This week one of my blogging friends, Ellen from Cynical Sailor & His Salty Sidekick, posted on her Facebook page that she had gone several days without any kind chocolate or sugary treat. She was wondering if she could make it an entire week. Sure you can, Ellen! How do I know?
Because one of the main reasons I was completely successful at keeping my dratted weight under control during our cruise this summer is that I didn’t put any kind of sugar on the boat. No candy, no ho-ho’s, no sugary muffins, or sweet rolls or anything of any kind. If it had sugar, it just didn’t come onto the boat. If I can do it, anyone can do it. Because sugar is my worst enemy, the enemy I love to hate because I love it so much. I love that powdery white train of death like an addict loves drugs. Of course, Ellen probably doesn’t need to keep her boat sugar-free. She just had not been to the store lately.
But because I know myself and my lack of sugar-resisting fortitude, I just didn’t allow it to accompany us on the trip. That’s because once on the boat, it would call my name from the dark recesses of whatever cabinet it was hiding in and I would be powerless under its spell. That’s right, in spite of my attempts to use a Nancy Reagan approach to my drug of choice and ‘Just Say No’, somehow, that never seems to work for me if the demon is in my immediate vicinity and I am bored, tired, sad or have any other kind of human emotion.
This is especially true on those rainy days where there is nothing really going on besides laying around reading. I can go through a whole bag of jolly ranchers or those caramel apple suckers (mmmm) on those days. But boy do I regret that later. So this time, I just bit the bullet and when provisioning I did not indulge in fantasy foods. (Nor in anything that had wheat in it, either, but that’s another story.) And before you feel sorry for Mike, he doesn’t care much about sugar and this lack of sweetness on the boat lost him 10 pounds during the trip. Sometimes I do not understand that man.
No, we saved our treats for going to town, and we limited our town-going days, which we do, anyhow since we always anchor out. I did, however, take a lot of chocolate on the boat. I love chocolate and, pretty much, I want to eat chocolate every day. So I had to figure out how to be able to do that and not let it go to my hips; how to do that in a way that sneaks past the choco-sugarholic in my brain that would eat the entire bag. Or bar. Or whatever just put it in my hands, back away, and no one gets hurt, see? I have heard that chocolate is good for you. That is a truth I can adopt with relish. So here is how I have chocolate on my boat (and at my house):
I make my own stevia-sweetened candy using 100% unsweetened cacao, which you buy in the baking department of your local grocery store. Fortunately, as I’ve eliminated daily sugar from my diet, my taste has turned to dark chocolate from the milk chocolate I used to prefer. Still, completely unsweetened chocolate is an acquired taste. Here are the two ways I use this stuff to satisfy my chocolate craving.
Sugar free Chocolate Bar
(All of these proportions are up for grabs. I never measure anything that I can guestimate)
In microwave (or, on the boat, a double boiler- just improvise it) melt unsweetened chocolate. Add a little coconut oil – maybe about 1 tsp for two ounces of chocolate. (You can use cocoa butter, but I don’t have any.) Stir it together and sweeten with stevia to taste. Now add nuts, unsweetened dried fruits of your choice, or spices like chili powder or cinnamon. Use your imagination! You can also add peanut butter, but not too much or it won’t get hard again.
After you stir everything together, spread it on a piece of parchment paper, foil, waxed paper, whatever you have that it won’t stick to. Put it in the freezer, fridge, or cooler to harden. Then eat it up. If you like your chocolate dark, you will never go back to Hershey’s.
PB Chocolate on a Plate
All right, this is sheer laziness but who cares? Take a square of the chocolate. Smear it with unsweetened peanut butter. Sprinkle that with Stevia. (I like Truvia because it sprinkles nicely). Put some Craisins or raisins on top. Yes, Craisins have a little sugar in them. It’s not enough to trigger me, so I can use them on occasion.
You’ll need a napkin for this one but it’s very satisfying.
If you have any other ways to use this unsweetened baking chocolate to satisfy a chocolate craving, bring it on. But leave the sugar out.