Sunday, January 25, 2009

Valentine's Day Slideshow

Valentines Day is almost upon us...Diamonds may be a girls best friend, but CHOCOLATE is the universal word for AHAVA (LOVE)!! So I suggest, spread some chocolate lovin' around today!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Making The World A Kinder Gentler Place

My theory is world peace could probably be accomplished if we just sat down with a nice big box of chocolates!

So here's my contribution to making the world a kinder Gentler place:

Crockpot Chocolate Cake

Nothing could be simpler for the working Mom/Dad, I love this because there is no sitting and timing involved.


1 pkg. chocolate cake mix
1 pkg. instant chocolate pudding
4 eggs
1 cup water
2 cups sour cream
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions: Combine cake and pudding mixes in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs and water. Add sour cream and oil and continue to beat until smooth.
Pour into a Crockpot coated with vegetable spray. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Makes 8-10 individual servings, which can be topped with whipped cream and strawberry sauce.

Chocolate Pudding Cake

1 package chocolate cake mix
1 large package (6 ounces) instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup water
1/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1 container chocolate frosting
pink and red sprinkles

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, water, oil, and eggs. With an electric mixer, beat the mixture for 2 minutes. Grease (take butter and smear it over the bottom and sides of the pan) and flour (put about 1/4 cup of flour in the pan after you've greased it and shake it around, covering the bottom and sides completely) a 9 x 13-inch pan. Pour the mixture into the pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until cake tests done (put a toothpick in the center and when it comes out without anything on it, it's done). Allow to cool for 30 minutes to an hour and then frost with the chocolate frosting. Shake the red and pink sprinkles evenly over the top of the cake for added Valentine's Day decoration.

Fudge Cookies

2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 square semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup milk

3 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup shredded coconut

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, butter, chocolate, and milk. Stir almost constantly. When mixture starts to boil around the edges, start to stir it constantly. Allow the mixture to boil for one minute. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the oatmeal, pecans and coconut. Drop the mixture by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets covered in waxed paper. For an added Valentine's Day touch, put a candy heart on top of each one. Put in the refrigerator to set until hardened (overnight works best). Be sure to store them in the refrigerator.

One to do with the kids...

Valentine Fluff

1 can cherry pie filling
1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
1 (12 oz.) container Cool Whip
Pecans (if desired)

Mix all ingredients together and chill (Both You & The Fluff, tell the kids to go & play)

White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake Recipe

1 1/2 c. chocolate cookie crumbs
1/3 c. margarine or butter, melted


1/2 c. raspberry preserves
1/4 c. water
4 8oz. packages of cream cheese
1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. sour cream
2T vanilla
5 eggs
4 oz white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 475°F, fill a large pan with about 1/2 inch of water, and place into the oven while it preheats. Ideally this pan will be big enough to fit your springform (cheesecake) pan down inside.

Combine raspberry preserves with water in medium bowl. Microwave for 1 1/2 min. on high. Stir until smooth. Strain with cheesecloth to remove seeds. Let strained preserves cool in the fridge.

Mix cookie crumbs and butter in a bowl. Line the bottom and sides of a 9 in springform pan with parchment (or waxed) paper. Using the bottom of a drinking glass (or a large serving spoon) press the crumb mixture flat into the bottom of pan and about 2/3 of the way up the sides. Wrap a large piece of foil around the bottom of the pan to keep the cheesecake in the water bath.

Combine cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, and vanilla. mix until smooth and creamy. Whisk eggs and add to cream cheese mixture. Mix until just blended.

Sprinkle 4 oz white chocolate into bottom of crust (I usually put enough chips to get a solid layer). Pour 1/2 of cream cheese filling into crust. Drizzle raspberry preserves over entire surface of filling. Use a butter knife to swirl preserves into filling. Be careful not to cut into the crust, and don’t blend too much. You are trying to create ribbons of raspberry. Pour the other 1/2 of the filling into the crust over the raspberry preserves.

Place cheesecake in water bath in preheated oven. Bake 12 min at 457° F then turn oven down to 350°. Bake 50-60 minutes or until the top of the cheesecake turns tan.

When you take the cheesecake out, it will be puffed up high, and then collapse to about 1/2 the height. This is normal, don’t panic.

Chill 4 hours before serving.


Kiss Me Quick Mousse

36 Hershey's Kisses
1-1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons cherry brandy liqueur
8 drops red food color
1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled

Remove wrappers from chocolate pieces. Combine marshmallows and milk in small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.

Pour 1/3 cup marshmallow mixture into medium bowl; stir in brandy and food color, if desired. Set aside. To remaining marshmallow mixture, add 36 chocolate pieces; return to low heat, stirring constantly until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature.

Beat whipping cream in small bowl until stiff. Fold 1 cup whipped cream into chocolate mixture. Gradually fold remaining whipped cream into reserved mixture. Fill 4 parfait glasses about 3/4 full with chocolate mixture; spoon or pipe remaining mixture on top. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours or until set.

Garnish with additional chocolate pieces or fresh strawberries, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

Have A Delicious Valentines Day!!
Please let me know how the recipes turn out if you try them!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

More Reasons To Eat Chocolate

Fabulous News For A New Year My Dear Friends!!

10 Reasons To Eat More Chocolate

You might think chocolate is sinful, but it's a lot better for you than you think. In fact, it has been used for hundreds of years by medical professionals to cure ailments such as tuberculosis, gout, fatigue, diarrhea, weak digestion, hemorrhoids, low virility, and shortness of breath.

Recent nutritional research has identified many health benefits of chocolate. After reviewing these studies, I came up with the following ten reasons why you need to consume more chocolate.

1. Reduces high blood pressure - flavonoids in cocoa (procyanids) help balance blood pressure and reduce blood clotting. Researchers from Germany's University Hospital of Cologne found that cocoa consumption lowered blood pressure by an average of 4.7/2.8 mm Hg. The New York Times reported that dark chocolate is almost as effective at lowering blood pressure as common antihypertensive drugs.

2. Improves blood flow to brain - a University of Nottingham professor found that drinking cocoa drinks rich in flavanols improves blood flow to key areas of the brain for two to three hours. Flavanols in the cocoa drink are a key ingredient of dark chocolate. Professor Macdonald's study also suggested that cocoa flavanols in chocolate may enhance brain function to help fight sleep deprivation, fatigue, and the effects of ageing.

3. Boosts mood - MSNBC reported that caffeine and other chemicals in dark chocolate can improve your mood and ease premenstrual symptoms. Mark's Daily Apple wrote that the chemical phenylethylamine in chocolate has been found to trigger feelings similar to "falling in love."

4. Prevents cell damage and 5. Improves blood sugar levels - Lisa C. Cohn, R.D., President of the Park Avenue Nutrition Spa in NYC, wrote that flavonoids in pure dark chocolate are responsible for these added benefits. Cohn said, "if you're going to indulge on Feb. 14 or any other day, go for the purest dark chocolate you can find. That's the kind loaded with flavonoids…"

6. Reduces risk of heart attack - a researcher from the John Hopkins University School of Medicine said that eating a few squares of dark chocolate every day may reduce your risk of dying from a heart attack by almost 50%. The study found that blood platelets clotted slower in people who eat chocolate.

7. Helps ease chronic fatigue syndrome - a study found that adults with chronic fatigue syndrome who eat 1.5 ounces of 85% cocoa dark chocolate were less fatigued after they eat chocolate.

8. Raises HDL cholesterol and lowers LDL cholesterol - a Penn State study found that diets high in cocoa powder and dark chocolate (with high flavonoid content) are related to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels when compared with diets low in flavonoids such as tea, wine, coffee, and onions.

9. Improves processing of blood sugar - an Italian study found that dark chocolate consumption increased the body's metabolism of blood sugar and may reduce the risk of diabetes.

10. Eases a persistent cough - a UK study found that theobromine, a component in cocoa, may be more effective as a cough medicine than standard drug treatments. The research showed that "theobromine acts on the sensory nerve endings of the vagus nerve, which runs through the airways in the lungs to the brain."

Many chocolates can be high in calories, sugar, and saturated fat. To maximize the health benefits of chocolate, avoid eating processed chocolate products that have refined sugar and milk fat.

Instead, choose the purest dark chocolate you can find - the more raw and unprocessed, the higher the flavonoid content. The best dark chocolate to eat has at least 60% cocoa solids.