For some reason, I do not have much of a sweet tooth. I haven't for much of my life. I do enjoy chocolate occasionally, but unlike many women, I just don't have a taste for it, you know, at chocoholic status. Actually, if you ate a meal with me, you'd be shocked at just how much of the main meal I devour, usually forgoing dessert altogether. My gram, each time I see her, lovingly reminds me what a "good eater" I am. This is something I have heard my whole life, from almost anyone who eats with me, and I own it.
On the other hand, my husband, Danny, loves sweets. He's gone through sweet-tooth phases even since I've known him. First he loved ice cream, then Reece's Cups, then Nutella. Now, he is slowly cutting back on the sugar intake, which, if you've tried it, is a difficult challenge. We inadvertently eliminated many processed foods from our diet by going gluten-free, but some food(-like products) are hanging on to the sides of the shopping for dear life. And though we aren't certain we're entirely there yet, stories like on the blog 100 Days of Real Food certainly are inspiring!
People truly can become addicted to sugar. It is a real problem. The obesity epidemic in the United States is due, in part, to sugars and additives in foods. An explanation of this concept is explained in an article by Nicole Lyn Pesce in New York Daily News, featuring Dr. Mark Hyman, author of 10 Day Detox Diet. Click here to read it. If you're participating in the May Wellness Challenge, or improving your health, wellness, and lifestyle on your own, this article can help.
Although I just took time to acknowledge the dangers of overindulging in sugar, today's recipe for chocolate covered peanuts is to encourage relying on yourself more than on pre-packaged foods. You don't need to give up sweets entirely. Balance is the key. Instead of purchasing chocolate covered peanuts from the store for more than double the price, plus added chemicals and sugars, you can make them yourself at home. They are (so) easy to make, taste great, and make a nice gift. This year, because most people we know don't need any new items and because we were definitely on a budget, we gave bags of these away at Christmas to friends and family. They loved them! And we had leftovers. Yum!
10-12 oz Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
16 oz Dry Roasted Peanuts (Unsalted)
*doubles or triples easily, depending on your slow cooker!
Stir in cranberries at the end of second hour
Mix peanut butter in while heating
Top with coconut flakes as mounds cool/ dry
When completely cool/ dry, mix with banana chips to give as a gift
Slow Cooker/ Crockpot
Rubber/ Silicone Spatula
[Cooling racks, if you have them]
The recipe is simple. And below.
Combine chocolate chips and peanuts in the crockpot.
Turn to low and cover. Heat for one hour then stir and take off the cover (keep it on low).
Heat further, stirring every 15-20 minutes for another hour.
Place wax paper sheets on baking sheets. Place baking sheets on cooking racks, if available. Spoon onto wax paper in small mounds.
Allow to cool/ dry. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!
Though these aren't an everyday treat, there are a few health benefits of these two ingredients, especially when compared to milk chocolate chips and/or seasoned peanuts. Take a look.
: made from cacao seeds (like the cacao superfood
from our morning smoothies
), contains less sugar than some other types of chocolate (though more than dark chocolate), provides a polyphenol antioxidant called epicatechin, contains iron, raises serotonin, and provides the health benefits associated with chocolate in general: may help to decrease blood pressure and lower levels of heart disease causing cholesterol, possibly alleviate some symptoms of migraines, and possibly even prevent dementia
(Unsalted) Roasted Peanuts
: obviously not for everyone, peanuts provide a good source of monosaturated fats and oleic acids, which can decrease risk of cardiovascular disease (maybe up to 21%!), contain protein, vitamin E, niacin, manganese, folate, and the antioxidant resveratrol (same as red grapes and wine), may have anti-cancer properties
Labels: May Wellness Challenge, Mindful Eating