If you are like me, there is never a shortage of super dark chocolate in your house. Since I’ve been experimenting and making my own dark chocolate bars the last few weeks, I have had more chocolate in the house than ever! Not at all a problem I am complaining about, but I am finding myself extra inspired by this gorgeous, silky, velvety, homemade dark chocolate.
This unique side dish take classic roasted cauliflower to new levels. Crisp-tender with a smoky char, the cauliflower gets the red carpet treatment with this luxurious, silky sauce, featuring the most unsuspecting of ingredients. Dark chocolate.
A bean-free hummus that’s pretty enough to be a work of art? Say what? No seriously, this cauliflower hummus features roasted beets and garlic and it’s about to take your snack game to a whole new level!
After years of working on healing my gut, dealing with a parasite and unhappy gut bacteria, among other things, I am proud to say that my gut and my digestion has never ever been better, I don’t date say that I am cured and everything is perfect, but I feel incredible and that is absolutely something to celebrate.
Disclosure: Post sponsored by Ralphs, but all opinions are my own. Please see below for additional disclosure.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I have been thinking a lot about this maybe slightly silly day that started as a Hallmark holiday. I don’t totally subscribe to the notion of needing a holiday to shower the people I love with gifts to show my love. To me, sharing your love and gratitude with the people who mean the most to you, this should be every single day, all year long. Jewelry, flowers, chocolates and other gifts, these have always felt trite and unneeded on this one arbitrary day.
But as this year, in it’s infancy, has already had it’s challenges where we’ve sadly witnessed far too much hate and negativity, possibly more than any other year before, this year I am feeling really fond of a day set aside to celebrate love, in all it’s vast variations. Not with gifts and tangible offerings per se, but more acts of love and kindness! Not just for our spouses, partners and family but everyone in our community, locally and globally, in any ways that we can.
The thing about food is, it all tastes better when enjoyed with someone (or several someones) you love! Food is nourishment, but it is also community, it is celebration and it is love. When you put your passion, care, love and mindfulness into a meal, people will be eating your love. How incredible an idea is that?
If I could, I would give the universe to the people whom I love the most, so in my food, I seek to do just that.
Each Spoonful Contains the Universe
Pay attention to each spoonful of food. As you bring it up to your mouth, use your mindfulness to be aware that this food is the gift of the whole universe. The Earth and the sky have collaborated to bring this spoonful of food to you. While breathing in and out, you only need a second or two to recognize this. We eat in such a way that every morsel of food, every moment of eating has mindfulness in it. It takes only a few seconds to see that the food we’re holding in our spoon is the gift of the whole cosmos. While we chew, we maintain that awareness. When we chew, we know that the whole universe is there in that bite of food.
– Thich Nhat Hanh // How to Eat
The one contains the all. When you pick up a lemon, you can know that the entire universe resides in that lemon. The earth, the sun, the sky. When you enjoy a dish made with the lemon, not only is the love and care of all that came together to grow that food contained within it, the love of the farmer, but also the love of the person who made the meal. What’s more, even with all this talk of sharing your love through the food you make, if you are eating by yourself, you can trust that you are never truly alone. The food becomes the means to connect you with the larger community that helped to grow your food, every meal contains the presence of so many caring people.
I have to be totally honest with you, after I passed the age of giving out Valentines at school (which I always adored), I have always found the fact that Valentine’s Day has become a day generally so focused on giving gifts, to just be a tad bit silly. I grew up with my mom saying to us kids every single year without fail, something along the lines of: “I don’t need one special day or any fancy gifts to show my love to you or your dad, I love you each and every single day of the year”. I have to say, I couldn’t agree more with my mother. I have always felt like the holiday was less about love and more about the greeting card industry, the jewelry stores and florists make out like bandits, and besides Easter, I have to imagine this is the biggest day of the year for chocolatiers. I also have to be real here for a sec, I kinda resent that this day has been somewhat stolen by those in monogamist romantic relationships! If it’s a day about love, then shouldn’t we celebrate ALL love? That of the romantic variety but also plutonic friends, parental, puppy-love (like I’m talking your actual pooch), your favorite co-worker, anyone and everyone that you have love for?
Don’t get it twisted, I don’t at all frown upon a day focused on love, how could I? What kind of V-day scrooge that would make me? It’s far from this. Nothing in this world makes me happier than love and I can only wish and hope that every day, every person has the pleasure of experiencing some love on some level, even if just that sweet look of adoration from their pooch on their morning walk. Love should be celebrated each and every day, so a day that puts it at the forefront, this certainly brings a smile to my face. But I say, collectively, we take that energy so many focus into this one single day and we extend it out throughout the year. Do sweet things for one other, share sweet thoughts with the people you love most, tell them you love them, surprise someone with homemade chocolates – these acts of love are are even better on a random Tuesday, not just on February 14th, one time a year.
When it comes to Valentine’s Day, if you want to give gifts, I am, just as any other holiday, very much in favor of those of the homemade variety. I also love the idea of thoughtful actions in lieu of presents and sweet unexpected somethings like breakfast in bed or a homemade meal, traditions, special outings, picnics etc. The gifts that come from the heart, they will, like cupid’s arrow, cut through with such vigor!
With Valentine’s Day being just a week away, I have had chocolate on the brain! So, I thought I would share some of my very favorite gluten-free chocolate recipes that would make just about anyone swoon this Valentine’s Day.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy chocolate?
Head over to the Free People Blog BLDG 25 to get the other 6 recipes.
These truffles really will knock your socks off. They are rich and dreamy. They are luxurious and just one or two truffles will satisfy even the most hardcore of chocolate lovers’ cravings. The red wine taste is quite subtle but you really get it at the end. It is smooth and it finishes it so perfectly. I am not sure if anyone else enjoys sitting down with a nice full-bodied glass of red wine with a super high quality bite of dark chocolate. One of my most favorite flavor combinations ever.
Lots of love to you all today! In addition to making Valentine’s Day about your one true love whom you will likely shower with gifts and love, let’s look at it as a day to embrace love all around us. Including the love you should be showing yourself, your body and your health every single day of the year. This is the one and only body we will be given (at least in this lifetime), let’s do everything we can to protect it and give it the best. Every single day.
[print_this]Dark Chocolate Red Wine Truffles – Gluten-Free + Vegan
makes about 24+ truffles (depending on their size)
- 1/2 cup full-fat organic coconut milk (the canned kind, I like Native Forest)
- 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
- 10 ounces high-quality vegan dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) – chopped – I used 85% Dark Chocolate
- 1/4 cup full-bodied red wine (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Bordeaux, Malbec, etc)
- pinch of sea salt
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder, for rolling
other options for rolling: coconut, almonds
In a double boiler, heat coconut oil and coconut milk over a low/medium heat, whisking until just melted and well incorporated. Add the chocolate, stirring continuously, not allowing it to heat too quickly. Just as soon as it is melted, remove from the heat, add the wine and stir very well to make sure it is all well incorporated and smooth. You have to be very careful with dark chocolate, it can very easily seize up if heated too quickly.
Pour into a 8×8 baking dish or a pie pan and refrigerate until the mixture is mostly set, but still pliable, about 45 minutes to an hour or so (it may take longer depending on the depth of your pan). Using a 1″ melon baller or a tablespoon, scoop out the chocolate and roll into balls using your hands. Place the cocoa power onto a small plate and roll the balls in the cocoa powder to coat, you can also put the cocoa powder in your hands and roll them around that way. Set them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Once all have been rolled, place the sheet into the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes, up to overnight to fully set.
Store the finished truffles in the refrigerator.
These truffles will keep up to two weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature for about 15 minutes, just before serving. [/print_this]