Wednesday, January 04, 2017


Dark Chocolate Nut Spread Recipe

Quick, simple, and healthy recipe for a chocolate spread that tastes great.

2 cups (16 oz) nut or seed butter
4 to 6 tbs cocoa powder unsweetened
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
1/2 tsp stevia powder concentrate

1. Pour off most or all of the clear oil that separates on the top of a jar of natural nut or seed butter.
2. Stir all the ingredients together.
3. Store in the refrigerator.


Mexican chocolate recipe: add 2 tsp cinnamon and 2 tsp nutmeg to the recipe above.

Aztec chocolate recipe: add 2 tsp cayenne, 2 tsp cinnamon to the recipe above. Allow a few hours for the full flavor of the cayenne to be released. Carefully adjust cayenne amounts to suit your taste and the hotness of the cayenne you use.

Orange chocolate recipe: add fresh grated orange zest and 1 tbs orange extract to the recipe above.

Commercial chocolate-nut spread tastes great, but this junk food contains sugar and palm oil which I prefer to avoid for a variety of health, nutritional and environmental reasons. In contrast, my homemade recipe contains no refined sugar, and only the healthy oil content from whatever nut or seed butter was used. This recipe is also low in sodium if you choose an unsalted nut or seed butter.

After pouring off most of the clear oil separated on the top, mixing, and consuming one or two servings of plain nut butter, then the chocolate and other ingredients can be simply stirred into the jar of store-bought nut or seed butter for maximum convenience and minimum dishwashing.

My homemade recipe amounts produce a spread that tastes like semi-sweet chocolate. Adjust all of the ingredient amounts as needed to suit your own tastes.

Stevia is a natural, noncaloric sweetener and flavor enhancer that is increasingly available in grocery stores or can be purchased online. You could also substitute whatever sugar or noncaloric sweetener you prefer.

Pouring off most of the oil separated at the top of the nut butter jar produces a thicker, stiffer spread. Later on you can very carefully add back oil if needed to achieve whatever degree of creaminess you desire. I like mine to be very thick and barely spreadable straight out of the refrigerator so that a very thick layer of chocolate spread on my wholegrain toast doesn't turn runny and melt too quickly. Add more cocoa powder if necessary to thicken the recipe.

Peanut butter is the lowest cost and most widely available, but a wide range of tree nut butters (e.g. almond, cashew) and seed butters (e.g. pumpkinseed, sunflowerseed, sesame/tahini) are available in stores or can be made at home using a food processor. All of the nut and seed butters are fairly good sources of protein (e.g. peanut butter nutritional value). Uniquely among the nut and seed butters walnut is a good source of omega-3 fat.

This recipe is a great way to enjoy the health benefits of dark chocolate without the sugar and less healthy fats found in chocolate candies. Many people with special dietary requirements (e.g. low sugar, low salt, etc.) can enjoy this guilt-free chocolate spread.

The Aztec Chocolate recipe adds the flavors of the traditional Olmec, Mayan and Aztec chocolatl/xocoatl drink into the nut spread recipe. See more about chili pepper nutritional benefits.

People with allergies to tree nuts and/or peanuts may be able to enjoy the recipe if its made with a seed butter instead. If you put the recipe in your own container with your own label make sure to identify the type of nut or seed butter used because some people are deathly allergic to certain kinds of nuts.

Please share this recipe with everybody you know who loves chocolate !! Forward the link via email and/or share the link on your Facebook.

Please post your comments, questions and recipe modifications here. Thanks !!


Saturday, September 28, 2013


Hiking in Sonoma County, CA - Map to the Trailheads.

Here is a set of online interactive maps to the hiking trails of Sonoma County, California. Zoom in and zoom out on the road map, satellite map, terrain map and topographic map to help plan your drive to the trailheads and your hiking and mountain biking trips on the trails.

Sonoma County Trailhead Maps.

• Map book: California Maps - Atlas & Gazetteer by Delorme, 2008.

Online map user instructions. Click and drag to reposition this interactive map.
• The tool on the left zooms in and out. Point on the red markers to see the names.
• Map=roads. Satellite=satellite map. Terrain=3D shaded topo map. Topo=topographic map.

Sonoma County Trailheads.

Full-Screen online driving map - Sonoma County Trailheads.

Geographic Coordinates - Landmarks (Marker)
N 38.45666 W 122.63894 - Annadel State Park (A)
N 38.54121 W 123.00854 - Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve (B)
N 38.44433 W 122.87716 - Atascadero Creek Marsh Ecological Reserve (C)
N 38.57241 W 123.05076 - Austin Creek State Recreation Area (D)
N 38.80293 W 122.74806 - Cobb Mountain - Southwest Peak. (E)
N 38.52452 W 123.23071 - Fort Ross State Historic Park (F)
N 38.45884 W 122.55142 - Hood Mountain Regional Park (G)
N 38.34852 W 122.55713 - Jack London State Historic Park (H)
N 38.71980 W 123.00018 - Lake Sonoma Wildlife Area (I)
N 38.21481 W 122.33187 - Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area (J)
N 38.55513 W 122.63878 - Petrified Forest (K)
N 38.65275 W 122.59992 - Robert Louis Stevenson State Park (L)
N 38.56671 W 123.32470 - Salt Point State Park (M)
N 38.15341 W 122.43611 - San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge (N)
N 38.44911 W 123.11524 - Sonoma Coast State Park (O)
N 38.44266 W 122.53312 - Sugarloaf Ridge State Park & Sonoma Creek Falls (P)

Driving Directions

Google Maps provide directions, distance & driving time from your house to the trailheads. Locations can be specified by geographic coordinates or by the name of a city, town or landmark. Click and drag the gold figurine onto the map to see a panoramic StreetView of your destination, critical turns along your route, scenery along the way, etc.

See also:
Trailhead maps for California counties - BRT Insights.
Hiking & biking trip reports - BRT Insights.
California Hiking Directory - BRT Insights.

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Friday, August 30, 2013


Upcoming Events at Point Reyes National Seashore, Fall 2013

• Volunteer on Horse Trail at Bear Valley to fill in trail with rock and other tasks. Saturday, September 7, 9:30 am - 3:30 pm

• Free Nature Walk: Drake's Beach Geology with John Karachewski Saturday, September 21, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

• Trails Challenge Celebration Walk and BBQ - let's celebrate your efforts together! Saturday, October 19, 10:30 am - 2:30 pm

To learn more or to RSVP contact:
phone: (415) 663.1200 x304

See you on the trail,
Jessica Taylor
Trails Challenger, Coordinator and Caretaker
Point Reyes National Seashore Association, 1 Bear Valley Rd, Bldg 70, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

P.S. It's not too late to have friends and family register for the Point Reyes Trail Challenge, so keep up the good work and
help us share the Challenge through social media, email and be sure to invite people to walk with you! Thanks again!

More Point Reyes Information: Maps, Hiking Guide, Trail Checklist, Trail Conditions, Hiking in the Park, Horses in the Park, Camping in the Park, Dogs in the Park, Bikes in the Park, Benefits of Hiking, Healthy Parks.

Learn about a new outdoor app called YONDER for your iPhone

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Demolition of San Clemente Dam on the Carmel River - Monterey County, California, USA

Carmel River restoration to be completed in fall 2015

"A 92-year-old dam that's been in danger of collapse for decades is slated for demolition this summer, the largest dam to come down in California history. The $83 million, 28-month tear down is prompting hopes that the 36-mile waterway once listed among "America's Top Ten Most Endangered Rivers" might someday be restored to the quiet, clear ribbon that flowed from forested mountains to the Monterey Bay." "'The irony is that people think they're living in the most beautiful place in the world, where they think they can just build and build, but they have no idea where their water comes from, and they're blind to their impact on this finite resource, the Carmel River,' said author and journalist Ray A. March, whose 2012 book 'River in Ruin: The Story of the Carmel River'River in Ruin: The Story of the Carmel River cover documents the damage."
(California's San Clemente Dam removal project groundbreaking - SJ Mercury News 21june2013 and Sacramento Bee)

"When San Clemente Dam was built in 1921, the curved arch structure was a key source of water for growing Monterey Peninsula towns. But now it's obsolete and ... its reservoir is so silted up with sand and gravel that it hasn't been used to supply water since 2002. ... construction crews on Friday were to begin a three-year, $84 million project to tear down the hulking landmark - California's largest dam-removal project ever. The work will open up 25 miles of upstream tributaries and creeks so endangered steelhead trout can return to their historical spawning grounds."
(San Clemente Dam removal project on the Carmel River - SJ Mercury News 21june2013 and Sacramento Bee)

San Clemente Dam and Carmel River Maps.

• Map book: California Maps - Atlas & Gazetteer by Delorme, 2008.

Online map user instructions. Click and drag to reposition this interactive map.
• The tool on the left zooms in and out. Point on the red markers to see the names.
• Map=roads. Satellite=satellite map. Terrain=3D shaded topo map. Topo=topographic map.
Full-Screen online driving map - Carmel River and San Clemente Dam.

Geographic Coordinates - Landmarks (Marker)
N 38.54118 W 122.50889 - San Clemente Dam (A)
N 36.53605 W 121.92837 - Carmel River State Beach (B)

More information:
 • San Clemente Dam Removal & Carmel River Reroute
Carmel River Paddleboating Guide and Map - California USA.
River and Land Conservation in California - BRT Insights.
Carmel River bookmarks - brthomas.

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