I don't miss any of those foods that I used to long for (except sometimes I do jones for a good, chewy pizza crust without feeling like total poo afterward), but I will admit that if I had to give up chocolate, I'd be kicking and screaming the whole way. Let's face it: I tend to be a stress eater. When life gets me down, I let food bring me back up. During my Food Garbage Days (aka, before going all psycho on our diet), James and I would indulge in a custard sundae -- sometimes twice a week! It was our stress relief, something we'd always do at the very end of the day to help round out all the bad things that had happened. And when we didn't want to spend the money on custard, we'd have a helping of our own homemade ice cream. Even after going gluten-free, I'd woof down a plate of sliced apples with peanut butter and chocolate chips (and I thought that was decently healthy).
Slowly, we're working out of our stress-eating habits. We rarely snack after dinner, and if we do have a quick bite, it's usually protein-packed with minimal sugar. Since going grain-free and low-carb, a sugary snack before bed makes my sleep totally restless and unsatisfying, so it's not so hard to stay away from the sweets if I want to get a good night's sleep. But the best part is that I can still have a square or two of dark chocolate after a long day -- no racing heartbeat from all of the carbs, no jittery dreams about someone chasing me while I'm navigating my old high school wearing flippers and a sombrero, and probably best of all: no guilt about calories.
Now, I usually wait a day or two to a post a new recipe I've just made, mainly because I tend to procrastinate about such things. But today, I made something so darn good that I had to share it as soon as possible. It was that good, seriously.
Chocolate Nut Squares
1 cup almonds
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup flax meal
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
5 medjool dates, pitted and diced small (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup almond butter, peanut butter or a combo of both
2 T honey
2 tsp vanilla
2-3 oz dark chocolate
1. In a food processor, pulse almonds, walnuts, flax meal, and coconut until coarsely ground to desired consistency. Pour into a large mixing bowl and stir in sunflower seeds, dates, salt and cinnamon.
2. In a small to medium saucepan, warm coconut oil, nut butter, and honey over low heat. Stir to blend until mixture is completely incorporated. Off the heat, add the vanilla. Pour the nut butter mixture into the nuts, stirring to coat evenly.
3. Line an 8x8 square dish with parchment paper or foil. Press nut mixture into the pan.
4. In a small saucepan, gently melt chocolate over low heat, stirring frequently to avoid scorching. (Or us a double-boiler if you're nervous about this.) Evenly pour melted chocolate over bars then spread in a thin, even layer.
5. Freeze for about 1 hour. Remove paper/foil sling from pan, then cut into 16 even squares. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.