Countdown to surgery, three weeks, eek!
This week has been a crazy week filled with the ups and downs of a roller coaster ride in a hurricane. The enormity of the undertaking of getting a knee replacement has been compounded by the fact that sense I have lost 15 pounds and eat 99% primal, my knee pain has diminished dramatically. So it has my wee brain smoking away wondering if I should postpone the surgery.
It is wonderful to feel this great! I can work long hours and still have energy left to spare where they use to tire me. I swear I’m going to turn into a Mark Sisson success story, it feels that real and powerful. Never in my life has feeling good overruled the need for chocolate.
Now with that said….. let’s talk about chocolate. I haven’t been eating much of it, obviously, but sense this is a lifestyle change and sense Valentine’s day is coming up, it is time to take the chocolate out of the closet. (That is literally where I have it!) We all love chocolate but what it the big deal about it and why is it paleo approved?
First let’s just start with the basics. There are many varieties of chocolate to get captivated by and it is all determined by their chocolate to sugar ratio. The more chocolate present the less sugar so consequently the stronger the chocolate flavor and the happier the caveperson. Super dark chocolate has very little sugar and 70-90% chocolate. It has a deep and sexy flavor to it that is not that sweet but very rich. It is the chocolate that has the most nutritional qualities in it and is primally approved.
Dark chocolate is loaded with so many antioxidants that blueberries don’t even hold a candle to it. The fat content of chocolate is made up from cocoa butter which is a friendly fat that is cholesterol neutral. It is also mineral rich with potassium, magnesium and many others. If you needed more reasons to eat chocolate, there they are. On the opposite spectrum is milk chocolate, which most of us grew up with. It has the highest sugar and the least amount of chocolate, 20- 25%. Not good.
Now the question we all have been waiting for, why does chocolate make us so happy? It seems that it contains a substance called theobromine that stimulates the body to release endorphins, which are our natural opiates. (Oddly enough, it is the theobromine that also makes chocolate toxic to dogs and cats.)
A recent discovered about chocolate is that it has its own “terrior”. Which means the chocolate is imbued with the flavor of the land it is grown on, like wine. If you look, fine chocolates are beginning to be labeled with where they are grown. There are also many chocolate companies that are beginning to buy “fair trade” chocolate, which means they are paying the people who grow it fair wages. No matter what form chocolate comes in, it has a special place in all of our souls.
I buy my chocolate from this great Oregon based website called chocosphere. Not only do they have chocolate drops over 85% (which I’m sure you’ve noticed is hard to find in stores) but they also have a nice selection of fair trade and single origin chocolates. I recommend the República del Cacao 85% chocolate drops. Excellent single origin chocolate that is worth of the fantastic recipe adapted from Elana’s pantry. Happy Valentine’s day and enjoy!
Chocolate coconut dream pie
Dark chocolate pie crust
Makes one large pie or many lovely tarts. 12 servings all together.
1 1/4 cups of almond flour
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
2 Tablespoons of coconut oil or a high quality oil
2 tablespoons of honey
1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips, melted
Turn on the oven to 350 degrees with a rack right in the middle of the oven. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt and baking soda and whisk it together till it is blended. In a smaller bowl combine the oil, honey, and melted chocolate. (yum) Stir the chocolate mix into the dry mix and stir till everything is well combined. (Here is the fun part) Press the crust into a 9 ½ inch deep-dish pie pan. This takes a wee bit of patience and love to get it all in there evenly and pretty.
Pop the crust into the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes, until the surface of the crust loses its sheen and starts to look dry. Be careful here, it is easy to overcook this nugget. Take out of the oven and let cool for at least an hour before you fill it up with yumminess.
The luscious filling
2 (13.5oz) cans of coconut milk (not light!)
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1/4 cup of arrowroot powder
1/2 cup of honey or agave nectar
2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
2 cups of super dark chocolate chips
After making this pie many times, I have learned you get out everything you are going to need on the counter by the stove, BEFORE you start to cook. This pie requires a strong arm and conviction but the rewards are awe inspiring. Now, on with the action.
Pour all but 1/4 cup of the coconut milk and salt into a medium to large saucepan. Measure out your arrowroot powder and place in a small bowl. Pour the 1/4 cup of coconut milk in with the arrowroot powder and whip it up with a whisk till it is a nicely blended paste. Measure your chocolate chips, honey and vanilla and set aside. Now you get to turn on the stove under the coconut milk to medium high heat. Bring the coconut milk to a simmer, almost a boil, whisking frequently. When it comes to a simmer get to whisking all the time, for a few minutes.
Add the arrowroot powder paste and keep on whisking like mad till the coconut milk starts to thicken, about 2-3 minutes, then whisk in the honey and vanilla. Stir like a crazy chef for about 1 more minute then remove from heat and keep whisking for another minute or two. Let it cool for a few minutes then whisk in the chocolate chips till they are melted. (Love this part! One could save all the whisking if you used an immersion blender or handheld blender but I like the tactile feel of doing it by hand.) Continue to let it cool for about 15-20 minutes while whisking it here and there and try not to drink it all, but spoon tasting is definitely required. Pour into the awaiting cooled pie crust, toss some nuts on top if you so please, and refrigerate for 2 hours or better yet, overnight till you serve it.