WW, WEIGHT WATCHERS AND CHOCOLATE APHRODISIACS


Totally forgot to take a photograph of Better Than Sex Cake. Chocolate is just so tempting!

Dearest Readers:

To those of you who do not know, Weight Watchers is now called “WW.” If you are a regular reader of my blog, you must know, I am a Weight Watcher, or “WW.” I’m proud to say that!

Today was my weekly weigh-in. Like everyone, I dreaded it. I knew it was time to face the music…to be accountable…responsible, …and so on!

My goal for this meeting was to lose one more pound. Yes. One. More. Pound. If I accomplished that, I would be able to say “I’ve lost forty pounds.” Ten pounds of sugar, since sugar comes in four-pound bags now, not five! Or, I could say, I’ve lost forty sticks of butter. Eight five-pound bags of potatoes!

Perhaps you get the picture now. Last night was another lack of sleep night for me. Awakening at 10 pm… Midnight 2 am. 4 am. 6 am. Ah to heck with it. I’m getting up I can’t sleep – AGAIN! I’ve watched so many Hallmark Christmas movies; lately I think I’m running out of the good ones!

So, this morning I’ve decided I needed to get to the meeting. No, I did not anticipate a loss. Not. After. Thanksgiving!

On that holiday, I cooked dinner for my husband, Phil. The pups got to eat a bit of turkey. As for me. Yes. I. Ate. TOO MUCH. That is – I ate too much chocolate!

I’m convinced – chocolate IS an aphrodisiac! This Thanksgiving, I served my infamous Better Than Sex Cake. A thin layer of crust. A layer of cream cheese mixed with Cool Whip Light. A beautiful, plump layer of sugar-free chocolate pudding, topped with a thick layer of Cool Whip Light. I will share my recipe below!

On Friday, my husband returned to work. I stayed home with the dogs. Since we are moving soon, I chose not to fight the Black Friday sales. I brewed a fresh pot of coffee, opened the fridge to get my Coffeemate French Vanilla creamer, only to cast my eyes at a dish covered with aluminum foil.

Better Than Sex Cake. Oops. Look Away! Close the fridge. Ah. Go. Ahead. Just one piece won’t kill you or make you gain weight.

I grabbed a bowl and a spoon. Quickly, I scooped up a BIG piece of this delicate. Delicious. Aphrodisiac. To say it was delicious is an understatement, especially for me. I LOVE chocolate!

Throughout the day, that dessert called for me. Each time, I listened and weakened. Before the evening was over, I ate almost all of it while wondering why am I doing this? I’m sabotaging Weight Watchers and my goal to lose one more pound.

Just before bedtime, I finished off the dessert. The next morning, angry with myself for not tracking and eating only what I should, I chewed myself out.

I started tracking again while imagining that dessert one more time. Sure wish I had one more piece of Better than Sex Cake. No…Nothing is better than ___!

This morning, I got on my scales at home, anticipating a significant weight gain.

Dressing to go to Weight Watchers, I decided to weigh all of my clothing. The black tights. My short gray skirt. My black turtleneck and my Christmas vest of high heels, and my black knee boots! I wanted to feel good about myself, even IF I gained a pound or two.

Yes, I LOVE HIGH HEELS. Anyone who knows me recognizes my walk. How I swag. One foot in front of the other. My heels were clicking against the pavement, as if to say, “Barbie’s here!”

Arriving at WW, there was a long line. Slowly we moved, and when I counted only three ladies ahead of me, I started to remove a bit of clothing and boots.

Unzipping the boots, I kicked them off, placing them near my handbag. I removed the Christmas vest, still anticipating a weight gain – all to the credit of my weakness for delectable aphrodisiacs of chocolate dancing in my brain. Still furious with myself while recognizing I had no one else to blame, I was convinced I had gained.

Moving slowly on the scales, I stretched over to see if I could read a loss. Since WW has “confidential weigh-ins,” I could not. Mindi calculated my weight.

Did I lose anything?

“You’ve lost 40.6 pounds now!”

I squealed. All the ladies at our Thursday morning meetings know I’m not shy. They heard me say: “I did it? I LOST 40 POUNDS?!”

So, for me, today was a celebration! When I joined Weight Watchers, I told only myself I wanted to lose 40 pounds. Now accomplishing that goal, I’ve decided to make another goal – lose another five pounds. And another. And another! This I can do for me. Only for me! After all, I am woman. I can eat something delectable and still convince myself I can lose. After all, This I Do For Me!

Here’s the recipe!

Bon Apetit!

BETTER THAN SEX CAKE (SO SIMILAR TO MISSISSIPPI MUD PIE, BUT SUGAR FREE!)

2 cups flour

2 sticks of margarine (room temp)

½ cup chopped pecans

8 ounces of whipped cream cheese (fat free) (room temp)

whipped topping (Cool Whip Lite)

2 large boxes of Sugar Free Instant Chocolate Pudding (Jello Sugar Free works well)

4 cups milk

Hershey Bar (rarely do I use this)

Chopped pecans for garnish

Make a crust from flour, butter and the chopped pecans. Mix well and press into a 9 x 12 inch pan or a baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow this to cool.

Mix cream cheese, 1 cup of the whipped topping.

When crust is cool to touch, spread the creamed cheese mixture lightly on the crust.

Prepare sugar free, instant pudding with 4 cups of milk, as directed on carton of box. Layer this on the dessert. Top with more whipped topping and decorate with chocolate curls from the candy bar (if used). I prefer to garnish with chopped pecans. Refrigerate at least two hours before serving.

Submitted by: Barbie Perkins-Cooper

The Art of Making Chocolate…


 

 

 

Shawn Askinosie shares his passion for chocolate beans and the art of making chocolate
Photo credit: Barbie Perkins-Cooper, Editorial photojournalist

Shawn Askinosie, The Chocolate Maker of Springfield, is Raising the Bar for His Passion in Life as a ChocolatierDSC_0174

Stepping inside the aromatic setting of Askinosie Chocolate Factory tempts the taste buds of anyone who craves the tantalizing taste of chocolate. Located in a historical building built in 1894 in the commercial district of Springfield, Missouri, this chocolate factory makes chocolate artistry that snaps. Askinosie Chocolate Factory is the newfound passion of Shawn Askinosie, a former criminal attorney who chose to leave the hustle, bustle of the courtroom scene, for his newfound passion as a chocolatier. Discovering his passion for baking began a few years ago when he was searching to ease the stress of criminal law. He found therapeutic relief when baking cupcakes and pastries. Unbeknownst to former clients, his law degrees are now displayed in the men’s room of his factory while he pursues a passion he dreamed about and now lives, the love and euphoria of chocolate making.
As time progressed, he discovered he wanted to learn more about chocolate, especially the art of roasting cacao beans and the art of chocolate making. Researching his newfound passion, he chose to learn all he could about the chocolate industry. Traveling to meet with farmers in the Amazon rain forest, he found a new calling in life. Although the process of chocolate making is tedious, for Shawn tasting the raw beans in the pod, dealing with the farmers, and striving for the highest quality product he demands, Askinosie Chocolate Factory is raising the bar to a new standard for the artistry of chocolate making.
Changing his career to follow his dreams, Shawn Askinosie works diligently to create the best chocolate available, roasting chocolate beans, grinding and melting the chocolate until it meets his high standards. Askinosie is the first chocolate maker outside of Mexico to make chocolate. He travels internationally to Mexico, the Amazons, introducing himself to the farmers who grow chocolate trees. He has many farmers in each region and he shares the profits with the farmers.
He contributes an amazing percentage of the tour profits of Askinosie Chocolate Factory to cocoa educational programs, collaborating with universities. He is a wealth of information about chocolate, the history, and development, and the health benefits of dark chocolate.
Unlike the demands of criminal law, the artistry of making chocolate requires lots of time and patience. The process could best be described as intense and time-consuming, something Shawn is accustomed to practicing during his career as a lawyer. Cacao beans are stored in a climate-controlled environment. The beans are cleaned and roasted at a high temperature. The roasting process of cocoa is similar to the roasting procedure of coffee beans.
There are many steps to making chocolate and Shawn is proud that Askinosie Chocolate Factory performs all the steps to make the chocolate the proper consistency, gloss and snap. He wants to create the perfect, most delectable flavor he can to the chocolate beans and give them a creamy, smooth texture. There are many health benefits related to dark chocolate and the nibs have a nutty taste with anti-oxidants that are good for your health.
Tempering, a delicate procedure of melting the chocolate at just the right temperature, is one of the most difficult procedures. “If the temperature is one degree off, the batch of chocolate is ruined,” said Askinosie. “The art of making chocolate is a lot harder than baking cupcakes.” Askinosie Chocolate has a gloss and snap, one of the secret qualities of pure chocolate artistry.

Following His Passion:

Shawn Askinosie has lived an interesting life, including living in Japan for a while, and working with Vietnamese refugees. Reaching burn out from the demands of law, he felt blessed to find a new passion in baking and chocolate artistry. During school tours at Askinosie Chocolate Factory, he stresses the importance of education and goals to students, encouraging them to “Don’t do the same thing over and over in life. Follow your passion.”

Tours of Askinosie Chocolate Factory are held every Tuesday at 3pm. Excited to share his knowledge and expertise about the art of making chocolate, the factory shares 100% of money from the tours with partnerships with universities and cocoa educational programs.

After touring the immaculate factory, it is easy to understand why Shawn changed his lawyer suit threads for the passion he expresses so eloquently as a chocolatier. Believing in yourself, seeking your dreams and following your passion makes for a great recipe for success and happiness while enjoying the delicate taste of chocolate.

 

If You Go:
Visit Askinosie Chocolate Factory at 514 E. Commercial, Springfield, MO. Phone 417-862-9900. Visit the website: http://www.askinosie.com/ for additional information and to subscribe to the newsletter or order chocolates.

Barbie Perkins-Cooper is a travel writer, photojournalist specializing in hospitality, food and wine and photography. Residing in Charleston, South Carolina, Barbie is the author of “Career Diary of a Photographer,” and “Condition of Limbo.” In September 2007, she was chosen as an approved artist for literary arts with the SC Arts Commission Arts in Education Roster of Approved Artists.