Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Chocolate Cult Holiday Plan

Sisters and Brothers, I will get back to reviews, news commentary, and sharing the exploits I am privileged to have as your Chocolate Priestess but today I want to just briefly talk about how I'm using the Path we are all on to make my family's annual Holiday party more chocolaty but more healthy as well.

First, obviously I am using chocolate in as many desserts as I can.  I'm going to be making about nine different cookies for this party, which happen on the evening of the 13th.  I might make more if I have time.  I promise I will talk about them all, share recipes and photos later as I reveal the books I've taken them from to you all next week as ideas you might want to pursue as gifts or for your own holiday use.

Second, I'm doing variety this year.  Normally I make fudge, yummy bars, one type of cookie, that sort of thing.  Nope, the point of having 9+ cookies is variety this year.  So my guests can sample white, milk, and varying degrees of dark chocolate.  They can see how cocoa or nibs work on these treats or debate the value of coating a cookie verses hiding the chocolate inside.  There will be soft, chewy cookies and crisp ones, bars and mounds, perhaps even cupcakes depending on my time.

Third, I'm looking at quality.  I've carefully checked the ingredients I bought to make sure I'm getting the Sacred Substance I'm paying for.  It wasn't always the most expensive brand either especially with white chocolate which you must double check the label or you can easily be tricked into getting something that has no cocoa anything at all.  I looked for sales and compared quality.  I used coupons even stocking up on supplies and storing them in a cool, dry place.

Fourth, I changed my focus on quantity this year.  An average party for me might have 4+ pounds of fudge, 4 dozen cookies of one variety, an entire 13 by 9 pan of yummy bars, and an entire bag of dipped pretzels.  This year, each cookie variety is 12-20 cookies only and we are using bigger pretzels.  The result is smaller quantities of the individual flavors but more over all number of treats.  This also really helps me with time.  I can do a treat a day and I don't feel as rushed as I have in previous years.

Fifth I also considered health for this party. First, we aren't serving only desserts.  Each person in my household, three of us, is making a main course and a side dish.  The main course is focused on protein with one solid, tasty vegetarian option.  We each are including vegetables either in that main dish or as our side dish.  We are using spices over fats to add flavor in everything.  I know for some of you this is almost blasphemy but if I use egg whites or egg substitute, lower cholesterol and saturated fats in my offerings, then I feel like I am sending message to my friends and loved one that I care about them.  The serving sizes will be smaller, too, and people can come back as much as they want but no one will be focused to eat that entire portion either simply because it was cut that way.

Finally, our party will encourage movement and interaction.  After the food, which folks can eat at the entire event if they like, we have scheduled games to get our minds active and some body movement as well.  Even though the vast majority of our guests will be adults, they actually enjoy this.  

This year is our 17th Annual Holiday Party.  This is year is also the 1st following the philosophy of The Chocolate Cult.  Wish me luck.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

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