A Very Serious Topic

I won’t be blogging a recipe today. Mostly because I got started late on my Slow Cooker Navy Bean Soup, and it won’t be ready until late tonight. But also because there is a very serious topic I feel obligated to talk about.

Chocolate… CHOCOLATE… CHOCOLATE !!!

Definition of Bliss!

Definition of Bliss. No, I didn't let her eat any. Chocolate and animals don't mix well. Poor kitteh! Oh well. She's lucky to be on the table!

As I started cleaning out my kitchen and consolidating baking products in preparation for Autumn, I realized just how much chocolate I actually have here.  Voila.  A blog post was born.   Chocolate is one thing that will never be banned from this house.  The day I’m forced to give it up is the day life will officially suck.  Everyone has their vice, and this is mine.  Well, this and coffee.  I’d give up coffee way before chocolate.  The thing is… no matter what your diet, unless you’re allergic to chocolate… you don’t have to give it up.  The key is to apply moderation and good common sense when choosing your products and how to apply them.  (If you happen to be someone who is allergic to chocolate, I encourage you to google the topic.  You may actually be allergic to various ingredients that go into some, but not all, chocolate products.)

I prefer dark / semi-sweet chocolate.  It typically has less sugar and more fiber per serving.  In this house, we love to eat it right from the refrigerator. It’s easier to handle, it lasts longer, and we just dig it. A few more reasons to eat chocolate, according to Wikipedia…

Chocolate contains alkaloids such as theobromine and phenethylamine, which have physiological effects on the body. It has been linked to serotonin levels in the brain. Scientists claim that chocolate, eaten in moderation, can lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate has recently been promoted for its health benefits, including a substantial amount of antioxidants that reduce the formation of free radicals[…]

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!@~

Things to take into account when deciding what products to buy and when to use them:

  • How much sugar are you allowed?
  • Artificial sweeteners to which you may be allergic.
  • How many calories worth can you fit into your day without going over your limit?
  • Where are you with your weight? Trying to lose? At the low or high end of your ideal range?
  • Will it be a snack, or will you use it in a recipe? What kind of recipe?

I have a 5 pound weight range I consider acceptable. Whether or not I’m currently landing in the top or bottom half of this range goes a long way toward helping me make good food choices. If I’m at the low end of this range and want to treat myself to a more decadent mocha, I will stir in some 90-calories-per-serving Smucker’s Sugar Free Sundae Syrup. Most of the time, regardless of my weight, I will use the 15-calories-per-serving Hershey’s Sugar Free.  If I’m at the top end of my range, the Smucker’s is an automatic NO.  In fact, I have a protein mocha every morning that almost always includes a squirt of the Hershey’s. In either case, and in most cases where chocolate is concerned, less than a serving does the trick.

While most of these items are highly interchangeable, I’ve divided them into three groups for the sake of discussion.

THE DRINKABLES

MmMmMmm Gooey!

MmMmMmm Gooey!

Hershey’s Sugar Free Syrup
Serving Size: 2 tbsp
Calories 15, Fat 0g, Carb 5g, Sugar 0g

Sugar Free General Foods International Suisse Mocha
Serving Size: 1 1/3 tbsp
Calories 30, Fat 2g, Sat Fat 2g, Carb 2, Sugar 0g

Swiss Miss Sensible Sweets – Diet
Serving Size: 1 packet
Calories 25, Fat 0g, Carb 4g, Sugar 2g

Smucker’s Sugar Free Sundae Syrup
Serving Size: 2 tbsp
Calories 90, Fat .5g, Sat Fat 0g, Carb 23g, Sugar 0g

Suggestions…

  • 1 packet of Swiss Miss + a shot of DaVinci SF Butterscotch syrup + hot water = a lovely HotScotch for a mere 25 calories. Add a dollop of Cool-Whip Free, and I call that Heaven. Swap out the syrup with whatever you like. Da Vinci SF OrangeMonin O’Free Caramel (Monin is a bit thicker than DV)… name it!   Similar combos can go into your coffee, if you’re a coffee freak like me. I prefer regular brewed coffee, but instant works just as well. If you find yourself in Starbucks ordering a tall skim latte… order it plain, bring it home, dress it up yourself!
  • A squirt (about 1 tbsp) of Hershey Sugar Free syrup can turn your coffee into a mocha for only 7.5 calories. It can also add some extra richness to your homemade protein bar recipes.
  • Smucker’s should be used sparingly for those occasions when you’re treating yourself to some sugar free ice cream.
  • The General Foods Int’l Sugar Free Suisse Mocha comes in both caffeinated and decaf.  It is perfectly good on its own for a great instant mocha.  However, I have been known to add it to protein shakes among other things.

THE BAKEABLES

Ecstacy!

Ecstacy!

Hershey’s Semi-Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips
Serving Size: 1 tbsp
Calories 70, Fat 4g, Sat Fat 2.5g, Carb 10g, Sugar 8g

Sensato Sugar Free Semi-Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips
Serving Size: 2 tbsp
Calories 58, Fat 4g, Sat Fat 3g, Carb 10g, Sugar 0g

Sensato Sugar Free Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunkies
Serving Size: 1 tbsp
Calories 92, Fat 8g, Sat Fat 1g, Carb 3g, Sugar 0g

Sunspire Grain Sweetened Chocolate Chips
Serving Size: 2 tbsp
Calories 70, Fat 4g, Sat Fat 2.5g, Carb 9g, Sugar 4g

Suggestions…

  • Mini chocolate chips go much farther than regular sized chips when it comes to giving your baked goods some chocolatey good texture. If you only have regular sized chips, chop them up a bit in the food processor before adding them. Otherwise, I prefer to add about 1/4 – 1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips to a variety of recipes including protein bars, protein fudge, and protein muffins.  As you can see, there is a good variety out there to choose from according to your needs.
  • The chocolate chunks are better for recipes in which you want to “swirl” or “marble” your chocolate.  Any of the above melt down just fine for glorious recipes such as Chocolate Dipped Strawberries.

THE SNACKABLES

Joy!

Joy!

Hershey’s Special Dark Kisses
Serving Size: 9 pieces
Calories 180, Fat 12g, Sat Fat 8g, Carb 25g, Sugar 21g

Emerald Cocoa Roast Almonds
Serving Size: 1 ounce
Calories 150, Fat 13g, Sat Fat 1g, Carb 6g, Sugar 1g

Jello Sugar Free Pudding
Serving Size: 1 snack cup
Calories 60, Fat 1.5g, Sat Fat 1g, Carb 14g, Sugar 0g

Syntrax Nectar Sweets, Chocolate Trufle
Serving Size: 1 scoop
Calories 100, Fat 0g, Carb 1g, Sugar 0g, Protein 23g

Suggestions…

  • Hershey Special Dark kisses are probably my favorite thing to keep on hand.  They’re already portioned into neat little pain-in-the-ass wrappers that don’t make them easy to mindlessly nosh.  Now, listen closely… just because the serving size says 9 pieces does not mean you have to eat 9 pieces!@~    Most of the time, grabbing just 1 from the fridge suits me just fine.   That’s 20 calories.  Minimal damage for a satisfying burst of dark chocolate pleasure.
  • The pudding cups and almonds speak for themselves.  As always, moderation… moderation… moderation.
  • Last, but certainly not least, is my favorite Nectar Chocolate Truffle protein powder.  Very versatile.  You can make hot drinks with it.   You can make cold drinks with it.  You can stir it into Greek yogurt.  You can use it as a baking ingredient.  I could go on and on, but you will already find it scattered in among the meager number of entries I’ve blogged thus far.  And there will be more.

Well, I could write a novel about chocolate… but I have to stop somewhere.  This seems like a good place.   As always… I try to be accurate with my nutritional info, but you should check the labels and decide for yourself what fits into your program.  And don’t forget… MODERATE it before you are forced to OBLITERATE it!@~

I’m sure this won’t be my last entry on this topic!  I will end with some links that might interest you, if you are a fan of chocolate.

Hershey’s Special Dark Products – Official Website
Recipes for Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Comments

  1. OH MY GOODNESS! Thanks for sharing your chocolate stash! It inspired me to throw open my cupboards and take stock! We shall see if my cocoa hoard can measure up to yours…(the gauntlet has been thrown).

  2. Yikers. I better mention sooner than later that I forgot my coveted Lindt Chili Dark Chocolate Bar. :) Can’t wait to see your stash.

Speak Your Mind

*