Saturday, February 16, 2013

Leader Enterprise - Feb. 6, 2013 - A Love Story - chocolate treats


This sweet story from the book "Stories from the Heart" compiled by Alice Gray shares a lesson that can be applied to all of our relationships, not just a spouse. May this simple reminder help make your Valentine's Day sweeter for you and all those you love.
"The Small Gift" - retold by Marilyn K. McAuley from Morris Chalfant, The Lutheran Journal. Rev.Chalfant tells of a couple who were celebrating their golden wedding anniversary. The husband was asked what the secret was to his successful marriage. As the elderly are wont to do, the old gentleman answered with a story.
His wife, Sarah, was the only girl he ever dated. He grew up in an orphanage and worked hard for everything he had. He never had time to date until Sarah swept him off his feet. Before he knew it she had managed to get him to ask her to marry him.
After they had said their vows on their wedding day, Sarah's father took the new groom aside and handed him a small gift. He said "Within this gift is all you really need to know to have a happy marriage." The nervous young man fumbled with the paper and ribbon until he got the package unwrapped.
Within the box lay a large gold watch. With great care he picked it up. Upon close examination he saw etched across the face of the watch a prudent reminder he would see whenever he checked the time of day - words that, if heeded, held the secret to a successful marriage. They were "Say something nice to Sarah".

What a precious thought!
We all can learn from those few words. I love this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.
Valentine's Day is a great time to celebrate love with chocolate! After being  'on the wagon'  of healthy eating the past few weeks, it's great to enjoy a special treat. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, has healthy benefits.
This awesome and easy chocolate pudding, made in the microwave, is comfort food. It can be enjoyed quickly too, another plus! It's wonderful eaten warm, or chilled. I make it for my sweetie, using splenda, and it turns out every time. Recipe can easily be doubled.
THICK CHOCOLATE PUDDING   
1/3 c. sugar(or splenda)
1/4 c. baking cocoa
3 Tb. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
2 c. (1%) milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
whipped topping, optional
In a 2-qt. microwave-safe bowl, combine the first four ingredients. Gradually stir in milk (a whisk works great), until smooth. Microwave, uncovered,on high for 2 minutes; stir. Microwave 3 - 5 minutes longer or until thickened, stirring after each minute. Stir in vanilla. Pour into individual serving dishes; cool. Enjoy warm or refrigerate. Garnish with whipped topping if desired. Yield:3 - 4 servings (or 2 good-sized ones!)
These truffles are a healthy snack, covered in dark chocolate. Delicious even if you're not watching what you're eating.

APRICOT ALMOND TRUFFLES

1/2 c. whole, natural, unsalted almonds
1-1/2 c. dried Turkish apricots
1 Tb. honey
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. salt
3 ozs. dark chocolate (60 - 70% cocoa solids), chopped

Place almonds in dry skillet over medium-high heat (or just use roasted) and cook, stirring frequently, until they are toasted and become fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly. Put the almonds in a food processor and pulse a few times until the nuts are coarsely chopped. Add the apricots, honey, cinnamon, ginger and salt to the processor; process until ingredients are finely chopped and begin to stick together, about 45 seconds. Roll the mixture with your hands into heaping teaspoon-sized balls and set them on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper.

Place a small bowl or double boiler over a saucepan of barely simmering water, over low heat. Place half the chocolate in the bowl and stir until melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the remaining chocolate, stirring until it is melted. 

Roll the apricot balls in the melted chocolate, one or two at a time, until they are all covered. Place them back on the waxed paper, then chill in the fridge until set, about 15 minutes. Serve and store at room temperature. 

No one will guess these luscious bites of WOW are diet-friendly!


GOOEY CARAMEL COCONUT BROWNIES

1 - (18 ozs) box moist-style devil's food cake mix
(or low-fat brownie mix)
1 - (15 ozs) can pumpkin puree (rinse can with a little water and add that too)
1 sugar-free caramel pudding snack( 60 cals. each or less)
1/4 c. light or fat-free caramel dip (or caramel ice cream topping)
2 Tb. finely chopped pecans
2 Tb. shredded sweetened coconut, chopped

Preheat oven to 400. Spray 9" X  13" baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside. In large bowl, combine cake mix with pumpkin and water. Stir until blended. (Batter will be thick). Spread into prepared baking pan and smooth out the top (using a spatula sprayed with cooking spray works nicely) Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 - 25 minutes. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine pudding, caramel dip, pecans and coconut. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate until brownies are ready to serve. Evenly spread pudding mixture over brownies. Slice & enjoy!

Yield: 16 servings - 4 WW Points Plus each

CHERRY PIE FLUFF


1 - (20 ozs) can no sugar added cherry pie filling

1 - (4 serv. size) box sugar free cheesecake pudding mix
8 ozs. fat free cool whip

Combine cherry pie filling with pudding mix. Fold in cool whip. Chill and enjoy.
Weight Watchers Points (Prior to Points Plus): heaping 3/4 c. = 3 points, 2/3 c. = 2 points

HAVE A HAPPY HEART DAY!