February is the month of LOVE. As we think about heart health, we also think about affairs of the heart. What better food to soothe and comfort the heart than chocolate? Chocolate with its silky smooth texture, decadent flavor and tantalizing aroma, makes you want to rejoice in its presence. (Can you tell that I love it!?)
Now that I teach others the art of evolving their eating, I indulge in dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cocoa). Don’t fall for milk chocolate to get heart health benefits – the darker the better as the rich dark type contains beneficial compounds called flavanols, which can improve blood flow to and from your heart. However, try to stick with an ounce a day as it will cost you about 160 calories for that daily dose!
Savor every bite by eating it slowly and being aware of the taste and flavor of it on your tongue. By mindfully eating chocolate, you’ll enjoy every bite. My friend and mindful eating guru, Dr. Susan Albers is hosting a Mindful Eating Chocolate Challenge – check it out!
I am always dreaming up ways to enjoy chocolate healthfully. Here’s a recipe I created that is simple to savor and excites the senses as it’s cold, creamy and crunchy all at the same time. Plus, it combines the richness of dark chocolate with hazelnuts (think Nutella) – yum! I love it so much that I am entering it The Foodie Blogroll Recipe Contest 1, 2, 3 Cook & Snap!
Cinnamon Chocolate Strawberry & Vanilla Ice Milk Cups
Serves 4 (1/2 cup each)
1/2 cup dark chocolate, melted
4 – 5 large strawberries
1 heaping tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup milk, 1 percent fat
1 teaspoon vanilla, pure extract
For crust and topping:
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup golden flaxseeds
1 tablespoon honey
Directions: Make the crust first and put to the side. Put hazelnuts, flaxseeds and honey in a blender and pulse until ingredients are combined and nuts are completely chopped.
Melt dark chocolate either over the stove top in a pot or pop it into the microwave for 30 seconds, stir and put in again for 20 seconds. Spoon it into a blender (or Vitamix) with strawberries, cinnamon, milk and vanilla. Blend until smooth, but not too runny. Using a spatula, put into a bowl, cover with wrap and place in the freezer for a couple of hours.
Put a layer of hazelnut mixture at the bottom of 4 small ramekins. Place a dollop of the chocolate and strawberry ice milk mixture into each ramekin. Top with freshly cut strawberries and a sprinkle of the hazelnut mixture. Savor and enjoy!
Nutrition Information (per 1/2 cup serving): Calories: 407, Total Fat: 31 g, Saturated Fat: 8 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 2 mg, Sodium 20 mg, Total Carbs: 28 g, Dietary Fiber 8 g, Sugars: 15 g, Protein: 8 g
Enjoy evolving your eating today!