Monthly Archives: May 2012

Confessions of a New Blogger

I’ve reached that age when I’m not ashamed to say, “I don’t know nothin,'” or in the words of a funny Puerto Rican song, “Yo no se nada!” There was a time when I’d try to fake it, but not any more. That’s one reason I decided to write a blog. I knew nothin’ about blogging. It was time to find out.

The idea of a blog appealed to me for three reasons: 1)it does not involve the accumulation of stuff; 2)writing is good exercise for an aging brain; and 3)there are a lot of things I’d like to learn. Certainly, it’s a good way to reconnect with friends and relatives, too. That’s been the greatest blessing in my first month of blogging.

Why did I choose “Flavor of the Month”? Simply, I figured I would not soon run out of material. Already this theme has taken on a life of its own, and I am following where it leads. When I wrote my first post I did not imagine that before the month was over I would learn something about chocolate pets, chocolate mountains or a city named for a box of Baker’s Cocoa.

While this is the end of my Chocolate posts (at least for a while), I have not touched the tip of a giant Hershey’s kiss on the subject. For that reason, I have also begun posting on Pinterest where my first board is called Chocolate Things. Check it out.

Next month’s flavor: Ginger.

Chocolate Cow

My search for chocolate animals a couple of weeks ago led me to “Chocolate Cow,” which is not an animal, but a bottled chocolate drink with an identifying kicking cow pictured on the container. While it is no longer produced, fans of the drink remember buying it from ice cream trucks and small mom-and-pop grocery stores. According to bottlebooks.com, Yoo-Hoo was the last owner of Chocolate Cow.

Cocoa Beach

Where did the Florida city associated with the Space Program get its chocolate name?

One story is of an old woman who lived on the banks of the Indian River. As sailors approached her house they would call out “Cocoa! Cocoa!” until she came out and served them hot chocolate.

Another story says when townspeople were looking to name their community, a woman showed up at the meeting with a box of Baker’s Cocoa. (Nothing unusual about that.) Could it have been the same woman who served hot chocolate to the sailors on the banks of the Indian River? Who knows? Anyway, some people credit the woman with the box of Baker’s Cocoa for suggesting the city’s name.

Whether either of these stories has merit may be debatable, but they certainly offer more “delicious” accounts than the naming of most cities. So far Cocoa Beach is the only city I’ve found with a name associated with chocolate.

When in doubt, add chocolate chips

I’m a muffin girl. My basic recipe began as banana bread and over the years it has evolved into a low-fat, no-white-sugar, high-fiber breakfast-in-a-muffin meal. Depending on the ingredients I have on hand, the recipe changes, but it begins with 1-2 cups of frozen ripe bananas, which I seem to always have on hand. If I’m short on bananas, I add some applesauce. One time I substituted left-over sweet potatoes, and they worked fine, too.

NO SUGAR? I use honey and dried fruit such as dates, apricots and even prunes. I chop the dried fruit very fine. These muffins are not overly sweet. Increase the honey for a sweeter muffin.

WHOLE GRAIN? I use whole wheat flour and oatmeal (which I usually put through my coffee grinder to make it fine as flour). I like to add flax seed meal, too. About 1/4 of a cup.

LOW FAT? I usually use 1/2 cup of canola oil, but today I used only 1/4 cup and they turned out great.

CHOCOLATE CHIPS? Why not? I sometimes add raisins, nuts, and coconut.  So why not chocolate chips, too?

Here’s my basic recipe:

JANE’S BEST BANANA MUFFINS
1/2 C canola oil
2 eggs
1 C oatmeal
1 C whole wheat flour
1/2 C honey
1/2 C chopped dates and other dried fruit
3 ripe bananas
1/2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t vanilla
1/2 C walnuts
And, chocolate chips to taste!

Bake at 350F for about 40 minutes.

Chocolate Mountains

If this sounds like some decadent dessert, think again. The Chocolate Mountains of the Philippines are one of the country’s most famous natural wonders and a popular tourist destination. During the dry season they turn brown and actually look like giant chocolate drops. Here in the United States, California and Arizona also have Chocolate Mountains, probably so named because of the color. And, finally, the Chocolate Cliffs of Utah are part of the colorful range that extends to the Grand Canyon.

Chocolate Pets

Friend Dottie asked how I would include animals in a blog about flavors. I had just begun thinking about chocolate animals when Carlos’ great-niece posted a picture of her sister’s chocolate labradoodle on Facebook. One-year-old Remi lives in California, where he is the lovable companion of Lorren who is in graduate school there.

Chocolate has an easy tie-in to animals if you think about color. Just think of pets you have had or known named Cocoa. While I personally never had a dog or cat with that name, it’s a fairly common one for a furry brown pet.

DOGS: For starters, check out chocolate labrador, chocolate poodle and chocolate dachshund. While chocolate dogs are brown, I don’t think all brown dogs can be called chocolate. I think they must be a certain rich brown color.

CATS: In addition to chocolate-tipped Siamese, check out the luscious Havanese breed, possibly named because its color resembles an Havana cigar.

BUNNIES (not the candy variety): I probably saw my first ones, the floppy-eared kind, many years ago at the Ionia County Free Fair in Michigan. I also remember a friendly one in a gift shop in Breckenridge, Colorado. He and my friend Pat hit it off immediately.

Have a chocolate pet story? Feel free to share it below.

Chocolate

  • It is not only a favorite flavor, it is one of my favorite words in Spanish.  I love the way CHO-KO-LAH-TAY rolls off the tongue and the edge of my teeth. The word even sounds delicious.
  • A Chocolate Memory: Homemade fudge and popcorn on cold Sunday afternoons when growing up in Michigan.
  • A Chocolate Story: My friend Kit, a devout lover of all things chocolate, once ordered a large scoop of chocolate ice cream atop a warm chocolate brownie crowned in hot fudge syrup. With about a quarter of the calorie-laden concoction remaining in the bottom of her bowl, she finally admitted it is possible to have too much chocolate.
  • I’m intrigued by the color of Hershey’s candy bar wrappers. I’ve never seen chocolate in exactly that color of maroonish brown.
  • I could never stay on a diet that did not include at least a little bit of chocolate.
  • I like the color chocolate with sea glass green. Ah, the feel of chocolate suede, thick chocolate towels and a cushy chocolate bath mat.
  • Start every day with a spoonful of chocolate in your morning coffee. Two flavors all at once, oohla!