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Chocolate by Shara Aaron and Monica Bearden

https://i0.wp.com/cdn3.fishpond.co.nz/0011/290/023/3954044/4.jpegTitle: Chocolate: A Healthy Passion

Author: Shara Aaron and Monica Bearden

Publisher: Prometheus Books 2008

Genre: Nonfiction — Food

Pages: 213

Rating:  4 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Mixing It Up — Food; Fall into Reading; Color Coded — Brown

How I Got It: Library Loan

The world loves chocolate and chances are, with the majority of the population saying their favorite flavor is chocolate, you do too. This enjoyable book will serve to deepen, not only your love, but also your understanding of chocolate.Some may think that chocolate is simply a treat, something that satisfies a sweet tooth. After reading this truly pleasurable and educational account by two leading nutritionists, you will agree that chocolate is much more than that. You will discover it encompasses a culture, a cuisine, a treatment, and much more!

I went to the library to grab some food related book to finish my challenge.  At first I was thinking food travel memoir or a bio of a great chef, but then I spied this gem on the shelf.  A book about chocolate?  How could I resist?  While it does contain a fair amount of recipes involving chocolate, by favorite sections was all about the history and spread of chocolate.  I knew about the Aztecs and Mayans enjoying an ancient version of hot chocolate, but loved hearing more about its place in their cultures.  Although less enjoyable, I still found the detailed process of making chocolate interesting.  If I was a better and more patient cook, I would totally try these recipes.  As it is, I did enjoy a nice cup of raspberry hot chocolate while reading.

And with this book, I have now completed the Mixing It Up Reading Challenge!  Woohoo!

2012 Mixing It Up Reading Challenge

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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Meals a la Tobe! #10

Sunday

— Pulled Pork Sandwiches

— Potato Chips

Always a classic choice.  I especially love them with dill pickles.

Monday

— Orange Dill Mahi Mahi

Basically cook the fish over med-high heat with a sauce of orange juice, red onion, and dill.

— Peas

— Rice

— French bread

Light, but refreshing.  A definite addition to my recipe list.

Tuesday

— Mini meatloafs

— Baked potato

— Green beans

— French bread

J has professed that he doesn’t like meat loaf, but he liked mine.  I mixed cracker crumbs, an egg, oregano, garlic, onion, and red pepper.  I like a bit of kick to my meat loaf.

Wednesday

— Eat out: Ruby Tuesday!

Thursday

— Eat out: Valentino’s for a baby shower!

Friday

— Eat out: Taco John’s…  I had a headache, so no cooking on my agenda.

Saturday 

— BBQ Chicken

— Corn

— Pumpernickel bread

Week summary/comments: A couple of classic favorites, a kicked up old favorite, and a new recipe.  I am excited about the fish recipe.  Looking forward to couple new recipes and some old favorites.

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2011 in Life

 

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Meals a la Tobe! #9

Sunday

— Chicken Cordon Bleu Pizza from Sam and Louies: I love their pizza!

Monday

— Steak with mango, peach, jalapeno salsa

— Rice

— Green Beans

Very yummy!  J completely approved of the salsa and even requested that the dish be added to regular rotation.  Only one little mishap: jalapeno juice to the eyes which left me blinded and in incredible pain sitting in the shower for 20 minutes.  Next time I will be more careful.  I definitely don’t want to feel that again!

Tuesday

— Gouda BBQ Chicken

— Rice

— Green Beans

— Crescent Rolls

Definitely a keeper.  The chicken was great!  It was even great the day after for leftovers.  I even got  a few interested inquiries from my new coworkers.

Wednesday

— Lasagna

A classic.   I used spicy Italian sausage this time.  A great addition.

Thursday

— Eat out:  Yummy Chinese food!

Friday

— Eat out: Chicken Fingers and Beer at Old Chicago!

Saturday 

— Rotisserie Chicken

— Cheesy Broccoli Pasta Bake

A massive list of errands made me not want to cook.  So I picked up a rotisserie chicken from the deli.  I did make the cheesy broccoli pasta, but that was quick and easy.

Week summary/comments: Some good dinners this week.  I’m looking forward to trying a few new recipes next week and planning on having some old favorites.

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2011 in Life

 

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Meals a la Tobe! #8

Sunday

— Leftovers

Monday

— Boston Market

Tuesday

— Fish Tacos

— Red beans and rice

Wednesday

— Jimmy John’s (We were both working on projects and by the time I realized I was hungry, it was too late to cook.)

Thursday

— Sloppy Joe’s

— Mac and Cheese

Friday

— Dinner at a friend’s house

Saturday 

— J had a last minute meeting, so I had leftover sloppy joe’s.

Week summary/comments: Wow!  I made it an entire week by only cooking twice.  I swear this was intentional.  Things just came up.  Plus we had dinner at a friend’s on Friday night.  I really have to spend some time tonight planning dinner for this upcoming week because I start my job tomorrow!  It’s going to be a hectic week…  Hopefully I get some good recipes.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2011 in Life

 

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Meals a la Tobe! #7

Sunday

Chinese Night

— Chicken Stir Fry

— Eggrolls

— Crab Rangoon

Monday

— Out to grab some Noodles & Co.

I wasn’t feeling good at all, so no cooking for me.  It’s hard enough to make myself cook when I feel good.  When I’m icky, it’s just not going to happen.  So pasta cheered me up (mostly because I didn’t have to cook it!)

Tuesday

— BBQ Chicken on the grill

— Mashed Potatoes

— Corn

— Rolls

We had to get in a few more grill nights before it gets way too cold.

Wednesday

— Eat out

It was my monthly Stampin’ Up meeting.  Afterwards, J drove down to meet me in Bellevue for dinner. We had some yummy Chinese at one of his old restaurant when he was on base.  Yum Yum!

Thursday

— Eat out

J had his meeting, so we went out to get something after the meeting.  Yummy spinach artichoke calzone, cheesecake, and good beer from Old Chicago.

Friday

— Leftover night

Saturday 

— Roast with potatoes, onions, and green beans in crock pot

Classic dinner.  Love it!

Week summary/comments: 

An odd week.  Not much actual cooking being done.  Instead, we ate out a lot and cleaned ou the fridge.  We should be getting back to cooking this upcoming week.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2011 in Life

 

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Meals a la Tobe! #6

Sunday

From Rachel Ray’s Book of 10

— Fall Minestrone

2 tbsp EVOO
1/2 teas red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 Portobello mushroom caps, chopped
2 med onions, chopped
2 med carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, chopped
salt and pepper
2 stems of fresh rosemary
8 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
1 med zucchini, diced
1 small bunch of kale, chopped
1 15 oz can of cannellini beans, drained (northern white beans)
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 quart 2 cups veggie stock
Piece of rind of Parmigiano cheese (just used a couple small chunks instead)
1 cup ditalini pasta (used bow ties, cause they were in the cupboard)
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for topping

Heat med soup pot over med-high heat, add EVOO.  Add red pepper, garlic, mushrooms, onions, carrots, and celery.  Cook 5-6 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and add rosemary and sage.  Add zucchini and greens and stir until wilted down (2-3 minutes).  Add beans, tomatoes, stock, and cheese.  Place lid on pot and bring to a boil.  Uncover and add pasta.  Cook 7-8 minutes at roiling simmer until pasta is al dente.  Remove pot from heat.  Remove rosemary stems and rind.  Enjoy!

— Asiago Cheese Batard

Very very yummy.  It turned into more a stew than a soup, but I like it like that.  We had enough left over that I put half into a plastic container for leftovers and half into the freezer for later.  I am definitely putting this recipe on my list.

Monday

— Pizza (J’s meeting night at our house, our guest brought pizza!)

Tuesday

— Pizza leftovers

Wednesday

— Spinach, Mushroom, and Mozzarella Calzones

Very yummy and so easy to make.  Get a pizza crust, throw whatever toppings you want on the pizza crust, fold in half, cook in oven for ~15 minutes.  Voila!  Easy to eat calzones!

Thursday

— Brats on the Grill

— Potato Chips

— Broccoli

Friday

— Lazy, lazy… We had Boston Market.

Saturday

— Spicy Shrimp and Penne with Puttanesca Sauce

1 lb penne pasta
Coarse slat
1/4 cup EVOO
8 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teas red pepper flakes
8-10 whole anchovy fillets
1/2 cup black olives, chopped
3-4 tbsp capers, drained and chopped
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 lb (24 count) peeled and deveined shrimp
2 handfuls parsley leaves, chopped

Boil a large pot of water, add and cook penne pasta.  Heat a large deep skillet over medium heat.  Add EVOO, garlic, red pepper, and anchovies.  Break up the fish with a wooden spoon until they melt in the oil.  Add olives, capers, and tomatoes.  Bring sauce to a bubble and add shrimp.  Cover the pan to cook the shrimp (3-4 minutes).  Uncover and add parsley.  Toss together pasta and sauce.  Enjoy!

Definitely not as good as I hoped.  It had all the flavors there, but they weren’t strong enough.  It ended up being fairly bland.  J and I agree that it would probably help to cook this in a pot all day.  Then the flavors would have time to settle in.  Unfortunately, I didn’t, so it really wasn’t that good.  Probably going into the “not making again” pile.

Week summary/comments: J’s constant meeting day changes really threw me of this week.  My meal plan just went out the window.   I did a lot of improvising and throwing together.  Thankfully we already had many of the ingredients in the fridge. (And brats in the freezer!)  Next week, I actually have some recipes to tryout.  Wish me luck.

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2011 in Life

 

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Meals a la Tobe! #5

Sunday

From Rachel Ray’s Book of 10

— Grilled Chicken Caesar with Bacon-Herb-Parmesan “Croutons”

1 1/2 cup EVOO
2 slices bacon, chopped
1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
4 garlic cloves, chopped
juice of 2 lemons
salt and pepper
1 1/2 lbs cicken cutlets
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 romanice lettuce hearts, chopped
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped

Preheat oven 400 degrees. Preheat grill to high.
Cook bacon. Grated cheese and mix with bacon. Line a backing sheet with parchment paper. Pour the cheese mix evenly cross the sheet. Place in oven for 3-4 minutes. Remove to cool completely.
Combine half of garlic, half of lemon juice, salt, pepper, and drizzle of EVOO in shallow pan. Coat chicken in mix and cook on grill.
In a bowl, mix remaining garlic, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and lots of pepper. Whisk in some EVOO and bit of grated cheese. Combine lettuce, eggs, and dressing in a bowl.
Serve by placing sliced chicken on top of lettuce. Break up “croutons” and garnish.

Good, but not amazing.  This may be made again, but probably not in the near future…

Monday

From Rachel Ray’s Book of 10

— Pretzel Crusted Chicken Breast with a Cheddar-Mustard Sauce

4 skinless chicken breast halves (pounded thin)
5 oz. salted pretzels, finely crushed
1 tbsp thyme
Ground black pepper
2 eggs
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
2 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
2 heaping tbsp spicy brown mustard
Coarse salt
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 small yellow onion, chopped
1 large sour dill pickle, finely chopped
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Combine pretzels, thyme, and pepper in a small bowl. Crack and beat eggs in a second bowl with a splash of water. Coat each breast with pretzels, then egg, then back to pretzels. Preheat a large skillet. Cook chicken.
In a medium suace pan over medium heat, melt the butter and add flour to it. Cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the milk. When the milk comes to a bubble, stir in the cheese and mustard with a wooden spoon. Season with a little salt and pepper, and remove sauce from heat.
Serve the chicken breasts drizzled with cheddar-mustard sauce, parsley, onions, and pickles. Place lemon wedges on the side for extra flavor.

— French Fries

— Broccoli

This was a disaster.  The sauce was completely lumpy and not very flavorful.  The pretzel coating completely fell off the chicken.  It didn’t even add that much flavor.  It took forever to prep and make, and yet nothing exciting.  We definitely won’t be revisiting this one.

Tuesday

— Tacos

J’s meeting got pushed again this week.  So I whipped up some tacos.  Easy and fast!  Yet so satisfying!

Wednesday

From Rachel Ray’s Book of 10

— Toasted Ravioli

— Garlic Bread

Fairly tasty, however, the effort was not worth it.  I had a hard time getting the dread crumbs to stick to the ravioli through the cooking process.  Plus, I could only cook a few at a time.  Too much time and effort.  J suggested that I bake them next time. Maybe…

Thursday

— Hamburgers on the grill (mushroom and swiss for me; bacon and cheddar for J)

— Baked beans

— Potato salad

— Pineapple

We have to take advantage of the grill before it gets nasty cold outside.

Friday

— Pizza night!

Sam and Louie’s bacon chicken ranch is just amazing.  I love it so much.

Saturday 

— Leftover pizza

— Salad with bleu cheese dressing, cranberries, and sunflower seeds

— Pneapples

Week summary/comments: Mostly a good week.  We had two not-so-great meals.  Both were edible, but probably won’t be tried again.  For next week, I’ve got some more Rachel Ray recipes lined up and probably some old stand bys.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2011 in Life

 

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