Monthly Archives: April 2016

Best Mocha Ever!

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A long time ago I convinced myself that mochas are basically health food and the philosopher in me then reasoned that I should have one *every* day.  The antioxidants in the chocolate and coffee!  The calcium and phosphorus in the milk!  I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t have them all. the. time.  Then I went through the drive through at our local coffee shop and when the barista asked, “do you want a grande or a venti today?” I realized I needed to re-think my mocha habit.  The chocolate syrup that is used at coffee shops, gasp!  I was mildly horrified when I looked at the nutritional information.  It was not pretty.  Add that to the whopping price tag and the coffee shop mocha really needs to be left to special occasions (I am no longer counting driving in my car as a special occasion 🙂 ).  After lots of research and tweaking I have figured out to make the healthiest mocha EVER!  Oh, and did I mention that it is way better than the one you can get at the fancy place with the mermaid on the cup?  You’re welcome. 🙂

Here’s the breakdown:

Chocolate is really not bad for us…in reasonable amounts and if you’re opting for dark chocolate.  That is where the Hershey’s Special Dark comes in.  I HAVE to have chocolate, it’s good for me!  Cleveland Clinic spells it all out here: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/heart/prevention/nutrition/food-choices/benefits-of-chocolate.

Milk really does do a body good.  Consuming low-fat dairy is a great way to maintain healthy bones.  All cow’s milks contain the same amount of calcium and the low-fat variety just takes out all of the extra calories and unhealthy fats.  (You can use non-dairy milks, too, just opt for the lower calorie version to keep this a healthy mocha).

Most of us can use a little more potassium.  Did you know that one of the ingredients that really sets apart the coffee shop mocha is the salt?  Welp.  It sure is and adding lots of sodium to our diets is not something I support…so that is why I use Lite Salt in this healthy mocha.  Lite salt has a smidge of sodium and gives us potassium chloride instead.  There are lots of different brands so find the potassium chloride version you like best.  I like to use Morton’s Lite Salt.

Non-nutritive sweeteners are safe.  Sure, I was worried about them for a bit and after doing a lot of research I learned that they are a great option for adding sweetness without lots of calories and blood sugar swings.  A great article was published in Diabetes Spectrum that is a great summary about non-nutritive sweeteners.  Find the article here: http://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/content/25/2/104.full.

Now here’s the recipe.  Enjoy!

Best Mocha Ever!

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 3-4 Packets Non-nutritive Sweetener (I like to use Natra Taste or Equal)
  • 1 pinch Lite Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons hot water
  • About 4 ounces espresso or double-strength coffee (I use decaf)
  • 6-8 ounces skim milk (or milk substitute)

Instructions

  1. In a mug combine the cocoa powder, sweetener, lite salt and stir to combine. Slowly stir in the hot water and mix until smooth.
  2. Add espresso or coffee and stir until well combined.
  3. Froth milk or heat it in the microwave. When I am feeling fancy I use our frother or give it a quick whir in the blender to add some air. Usually I just use milk straight from the fridge.
  4. Add milk to mocha. Stir and enjoy!
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Are you on team coffee or team tea?  I’d love to hear in the comments section below!  Thanks for reading!

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Book Review: The Whole Coconut

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“I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts” has been playing in my head on a loop since the first time I read about The Whole Coconut. We love coconut milk and have some unsweetened coconut flakes and coconut oil in our pantry so I decided to give this book a try to find some new recipes for them. I made it to the end of the book with only a handful of recipes I wanted to try, but I was incredibly excited about those few and hoping that they would be delicious and make me want to invest in the harder-to-find ingredients.  After watching as much Survivor as I have I never envision myself breaking down a coconut myself, but the section on this in the book (page 5) is interesting and thoroughly explains the coconut ingredients.  Some of the recipes sounded good, but without any recommended substitutions for the more obscure ingredients I didn’t want to bother.  Some of the recipes just didn’t seem like something new or exciting.  Most recipes contain hard-to-find ingredients, though there is a Resources section at the back of The Whole Coconut to help in locating them.

When I finished reading this book I felt irked by it and it took me a little while to figure out why. The feel of this book is very different from my approach to healthy eating and I think that is why it left me feeling unsettled.  The tone of the text is preachy rather than helpful.  The layout of the recipes was distracting with titles of recipe mid-page.  It felt as though the author was trying too hard to be “healthy” based on current health trends and not longstanding evidence-based nutrition science. You don’t need to use brown rice flour, coconut sugar or nutritional yeast in order to be healthy. This book struck a nerve with me in that regard. I like books that make healthy eating attainable for everyone and this book makes it feel elitist and inaccessible.  On a more serious note, the author discusses when she underwent an elimination diet and recommends them and I want to urge caution.  Elimination diets should not be attempted without consulting your primary care provider and/or a registered dietitian to avoid nutritional deficiencies.coco prep

Now, on to the recipes. We ended up trying two of them and here is what we thought:

Creamy Red Lentil Stew (main courses, page 45).  This was good, but felt like something we have had before.  When I asked hubby what he thought he said, “it was good, but not really my thing.”  My five-year-old (I left out the jalapeno) and I loved it and I would definitely make this again.  It was quick to prepare, flavorful and felt light, yet hearty. coco corn

Ginger Creamed Corn (salads and sides, page 70).  This was my favorite of the two recipes we tried. We used frozen corn and it felt so fresh with the combination of coconut milk, lime juice and cilantro.  This was also very easy to prep and tasted great. I am still looking forward to trying the Black Bean and Chard Quinoa with Tomato Salsa (breakfast, page 20). After that I will likely leave this book on the trading shelf at the library.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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