Easy (and healthy!) ways to get your V-day chocolate fix

Happy Valentine’s Day! Are you celebrating today?

While I know many people are hater’s of this particular holiday,  I am on the more neutral end of the spectrum. I, more times than not, have not had a “valentine” on Valentine’s day, but I  feel like the day should focus less on whether or not you are in a relationship and should be more about celebrating those that you love in general. I know when I was growing up my dad would always buy my sister’s and I mini Russel Stover chocolate boxes, and when I went to college,  my mom started a tradition of sending me an edible arrangement every year.  I never felt like I needed a valentine to take part in the day.

 The holiday doesn’t have to be bitter, it should be about celebrating love…. and having an excuse to eat chocolate all day, anyone with me?

Speaking of chocolate, does Valentine’s day make anyone else crave it like crazy (the big chocolate hearts in every supermarket and drugstore probably don’t help)? I feel like it is mandatory to eat something chocolately and delicious today. While I like to eat big pieces of chocolate cake, chocolate bars and heart-shaped boxes of candy as much as the next girl, I believe there are healthier ways to enjoy it as well. If done the right way, it is possible to enjoy “indulgent” treats all day and not end up feeling lethargic with a sugar coma.

To celebrate, I thought I’d suggest some healthy ways to incorporate some chocolately goodness into your life today.

Breakfast ideas:

  • Chocolate breakfast cookie – This was my breakfast of choice this morning…

I made mine with:

-1/2 c oats
-1 tbsp pb
-1 tbsp Hershey’s dark cocoa powder
-1/2 banana
-splash soy milk
-topped with: 2 chopped strawberries + strawberry jelly

1/2 c oatmeal with added cocoa powder (doesn't look appetizing but is SO good

  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal – Mama Pea has a delicious recipe for this that I recommend (which my sister made this morning….)

Snack Ideas:

  • Chocolate-inspired trail mix (mix chocolate chips with some almonds, dried cranberries, and cereal….)
  • Warm a Chocolate Brownie Clif Z bar or any type of chocolate/oat based granola bar in the microwave for 3o seconds for an instant cake-like snack

  • 1 tbsp of Nutella or Justin’s chocolate Hazelnut butter/Chocolate Almond Butter with a chopped apple

Dessert Ideas:

  • “Apple sundae” – chop an apple into bite size chunks and place into a mug or small bowl. Top with a a few tsp chocolate sauce and a sprinkle of granola/sprinkles/raisins/small spoonful pb (the options are endless)…. my sister and I used to do this all the time. It’s rather tasty.
  • Healthified “chocolate mousse” – Mix  plain greek yogurt or cottage cheese with a few tsp of cocoa powder and honey or some chocolate pudding mix (a trick I learned from Julie!). Add some mini chocolate chips and chopped strawberries on top to make it extra delicious.
  • “Chocolate-covered” strawberries – chop some strawberries and top with  a few tablespoons of chocolate sauce –  my friend Mary is a big fan of this one… so simple but so good

(source: http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/11/06/one-minute-chocolate-cake)

Annd if all else fails and you really want something decadent, make this chocolate mousse. I made some last night to have as a Valentine’s day dessert  for later and it is SO GOOD. It’s not exactly healthy, but there is always room for a little treat here and there, right? I won’t lie, I licked the mixing bowl clean… I can’t wait to have some later.

I hope you have a great day!

What are your favorite ways to incorporate chocolate into your life? Any healthy breakfast/snack ideas??

WIAW #2 (February 1, 2012)

Hi there! Happy Wednesday! Can someone please explain to me,

  • How the is high for today is 50 degrees? It is so odd (but I am not complaining)….
  • How it is February 1 today (I swear it was just December)?

I always get excited for new months. I like to plan things to accomplish and ways to make the month fun. February already has some fun things built into it…. my boyfriend and I are celebrating our anniversary this month, it is his birthday month…. so I have a few things to look forward to and to plan (which I need to get on quickly, typing this out is making me realize that these things aren’t too far away!).

Anyway, I enjoyed doing this last week, so I thought I’d join the What I Ate Wednesday party again. Thanks Jenn for letting me participate!

Breakfast – 6:15 am

Yesterday for breakfast I had an odd craving for eggs. I usually never want savory things for breakfast (I am all about eating peanut butter and banana in some form), so I was a little surprised. I am not one to ignore a craving, so I just went with it. I had an omelette with:

  • egg whites
  •  peppers
  • mushrooms
  • zucchini
  • goat cheese

I always get a little excited when chopping vegetables, so I had an extra pile of extra omelette filling on the side, as well as a slice of whole wheat toast.

Snack 1: 9:15 am

For my mid-morning snack I had a handful of pistachios and a few pieces of chili dried mango (from Trader Joes). Both were pretty delicious and kept me quite content until lunch.

Lunch: 12:00 pm

For lunch I had a “pasta salad” – heavier on the veggies than the pasta, with some balsamic vinegar + honey on top. My salad contained:

  • spinach/kale (base)
  • peppers
  • zucchini
  • carrot
  • whole grain pasta
  • white beans
  • goat cheese

I also had a Fugi apple on the side as well. I am usually a big Pink Lady/Honeycrisp fan because they have the perfect tart/sweet balance and  the right amount of crunch that is necessary in an apple.  I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I have been liking my Fugi apples this week.  (I have a slight obsession with apples if you can’t tell….).

Snack: 3:30 pm

As my afternoon snack I had a (brand new!) Uber Larabar in the Bananas Foster flavor. I was pretty excited when I spotted these in Whole Foods last Friday, since I have a definite love of  bars (Larabar, Clif Bars, Kind Bars…) and I’ve never seen these (anyone else have one yet?)!

I must say, it was rather delicious. It tastes like the normal banana bread flavor, but has a good amount of crunch and texture from the addition of whole walnuts, almonds, and pecans. I would definitely recommend it. I also tried my sister’s Cherry Cobbler on Sunday, and it was equally as good. There are a few more ingredients in these than the normal Larabar flavors:

but it was soooo good. I am a new fan of the Uber bar. Now I just need to try the Roasted Nut Roll and Apple Turnover flavors…

Dinner: 5:45 pm

I ate dinner before going to the gym, so I tried to keep it rather light. Its weird, I can eat before going to the gym in the morning and have no problem at all, but, for some reason, at night I have issues. Maybe it’s what I’m eating vs. when I’m eating? Who knows. I’m working on finding a good balance.

I had a veggie burger on a piece of whole grain toast with romaine, broccoli sprouts,and hummus and also had some sautéed broccoli and cauliflower on the side.

Snack/Dessert: 9:00 pm

I almost always have to have something sweet at the end of the day. It is like my day is not complete without it. Last night I had some cottage cheese (4% – which is really good, by the way – its so creamy!) with pumpkin, peanut butter and some crushed Kashi Honey Sunshine cereal on top.

I haven’t had pumpkin in a while and was a little “pumpkin-ed” out in the fall, but this was really good. I think I may need to bring it back for a while longer. The pumpkin + peanut butter combo never seems to fail me.

So that concludes WIAW. I kind of love seeing what other people eat (it’s why I became so interested/fascinated by blogs), so I’m glad that this little tradition exists and that I can take part. Thanks again Peas and Crayons!

Have a great day everyone!

What’s the best thing you ate yesterday?