Chocolate Bars: Kashi Versus Fiber One

The latter is sooo much better.

I like Kashi. I like their cereal and granola, and I like what they seem to stand for. I haven’t done a whole lot of research into the company so they could be less than what they seem at face value, of course, but so far, so good. When I look at the nutrient content of their foods, I do wish they’d be higher in lots of vitamins and minerals. They just look as if they should, and if they include so many good-for-you foods, you would think they’d be super healthy.

This week I bought two boxes of “healthy-ish” chocolate bars so I could have candy that was sort of good for me while I work at night. One box was Fiber One Brownies and the other was Kashi Chocolate Squares. Holy cow, are these different!

The Fiber One bars are absolutely delicious. They are medium-sized and filled with chocolate chips, and they are soft like brownies should be. Best of all, they’re only 90 calories, so you could have one as a midday snack. Of course, 90 calories or not, if I don’t like them I’m not going to eat them—but I will have no trouble eating these.

The Kashi chocolate squares, on the other hand, were not only nasty-tasting, but almost double the calories at 140 a bar. They’re not really any bigger and they taste like dirt. I couldn’t even finish my bar and I told my husband it tasted like someone had shoved my head onto the ground and told me, “Eat this dirt!” It tried to finish the dirt because I didn’t want to waste any of it, but I just couldn’t do it. I’m hoping I can give the box to someone who might eat them.

My daughter is seven and a chocoholic—she likes everything from caramel chocolate to milk to dark chocolate. She took a bite of the Kashi bar and spit it out. I couldn’t blame her, even though we don’t like to waste food around here. She ate a whole Fiber One bar, on the other hand, and wanted to have another—which I denied, of course, because they’re mine and she has her own box of chocolate granola!

I would highly recommend the Fiber One brownies to anyone who wants a chocolate fix. They don’t sacrifice on flavor at all and it really tastes like a real brownie.

Easy no-bake chocolate éclair cake

It’s like eating the donuts, but way better.

If you like éclair pastries but would love something even more decadent—and perhaps even more cheap!—an éclair cake may be just the thing you’re looking for. It’s the simplest dessert to make, with no baking involved. I make one for my husband’s birthday every year, and this year it’s already half-gone on his birthday (without my daughter and me eating any of it yet!). Here’s how you do it.

Ingredients:

1 box graham crackers

2 boxes vanilla pudding

1 container whipped topping

3 cups milk

1 container chocolate frosting

 

Mix your vanilla pudding packages with 3 cups of milk, then stir in your entire package of whipped cream. Lay a layer of graham crackers on the bottom of a baking dish, then spoon half of your pudding/whipped cream mixture on top. Layer another layer of graham crackers on top of that, followed by another layer of filling. Finish it off with a final layer of graham crackers.

Next, put your icing in the microwave (be sure to remove the lid and foil seal if present!) for just a few seconds to melt; 30 to 40 should work fine. Drizzle this over the top of your cake over and over until the container is empty (or until someone in your house wants to lick the bottom half-inch or so!), then place the whole container in the refrigerator. You should keep it there for at least three hours before serving so it will be a smooth, creamy, firm mixture in cakelike form.

When you cut the cake, it’s so soft that a spoon will generally work; the icing, however, usually hardens so you may want to use a knife first before spooning into a dessert dish. You could also drizzle some sauce or a bit of whipped topping on top of the cake—but it’s pretty awesome as it is.

This cake is a perfect project for kids, since it requires no heat or baking. It’s also a good treat in the winter or the summer, since it’s cold and creamy yet chocolaty. For variations, you can always substitute any flavored pudding you like—Oreo might be very good, and chocolate lovers might want to substitute their favorite chocolate pudding—or even add a few spices. I am thinking a swirl of caramel with some sea salt would be pretty amazing, but my husband likes it this classic way, so that’s how we make it this time of year.

Next summer, however, we may have to include some caramel sauce…

Chocolate Fruit

How yummy.

 

I love sweet tasting fruits. Even tart ones I enjoy. I love them cubed up, pressed down into juices (not into jam strangely enough) or just simply cut up into pieces. I simply enjoy fruit. But what’s better than just fruit? Fruit with toppings, yum. I don’t mean any old toppings though. 

 

For example, fruit with heavy syrup or creams do not do it for me. They taste too candy like and it irks me almost as bad as anything with ‘sweet and sour’ in its name. Fruit mixed with jello also bugs me. I like jello separately from fruit but the two together…no. 
 
And don’t get me started on nuts or chewy things being thrown together with fruits. 
 
Yes, I’m a picky eater. But funny enough, chocolate tends to skip by my aversion to super sweet things or sour things or even chewy things into something I enjoy. I like the strange mix of all of those that you get with chocolate. I like the blend of flavors that seem to just work and even accentuate both fruit and chocolate. I also like that chocolate lends itself easily to being a dipping sauce and or garnishment to fruit. Also, have you ever seen chocolate and fruit ever look unappetizing? I sure haven’t. 
 
 
And adding on drizzles of white chocolate with the dark chocolate? Awesome sauce (literally). I suggest you get one of those pots, the ones where you can dip meat in with oil and use chocolate instead. Having a platter of fruit + skewers + pot of hot melted chocolate + friends = fun times. 
 

Chocolate covered espresso beans

Are they any good?

Eating chocolate is something most people enjoy doing, myself included. However, when I saw some chocolate covered espresso beans I decided I would try to combine two of my favorite things and give it a shot.  Here is my experience with the chocolate covered espresso beans I had a couple of weeks ago, but the company who was selling them I cannot remember the name of.

The first thing I noticed is the chocolate they were using for the beans was really good. It was not the highest quality of chocolate, but it was a passable brand of chocolate and if I had to compare it to a brand I would say more like a Cadbury type of smoothness and texture to it.

The second thing I noticed with the chocolate covered espresso beans is once the chocolate melted or was eaten off, it was grounds of coffee. Now I like drinking coffee, but like most people who drink coffee, I do not like consuming the grounds. With the chocolate, though, even though it said it was a whole bean, mine ended up being grounds. So I was highly disappointed in this and found out later it left little grounds all over in my mouth.

Overall I would have to say the chocolate covered espresso beans are a good choice if you do not mind having coffee grounds. However, for me the coffee grounds that I had were a big turn off. I know some people like this, though who will enjoy the beans and the chocolate, but this is something I just cannot handle again.

Chocolate health drinks

Who knew?

I’ve always had a glass of something chocolate since I was a wee child. Homemade chocolate shakes, mixed in cocoa powder to make the old-school chocolate milk, then the chocolate syrup varieties, to shakes from the fast food places. Heck, Nestle Quik is a drink I still sneak off with for a late-night chocolate rush.

But never have I concluded that a chocolate drink is healthy.
I mean milk and chocolate aren’t on their own the healthiest of things. Not fattening or life threatening when had in moderation, but no better at times than soda. But apparently there are drinks that went and changed this. Some drinks like Mayesa claim to be chock full of nutrients and antioxidants. Other types boost more energy throughout the day.
 
 
Some even make tweeked homemade drinks that scream heath; changing out the fatty regular milk to low fat, changing out the cocoa power to cacao powder and adding in healthier ingredients – avoiding the extra processed stuff in store-made drinks. So in a sense, chocolate milk has become the new heath drink alternative to heath drinks. 
 
There are a few studies out now claiming that shockingly chocolate milk is healthier for those in sports. Chocolate milk after a workout was perceived as healthier, causing more fat loss and the buildup of muscle tone more than sport drinks. So it seems that if I can just get some cacao powder and convince my SO to drink the low fat milk, I may be on the road to unintentional wellness? 
 

Cadbury Dead Heads

Delightfully gruesome Halloween candy

Isn't foreign candy the best? It's always entertaining to snack on something that is only available from another country. In the case of Cadbury Dead Heads, some friends recently brought me a bag from their trip to London. I am afraid you can only buy these in the UK. 

It's really too bad, too, because they are a perfect combination of "delicious" and "horrifying." Just the thing for a Halloween treat.
 
Each one is wrapped in foil printed in black and purple, with monster heads. Unwrap your treat and you will find an oval-shaped chocolate printed with the same cartoonish mummy head. And inside is a reddish goo. Bite open the mummy's head and enjoy the sticky red filling! 

 
At heart, these are miniature Cadbury Crème Eggs, retooled for Halloween. Crème Eggs are, I have found, one of those polarizing candies, like candy corn or Circus Peanuts. You either love them or hate them. Personally, I love them. 
 
The mini version is a welcome addition to the Cadbury lineup for Easter, as it gives you all the delicious of a regular Crème Egg, but with only half the diabetes afterward. As a kid, I ate full sized Crème Eggs by the score. As an adult, I sheepishly prefer the mini kind, and only one or two at a time.
 
Of course, in America you can only buy the mini version in 12-packs, and the price is exorbitant. But apparently in England at Halloween, you can buy Dead Heads by the sack-full. These came in a Mylar bag with about 20 Dead Heads inside. 
 
It's probably not surprising that there would be Cadbury treats available in the UK that you can't find here in the states. Cadbury is one of England's great institutions, and its packages proudly bear the Royal Warrant of Appointment which means that they are an official supplier to Her Majesty the Queen. 
 
Cadbury is a name with a long lineage. In America, the brand name is owned by Hershey, and all American Cadbury treats are actually manufactured in the States by Hershey. However, in England they have their own factories and produce their own chocolates. And in my experience, the English Cadbury chocolate is much better than the American. 
 
For all that they are a silly Halloween kid's treat, these have a richer, creamier chocolate taste than any Cadbury chocolate you would find here in the States. I suppose there are many down sides to living in England, but being able to get "real" Cadbury chocolate is certainly one of the perks!
 

Cocoagraph Company of Philadelphia

Chocolate photos

Chocolate has enjoyed a fun yet sweet renaissance of being used in art. Sculptures, fashion, furniture, mini buildings – it seems chocolate can be used for anything beyond the obvious. But a lot of the art created is made for looks (OK, that chocolate bench was both a bench and a cake, though I may be hesitant on eating what was meant for people’s butts to sit on) and looks only. 

But I always wondered if this kind of art was made to be eaten? Well there’s a new piece of chocolate art imitating life that they would go well with the chocolate camera mention also in the last post. Chocolate photos! These pics are like the chocolate iPhone mentioned ages ago – they have images screened onto chocolate bars. Edible chocolate picture bars.
 

Cocoagraph Chocolate Photograph Co.

The Cocoagraph Company of Philadelphia has an option on their website where you can submit a photo that you own. They take that photo and for as low as $8.50 you can have that well-loved family photo printed onto and shipped out to you. I can see this being rather neat for say someone’s anniversary or a gag gift. Of course I wonder if one is limited to certain types of photos? I figure as long as the photo quality is clear it should be fine but I mean, I can see some untactful person submitting something terrible just to be weird. 
 
Then again, my friends and I have a terrible sense of humor so eh. I’d keep the photos clean because nothing sounds like a terrible thing to eat than a chocolate bar with a picture of a dildo on it. Bachelor/bachelorette party favors may be right out.
 

Chocolate sculptures

What's next? Chocolate palaces?

Recall that article I wrote ages ago about things sculpted from chocolate? Like busts of famous people and furniture? Well the chocolate art doesn’t stop there. How about a camera made of chocolate? Does it take chocolate pictures? Or the tennis shoes made of leather – chocolate leather? It seems chocolate art has become much more intricate and delicate. There’s even real life art treasures like the Arc de Triumph on display now! And forget just human busts, there are life size figures of people being made now. 

So much skill and chocolate gathered all in one place. It makes you wonder – after all the various furniture, clothing, ‘useable/edible’ items, will chocolate become the new black? Will we be living in chocolate houses or chocolate palaces? 
 

Chocolate rain Willy Wonka style

 
Uh, pass on that. 
 
But it seems that if you have the patience and talent (and more patience) to sculpt, you can seemingly make anything out of chocolate. You could make a huge chocolate dinner table, with a Stonehenge mini sculpture, chocolate table runners and plates, and a chocolate turkey. Guests could arrive in chocolate finery and marvel at the delicately sculpted building they are sitting in.
 
I would be rather neat to live for once in an entire chocolate world. Then again, aside from having to constantly refrigerate the lot of it (or what happened with that palace up top), but man all that smell of chocolate, sweat, chocolate, body odor, chocolate, perfume. Yeah in thinking harder on it, a completely chocolate world is not as appetizing as one first thought.  
 

 

Brains!

They are magically delicious!

Nuclear fallout happened one day. I was simply at home, typing away then, bam, a flash of light! Then the world went still. I didn’t think much of it and kept working. Over the day I felt itchy, scratchy and shaky. I even noticed that spots on my skin felt soft, almost too much. Like I pressed a finger onto a strange discolored patch of skin and it felt slimy, and cold.

Odd, how calm I felt then. Should I be rushing to the hospital? Nah, just keep writing.
 
Days slide by. The shakes are getting bad. I should eat, but the food tastes like sandpaper. Everything looks dull and faded. So tired. I slept after a large headache happened.
 
Was it days? Weeks? I don’t remember now. Remembering things is hard. The alarm…I set it sometime ago. Why hasn’t it gone off? I tap the fool thing and the red light never flickers on anymore. Ugh.
Not cold. No more itch. Skin like paper.
 
Itchy. Hungry. Nothing good near. Nothing warm. Things found turn green and mossy.
 
Smells sweet. Something moves. Stop moving.
 
It wails. Stop. Moving. Too noisy. Snap goes the spring. Head flops down. Fingers. Red colors on fingers. Mmmm. So warm. Tastes so good. Like chocolate. Nice and cool now. Everything grey now. Ohh no more? That’s okay. I smell. More chocolate. Around corner…
 
 
See, even zombies crave the delights of a chocolate every now and then. Though I don’t think zombie me can taste the difference between that and a fresh brain. If you want your own chocolate brain, look here.
 

Chocolate Guinness Cake

Have your cake (and beer) and eat it too.

I’ve never thought I would say this but, hallelujah, I need this! I mean, I love chocolate (as proven by this blog). I enjoy me a good glass of Guinness (even a car bomb if I’m feeling foggy). But a Guinness and chocolate cake? It never occurred to me.  Now I’m no chef or anything, but I’ve been one to toy around with things that you’d think wouldn’t go together. Rice, hot dogs and soy. Eggs with taco sauce and sour cream. Hot dogs with ranch, cheese and pickles. 

But a Guinness cake? That alone would have me wanting to try it out.
A Guinness and chocolate mixed cake? Why it’s like those chocolate candies with alcohol in the middle, but in fluffy cake size. But unlike them, you can eat this cake fresh and warm out of the oven. You can even frost it with a delicious chocolate middle and or with some cream cheese. Painting the cream over top of the cake mimics the foam you see atop a stout of Guinness. 
 
Thing is, I can see issues arising from me trying to make this cake:
 
  • Drinking up all the Guinness
  • Licking all the melted chocolate out of the bowl
  • Eating the cake before anyone realizes I made it
 
OK, I wouldn’t do all these things but the idea would indeed cross my mind.
 
Going by the listed recipe for it, it seems to be a rather easy-to-do recipe as well. Just need a large baking pan.
 

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