Tag Archives: chocolate

Healthy Work Snacks

brookside dark chocolate pomegranate

1. Crunchpak is the leading brand in the U.S. for fresh apple slices, and my favorite; their fruit is crunchy, fresh, just sweet enough, and takes a good week to go brown. It’s so much easier to grab a pack of pre-sliced apples and take to work rather than chopping up a new one every day. Very cheap, also – about $4 at every major grocery chain. Pick one up on your next swing through the fruit and veggies section at your grocery store.
2. Brookside chocolate, meanwhile, is the perfect counterpart to the apple slices and the perfect post-lunch snack; the high-quality chocolate is wrapped around delicious, chewy pomegranate (you can get your preferred fruit, I like pomegranate). Dark chocolate is good for the body due to antioxidants, and this snack is rich enough that I’m rarely tempted to eat more than a few at a time. It’s slightly pricier at around $5 per pack, but one pack lasts 1-2 weeks depending on how fast you go through it.

I’ve tried quite a number of work snacks – I also recommend plain almonds – but these are the ones which have stuck as far as ease of use and deliciousness leading to long use. Upgrade your desk food with these easy, delicious snacks.

What I’m Into Recently: Jimmy Fallon, Million-Dollar Chocolate Bar, Voluspa Goji & Tarocco Orange candle

Nicole Kidman informing Jimmy Fallon that she was into him that one time she visited him apartment is one of the most adorable things I’ve seen in weeks.

Barton’s Milk Chocolate Million-Dollar Bar. How adorable is this?? A sweets shop just opened close to where I work, and while I rarely eat candy, I did of course check out their chocolate selection and found this. How Willy-Wonka is this? Unfortunately the quality of the chocolate isn’t great, but this is a great stocking stuffer or fun/prank gift. I can tell you, some small part of me expected to find a Golden Ticket in this as I unwrapped it. Never stop living in dreams, kids. Note: you can buy these at World Market.


Voluspa Goji & Tarocco Orange candle. Have I mentioned before how obsessed with Anthropologie’s Voluspa candles I am? It’s really really hard to find candles that are long-burning and have a strong, lasting scent, but these are scent magic, the perfect candle. I gravitate toward citrus scents in all candles and perfume so it’s no surprise that my favorite is the Voluspa Goji & Tarocco Orange with notes of goji berry, ripe mango and tarocco orange. It’s an incredibly deep, rich, sweet-but-not-too-sweet, heavenly smell. These also burn forever and the scent, while not overwhelming, distinctively floats over the entire space, unlike every other candle brand I’ve ever tried (Luminesccence which Sears sells comes in second, but has a much more bland scent range).

voluspa goji tarocco orange candle review


And finally, this music video for Kdrama Pinocchio is gorgeously romantic.


Nutella Hot Chocolate Recipe

nutella hot chocolate

Mmmm, Nutella. Nectar of the gods, people.

Which is why I was so insanely excited to realize just how easy is to make the thickest, richest, creamiest hot chocolate ever with it.

Take slightly less than 1/4 cup of Nutella. Add it to a large mug of milk (I use almond milk which is healthier and gives an even deeper flavor, but regular milk would also work). Pour the mixture into a small saucepan, and heat on medium-low, stirring, until the Nutella dissolves and blends in.

Pour back into the mug and that’s it!! You can also add cinnamon, but really, this is so rich it doesn’t need any additives.

Feel free to play with the amount of Nutella to make it more or less sweet, but this is easily some of the best hot chocolate I’ve had – layers of rewarding richness. Make it for yourself, make it for your kids (just not every day, because hell no this isn’t healthy), and enjoy this perfect winter indulgence!

Best Hot Chocolate: Godiva Vs. Ghirardelli

godiva vs ghirardelliI love hot chocolate. People frequently give me hot chocolate as a Christmas present. I will go for miles just to find good hot chocolate at a cafe. Until lately, when I finally had money and my own kitchen, I didn’t have the motivation to make my own handmade stuff, but that’s coming up asap. Until then, however, I’ve been drinking powders, and over the course of time graduated from mainstream (Nestle) to more, ah, uppercrust – i.e. Godiva and Ghirardelli.

Godiva Hot Cocoa – milk chocolate flavor, they also have a dark chocolate – was a gift from a friend after I wrote her a letter of recommendation for journalism school (happy ending: she got in to her dream program and is currently residing in New York). Unfortunately…Godiva failed to deliver my own chocolate-happy ending. I have tried this multiple different ways in the vain hope that it will somehow deliver, and it just doesn’t. I have followed the instructions exactly – bring 1 cup of milk to a simmer and stir in 3 tablespoons of the power. I have also tried adding several extra tablespoons of the powder and making it with water instead. No use. No matter what I do to this stuff, it comes out bland instead of rich – there’s just little flavor, and what hot chocolate powder needs of course above all else is intense flavor. The texture is fine – nice and creamy – but as far as flavor this is passable at best. You may as well buy Nestle or any packet hot chocolate and it taste just as good if not better. I can’t recommend this at all. Huge disappointment.

Ghirardelli, though? Love. It’s a cold winter here in the Midwest, and I quite literally dream about this stuff on my way home from work. Similar to the Godiva, you heat milk until it simmers and then add the powder, but with the Ghirardelli you only need 2 spoonfuls for an average-sized mug, and it delivers two or three times the flavor. Incredibly rich and satisfying it just rolls onto the tongue with everything hot chocolate should be, and is better than 80% of the hot chocolate I’ve had at coffeeshops. Until I find a recipe for homemade hot chocolate that I adore, this will forever be my go-to, and will always be my fallback if I don’t have time to whip up homemade stuff. Go buy yourself a tin of this, my loves. Your tongue, and family (who will soon be as hooked as I am) will thank you. Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate, available for $5-$8 at many retailers, including most Walmarts.

Chocolate Strawberry Wine

This past week in one of my periodic trips to World Market, that mecca of both fake and real treasures, what did I spy in the wine aisle but a bottle of Chocolate Strawberry wine. Yep, that’s correct, all packaged with a gorgeous red and white label emblazoned “for chocolate lovers!”

Obviously I bought it.

The Chocolate Shop’s Strawberry Chocolate wine



Tasting note on the label: “Bright, ruby red-colored wine with high tones of freshly picked strawberries and an undercurrent of dark fruit and cocoa. Strawberries and chocolate individually delight the palate; when combined, they reach another level of decadence. Smooth and balanced wine with lingering notes of strawberry on the finish.”

Alas – I don’t particularly recommend it. I love rich things, but you know how chocolate and cheesecake, individually, are divine, but chocolate cheesecake is too much of a good thing?

That’s what this wine is – too rich, too sweet, almost, dare I say it, too chocolately – at least for wine. Wine should taste like, well, alcohol, and oddly enough the strongest flavor this wine has is of fruit. And yet it’s not even strawberry flavored – if I had tasted the wine without knowing what it was I would probably have said it was very strong grape juice. It’s not a bad flavor, just incredibly fruity and overly rich, it tastes like a dessert. And I would rather eat dessert than imbibe it, thank you.

I like it enough to drink the bottle, but won’t be buying it again.

In the meantime, however, I noticed The Chocolate Shop also has just a straight Chocolate Red Wine

Caffeinated Links

Gender Issues in Comic Books are Getting Their Own Online College Course, via Pajiba

Why I Respectfully Decline Feminism, via A Deeper Story

The Local Church is THE Place for Biblical Counseling, via CCEF

Audrey Hepburn Digitally Resurrected for Chocolate Bar Ad, via Mashable

Oscar for the Funniest Speech goes to…Jennifer Lawrence, for her hilarious backstage Q&A

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