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Up until recently, we had three very bad habits in our home.
1. Nobody wanted to do the dishes. We have assigned chores and the person whose turn it was often spent the time before, during, and/or after doing the dishes whining, complaining, and/or grumbling about the task. Sadly, this sometimes included mom and dad!
2. Dishes piled up in the sink until chore time making chore time even more daunting.
3. I would often reach into the freezer when I passed the fridge and grab a handful of chocolate chips. This became my go-to when I felt stressed, frustrated, or bored.
A few weeks ago, I had an inspired thought on how to break all three of these habits in one fell swoop. I announced that every time I walked by an empty sink, everyone would get a bit of chocolate. (And, as a corollary, no one got chocolate if there were dirty dishes in the sink.)
If I may say so, this was a stroke of genius. My kids began checking the sink every five minutes to see if there were any dishes they could take care of. They finished breakfast and ran to wash their bowls so there wouldn’t be anything in the sink when I finished my breakfast. And while I’m still eating some chocolate each day, it’s not a mindless reaching into the fridge anymore. My own attitude about the dishes is so much better too. I’m striving to wash as I go instead of letting them pile up, and that is making everyone’s chore time easier.
Now, I don’t think that eating 15 or 20 chocolate chips a day is going to hurt anyone health-wise, but I’m trying to eat as little sugar as possible so I’ve also been making my own chocolate for this endeavor. This recipe is an adaptation of many floating around the web (and in the Trim Healthy Mama($) book). I first saw it from Chocolate-Covered Katie and soon after on Whole New Mom, and I tried it a number of times with mixed success. I’ve finally come up with proportions that seem to work every time now to make a chocolate that I love, so I thought I’d just share it in case any of you have had the mixed success I have. Because I love you, I just went and tested it one more time to make sure I had it right. 🙂
- 1 cup virgin coconut oil (you can use regular, but I think virgin tastes better)
- 1 heaping cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup of sweetness (I've been using ¼ cup xylitol and 2 dropperfuls of vanilla stevia drops)
- Dissolve your sweetness into your coconut oil. This does not involve much, if any, heating for me because I live in a place where coconut oil is always liquid. Seriously. You, however, may need to heat your coconut oil and dissolve your sweetener. Use the lowest possible heat you can for this. It really just needs to be warm to the touch.
- Whisk in the cocoa powder.
- Taste it and make sure you like it. Add more of anything you think it needs. Don't skip this step. I used to think it might somehow taste better after freezing. It won't. If you don't like it, fix it before you freeze it.
- Pour it into molds or onto a piece of wax paper on a baking sheet or in a smaller pan and freeze. You can cut it into chunks of whatever size you want once it's frozen.
Because I live in such a warm climate, this is a very melty chocolate. That doesn’t stop us from enjoying it since we know how to wash our hands. 🙂 (Dare I hope we’ve also broken a fourth bad habit of not washing our hands enough???) We love it in cookies and oatmeal and straight from the freezer whenever the sink is empty!
My favorite thing to use as molds are some old trays from boxes of chocolate someone gave me a while back (the brown one in the picture above). They are the perfect size and because of the coconut oil, the chocolate doesn’t stick at all and pops right out. My kids love it molded in silicone muffin cups, especially our heart-shaped ones. We also have this silicone lego ice cube tray($) which makes fun chocolate blocks, albeit a bit large for my purposes.
When we started this new strategy, I sent my husband to the store to buy some real chocolate chips for the kids, thinking they would find them more motivating. After their first reward, they all asked if they could have “my chocolate” next time because it tastes better. I was happy to comply by giving them no sugar and super-food virgin coconut oil the next time we had an empty sink!
Yet another WIN-WIN for Mommynificent! Sweet!