Happy Valentine’s Day!

red-love-heart-alone-6068The day of love.

Contrived into a commercial “holiday” for the benefit of jewellers, chocolatiers, restauranteurs and florists.

I’m not against celebrating love.

Just the way we do it.

Personally, a bouquet of overpriced roses (simply because it’s Valentine’s Day) means little to me if the person presenting them neglects to use kind words the other 364 days.

And since I gave up sugar four years ago, those heart shaped boxes of waxy blobs of sweet don’t cut it anymore. I now prefer high-quality dark chocolate. A square or two mitigates the urge to eat more. (Yes, I’ve become a chocolate snob!)

Jewelry lost its sheen for me when I tried selling some rings and I was offered five cents on the dollar! All that glitters not worth gold!

Here’s what the Day of Love means to me: spending time with people I love.

Today I’m visiting two of my octogenarian friends and an aunt who’s in town. I’ll spend time with my Grandtoys this afternoon and see more friends this evening.

I’m enjoying listening to all the love songs on my favourite radio station.

Most importantly, I expect to continue building an aura of love that will spill into every day for the rest of my life.

I don’t expect it to be onerous. I believe we are all connected. One.

So when I’m kind to others, I’m kind to myself. I like to be kind to myself.

Like everything else, it seems the more I practice the better I get.

I encourage you to begin creating a day of love everyday. What better day to start than Valentine’s Day, the Day of Love?


Posted on February 8, 2013

My family is deeply affected by certain foods. We have gluten sensitivity, diary allergies, and we are careful about processed food including anything with sugar in it.

As a result birthday parties and other family celebrations require careful planning. We can’t just buy a cake and our traditional family recipes need to be significantly modified.

We are learning to think about food differently. Why do we need cake to celebrate? Shouldn’t we celebrate with the nutrition of whole real food?

Last evening we celebrated my daughter’s birthday with a family dinner. I was charged with bringing dessert.

As I have avoided sugar since the Christmas chocolate and goodies ran out in early January, I wasn’t thrilled about bringing a cake, imposing that unhealthy item on my health-conscious family. Even a gluten-free dairy-free cake needs sugar to make it palatable.

I had read about making chocolate pudding out of avocado and I wanted to try it for the party. I found numerous recipes online and I decided to create my own using those recipes as a guideline.

I have to say, I really outdid myself. My youngest grandtoy, J____, licked her bowl clean and then eyed the two extra servings on the platter. When Mommy said no, J____ was choked.  Peace was restored when I told her I had brought the extras so she and her sister could take them for lunch the next day.

Chocomole is creamy (because of all of that healthy avocado fat). The maple syrup sweetens it without all the harmful effects of white sugar. The antioxidants of the dark chocolate are preserved because they’re not heated.

In my opinion Chocomole is better than conventional chocolate pudding: no “cow” aftertaste and mucous buildup in my throat that I usually get when I eat dairy products.

I’ve been thinking about how I can use avocado to make other “puddings”. (If you have ideas, do share!)

Nobody would ever guess that this dessert is actually good for them. I urge you to try it for yourself.

Bon appétit!

My Chocolate Avocado Pudding “Chocomole”

adapted by Shelley Goldbeck from four recipes

4 avocados, ripe and soft

½ cup coconut milk (or almond/rice milk)

1 ounce of dark chocolate (72% or higher), high quality, dairy-free, melted

2 heaping Tbsp. high quality cocoa powder or to taste (you may use all cocoa if you don’t have

dark chocolate squares)

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

pinch Himalayan sea salt

¼ to ¾ cup maple syrup, to taste. (Or honey or agave; I expect you would need less of these).

(I add sweetener last, in increments, to avoid making it too sweet).

Portions depend on the size of the avocados.  I used medium.  Process until smooth, occasionally scraping down sides. Taste and add more cocoa powder, required. Add more sweetener, to taste, and milk, if you’d like it looser. Divide between serving cups and serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve. Keeps in fridge 24 hours. Makes 8 to 10 ½ cup servings.

Garnish with fresh berries or toasted almonds.