Posts tagged ‘Chocolate’

April 25, 2011

OMGIDITGLIFO – Easter Extravaganza!

Wondering about all those letters? They stand for Oh My God I Did It Thank Goodness Lent Is Finally Over!

To me, Lent this year meant 46 days of eating clean, 100% of the time. No processed sugar, in fact, no sweet treats at all. The only exception was a teaspoon of honey here and there when a recipe called for it, and there is this once when I drizzled a half teaspoon over my buckwheat pancake, mostly for the looks… Hey, I had to make that sacrifice so that my picture would look good!!! How’s that for dedication?

So for 46 days, no sugar, no junk, not one french fry, not one potato chip, not even a pretzel, not one drop of alcohol, not one bite of meat (save for fish and seafood), even white flour was off limits. Need I tell you It was tough? It was a heck of a challenge, but I did it!  And I am very proud. Kudos to my kids for also succeeding with their Lent challenge. You kids are good! Hats off to you!

I do feel, however, like this year has been especially long and especially hard… especially when it comes to everything sweet. You see, I have a mega sweet tooth. Sugar would be my one addiction that still isn’t completely under control.

For Easter, my brothers and I went to my parents and had a lovely pot luck lunch. I love pot lucks. You get to eat so many different things in a very relaxed atmosphere. You can walk with your plate and sit anywhere you please. You can eat in small installments, too. The only thing is, I always overeat. At least, this time, I was good. Most of what I ate was healthy and good for me… most, I did say!

For the occasion, I had baked this absolutely decadent Stout and Chocolate Cheesecake. I had found the recipe on Kevin’s Closet Cooking a few weeks ago and I had been drooling and day dreaming about that cake ever since. I was looking sooooo forward to eating it, you can’t even imagine. I think the hardest part of my Lent observance came when I finally made the cake. You see, since I was making it for Easter, I had to prepare it in advance so Lent wasn’t over yet when I actually made it.

Have you ever tried making a cake without even so much as licking your fingers, especially when you have been craving sugar for weeks and you have to look at this melted chocolate, and smell it, and you can’t even taste it? Then you crack open this beer that you really really like, and you don’t even need half of it for your recipe, but you can’t even finish it… It was hell, I tell you! At least, I thought I would get to eat the cake that I’d been daydreaming about in less than 48 hours…

Unfortunately, the cake, while good, was not nearly as good as I expected. I chose to top it with Bailey’s Whipped Cream and, well, I think THAT was my favorite part. For some reason, I think my cake was a little overcooked… It wasn’t nearly as creamy as Kevin’s was. And I couldn’t taste the beer at all. Maybe it’s because I chose to use a different stout, a cocoa and vanilla stout called Aphrodisiaque, which is brewed by a local brewery. Maybe I ought to try the cake again using Guinness this time.

It did look pretty, however, didn’t it?

Another very yummy thing that I contributed to the pot luck is this lovely pine nut shaped cream cheese appetizer.  I got the inspiration here for the shape, but I didn’t care much for the cheese recipe. I’m not big on mayo, you see… and I wanted something orange / cranberry. This turned out soooo good, I think it’s worthy of getting its own post… but it’s basically low fat cream cheese, sour cream, the zest of 1 orange, some parsley and chopped pecans with a handful of dried cranberries. Oh, and a pinch of cayenne!

The rest of my food contributions are all déjà-vu…

My cold shrimp salad (I cheated and added a can of heart of artichokes…)

My Orange Cranberry Quinoa Salad

My No Knead Country Loaf  (well, ok… not quite mine… I admit!)

This, my brother made. It’s so easy and soooooo good. You simply take a very fresh salmon fillet, cut it into cubes, then pour some lemon juice over it, sprinkle with a little bit of fresh dill and let it marinate for a half hour or so. The lemon juice will take care of cooking the salmon but it remains super tender. Notice on one of the pictures below, this is the only plate that got completely cleaned!

This plate right there was 750g of salmon and the juice of about 2 lemons. Not much calculation required here, really…

Of course, there was also people at that party!!!

This adorable little fellow would be my nephew, Lyle. He is just the custest kid I have ever seen. Don’t you agree? I think he too, really liked the whipped cream on that cake…

This is my older brother, Sylvain, oh, and Lyle eating cake again… We had this huge chocolate fondue with tons of fruit. YUM!

My niece Rosalie in the foreground and my daughter Natasha (with the red sweater)

My mom, Maria and my sister-in law, Myriam (I guess you can figure out who’s who…) This picture reminds me of “The Last Scene”…  Notice the empty salmon plate… all that’s left are lemon slices!

My younger brother, Patric, and his girlfriend, Myriam

My niece Elisabeth playing the guitar, her sister Rosalie and Lyle, the future heart breaker…

My dad! My favorite dad in the whole wide world! (with again, Lyle in the background… he’s just everywhere, that kid!)

And, well, me! Yep, this is all you’re getting! 😉

February 15, 2011

Sweet Valentine’s Indulgence

If you have been reading me for a while now, you probably know that I like to indulge about once a month. I mean, really, indulge! And what better occasion than Valentine’s Day to go for a little (or big!) chocolate extravaganza!

I LOVE to bake and decorate cakes, but I don’t get to do this too often, as healthy and cake don’t really mix well togheter… So for Valentine’s day, I decided to make this super decadent extra rich flourless chocolate cake and decorate it with a few marzipan roses. It had been years since I had made that cake, or marzipan roses, for that matter. Needless to say it took me a long time to make each rose, but I think it was very well worth it in the end. And I was pretty happy with the way they looked. I expected to have lost the touch way more than I did, but much to my surprise, my roses still looked like roses!

What really motivated my decision to opt for that particular cake is that I didn’t need to buy anything at all in order to make it. I had ALL the ingredients that I needed, sitting in my cupboard, all leftovers from my Christmas cooking. That’s pretty much what dictated my choice of a cake for this month’s indulgence. That, and the fact that this cake is to die for, seriously. Think rich, dark, soft, it’s basically like a giant truffle: the only ingredients that go in it are dark chocolate (top quality, of course!), butter, heavy cream and eggs. Loads of them. Look at how rich and dense it is! It’s got to be at least 2 million calories a piece! (and I ate 2 pieces… but shhhht, don’t tell anyone!)

And of course, as if this wasn’t decadent enough, I had to make a salty caramel to go with it. Yet more sugar, butter and heavy cream!

At least, supper was somewhat healthy, even though I had too much to eat. We had chinese fondue, both chicken and beef, with a side of salad, some whole wheat bread and a few classic dipping sauces, such as cucumber garlic tzatziki style, black and green olive in sour cream and honey Dijon. Of course, all sauces were light and healthy. Low fat sour cream and plain yogurt was used instead of mayonnaise. Hey, I can’t be bad all the way, now, can I? ;o)

January 1, 2011

New Year’s Eve – Raclette and Chocolate Fondue

This is it! Last meal of the year. This should conclude the decadence period and I should resume posting healthy meals as of tomorrow.

It’s a tradition here to have raclette for supper on this day, every year. This year was no exception. Only this time, I invited my mom, who had never had raclette before in her life. I think I created a new adept. She seemed to like it.

For dessert, I opted for chocolate fondue. I had a lot of leftover chocolate from all that Holiday Baking, and I was way overdue for a good dose of fruits, so it seemed like a good choice to me. Plus, chocolate fondue is something I’ve only had maybe 3 or 4 times in my entire life.

I must’ve gained 10 pounds over the last 2 weeks. Unreal. Time to reverse the switch now and lose that!

Happy New Year All!