chocolatada!
chocolatada!

7.27.2003

Finis! First, I'd like to thank all my sponsors, who are donating a total of $85 for Book Aid. And thanks to all my friends out there in the blogosphere. The entire Blogathon 2003 has raised more than $86,000! That's more than $30,000 above what we raised last year. Good show, folks!

Finally, some chocolate words to live by:

"Look, there's no metaphysics on earth like chocolates."
-Fernando Pessoa, Portuguese poet

Yeah. I'm a tree hugger.
I think every chocolate lover should also be an environmentalist.
These trees are very picky about where they grow.

Will the Real Chocolate God Please Stand Up? * Quetzalcoatl was actually a king who was believed to be divine, and his mission was to bring cacao seeds from Eden and teach man how to cultivate it.

* When Hernan Cortez showed up in the New World, Montezuma II and the Aztecs thought he was the reincarnation fo Quetzalcoatl! Big, bag case of mistaken identity-- because Cortez took Monty II as a prisoner and brought down the whole Aztec kingdom in a few years!

Is Chocolate Evil? No one's believed that malarchy, thank God! But it's not for fools who tried. Among them:
* A Spanish monk said the invigorating properties of chocolate were the work of evil spirits. He was ignored.

*The Jesuits tried to outlaw chocolate; the students started dropping out of school.

* Just as chocolate became widespread in Europe (for a long time it was an exclusive treat among the rich and the church) the church declared chocolate, coffee, tea, tobacco, and rum as "potentially dangerous stimulants." (I bet they just wanted to keep it all to themselves.)

Just a little musical break. You must go visit Jazz and read the amazing lyrics she wrote as a child. What talent. What a gift. A prodigy.

Who Eats The Most Chocolate? Who do you think eats the most? Highlight to the right of the arrows to see if you're right!


Swiss --> 22 pounds per person per year
Danes --> 30 pounds per person per year
Americans --> 11.7 pounds per person per year

Chocolate History. I think if we'd had this in school I might have liked history more.
But check out this interactive timeline which starts at 2000 BC and shows you the history of chocolate.

Just What the Doctor Ordered. Throughout the history of chocolate, many have thought it to be medicinal:

*For years, chocolate was sold only by apothecaries in Germany.

*Ancient Mayans used cacao as both a stimulant and a soothing drink. They also used cocoa butter to dress wounds.

*Aztecs mixed cacao with the ground bones of their ancestors to cure diarrhea.

*At one time, some European doctors believed chocolate could cure tuberculosis.

*A French doctor believed chocolate could cure a broken heart.

Next half hour: Take a chocolate trip through time.

Dancing Deer Cookies. I tried Dancing Deer cookies for the first time this year. This company has their process down to a science-- they bake the cookies the same day they ship them. While I believe homemade cookies are always the best, these are certainly worth a try. Two chocolatey flavors: chocolate orange, and chocolate espresso shortbread (one of my Dancing Deer favorites-- the other is the peppermint shortbread).

Next half hour: just what the doctor ordered!

Turning Beans Into Something Beautiful. Wanna know how these become so smooth, so decadent, so heavenly? Go watch some videos.

Serendipity for Your Body. Serendipity 3 has made wonderful Frrrrozen Hot Chocolate... now they are making treats for your body. Like creme de menthe foot cream. (One note, though-- their online store is being "remodeled.")

Next half hour: Processing cocoa beans

Chocolate Martini. Yeah, James Bond is cool, but he's not very personable. He might be a little more warm and fuzzy if he drank one of these. (Wouldn't you smile a bit more if you had a chunk of chocolate at the bottom of your glass?)

And yes, it's shaken. Not stirred.

Next half hour: More stuff for your body

Chocolate Body Frosting. What a nice way to add some variety to your love life and enjoy the ultimate aphrodisiac. Chocoholics Divine Desserts has several different flavors of body frosting for you to enjoy. Most come with a paintbrush. There's even a quickie-kit.

Next half hour: Shaken, Not Stirred!

Chocolate Lavender Sauce. This could very well be a one-two punch for lovers. Many people believe chocolate is an aphrodisiac (I think believing it is enough to make it so in the case of chocolate and sex-- the brain is the best sex organ) and lavender stimulates blood circulation. (You folks with me or are you falling asleep?)

If you're with me, hop on over to Miss Rona's and order up a jar of her chocolate lavender sauce.

While you're waiting for it to arrive, it might not be a bad idea to put some fresh blossoming lavender in your bedroom. (That's a freebie.)

Next half hour: More chocolate for the bedroom!

Are You a Good Lover? Next time you'd like to *ahem* size someone up, hand them a chocolate candy and watch what they do with the wrapper.

wad it up and throw it out: This person enjoys sex, but is hasty and is probably missing out on a lot. Not the person to take home if foreplay's important.

folds wrapper into nice, neat, little package: This person has probably read a lot of sex manuals and really gets into every aspect of seduction, romance, and technique. Quality sex is important. This person is a perfection in and out of bed.

rolls it into a ball: this person is bored with their sex life and needs to try different things.

tears the wrapper: this person tends to think that they're missing out on something or someone better. They are fickle and need a lot of validation and approval. Not the type to make a commitment.

sculpts or folds it into animals, plants, or other complex shapes: Sexual nirvana. This person is probably into tantric sex. They are experienced, passionate, and they're the type to shower their lovers with unending bliss.

smooths out all the wrinkles: this person is very sensual. They love to touch and be touched. This person values foreplay as much as or even more than actual sex. They are likely to give a pretty good massage.

rolls wrapper into a tube: this person lives through other people and is busy matching everyone else up instead of paying attention to their own love life.

twists or wrings wrapper into a rope: This person is stressed and needs some serious TLC. Women who twist their wrappers have been holding back and need to relax and enjoy sex.

doesn't do anything with the wrapper: this person sees foreplay as only an unnecessary delay. they don't like surprises in life or in bed.

Wanna read more? Visit The Chocolate Soul.

Next half hour: Something to spice up your dessert... or your sex life!

Cup o' chocolate. You'll never look at Swiss Miss the same, will you?

If Maribelle and cardamom cocoa weren't enough for you, go to epicurious.com. You'll find recipes for basic hot chocolate, mexican hot chocolate, peppermint hot chocolate, and even chocolate with lemon and espresso.

Now all you need is a good book to curl up with... or maybe a friend to discuss philosophy and life with.

Next half hour: How chocolate can help you figure out if someone's a good lover.

Cardamom Cocoa. But first... I haven't spoken much about the charity I'm blogging for, Book Aid. Book Aid provides reading materials to people in 40 countries, mostly in Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East. These range from children's books to books for people studying to get law degrees.

My paternal grandfather was a sharecropper who could not read. He could not write his own name. But his wife, my grandmother, emphasized to her sons the importance of education. From humble beginnings, my father got an MBA, and his brother a doctorate in education. There is no question to me that education improves one's position in life. My mother started reading to us at an early age, and all three of us girls love reading. It was she who suggested I blog for Book Aid. So I hope you'll sponsor me.

Now for some chocolate to curl up with: cardamom cocoa. Trust me. It's divine.

Next half hour: Just come back. It'll be good.

Mariebelle Hot Chocolate. You must try this. It is divine, thick, rich hot chocolate. It is made from Belgian chocolate, and is flavored with coffee, chipotle, ancho chile, cinnamon, and nutmeg. You can also use this mix to make chocolate pudding. It is the perfect end to a stressful day. Go buy some Mariebelle Hot Chocolate.

Next half hour: More hot chocolate!

Chocolate and Anti-oxidants Chocolate contains high amounts of anti-oxidants-- the chemicals which scientists say can prevent cancer. It contains vitamins A1, B1, B2, C, D, and E. It is high in polyphenols.

So, on an anti-oxidant scale, where does chocolate rank? Let's see what you think.
[highlight the areas to the left of the arrows to reveal the number of Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity Units each food has per 100 grams-- ORAC is the measure of the ability of food to neutralize those bad free radicals.]

prunes --> 5,700
blueberries --> 2,400
strawberries --> 1,540
spinach --> 1,260
broccoli --> 890
oranges --> 750
red grapes --> 739
milk chocolate --> 6, 740
dark chocolate --> 13,120

Next half hour: Some really good hot chocolate!

Pairing Chocolate and Wine. Some folks will tell you it can't be done.
Pah!

Follow these general guidelines:

white chocolate: try a muscat
milk chocolate: very sweet wines
bittersweet chocolate: merlot or marsala
fruit-flavored truffles: muscat
very dark chocolate: cognac or armagnac

Be careful with port. It can be easily overpowered by fine chocolate.

Next half hour: Chocolate and anti-oxidants. After this post, you'll be telling your kids to eat their chocolate instead of eating their veggies!

7.26.2003

Chocolate Mint Creme Brulee. This recipe came to me via Elke. What a pal. Anyone who gives me a new way to enjoy chocolate ranks high on my list.

Karisa's Chocolate Mint Creme Brulee:

2 cups fresh mint leaves with stems removed
2 cups heavy cream
4 oz. bitter sweet chocolate
8 egg yolks
1/3 cup white sugar
3 tblsp peppermint schnapps

Chop mint coarsely (approximately one cup when finished)
Heat cream and mint to simmer, remove from heat, cover and let stand 30 min before straining.
Heat oven to 300F.
Chop chocolate and melt in double broiler.
Mix egg yolks and sugar until creamy.
Slowly mix egg mixture and cream, whisking continuously.
Strain.
Stir in melted chocolate mixing until combined.
Add peppermint schnapps.
Bake 30-50 min in water bath for ramekins.
Chill after cool.
Add sugar to top and torch before serving.

Next half hour: Pairing wine with chocolate!

Songs of Chocolate and Love. Throughout history our works of art-- poetry, visual art, songs, and more-- have used the pleasure of sweets to describe other sensual pleasures and love.

I know it's a few years old, but I often catch myself humming a D'Angelo tune or two. I love how he uses phrases like "your love be da cherry in my chocolate covered dreams" and "we could make love in the shade, drink some chocolate lemonade". Bein' a sister, it kinda makes me feel special.

In Brown Sugar, D'Angelo uses quite a few sweets for just a few lines:

Oh Sugar when you're close to me
You love me right down to my knees
And whenever you let me hit it
Sweet like honey when it comes to me
Skin is caramel with those cocoa eyes
Even got a big sister by the name of Chocolate Thai
Brown Sugar babe, I get high off your love
I don't know how to behave
I want some of your brown sugar

Brown Sugar, D'Angelo

Now-- want some more hip hop, more deep meaning in lyrics? Hop on over to All That Jazz... aka Ghetto Geek. There you'll find a deep sister who also knows how to have a good laugh. She gets a great deal of my respect. In fact, we became friends during last year's Blogathon! Jazz is blogging for Doctors Without Borders. Sponsor her!

Next half hour: Chocolate Mint Creme Brulee. Oh my.

Chocolate and dieting. Doesn't sound like the two go together, does it?

They don't, if you get cheap chocolate-- chocolate made with lots of milk, vegetable oil, and sugar.

But according to nursingpower.net, a cup of hot cocoa three times a day, 30 minutes before a meal provides a feeling of fullness, so you will be able to eat less and feel satisfied. This hot cocoa diet can also help satisfy sweet tooth cravings.

Real chocolate is low in sugar and has a low glycemic index... meaning it keeps your blood sugar level and leaves you feeling full longer.

Also, one ounce of good chocolate three times a day can relieve irritability, cravings, hunger pains, depression, and feelings of deprivation associated with dieting.

For more info, check out a book called A Chocolate A Day Keeps the Doctor Away by Dr. John Ashton and Suzy Ashton.

Next half hour: Dunno. Hey, life is a box of chocolates!

JBz. Hi, I'm back from work!

Time for a little snack... how 'bout something new from Jelly Belly? They're the folks famous for5{lavors, like buttered popcorn and toasted marshmellow. Now they've taken those flavors and mixed them with chocolate! JBz are sort of like M&Ms, but the shells have Jelly Belly jellybean flavors... some of the flavors include green apple, tutti fruitti, honey graham cracker, blueberry, orange juice, and top banana.

Next half hour: How to eat chocolate and lose weight!

 

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