Chocolate Additions

In my last post, I shared the basic recipe for making raw organic chocolate. Very easy to do, it is a healthy and delicious way to enjoy chocolate without the guilt!

Now here is the fun part! Once you have the basic chocolate made you can add all kinds of things to your chocolates that not only make them delicious, but also add vitamins and nutrients that are good for you! You can ‘soup up’ your chocolates and no one will even know what’s in there.

I make peppermint Christmas trees and add E3 Live to them, which is a form of algae, very high in protein and minerals. It darkens your chocolates but does not alter the taste, no one would ever know it’s in there. And Matthew loves them and as a result asks me to make them all the time!

chocolate additionsMatthew even helps me make chocolates; as it is very easy for kids to do. He loves to experiment so we have made a variety of kinds of chocolate. We make our base chocolate, which is a combination of cacao butter, cacao powder, vanilla bean and sweetener of choice, (see my previous posts for the basics on how to make it and natural sweeteners), then we add different ingredients depending on the kind of chocolate and flavor we want. We make peanut butter cups, caramel cups, orange ginger and peppermint; and this is only what we have done so far – there are many ingredients that can be added to your chocolates to achieve the flavors that you want.

When adding ingredients to chocolate this can be done in a few ways – mix it in, usually with essential oils or powders, you can pour the ingredients on top of the chocolate, after you have poured it onto a cookie sheet, for instance with nuts and seeds, berries, coconut or you can make/ use a filling. The ingredients you add depend on what type of chocolate you want and personal preferences. Here are some ingredients to try.

Nuts such as almonds, brazil nuts, cashews.

Goji berries

Seeds such as hemp seeds, sesame, sunflower or pumpkin.

Berries such as goji, incan or mulberry.

High quality essential oils such as peppermint, orange, wintergreen, etc. to flavor your chocolate. Use only a few drops and use the highest quality oils you can – they are better for you and could alter your chocolate if they are not.

Spices, in a powdered form as it mixes in best, such as ginger, cayenne, cinnamon, allspice.

Algae such as E3 Live, Spirulena or Chlorella. All are very high in protein, minerals and a variety of vitamins.

You can create combinations using ingredients that are high in vitamin C like coconut nectar and spirulena, or a high content of magnesium and calcium using ingredients such as mesquite and carob powder with any algae.

Some people even add medicinal mushrooms to their chocolates, which might sound distasteful, but the neat thing is is you can’t taste it, so would have no idea that it is in there if no one told you. We have recently discovered banana flakes as an addition to our chocolate making. They are quite yummy on their own and are delicious in chocolate.

The amounts you add will depend on the size of your batch of chocolate, how strong a taste you want and also depends on the herb/ spice that is being added (some are stronger than others). A good rule of thumb is to start with half a teaspoon, taste it, and then decide if you want to add more. The great thing about making your own chocolate is that there is lots of taste testing to get it just the way you want it!

Once you have what you want you can set your chocolates in a number of ways. I buy silicon ice cube trays in a various shapes and fill those up to set. (tip – you don’t have to fill these all the way up as your chocolates can be quite thick if you do, but you want to fill them up enough so they are not too thin and break when you pop them out of the molds). There are lots of shapes to choose from; squares to hearts and around the holidays stores usually carry fun shapes related to that holiday. I have snowmen, trees and Halloween pumpkins. You can also use any of the candy molds that stores like Michael’s sell, this is where I found the mold to make peanut butter cups, they also have a variety of themes and shapes.

Of course you do not have to set your chocolate in shapes, you can just pour it onto a cookie sheet, let it set, then break it into pieces. You can also make clusters simply by mixing everything together and then dropping them by the teaspoon onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

For chocolates with fillings, make or find your filling (I use unsweetened peanut butter for my peanut butter cups and make the caramel filling using dates, vanilla, mesquite and lucuma powder), pour some chocolate let it set for a few minutes til firm, then drop or spread the filling over the chocolate, then add more chocolate on top and let set completely.

There are lots of things you can add when making chocolate. Many different flavors and combinations, depending on what you want and what you like. It is also fun to experiment with different combinations, flavors and shapes and it is easy to get the kids involved – they’ll love it. So get in there and try stuff out, worse case scenario is it does not turn out the way you want it and you might have to eat it yourself!

Date Night

On Friday night I stepped out of my comfort zone and expanded my horizons. I had no kids, no date and it being Friday night I decided to take myself out. I went up to the local coffee shop here in Bridlewood, Cafe Crema. They have live open mic music on Fridays and I wanted to check it out.

So I dressed myself up, put on make up, did my hair and out the door I went. Why not dress up for me, why not take myself out? Why should I hole up and stay in when there is a whole world out there? I cannot meet new people and make new friends and maybe even dates, if I stay in all the time. Yes I could have put on my pyjamas, picked up a nice movie and curled up on the couch waiting for maybe something exciting to happen but why? Life doesn’t happen to you while waiting on the couch, it passes you by, you miss it.

The crowd at Cafe Crema was ecclectic, a mix of young and old, well more actually like a lot of young and a few older couples. There were some very cute men there, sadly all with someone else 🙁 but I enjoyed looking at them. There was one fellow in particular, dark hair, gorgeous, way too young… There was even a couple there sitting on the side reading their books, while the musicians on stage sang their songs and played their tunes. I wondered how they could read while all this was going on but to each his own.

I grabbed my latte, sat down on the comfy couch and enjoyed the music. The first fellow was from Nova Scotia, where I grew up and it made me feel nostalgic for the east coast. The next fellow was young and missed a few verses in his songs but was entertaining to say the least (also nice to look at). The last couple, before I left, was a male and female pair who did mostly original songs, which were quite unique, melodic and even a bit out of tune, yet we were all still tapping our toes to the music.

There were more musicians after that but by that time I decided to take myself home. That short time out inspired me to come home and write to share my experience and tell everyone how empowering it is! Yes I have gone out on my own before to a movie or stopped for coffee, but not like this. Not on a Friday night where everyone is on dates or out with friends. It felt really good not to be sitting at home waiting for someone to call, to just go out and enjoy myself and be with others in the world, even if it was just simply sharing a coffee and listening to some music.

Now I don’t think that I would go out to the bar by myself as for some reason that does not seem like a good idea to me, but the coffee house was ok and it felt great! Besides like I said if I don’t get out how will I meet people? And you never know, maybe one night some nice single man will come in and notice me and we’ll strike up a conversation – you never know.

Being newly separated, it’s good for me to get out. It is also very important for me to take care of myself and know what that means for me. It’s ok to do things on my own, and we all need to, whether we are married or single. When we feed our spirits and expand our comfort zones, we grow, we learn and we become more attractive to others in general; because our eyes sparkle with excitement and fun, we’re happy and content with ourselves. And then we come home and are inspired to do other things, whatever that may be. It left me with a great buzz! and it was not from the coffee 🙂