Lily’s Dark Chocolate Coconut Bar

Hey! I’m still here!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, with school winding down, finals and then work, work, work! One thing I’ve learned amidst a busy lifestyle is – amidst chaos, eat chocolate.

lilys2

Haha well, that’s what helps me, anyways..

But in all seriousness, you have to make time for yourself. You should never be to busy to sit, take a breather, and savor the moment.

But back to the deliciousness – hands down one of THE BEST chocolate bars I’ve ever tasted. And I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate!

Taste: A+++

This bar is sweetened with stevia (and for those of you who don’t know me – I’m a huge stevia advocate! I’ll save the deets for another post but it’s my sweetener of choice). I was so surprised at the sweet richness of this bar. The stevia was a great complement to the coconut, which on its own has a slight sweetness. It had a velvety texture and was quick to melt in your hands (that was my excuse for eating it so fast…I didn’t want to get my hands messy 😉 ). It is 55% cocoa, so it is not too dark.

IMAG4438

CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE

IMAG4441

CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE

lilys

CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE dwindling down to the last few bites.. 😦

Presentation: A

Fun designs, nice small chocolate blocks for portioning (aka making me feel like I’m having more chocolate!).

 20130515_142743

Price: Seriously who cares how much it is when a bar is this delicious? 😉

But for those of you who want to know, it the bar normally runs around $3.99-$4.99 for 3 oz. , but I got mine on sale for $2.99 at Giant!

I think this would be a great chocolate bar for anyone who is trying to transition away from milk chocolate or the mainstream brands because it is simply so enjoyable! They also have different flavors such as Rice, Almond and Original. I’m hoping they come out with more!

Lily’s, you have a customer for life. My heart and stomach is yours! I encourage you to try this product!!

lilys3

100% indulgence is right.

Trader Joe’s Organic Stone Ground Salt & Pepper Dark Chocolate

Word of the day: clutch. According to Urban Dictionary, there are several definitions of clutch, but I am using it as defined: Exactly what you need, exactly when you need it.

as in “Trader Joes is clutch when it comes to unique, affordable chocolate!”

 IMAG4524

Taste: B+

This chocolate was definitely easy to eat. It was light, but with a chalky texture. It actually reminded me of sand, but in a melt in your mouth sorta way! Sounds unappealing for chocolate, but it wasn’t bad at all. The only thing that threw me off was the pepper. I don’t think I could have this as a dessert because after each bite I had to have a baby carrot to cleanse my palate…and get rid of the spicy, scratchy feeling at the back of my throat! Don’t be taken aback, it’s definitely worth a try!

IMAG4527

What I loved most about this chocolate is that is only has four ingredients: organic cocoa nibs, organic cane sugar, organic cracked pepper and kosher salt.

 IMAG4525

The simpler, the better!

Presentation: A

I liked how it was pocket sized and travel friendly (I know…chocolate IS travel friendly, but girl jeans have small pockets and this one fit in mine okay?).

Price: A

This chocolate circle was $1.49 at Trader Joe’s for 2.6oz. Most of their 3 oz bars are $1.99, so that works out to be around .66 cents an ounce, and this worked out to be about .57 cents an ounce. I’d say that’s a pretty nice difference. And its also not too much chocolate, share it with a friend…that would be clutch : )

IMAG4526

Talk to me: Have you tried this TJ’s Salt & Pepper Dark Chocolate? Would you?

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Hey strangers!

It has been so busy lately with the spring semester coming to an end. Only 3 weeks left…and 3 semesters left til graduation! It can’t come soon enough. I feel like as soon as I finish studying for one test, another one pops up. They are like little monsters…

Anyways, today I said screw it…I’m not doing anything scholarly related! (And hoped my homework did itself).

I know its so stereotypical, but I love being in the kitchen. Its just so fun experimenting! I feel like it gets my creativity going, even though painting or learning a new language involves way less calories…

But who cares. So I made a cake!

IMAG4468

I went all out — well sorta. Over the past few weeks I’ve been gradually phasing out grains and processed sugar. A coworker and I decided to do a green smoothie diet, for a month! I can’t say I didn’t have a few cheat days, but that makes it sustainable, right? It’s lot easier than you would think. The diet basically goes: green smoothie for breakfast, raw vegetables at every meal, emphasizing the vegetables and eliminating the processed grains, red meat, soy, refined sugar, and junk. Best part? No calorie counting! However, since I’ve always been a sweet tooth, I wanted something a little more than a green smoothie today. Don’t worry… these desserts fall within the diet!

I don’t use measuring tools and I tend to eyeball, so the measurements are approximate!

IMAG4460

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache (Grain-free and no refined sugar)

For the Cake:

½ cup 100% chocolate squares*

3 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp raw honey + more to taste, if needed

¾ cup raw coconut nectar (you could probably use maple syrup, stevia or more raw honey to sweeten it)

3 organic, free range eggs

1 tsp vanilla

Cocoa powder (for dusting the pan)

For the Ganache:

¼ cup of coconut milk

1 tsp coconut oil

1/3 cup of 100% chocolate squares*

1 tbsp raw honey + more to taste, if needed

(*I just used 100% cacao because I wanted to be in control of how much sweetener I put in it, but feel free to use semi-sweet or dark chocolate baking chips or bars!)

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Using a double boiler, (or just boiling water and putting a glass bowl over the steam) melt chocolate squares, coconut oil and raw honey. Keep mixing until it is all melted together evenly. Take off stove and let it cool for 5-10 minutes while you prepare step 2.
  3. Mix eggs, raw coconut nectar, and vanilla. Once chocolate mixture is cooled off enough (make sure it is definitely cool enough so the eggs don’t cook in the chocolate mixture!), slowly stir in egg mixture. Beat it up until it is all incorporated. It should be a smooth, velvety texture.
  4. Line a baking pan (I actually only had a cast iron skillet on hand, so I suppose you could use whatever) with cocoa powder. Pour in mixture.
  5. Place in oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the center can be poked with a fork and comes out clean.
  6. IMAG4462When cake is finished, start making the ganache using the same method you did in step 2 (double boiler or glass bowl over boiling water).
  7. Melt chocolate, coconut oil and honey. When it is all melted, slowly add in coconut milk. Stir until it is all evenly incorporated.
  8. You may keep the cake in the pan you used to bake it in, but I transferred mine to a plate. Then pour the ganache over the cake, using a spoon or spatula to evenly spread it over.

IMAG4469

Although it tastes a lot better letting it chill in the fridge for an hour or two, I just had to try it immediately (it was quality control okay?).  It is sooo rich and decadent, its actually hard to overeat! I put half of the cake in the freezer so I could have something to look forward to for weeks to come.

 IMAG4481

To all my fellow students, I encourage you to reward your efforts with this cake. To everyone else, enjoy!

IMAG4422

Oh, and don’t forget to smile 🙂

xo

Newman’s Own Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Peanut butter and chocolate are like a steamy love affair – so wrong but it feels so right. I mean, who doesn’t feel a little guilty when eating a slice of peanut butter chocolate pie, or a peanut butter chocolate cheesecake? Seriously, it’s just too good. Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so either.

newmans own pb choc2

I mean chocolate and caramel? Child’s play. Chocolate with nuts? Innocent. Chocolate cups with a gooey peanut butter center!? Just plain raunchy.

Taste: A
These ain’t your mainstream Reese’s peanut butter cups.As soon as I bit into this bad boy I was greeted by a gooey, salty, rich peanut butter filling.

newmans own pb choc 5

Hello gorgeous!

newmans own pb choc 3

Not too dark chocolate melded with luscious creamy peanut butter, you already know I’m giving this an A. Biased? Maybe.. 🙂

newmans own pb choc 7

Presentation: C
Okay I am pulling myself out of this peanut butter chocolate covered daydream and giving this a C. Standard packaging is a bit boring.

Price: A
I love how they give you 3 cups, because I’m so used to only getting two from Reeses! So it was a pleasant surprise when I opened the package. But keep in mind these are smaller cups, so I think it may balance out. Every grocery store I’ve been to had them for $1.99, which I don’t think is a large price to pay for a little chocolate peanut butter bliss.

newmans own pb choc 4

I like to play with my food.

Ethical Bonus! I’ve taken this straight from the Newman’s Own Organics website:

Newman’s Own Organics has made a commitment with the launch of our new chocolate bars and cups to pay a premium above and beyond the current market price for Certified Organic Cocoa Beans that is tied to the Fair Trade market price of Organic Cocoa Beans.

www.rainforest-alliance.org

The USDA Organic Seal assures that at least 95% of the ingredients are organically certified.

The Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal guarantees that the cocoa used in our Signature Series was grown on farms that meet comprehensive standards for sustainable farming, protecting soil, waterways and wildlife habitat as well as the rights and welfare of workers, their families and communities.

newmans own pb chocYay!

Divine’s Fruit and Nut Dark Chocolate

I’ve been on a roll with Divine’s chocolate lately…it was on sale at Wegmans, and then while I was walking to class the other day, I noticed my university was offering it in vending machines! And for how much? Two bucks! So tight. Best believe I stocked up on that.

 divines fruit nut 3

Taste: A

Ever so slightly lighter (at 68% cocoa minimum) than my usual 70% dark chocolates, this was smooth and sweet (sweeter for a dark chocolate lover). The almonds added a crunchy texture and the sweetness of the currants cut the bitterness of the dark cocoa. It was a bit softened because it was kept in my backpack in my warm car, but I think that actually helped! The bar wasn’t melty, but bendy…if you have ever experienced that with your chocolate. Haha. I think I might have a new way to enjoy chocolate. Anyways, I certainly recommend this crunchy, fruity bar to anyone!

I mean, just look at that texture…

divines fruit nut (2)

divines fruit nut 4

Look at it!!

Presentation: A

Like I’ve said in my previous reviews of Divine’s chocolate, this is no different.

Price: A/B

Well, if you go to a college that sells this chocolate in a vending machine for $2 bucks, then you got yourself a nice deal pal. However, I have a feeling most of you lovely readers will be getting this from a supermarket, where it ranges from $2.50-$4.

divines frui nut 5

Ethical Bonus!

Divine’s slogan is “Heavenly Chocolate with a Heart” and as I stated earlier the script within the wrapper not only explains how the company was started, but also how it is a Fair Trade Certified company.

divines fruit nut

One more time 🙂

Reader Feedback: Have you tried any of Divines chocolate? Tell me what you think of them.

Divine’s Mint Dark Chocolate

Ahh I got a whiff of minty freshness as soon as I tore open the wrapper!

 Divine 70% Mint

Taste: A

 

Unlike their Orange and Ginger flavor, this mint specks in this bar are crunchy and light, so you don’t have to worry about them sticking to your teeth and trying to wedge them out with your tongue! The chocolate was dark and smooth, and the crunchy bits of mint added a great texture without taking away from the experience. It was a light velvety smooth, and almost evaporated in your mouth. I find it amazing that Divine can accomplish this with dark chocolate. This is great for a peppermint lover, but if you don’t like mint, stay away!

 Chocolate Mint

Presentation: A

 Divine Chocolate Mint

Just as I said in my previous post, I like their eye catching designs and gold foil (who doesn’t like shiny things?). The designs apparently are traditional west African symbols that are used on hand made crafts and each has its own meaning. It’d be interesting to know what each meant (probably subliminal messages…EAT ME, HERSHEYS SUCK ETC).

 

Price: B

 

$2.50 – $4.00 a 3.5oz. bar, depending on where you buy from.

 

Ethical Bonus!

Divine’s slogan is “Heavenly Chocolate with a Heart” and as I stated earlier the script within the wrapper not only explains how the company was started, but also how it is a Fair Trade Certified company.

 

 

Reader Feedback: Have you ever tried Divine’s Mint Dark Chocolate? If so, tell me what you think!

Divine’s 70% Dark Chocolate with Ginger and Orange

Wegman’s is seriously awesome. Is it wrong that I fantasize about getting locked in the store after they close and just to frolic around and try all the products they have? No…I can’t be the only one. Anyways, they have a grand selection of chocolate in TWO different sections; the normal candy aisle and their ‘natural food’ section. Nice! They had these Divine chocolate bars on a 2 for $5 deal so I decided to give em a try.

 Divine Chocolate orange

Taste: B

Dark, rich, and melt in your mouth chocolate. I always felt like I could taste a difference in quality dark chocolate and the more mainstream dark chocolate. The taste is dark, but the texture is light and smooth and almost evaporates. However I was not a fan of the ginger and orange flecks getting stuck in my teeth. It was a nice flavor combination, but when my tongue got preoccupied licking the hard gumminess of the ginger and orange bits, it took away from the enjoyability (I think I just made up that word?) of the chocolate.

IMAG4283

Presentation: A

Nice eye catching designs on the wrapper, the gold foil is a plus and there is a story behind it all! Read about how the company was founded while you enjoy this bar.

 IMAG4287

Price: B

The price ranges from about $2.50 to $3.25 for a 3.5oz. bar if you get it from a supermarket like Wegman’s or Whole Foods, unless your in a fancy chocolate store where they can be up to $4.

IMAG4285-1

Ethical Bonus!

Divine’s slogan is “Heavenly Chocolate with a Heart” and as I stated earlier the script within the wrapper not only explains how the company was started, but also how it is a Fair Trade Certified company.

Reader Feedback: Have you ever tried Divine’s 70% Dark Chocolate with Ginger and Orange? If so, tell me what you think!