Bench-Pressing a Hersey Bar

“Strength is the capacity to break a Hershey bar into four pieces with your bare hands – and then eat just one of the pieces.”
― Author Judith Viorst

When I was raising my children and dreaming of one day being–dare I say it–a famous author, I enjoyed reading Judith Viorst’s column in Redbook magazine each month. I also read her books. I even wrote to her once and received in return a sweet postcard.

When I become famous, I’ll answer my fan mail too, I thought.

Mrs. Viorst could make us chuckle about what it takes to keep house and raise children and maybe even teach us about resisting chocolate. But she couldn’t tell us where the ultimate source of strength comes from.

Like me, you’re probably faced with areas of weakness or a problem that doesn’t seem to be getting solved quickly enough for you. Where do you turn? Bench-pressing a dark chocolate candy bar seems like a good idea, but it doesn’t truly solve a problem of any magnitude. (Much as this chocoholic hates to admit that.)

My children are grown, but being a parent of a grown child possesses its own challenges. I’ve always been good at the housekeeping thing, but there are days I’d sooner eat that Hersey bar than sweep and mop the floors. And then, there’s the never-ending challenge of keeping finances in order, relationships from falling apart, and my health from doing likewise. I’m getting old and sort of broken down.

Heaven, help me! Literally.

“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

When I’m honest, I’ll tell you I’m challenged on some days to keep my eyes on Jesus, the one who keeps me strong. We face things like the annoyance of a cancelled appointment, a disobedient child, needing an unexpected surgery, or the death of a loved one. Scripture says these things, which we can see, are “light and momentary troubles.”

It doesn’t seem like it, does it? Yet we’re told to stay strong because what eternity holds is worth it. God wouldn’t tell us a lie about eternity; it’s his dwelling place and inherent in his nature. So trust him for that and stay strong.

Chocolate Addict Foodie

Yeah, I’m addicted to chocolate. But you won’t hear me saying I want to recover from the addiction. Any excuse to eat it is a good one. Several years ago, I made a New Year’s resolution to eat chocolate at least once a week. I figured it was a resolution I could keep.

Today is National Dessert Day so Foodie Friday will feature a couple (or more) chocolate desserts. But first, let’s talk about baking with chocolate.

Helpful Hints

For converting chocolate, these tips should help.

1 oz. (1 square) unsweetened baking chocolate = 3 oz. (1/2 cup) semi-sweet chocolate morsels. If, in a recipe calling for unsweetened baking chocolate, you use semi-sweet morsels instead, decrease butter, margarine or shortening by 1 T. and sugar by ¼ cup.

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder = 3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate morsels. When substituting, again, butter (or whatever you use) and sugar should be decreased by the same amounts.

Chocolate may develop a grey film on its surface called a “bloom.” Chocolate bloom is caused by cocoa butter within the chocolate rising to the surface. It’s no big deal; it doesn’t change the taste, even though it dulls the color. Go ahead and use it for melting or baking. The attractive color will reappear.

Keep chocolate in a cool, dry place. It can be refrigerated, but if you choose to do so, wrap it tightly so it doesn’t absorb odors from other foods. Airtight wrapping also prevents the chocolate from acquiring moisture which can condense on it. This is a problem discussed below. Also, chocolate becomes hard and brittle when chilled, so allow it to come to room temperature before using.

About Melting Chocolateheart-dripping-chocolate

Important Warning: The smallest drop of moisture (even a wet spoon or steam from a double boiler) can cause melted chocolate to become lumpy. If this occurs, stir in 1 T. vegetable oil or shortening for every 3 oz. chocolate. Don’t use butter since it contains water.

Yield: One 12-ounce package (2 cups) of semi-sweet morsels equals 1 cup melted chocolate.

Top-of-stove method: Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Place over hot, not boiling water. Stir occasionally until smooth.

Microwave method: To melt chocolate, place morsels or chunks of baking chocolate in a dry 4 cup microwave safe bowl or measuring cup. Microwave on high for 2 minutes; stir. Nuke it again on high 1 more minute and stir until it’s smooth.

These methods also, obviously, work for other morsels such as butterscotch, white chocolate, etc.

I’m doing the happy homemaker thing today. I’ve baked the squash and toasted the seeds from it. Next will come the mending, ironing, and laundry. But I just might get around to making something chocolatey for National Dessert Day. Brownies? Sounds good.

I promised some recipes and here are some I found. My favorite dessert, besides pie, is cheesecake and a well-done cheesecake is worth the effort. Urban Bakes offers her Hazelnut Chocolate Cheesecake. Looks dreamy.

Suburban Soapbox has a recipe for a No Bake Chocolate Mousse Pie. It’s easier to prepare than a cheesecake, but you have to save a bunch of your daily calories for it. It’s reeealy rich.

And these aren’t exactly a dessert––more of treat or snack––but here you’ll find a recipe for my ‘famous’ Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.

keep calm eat dk chocWe who are addicted to chocolate could have told researchers a long time ago that chocolate is good for you. We didn’t know anything scientific; we just knew we felt better when we ate it. Right? Well, here’s a story by Medical News Today with a list of facts about chocolate and some reasons backed up by research (finally!) for why we should be eating this sweet–or semi-sweet–substance.

Enjoy your chocolate desserts today!

Quotes From Foodies

What do some famous chefs and food writers have to say about cooking and food? See for yourself.

“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” – James Beard

“You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.” – Paul Prudhomme

“People who love to eat are always the best people.” – Julia Child

“Cooking with kids is not just about ingredients, recipes and cooking. It’s about harnessing imagination, empowerment and creativity.” – Guy FieriGuy F cooking with kids

“A home cook who relies too much on a recipe is sort of like a pilot who reads the plane’s instruction manual while flying.”Alton Brown (This is a personal favorite since I’m a “by guess and by golly” cook. Pg)

“Most seafoods…should be simply threatened with heat and then celebrated with joy.”Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet

“Nouvelle Cuisine, roughly translated, means: I can’t believe I paid ninety-six dollars and I’m still hungry.”Mike Kalin

“Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.”  Alice May Brocke

”This is my advice to people: Learn how to cook, try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun” – Julia Child

“The table is a meeting place, a gathering ground, the source of sustenance and nourishment, festivity, safety, and satisfaction. A person cooking is a person giving: Even the simplest food is a gift.” – Laurie Colwin

Let’s allow words of wisdom from other reliable sources as well.

chocolate-whisk“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” – Charles Dickens

“How can I govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?” – Charles De Gaulle (Frankly, I never met a cheese I didn’t like. Pg)

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” – Virginia Woolf

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

“Strength is the ability to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands and then eat just one of those pieces”Judith Viorst

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.” – Oscar Wilde

I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.”Erma Bombeck

Have you heard a quote about food and cooking from a chef or other notable person? Maybe someone not so notable, but wise. Or funny. Let’s hear it.

Your comments are like cream cheese frosting on my carrot cake.