When one imagines the many ways they might spend a rare, few hours of free time — catching up on trashy reality T.V., perhaps; exploring a new neighborhood; sitting at a coffee shop while people-watching and reading the paper — I suspect spending an hour-and-a-half at the DMV in midtown Manhattan is not one of the things that first comes to mind. Nevertheless, that is precisely where I found myself this morning, looking to exchange my expired Michigan license for what has turned out to be quite the elusive New York card. First, it was the realization that New York requires — no exceptions — a valid, original social security card. I couldn’t find mine (thankfully, it’s since been recovered. Phew!) Then it was the quite demoralizing rejection when I finally reached the front of the line this morning, where I was informed that that I need a letter from Michigan confirming the date my first license was issued, since Michigan doesn’t have a date of issue on the actual license. Ugh. Fighting back tears (yes, real tears — I take my free time very seriously these days) I sighed and walked out with my head down, both frustrated and defeated.
While it was only a minor hurdle in an otherwise good day (I found out that my grandpa — Opa — was free to go home from the hospital today. Yay!) it was nevertheless enough to make me want to run to the nearest ice cream shop (in my case, the nearest vegan ice cream shop) and pig out. That’s what us girls do when we’re stressed, right? (To be fair, I suppose there are guys who do so, too, though I know Gennaro would reach for a beer rather than an ice cream in such situations. Then again — to be fair — I suppose there are girls who would go for the beer, too. But me? I’m all about the pity party ice cream).
Then I heard Jillian’s voice in my head again (see: crushed lentil soup post). I could feel her shaking her head at me as I was en route to Stogo (the aforementioned vegan ice cream shop). You finally get to see what your ab muscles look like and you’re going to throw it all away because of a botched trip to the DMV? I could hear her talking me out of it (not only am I near-crying in public places now, I’m also having internal dialogues with a trainer I’ve never met. Yep, in case you were wondering, studying for the bar really will make you crazy). But ohhhh, how wonderful a big scoop of chocolate ice cream sounded — how could such a wonderful indulgence not melt all my troubles away?
After a few more minutes of crazed internal dialogue, I made a compromise by deciding to tackle an at-home mousse — a sensible solution, don’t you think? Perhaps I’m not going crazy after all…
Chocolate? yes. A little (healthy) fat? Yes. But sugar and carbs were not invited to this party. My newfound friend, NuNaturals vanilla liquid stevia is the star of this show. And, since I’ve been craving cherries for some reason lately, I topped it off with a few fresh slices (and a few toasted almonds, just ’cause). It’s all very “Cherry Garcia” — without the wrath of your personal trainer (or not-personal celebrity trainer you’ve never met), that is.
Serves: 2-3 very comfortably; double for a crowd (or for a really bad day)
Vegan Chocolate Mousse:
1 12-oz. package Mori-nu extra firm silken tofu at room temperature*
1/4 cup coconut oil, liquified
1/4 cup good cocoa powder, unsweetened
1/2 teaspoon NuNaturals liquid vanilla stevia**
1. Over a double boiler, heat coconut oil, cocoa powder and liquid stevia until warmed through and shiny.
2. Add mixture to a blender with silken tofu and blend until smooth.
3. Pour mixture into a bowl, cover, and let set in refrigerator for at least an hour, the longer the better. Serve alone or topped with your favorite fruit, nut or other healthy treat.
* It’s important you use this brand because — as far as I know — it’s the only brand that’s packaged so that the tofu is safe to be out at room temperature. It’s equally important that you use room temperature — rather than cold — tofu because otherwise the coconnut oil will harden before it’s blended into the mousse, which is never a good thing, unless you want chocolate chip mousse.
** Use NuNaturals. My mom reported the dreaded “stevia bitterness” after using a different brand.