Hi, friends. Is it dark where you are right now?
I’m not going to complain about how I rode the bus home in darkness this evening, about how creepy it is when the clock says 6 PM and it looks like midnight outside. I won’t complain because yesterday, the clocks fell back and we had a 25-hour day and I got to spend it with Matt. He really undid me when he hugged me so tight that it felt like he was trying to leave his imprint on my body, and I started to cry, just a little, knowing it was time to say good-bye. Then, in the evening, after he was safe and sound back home, he wrote me an e-mail, saying, “I miss you all the time.” It was so sad and romantic that I hope he doesn’t mind I just shared it with you. Because the truth is, I miss him all the time too. I just don’t want to be the one to say it!
We had a lovely weekend together, slow and gentle, with lots of wine and walks and conversation that flowed like water. I do believe I love him more and more as time softens us and the years round off the edges of our relationship. It’s funny how I don’t feel that I have lost any measure of my independence, in part because we live such physically separate lives—different homes, different cities, different schedules—but his influence has changed me…for the better, I’d like to think. I’m grateful for that, but I’m even more grateful to feel like I can be in this romantic relationship without losing my sense of self. The place where we meet is a place where I can be myself, and the longer we are together, the more true this feels to me.
There is more to say about this weekend, and it even involves food, but I’m going to save it for another day. I’ve got a little work to do in the kitchen first. In the meantime, let’s talk afternoon snacks, shall we? The afternoon snack is a requirement in my day, and I take it quite seriously. It has to be nutritious and a treat, perfectly balanced between those two worlds. Often I like a good cupful of granola, eaten with either milk or yogurt. Other times, especially if I’m at home, I’ll make a smoothie or do a cheese-and-fruit plate with some crackers on the side. In my more desperate moments, I’ll do a trail mix of sorts with some nuts and dried fruit, though I find that snack to be a little too plain to be exciting. With Matt here this weekend, I didn’t do any baking, so instead of granola, I turned to one of my other favorite snacks, chocolate yogurt gussied up with some add-ins: crumbled graham cracker, dried cherries, and sliced almonds. Ooh la la—this is really yummy.
I first started making chocolate yogurt after finding a recipe in Passionate Vegetarian. Lovely Crescent, the author, tucks her recipe in the dessert section, and she calls it “Cherried Yogurt, Black Forest-Style,” which I think is such a great name. The idea is that you mix full-fat yogurt with some cocoa, sugar, and vanilla, then mix fresh cherries, dried cherries, and a few chopped nuts into the chocolate yogurt you just made. During fresh cherry season, it’s totally delicious and one of my favorite things to do with fresh cherries, besides eat them plain, right off the stem.
But once fresh cherry season has passed, chocolate yogurt still lingers in my mind. To me, it’s more delicious than any flavored yogurt you can buy at the store, and it’s better for you too because it contains way less sugar than most sweetened yogurts. Best of all, I almost always have the ingredients on hand for it—there’s only three!—so it’s always an option, even during busy, non-baking times.
Adapted from Passionate Vegetarian
What I find most amazing about this little homemade concoction is that it never seems like the cocoa powder will blend into the yogurt, but if you give it a few good stirs and a little time, it will. The chalky, dry quality of the powder will disappear, leaving you with a smooth, rich, creamy snack. I find that this recipe, if I can call it that, works well with full-fat and low-fat yogurt, so you can make it more or less decadent, depending on your mood.
Feel free to tweak the sugar amount to make it more or less sweet. Two teaspoons works for me, especially if I’m adding something sweet as a mix-in.
1 cup plain yogurt, full- or low-fat
2 tsp. cocoa powder
2 tsp. granulated sugar, preferably vanilla bean-infused (or just add a drop of vanilla to the yogurt)
1) Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl. If the mixture seems a little grainy, keep mixing or wait a few minutes for everything to blend into the yogurt.
2) Eat immediately or spoon it into a jar and pack it in your lunch bag to be eaten later. Don’t forget to pack a little baggie of mix-ins, like peanuts, almonds, perhaps some coconut, maybe a fresh banana to slice into it! The possibilities are endlessly delicious here.