Quick and Easy Chocolate Chili

The countdown to fall begins: school will be back in session, jobs back in full swing and life begins to pick up the pace. I always enjoy welcoming a new season with heartwarming recipes that are not only good for the body but good for the soul. This recipe will delight your senses and your appetite.

Welcome the change in season with me and try this Quick and Easy Chocolate Chili.

You will need:

A slow cooker

1 lb ground beef

1 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes

1 green pepper chopped

1 onion chopped

1 14.5 oz can of corn

1 14.5 oz can of kidney beans or great northern beans

1 package McCormick chili seasoning (I know you may think this is a cop-out but it’s the easiest for me.  Obviously you can substitute your own spices for this step)

1 1/2 oz of Cocoa Mill Bittersweet Chocolate

(You can also add venison or other meats if desired. If you choose add additional meats use 2 packages of spice mix instead of 1.)

1. Place all ingredients in the slow cooker and stir until mixed. Cook on low heat all day (8am-6pm)

2. Stir well before you are ready to serve. Top with sour cream and cheddar cheese. Enjoy c:

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Chocolate Protein Bars

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Sometimes we don’t need a guilty pleasure, instead we need a chocolate feel good about myself snack. This seemed like it would work for those warmer days when you still need a chocolate pick me up.

Chocolate Protein Bars

chocprotein

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 scoops protein powder (vanilla or chocolate)
  • 1/4 cup Stevia
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • 4 Tbsp nonfat Greek yogurt

Directions:

  • 1.Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • 2.Mix almond milk, egg whites, applesauce, peanut butter and yogurt together in a small bowl.
  • 3.In a separate bowl, mix flour, protein powder, Stevia, baking soda, salt and cocoa together and then combine with wet ingredients.
  • 4.Pour mixture into a greased 8″ x 8″ glass dish and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!

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Chocolate & Weight loss

Chocolate and weight loss don’t seem like they would go hand and hand, but more and more studies are finding that regularly consuming high quality (not quantity) chocolate can help you reach your desired weight loss goal without depriving yourself. Keep in mind not all chocolate is created equal. Cranberries, Almonds and Chocolate, Oh My

“Real chocolate is like no other substance on earth. For years scientists have tried to duplicate its characteristics without success. They have come very close,  but the very best is still a pale comparison. The main difference between real chocolate and a ‘chocolate flavored’ substance is its most basic ingredient, cocoa butter. When you pick up a candy bar in the grocery store, look at the ingredients label on the package. If it does not contain cocoa butter, it is not real chocolate. Chocolate is more expensive than its artificial counterpart and is well worth the extra coins to treat your mouth and body to a taste of heaven.

Chocolate has been found to lower blood pressure and it is a potent antioxidant according to the Aug. 27 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association. Not only does it taste good but it is good for you ~ Cocoa butter melts completely at 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Body temperature is 98.7. Coincidence? I don’t think so.” – RCI

Research shows that chocolate’s health benefits  not only include reduction in blood pressure and cholesterol, but it also contains antioxidants like epicatechin, which other research has shown appears to boost the energy-producing elements of the body’s cells.

Chocolate also release endorphins in your brain. A secretion of endorphins leads to feelings of euphoria, modulation of appetite, release of sex hormones, and enhancement of the immune response. With high endorphin levels, we feel less pain and fewer negative effects of stress. Endorphins have been suggested as modulators of the so-called “runner’s high” that athletes achieve with prolonged exercise.

“For the study, published in the March 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers examined more than 1,000 healthy men and women who were free of heart disease, diabetes and cholesterol problems. They were all enrolled in another study that measured the effects of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, but for this study researchers assigned them questionnaires that gauged how often participants chowed down on chocolate.

The researchers found that the participants (who were an average age of 57) ate chocolate for an average of twice of week and exercised roughly 3.5 times per week… But those who more frequently ate chocolate retained a lower BMI (a ratio of height and weight that’s used to measure obesity).”  –CBS News

“The findings suggest that the health benefits of chocolate may be linked to how many times in a given week chocolate is eaten rather than the total amount consumed in that week,” says the study’s lead researcher, Beatrice Golomb, an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. “Eating a small amount of chocolate each of five days during a week was linked to a lower BMI, even if the person ate more calories overall and didn’t exercise more than other participants.”

These studies bring good news that chocolate and weight loss can happily coincide.

Chocolate Salads

The other day I made the comment “The best way to eat a salad is to throw it away and get a chocolate bar out of the cupboard.”

Being that it is January people have made their New Year’s resolutions, a lot of them involved not eating sweets, exercising more and doing away with certain vices. It seems to be increasingly hard to keep these resolutions; temptations seem to be lurking around every corner. This is an attempt at finding a way to help indulge the temptations that are faced without crossing the line of over doing it. Hopefully these next recipes will bring a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when tried.

Strawberry Salad with Chocolate Dressing:

choc salad

You will need:

1 bag spinach leaves
5 large strawberries cut in half
1/8 cup of feta cheese crumbled
½ of a purple onion
Handful of slivered almonds (sunflower seeds or your nut of choice)
3 oz. of dark chocolate
1 tbsp. of honey
1/8 tsp. of black ground pepper
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup of olive oil
4 tbsp. of water

Place the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat, add the chocolate continue to stir the oil and chocolate until it is melted then add the water, pepper and honey, stir until well blended. Remove from heat and let cool 8 minutes. After the 8 minutes add the balsamic vinegar, stir until well blended.

chocolate dressing

Thinly slice the purple onions and place in a skillet that has been drizzled with olive oil. Cook the onions until they become soft, limp and begin to lose their color. Remove the onions from the skillet and place in an airtight container. Take a portion of the dressing and coat the onions on all sides. Place the onions in the refrigerator to cool. Also place the chocolate dressing in a container to cool in the frig for about 30 minutes.

spinach berries feta

Remove half of the onions from the dressing and place on a salad plate. Add the spinach leaves (make sure they are washed and all water has been spun off) Add the feta cheese, strawberries and almonds. Drizzle the chocolate dressing in a zigzag motion over your salad and enjoy.

This next recipe I ran across on ABC Health and Well Being it looks pretty tasty so I am passing it along…

Orange Mint and Chocolate Salad:

orange salad
• 3 oranges, peeled and thinly sliced
• 2 sprigs of mint, washed and leaves picked off the stem
• zest and juice of 1 lime
• 2 tsp of honey
• 20g dark chocolate, grated

Place the orange slices onto a large plate and sprinkle the mint and lime zest over them. In a separate bowl, whisk together the honey and lime juice. Pour this over the oranges and then top with the grated chocolate. Sweet, Simple, Enjoy!