For the love of chocolate: Indulge your valentine without guilt
Valentine's Day falls at a most inopportune time.
For some six weeks we've been faithful (for the most part) to our resolution to trim calories and we've got Spring Break's bathing suit potential a mere eight weeks away.
Now here comes a holiday that tempts us with heart-shaped boxes filled with seductively rich chocolates and bakeries advertising decadent sweets for your sweet.
Don't fret. You can indulge your inner chocoholic without feeling like you've cheated on your hips and newly trimmed down love handles.
Cocoa powder and good quality dark chocolate hold the key to holding fat and calories in check.
As the meticulous cooks at America's Test Kitchen point out in "Light & Healthy 2011," "cocoa can provide a good amount of chocolate flavor without adding as much fat as bar chocolate."
Cocoa powder is what chef Paul Saucedo uses in the chocolate macaroons he makes at Cocoa Bean, a bakery in Geneva.
The cookie of whipped egg whites, sugar and almond flour, bittersweet cocoa powder is "such a rich indulgence... with no butter and almost no fat."
Unsweetened cocoa powder and a touch of semisweet dark chocolate make Chocolate-Buttermilk Bundt Cake from Weight Watcher's "New Complete Cookbook." The cake serves 24, so you can share with all the loved ones in your life.
The darker the chocolate, look for 70 percent cacao and higher, the bolder the flavor -- remember just a little goes a long way.
So don't use chocolate's health benefits (it's high in antioxidants that can lower blood pressure and possibly prevent cancer) as an excuse to overindulge in the gooey filled chocolates your co-worker brings into the office. Make one of these treats instead and let the special people in your life (yourself included) know they are loved.