On the Brain

It seems that I am not alone in having chocolate on my mind!  The overwhelming majority of commenters requested the recipe for the chocolate loaf – and I’m glad, because that one was more fun to create.  So, as promised, here is the recipe. (I’ll work on the banana bread, and make it really blog-worthy!)

Actually you’ll have to scroll down for that, and feel free to skip this little rant that follows – I have a few more things on my mind.  Well, one thing really.

I’m way off routine, again.  And I just feel off.  I’ve mixed up my foods and workouts, but nothing seems right and satisfying.  The extra pounds are still coming on, but I don’t know how to eat less.  Some days I feel great, some not so much.  For the moment I’m blaming the stress of getting back to school – but I want a way to regulate it.  I want a way to physically feel good, even when I have a million things to get done.

I feel like that is not impossible.  Or at least that it shouldn’t be impossible. I know, it’s college, and I could learn to let go a bit.  I have so many years to worry about health and such, but I can’t help but make it a priority now.  I know it is harder that I’ve chosen a field in which many people choose to work on projects for hours on end, without eating, or sleeping, or seeing the daylight.  Yes, this is an exaggeration, and my intention is not to criticize anyone – I just know I could be happy that way.

Last year, I somehow managed to find a decent balance between classes and other things.  I had a good 2 or 3 hour break each day where I could workout and shower, which was just the right amount of time to decompress for the day.  My schedule was fairly regular, and the routine settled in pretty quickly.

This year, many new variables were introduced.  I no longer have a meal plan, so lunches have to be packed or bought every day.  No two days ever have the same schedule, and there is one day a week when I have classes from 9:30am to 6:10 pm, with a few 1.5hour (or less) breaks in between – the days when I really need a good sweaty gym session, but can’t fit it in before 10pm.  And as much as I love my rest days, I like to take them on weekends, when I can actually rest and relax a bit.  Otherwise it doesn’t feel like rest, I just have all of this excess energy that needs to get out.

By the end of the week I usually feel a little more on top of things, but by the time Monday or Tuesday rolls around I get thrown off again!  I don’t really want to call this a slump, but I just don’t really know where to go or what to do.

This is not meant to be a negative post, and not meant to say that I am unhappy – I just needed to get it out there.  I will gladly take any advice you have to give, or stories you have to share about similar experiences.

Now, onto the good stuff!

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Rich Dark Chocolate Loaf

This chocolate loaf is not to be confused with your everyday chocolate cake.  It is stronger and richer in chocolate flavor, but much less sweet – and has a consistency closer to that of crumbly bread.  It’s a great, lower sugar remedy for a carb-filled chocolate good craving.  [[makes 1 standard 9×5 loaf]]

prep time: 10-15 minutes, cook time: 45 minutes

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 c flour – I used spelt
  • 1/2 c cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c sucanat, palm, or brown sugar *
  • 1.5 t baking soda
  • 3/4 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ground ginger
  • 1/4 t salt
  • a handful of unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped (or other mix ins added at the end)

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 c greek yogurt
  • 2 T maple syrup*
  • 1/4 c melted coconut oil**
  • 1/4 c applesauce**
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c almond milk (or any liquid)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F, and grease a 9×5 loaf pan (I used coconut oil cooking spray)
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Using a mixer, sifter, whisk or your hands, make sure there are no clumps in the flour or cocoa powder.
  3. Whisk all the wet ingredients together except the milk. Whisk for a minute or so, until everything is well combined and the mixture is slightly whipped.
  4. Gently add the wet mixture to the dry, and stir until just combined.  Slowly add the milk, until the batter has reached the desired consistency (thick, but drippy). Be careful not to over-mix, as it will make your loaf more dense.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chunks or any other mix-ins (chopped nuts, coconut, you name it!)
  6. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes at 350F
  7. Remove from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before popping it out and slicing.
[[substitution notes: if you prefer sweeter, feel free to add up to 1/2 cup more sugar or 2-4 T of maple syrup, or both – just adjust the amount liquid accordingly.  For the oil, you can use all coconut oil for a fluffier, cake-like loaf, or all applesauce for a denser, ‘gummier’ loaf – or some combo.  Feel free to sub mashed banana or pumpkin for the applesauce as well.  to veganize: add 2T of ground flax to the dry mixture, and add 1/4 cup of liquid to the wet.  Use soy or non-dairy yogurt. (note, I haven’t actually tried this, let me know how it goes if you do) ]]

In pictures!

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dry ingredients on the left, whipped wet ingredients on the right

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thick-but-drippy batter

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add in some rich, unsweetened chocolate (I used TJ's baking chocolate)

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pour into the pan and smooth out the top (check out my notebook in the background there)

hot 'n fresh out of the oven

goes wonderfully with a glob of PNut butter!

Do you prefer super-sweet or extra-rich baked goods?

How do you get yourself into a new routine?

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9 thoughts on “On the Brain

  1. I hate when I feel out of routine! Starting school is always an awful transition for me… i’m busy and i feel like I have no “me time” and it just doesnt feel right! Maybe a slice of dark chocolate loaf would fix that 🙂 I like both super sweet and super rich desserts… I just like dessert!

  2. I understand what you mean. It seems like in September and January (the start of a new semester) it’s always super hard to get used to a new routine and find out how to fit everything in without becoming stressed. So frustrating! Maybe try working out early in the morning before class? I don’t usually workout super early, but today I went to a 6:30 AM yoga class, and it was actually pretty nice.
    That chocolate bread looks so so good right now. I think I’m doing some baking tonight!

  3. Pingback: WIAW all over the place. | Eat, Learn, Discover.

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