Life’s Co-pilot

It’s true. While most people stash drinks in the consoles of their cars, I’ve got an empty mug… and my Benylin.

I actually haven’t taken cough syrup since I was a kid (I’ve sure never *bought* any); as an asthmatic, if I get a cough, I just accept it.

But this is stupid—I mentioned to you a WEEK ago that I had a cold. Well, in most respects, I feel fine right now… except for a croupy, hacking, fear-of-god-or-at-least-the-plague-inducing cough. People are afraid to be around me (and I don’t really blame them), but neither can I afford not to be running my errands and getting work done.

Hence, the Benylin. The pharmacist assured me that there was evidence that supports that it really does help suppress coughing… I’m still not sure. And I’m slightly choked that this might eat into my attempt to get abs of diamond from coughing so hard, but one must remain polite society, mustn’t one? 😀

My little malaise knocked me out too much to blog earlier this week (is it “feed a cold, starve a fever”? Oops.), so at long last, here’s my story.

I don’t like to lose. I like a fair fight, and I’ll lose graciously if I must, but I don’t like it.

I sometimes sign up for blog giveaways and think, “shur. Whatev.” But there was this one a while back, when I thought, “oh! Pick ME! YES, please!! ME ME ME!”

I didn’t win.

Well, so be it, but this time I wasn’t going to take defeat lying down… I took to my kitchen and began trying to cobble together my own version of the prize I had been teased with. All it took was a little internet searching and I was off to the races!

I’ve made this 4 times now. The first and third were absolutely the best—the second was bland and the last is too nutty, but I would have to say that this is like sex or chocolate (depending on who you are): even when it’s “bad”, it’s not BAD! In fact, it’s quite good! Yay!

I’d like to take credit for this… but the idea is from someone else, the ingredients are from someone else’s idea, and all I did was mix well and serve. I still play around with proportions, but, ladies, may I introduce you to a better (nut) butter spread?

hey look! It’s my first photo from my new camera! 😀
Chocolate Almond Butter Spread

*Note: Depending on how sweet or how much you want to taste the almond butter, you might want to increase the sweetener or nut butter—those have turned out to be the biggest variables so far. Also, using the darkest, most decadent (yet unsweetened) cocoa powder is key. I like Bernard Callebaut, but whatever makes our heart sing works.

You need:

∞ 1 cup almond butter
∞ 1 cup plus 3 Tbsp pumpkin purée
∞ 1/2 cup cocoa powder
∞ 2 Tbsp maple syrup (I’ve also used honey… maple is better!)
∞ 1 tsp vegetable oil
∞ 70 g finely chopped dark chocolate

You must:

≈ put almond butter and 1 cup of pumpkin purée in a stand mixer and combine well.
≈ in another bowl, mix cocoa, maple syrup, pumpkin purée and oil, stirring to make a nice paste. If it’s a bit crumbly still, add another tablespoon of pumpkin to get a good, pasty consistency.
≈ add cocoa mixture to the stand mixer, and give it another good beating to incorporate all the ingredients well. I don’t think you can beat too long, and the more you beat, the smoother the end result.
≈ add chocolate bits to the mixer and mix to distribute evenly.

I portion this out into 3 containers, pop one in the fridge for immediate use and the others go in the freezer until it’s time. I think that’s just best, since I don’t seal them hermetically…

Why I love this spread: I have pumpkin protein pancakes for breakfast most days… and I like a little chocolate spread on top for some healthy fat to keep me full for, oh, five hours? 🙂 Remember my cupboard full of Peanut Butter & Co products? Dark Chocolate Dreams is my fave, but at almost $6 per, I wasn’t loving the price. And it’s a bit more sugar than I wanted… my recipe lets me lower the caloric density (not that I’m counting, but I’ve also upped the fibre by adding the pumpkin: whee!) AND the sugar, AND the cost. So: win, win, WIN! I tried it side-by-side with the last bit of a Dark Chocolate Dreams jar this morning:

I only made it through about 1/3 of this (stupid cold!), but the one at 9 o’clock is the Peanut Butter & Co, and the others are my nut butter spread. I like the PB & chocolate combo taste of the PB&Co, when trying them side by side… but I think if I used PB instead of AB, I’d have that nailed.

So: try it, and let me know what you think!

PS: my oldest friend in the world is racing in her first Half Ironman tomorrow—the Ochsner Ironman in New Orleans. I’m SO EXCITED for her, so if you want to stream it (like I am!) and cheer her on remotely, she’s bib 603, she’s Tara, she’s AWESOME, and look for her to come out of the water fast… she’s also a former national swimmer. 😀 Go, T!