By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet
“The fireplace is an appropriate element in any room. Imagine relaxing by the fire, reading the paper with a cup of hot chocolate in your bedroom. It's very sensory.”
-- Gary Lewis quotes
-- Gary Lewis quotes
I am feeling fall and I'm loving it. The kitchen is squeaky clean and organized. The wood is stacked. The pantry is getting fuller day by day. The wind gusts are increasing. The pine needles are falling down. The companion animal trio are nearby for warmth and comfort. And here I sit, suffering from mega writer's block. My monthly Earth Changes article is due yesterday and I am watching Food Network and Mother Nature make her moves.
I see more than less of the celeb chefs are still flaunting high fat and high sugar dishes, such as hamburgers, monster cupcakes and frosted sugar cookies. While good fats are good for you, moderation is key. I don't want you or me to pack on unwanted pounds or body fat this season. So, as the adage goes, I'm turning over a new leaf. Translation: I'm cookin' up more recipes boasting seasonal fresh fruits and veggies...
Tonight for a late and fun snack it'll be a mug full of gourmet hot chocolate spiked with cinnamon (maybe a gooey low-cal, fat free marshmallow or two) and a fresh orange, scented citrus candles, and my first fire of the season (enjoyable in the living room but also enjoyable in the bedroom with a view of the fireplace). It's simple pleasures, like these, that can give your senses from head to toe a feel-good boost without putting your health in harm's way.
Since my work on The Healing Powers of Chocolate, I have been using MarieBelle Aztec Hot Chocolate (European Style recipe) ...Tonight, I'm trying something different. Ghirardelli Chocolate, Natural Unsweetened Cocoa: 1 1/2 Tbs. Cocoa, 1 1/2 Tbs. Sugar, 1 cup milk (I favor organic 2% reduced fat milk). I can spike it with cinnamon sticks. And, of course, a juicy sweet and tart autumn orange. (Ah, warmth of chocolate and spice teamed with vitamin C. How good is that to boost the immune system during flu season?)
This type of sensual treat after 7:00 P.M. is the European way to stay lean, happy, and healthy as I write in my books: The Healing Powers of Vinegar, Olive Oil, and Chocolate. It's the traditional Mediterranean style that works. Too many friends of mine will eat dinner later and this type of behavior leads to weight gain and other health woes. I recommend do as the Europeans do: If you must eat later in the night, make it fresh fruit (apples, cantelope, kiwi and so much more) and hot chocolate.
The bottom line: Studies have shown that certain smells affect the "pleasure center" of the brain, making you feel happy. Researchers also know dark chocolate contains amazing compounds to provide a sense of well-being and good health. And happy people are healthier people who live longer. A toast to hot chocolate 'n' citrus (which go together like vinegar and olive oil), and scented candles.
QUESTION: WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU HAD A CUP OF HOT COCOA--WHERE WERE YOU? PLEASE SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE.