories.  Full fat ice cream (like the Haagen Daz kind) will set you back 270 calories.  So gelato is the “better” choice if you’re crunching those calorie numbers.

Round Two: Fat

We often hear that gelato is better for us cause it has less fat.  And guess what, it does.  A half cup of chocolate gelator contains 8 grams of fat.  Compare that to the whopping 18 grams in the regular ice cream.  The reason?  Gelato contains less cream than ice cream and more milk.

Round Three: Taste

Gelato wins this round, hands down.  The flavors are more intense than ice cream and its consistency is denser.  (That’s because it’s mixed at a slower speed resulting in less air in the final product.) 

Winner:

Gelato.  Although I have to tell yah, if there’s no gelato around, you better not stand between me and the chocolate peanut butter ice cream!

An Easter goody

March 30, 2010

Just in time for Easter, there’s more good news about eating chocolate.  All I can say is…bring it on Easter Bunny!

Why to Heart Chocolate

February 12, 2010

Ok, so we’ve all heard the claims about how chocolate is good for our health.  But how much of it is true and how much of it is a Valentine’s Day sale tactic?  Here’s the choco-lowdown.

Not all chocolate is created equal.  To get the benefits from chocolate, stick to the dark kind.  Even better…cocoa powder. (Mmmm…hot chocolate!)  Milk chocolate is fine, but not as healthy.  And forget about the white stuff…there’s no cocao in it at all.

It’s all about the flavo(noids).  The darker the chocolate, the more flavonoids it contains.  Flavonoids act like anti-oxidents and are the reason chocolate can be healthy. 

Understanding the Chocolate Label.  Store shelves are chock full of chocolate bars containing 75% or even 85% cocoa.  What that refers to is the percentage of cacao bean solids present in the bar.  The more cacao, the less sugar. So:
• A 75% cacao bar has 25% sugar.
• A 65% cacao bar has 35% sugar.
• The higher the % cacao, the less sweet the bar and the stronger the chocolate taste.

You don’t need to eat those bars to reap the benefits.  Ever try one of those 75% cocao bars?  If you liked it, great.  If not, don’t worry.  While it’s true those bars contain more flavonoids, why eat chocolate you don’t like?  The point is to indulge in something you enjoy!  Remember, even milk chocolate has some benefits…just be careful not to over indulge because it does contain more sugar and fat.

So, what are those benefits? Those flavonoids I’ve been talking about have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease by enhancing blood flow, improving LDL cholesterol levels and, in some cases, reducing blood pressure.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

C is for Cookie

October 22, 2009

Eat 6 cookies a day and lose weight?

Sounds too good to be true, right?  It’s not.cookie-monster3-7769871237963363

You should note that these cookie diets really restrict your daily caloric intake — about 800 to 1,000 calories a day.

Of course eating that little means you’ll drop the weight, but it also means picking up other health problems (like heart palpitations and dizziness).  Not to mention the fact that you’re very likely to gain the weight back once you start eating normally again.

I agree with those who think this is just another in a long list of fad diets.

I hate to break it to you, but there’s no magic weightloss secret.  Dropping the pounds requires hard work (exercise) and dedication (learning to eat right).

But by all means, indulge in a cookie now and then!

Pudge Fudge

September 28, 2009

I’m a firm believer that to live a healthy life is to live in moderation.  That means eating healthy most of the time, but not stressing if a piece (or two or three) of chocolate finds its way into my mouth.  It means exercising daily, but not going to back to back to back spin classes.  (Disclaimer: I have done that, but it was while I was triathlon training and I needed the miles.)  That all being said, some days you just have to give in and indulge.  A few weekends ago was one of those times and here’s why: I attended my first ever bacon party. 

 That’s right, a party centered around bacon.  

Pig_cartoonWe’re talking everything from bacon and cheese roll-ups (a little on the greasy side) to bacon bloody marys (made with bacon infused vodka).  My contribution to the all things pork menu: peanut butter chocolate bacon fudge, or as I have christened it: Pudge Fudge.  To those of you who are right now gagging at the thought of enjoying sweetened pork product, I get it, I too was a non believer.  But you got to try it. 

Turns out the chocolate covered bacon in the recipe tastes just like a chocolate covered pretzel, only chewier.  Now imagine a chocolate covered pretzel immersed in peanut butter fudge.  Sounds delicious now, doesn’t it?  Still revolted?  Head to the kitchen and test my recipe and then tell me you’re not a believer.

 
Pudge Fudge (makes about 1.5 pounds fudge)

 
1 cup Peanut Butter (smooth or crunchy works)
1 cup butter, melted
1 pound confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 package thick cut bacon, plus 1 tbsp bacon grease from cooking
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

 
1.  Trim away the extra fat on the bacon (get rid of the extra white fat at the end of the pieces)
2.  Cook the bacon either in the stove or in the microwave.  If using a frying pan, save 1 tbsp of the bacon fat to stir into the peanut butter/butter mixture later.
3.  Let bacon cool, in meantime, stir together melted butter and peanut butter in a large mixing bowl.
4.  Add vanilla, bacon grease to peanut butter mixture.  Then, using a wooden spoon, stir in the confectioner’s sugar.  Set bowl aside.
5. Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips.  Then dip the bacon strips, one at a time, into the melted chocolate, making sure to completely coat the bacon.  Set strips on a sheet of wax paper to harden.
6. Pour about half of the peanut butter fudge mix into a 9X9 pan lined with lightly greased wax paper.  Even spread mixture along the pan’s bottom.
7. Lay chocolate covered bacon strips (horizontally or vertically) on top of the first layer of fudge in a single layer.  Don’t worry if you have extra strips.
8. Pour the remaining peanut butter fudge mix on top of the bacon.  Spread evenly making sure to cover the bacon layer. 
9. If you ended up with extra bacon strips, cut them into small pieces and sprinkle them over the top of the fudge.
10. Cover your fudge with another sheet of wax paper and use your hands to press everything together.
11.  Put in the fridge to cool.  Once cool, cut into squares and serve.

 
Voila!  Pudge Fudge!  Enjoy!