THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Kathy Smart  Headshot

Health Means Balance, So Treat Yourself To Some Decadence

Posted: Updated:
Print

I know that this is a little bit self-serving, but Valentine's Day approaching got me thinking about whether or not I could treat chocolate like a vegetable in my diet. It is from a plant after all, right?

In my quest for the truth (and for further justification to eat more chocolate, which happens to be one of my favourite foods!) I asked our trusty friend, Wikipedia.

Friends, it would seem that chocolate is indeed a vegetable, according to the information provided by Wikipedia. Just what I was hoping!

OK, maybe vegetable is a stretch. The cacoa plant is thought of as a fruit plant. The bean itself is a seed, and a seed is technically a nut. Which means, it comes from the nut inside the fruit.

Cocoa beans (also known as cacao beans) are the dried and fully fermented fatty seed of Theobroma cacao, from which cocoa solids and cocoa butter are extracted. They are the basis of chocolate.

So, I suppose it could be argued that chocolate is a fruit; whether it is a fruit or a vegetable, what is undeniable is that this plant-based wonder is in fact good for you!

Some benefits of eating dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) include the following: Lowering cholesterol levels, preventing cognitive decline, reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems and feelings of happiness!

Now, as you know, I am a huge promoter of eating healthy... BUT health also means balance.

Sometimes, you just need a treat. I call it your 10%.

90% of the time~ eat healthy and make smart choices.
The other 10%? You can indulge a little.

Here is a recipe I describe as eating in my 10%. Boston Cream Pie French Toast! You know, in case you need another idea for how to up your intake of the "vegetables" we call chocolate!

Enjoy the decadence!

2017-02-08-1486572720-3738237-bostoncreampiefrenchtoast.jpg

BOSTON CREAM PIE FRENCH TOAST WITH CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, No White Sugar

For French Toast:

  • 4 slices of gluten free whole grain bread
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 cup of non-dairy milk ( almond, cashew, coconut milk)
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil

Method:

  1. Slice bread in halves on a diagonal.
  2. Combine egg, milk and vanilla.
  3. Dip bread into liquid mixture on both sides until well coated. (don't soak or it will be soggy)
  4. Heat coconut oil in a large frying pan. (I like cast iron pans)
  5. Add dipped bread and allow to golden on both sides.
  6. Put aside.

For the Cream Filling:

I would make this ahead of time or if you don't have time you can buy custard filling OR mash 1 banana and add 1 Tablespoon of non- dairy milk and add a splash of vanilla and voila you have

Banana Cream Pie French Toast!

Ingredients

  • 5 cups of non-dairy milk (almond, cashew or coconut)
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons gluten free flour
  • 2 large organic egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk, whisked with peaks (buy the coconut milk in a CAN and put in the fridge and allow the liquid and white to separate, take the white coconut solid off the top and whip that with beaters or an immersion blender)

Method:

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, stir together one cup of non-dairy milk, coconut sugar, salt, and the vanilla. Bring to simmer and stir.
  2. Whisk the cornstarch, flour, and egg yolks with the remaining 1/2-cup milk.
  3. Whisk 2 Tablespoons hot milk mixture with the egg yolks to temper them.
  4. Pour the egg/milk mixture back into the remaining simmering milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the mixture thickens.
  5. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve. Stir in coconut oil. Refrigerate. When cool, fold the whipped coconut milk into the cooled cream.

For Chocolate Drizzle:

  • ½ cup of dark chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons of coconut milk
  • Melt the above on low in a saucepan.

To assemble:

  1. Take 1 half of French toast and fill with cream filling. Add another French toast half on top. I often will add fresh strawberries or sliced bananas.
  2. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and top with strawberries.

Want to learn more about living SMART? Learn to see food not as the enemy in your health journey, but as a friend, with Kathy Smart's five week Live the Smart Way Program.