I couldn’t not recognize this National Day!

I can go a little crazy when it comes to National Days (especially when said National Day has to do with family), but then there’s this one, which I’ve known about for several years but for some reason, have never officially recognized it.  One of THEE most important, non-family-related National Days, IMO…so monumental that I actually wrote this post ahead of time and scheduled it to go live while I am busy down in California helping my grandparents.  The day of which we speak, my friends, is, of course, National Chocolate Day. 🍫

I know how perfect, right??  In my birthday month, just five days after my actual real live birthday!!  I’m not exactly sure how come Mom couldn’t have held out for a few more days and had me on the 28th, just to seal my chocolate birthright. 😄  Plus, it seems like I keep running into significant events on October 28th.  There aren’t that many truly significant things that I’ve heard of happening on October 23rd.  Unless you count Apple releasing the first iPod in 2001, and that was after I was born.  Anyhow, I digress.

So, in the spirit of the delicious foodstuff we call chocolate, I want to share with you my top two favorite chocolates.  See, I can get a little picky about my chocolate.  I like high-quality chocolate best, and usually, the darker the better.  To an extent, though, because, when I’m eating it out-of-hand, I don’t like it so dark that it crumbles and is just chunks of powder in your mouth you can’t really taste because your body heat doesn’t melt it.  So, out-of-hand and in non-warm applications, I like dark but not too dark…probably anywhere between 54-65%.  In anything that will be warmed up, though, it’s a whole other story.  Basically, I haven’t tried anything too dark for this application (though granted, I think the highest I’ve tried is 79%…maybe 82%?).  And now for my two favorites!

Trader Joe’s Pound Plus 72% dark chocolate bar. (<- I keep being reminded that I’ve been actually saying it wrong all my life, but somehow I always forget and say “Pounds Plus”, like I always do…which I guess doesn’t even make sense, when you really think about it.)
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I like this primarily for when it will be melted, as I said before, but this is actually the one half-exception to my “no-super-dark-chocolate-out-of-hand” rule.  Even though, I way prefer it warm or melted, I do actually like it room temperature too.  Somehow TJ’s is able to make it creamy and able to melt somewhat in your mouth despite the high cacao percentage.  And I believe this one is vegan, too.  SO.  Total win. 🏆

This one is my guilty pleasure other favorite chocolate.  I’m trying to retrain my brain that there is no such thing as good/bad foods (but just paying attention to how eating different food makes me feel), and this one’s really hard for me not to feel like I’m naughty when I eat it.

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But guys, this stuff is addictively delicious! 😋  And I’m telling you right now that it’s not vegan.  I am so sorry if you are a vegan that cannot have any of this.  But then, maybe that’s just as well, because then you won’t be addicted and there are plenty of other scrumptious, yummy things you can have.  When I was first told I would be hooked as soon as I tried it, I was kind of skeptical.  Because, see, I already loved both the super-dark and the regular dark Pound Plus bars so well (for different things), that I couldn’t imagine anything topping either of those.  So I took my first bite basically to prove that Pound Plus rules, which it does…buuuutt…eyes rolled back and it was instant food-swoon.   And it doesn’t help one’s self-control that that they are already in handy little munchable, easy-to-bake-with chunks.  These are good however you choose to enjoy them, baked, out-of-hand, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, in cookies, cakes, oatmeal, granola bars, granola, okayokay, I’ll stop.  But I haven’t tried it in chili. 😏

I have a few favorite ways to have chocolate (some using actual chocolate pieces and some just using cocoa, which I luuuuvvve) and I thought I’d share some of them with you, you know, just in case you need suggestions on how to celebrate National Chocolate Day. 😜  Most recipes I make, I change as I go along, but I’m sure these are delicious made correctly, too. 😆  I just usually can’t keep my hands off a recipe.

Oh, and while we’re talking about my favorite chocolate things, more-than-honorable-mention goes to a weird dish of my own creation, which originally was intended to be chocolate pancake batter (with two squares of the Pound Plus chocolate chopped up and mixed into it), but instead I put the batter in a bowl and microwave just until warm, not cooked.  And. I. eat. it.  Gooey, raw, warm, melty, delicious.  But if you are a more conventional person, you might like Dana’s Brownie Batter Milkshake as a way to get your chocolate fix.  Or, if it’s too cold for that, how about Amanda’s Brownie Batter Breakfast Bake?  (I did not do that on purpose, BTW, that both those were Brownie Batter.  It’s just these are some of my favorites, so I guess you can see the trend.)  If I made them regularly, Beth’s Secret Weapon Peanut Butter Cups would be a serious temptation and definitely 100% worth it!  In Arman’s No-Bake Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cookies, I swap out some of the oat flour with extra protein powder + some coconut flour and use a mix of jam and actual frozen raspberries, but it is truly decadent.  Even though I’m usually all about THE MORE CHOCOLATE THE BETTER, there has to be exception made for Ashley’s Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies.  You know how everyone says that their chocolate chip cookies are The World’s Best or The Ultimate or The Perfect or The Only Chocolate Chip Cookie You’ll Ever Need?  Well, these (in my opinion) really are all those things.  Just try them and you’ll understand.  But, if you are like my brother and are eating them to be polite, thinking that I accidentally made a mistake and put salt on top instead of sugar, then leave off the salt. 😉  Lastly, if you’re in a pinch or on a time-crunch, but need some chocolate (and for whatever reason, don’t want to just pipe in the yumminess by going straight to the source, munching on the chunks or squares themselves), may I recommend Dark Chocolate-Covered Pretzel Crisps? <- try those with peanut butter if you’re into chocolate and peanut butter…or almond butter if not.  Boom.  Day. Made.

Have fun, everyone!  Life was made to live well, but happy.  God gives little things to make our days easier, and I’m convinced that chocolate is one of those things.

Happy National Chocolate Day!!  And eat some chocolate on my behalf, okay?

Did you have chocolate today?  What’s your favorite way to eat chocolate?

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15 thoughts on “In Celebration of…

  1. 1. Those chunks really are the bees knees and more. Love!
    2. I NEED those chocolate chip cookies. Full stop.
    3. I am having a hard time resisting opening that bag of chocolate covered pretzel crisps we have in the garage…
    4. I don’t remember if I had chocolate that day, but seeing as I have it almost every day, probably yes.
    5. Any way is my favorite way, but I love Amanda’s brownie batter breakfast bake, right now, at least. 😉 I also can’t get enough of the Bark Thins with pumpkin seeds…although I heard rumor that they sell other flavors (like pretzel!!!!!) as well, and I’m dying to try those now!

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    1. I know!! Those Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies need to get in my life right now! 😉 Thank you for waiting on the pretzel crisps for me! ❤ I actually saw once the pretzel flavor of the BarkThins or whatever it’s called (like the pumpkin seed ones we have) and I was like, “What?!?! Hope did I not know about these?? Must. Try.”

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                1. Yes to the pb pretzels! My mom loves those; and even though I’m not a super-big fan of peanut butter that’s not straight out of the jar (tastes fake to me), I do think TJ’s pb pretzels are way better than any other brand I’ve tried. I haven’t tried the SunButter, but since I eat a lot of sunflower seed butter due to a non-fatal peanut and almond allergy, I should give it a go! I think besides the chocolates, my fave TJ’s products are their lavash/flatbreads and their trail mixes (😍)!! Though I haven’t tried as many of their products as you’d expect, TBH.

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                  1. I like both SunButter and TJ’s sunflower seed butter. I honestly can’t taste a difference between the two but I believe TJs is cheaper! Mmmm I haven’t tried any of that! I’m going back to BC this winter after my last exam on the 21st (!!) and I’ve already started BEGGING my dad to take our family on a mini road trip to Bellingham so I can stock up on TJs stuff. I’ll have to pick up some of the flatbreads! The only problem is I never know WHAT to do with flatbreads other than make personal pizzas 😛 Any suggestions?

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                    1. They have two different kinds that I like, one is called lavash bread and it’s like a huge, thick rectangular tortilla. I used them recently to make pinwheels (or roll-ups as we used to call them as a kid) for my birthday. 😉 I made a variation of this recipe (http://minimalistbaker.com/sun-dried-tomato-and-basil-pinwheels/), but she also has another pinwheel recipe I so want to try. When I made them for my birthday, I was doing kind of a reliving-my-childhood experience (we had them a lot on road trips or hiking trips when I was little) and I did some cream cheese/lunchmeat ones, some PB&J ones…you can use them pretty much however you’d use a tortilla. I like the flatbread pizza idea (it’d be a kind of thin crust, though, FYI…)! You could also eat it with hummus (or any thicker-type dip that strikes your fancy). The other ones I like are like super-thick tortillas, and those are called just Middle Eastern flatbreads I think. I’ve tried the whole wheat ones, though I’m sure the others are good too. I use them also pretty much how you would use a tortilla (until I feel brave enough to home-make her recipe for flatbreads, I’ve wanted to try adapting this recipe using those: http://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-thanksgiving-wraps). You could also use them to wrap up leftover chopped chicken breast or other meat, or! I totally want to try this recipe, though it would be better with naan (http://pinchofyum.com/spicy-falafel-roasted-veggie-naan-wich). But falafel!! <- good with anything, IMO! And that magic green sauce she mentions in the recipe?? That's a must-try and would be good on almost anything!! You can also go the vegetarian/vegan route and use the flatbreads to wrap up a salad. Basically, I guess you need three things (and not necessarily all of those if that's not your thing): filling (meat, chickpeas, quinoa, sweet potatoes, beans, falafel, leftover dish from the fridge 😜), toppings (caramelized onions, tomatoes, cheese, nuts, olives, bacon, mushrooms, etc. …whatever works with your other flavors) and sauce (magic green sauce, chimichurri, baba ganoush, pesto, alfredo, BBQ, ranch, hummus, etc.). Mine always end up so full, they don't really hold together in a wrap, lol! But I think the fun part is getting creative with the flavors! Hope this gives you some ideas!

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