April 13, 2015

I Chose My Husband Because He Chose Chocolate

My husband and I met on a summer morning in 1993 at the back of a small church in the Michigan countryside. We still attend that church, and every Sunday, I walk right past the spot where Chad and I met, fell in love, and decided to marry each other, all in the space of about five minutes. At the time of our meeting, Chad was a law student in Lansing, Michigan, and I was living and working in Manassas, Virginia, outside of Washington, D.C., at my first post-college job. Because I was 23 years old with no marriage prospects in sight, my younger sister and various aunts were on constant husband-watch for me. My sister, who along with my parents had just started attending the little church in the cornfield, reported to me on the phone that she had found a candidate. “He’s cute, he’s going to be a lawyer, and his parents are really nice.” My Aunt Judy, who was friends with Chad and his family, told him one night at dinner she thought he and I would be perfect for each other. Chad thought, “That’s great, but doesn't she live 700 miles away?”

The day we met, Chad was home on break from law school, and I was home from Virginia for a memorial service for my grandpa, who had lost his long battle with cancer. That morning, I sang "Holy, Holy, Holy" for music ministry, and afterwards, while I was casually walking past Chad on my way to nowhere in particular, he said, “I really enjoyed your song this morning, Elizabeth.” I walked over to him and launched into the conversation I had rehearsed in my mind during the 11-hour drive home from Virginia. After we finished talking, Chad went to the lobby of the church, where he was offered a doughnut by one of the church ladies trying to get rid of leftovers. He chose the doughnut with chocolate frosting, and I thought, “Yes, I could spend the rest of my life with this man.” I promised to do just that a few months short of two years later (quick courtship, long engagement…there were bar exams to pass and job contracts to finish out).

So, chocolate is very important in our relationship. Chad was raised by two parents who much preferred vanilla, but marriage to me has brought out his inner chocoholic. When we need to meet our daily chocolate requirement in a hurry, I make Molten Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pudding. Not only is it fast, easy, and made with ingredients I almost always have in the pantry, but with calcium from the milk, protein from the peanut butter, and heart-healthy flavonoids from the cocoa powder, it qualifies as health food in our house. Stir up a batch the next time you need to satisfy a chocolate craving, but beware: it just might be love at first bite.

Molten Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pudding

This pudding is made in the microwave, which eliminates the possibility of scorching. I love using the microwave for pudding so much, in fact, that this is the only way I make pudding anymore.

9 tablespoons (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
6 tablespoons (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) unsweetened cocoa powder 
Dash salt
2¼ cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup non-dairy whipped topping, unthawed
2-3 regular-sized or 4-6 mini chocolate-peanut butter cups (I like the dark chocolate variety), coarsely chopped

In an 8-cup microwave-safe bowl or glass measure, stir together sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt with a whisk. Whisk in ¼ cup of the milk, stirring well to eliminate lumps. This is the trick to smooth pudding; initially adding only a little of the milk creates a paste that allows you to work out the lumps. Whisk in the remaining 2 cups of milk. Microwave on High (100%) power for 2 minutes. Whisk mixture, then microwave on medium-high (70%) power for 5 minutes or until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Remove from microwave and whisk in vanilla and peanut butter. Divide among 4 serving bowls or mugs and cover each with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface of the pudding. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to cool just slightly, then remove plastic wrap and top each with 2 tablespoons of the still-frozen whipped topping and one-quarter of the chopped peanut butter cups. Serve immediately. Makes four servings.


  1. Ooh, see, we are pretty close in age! Unlike my ancient husband, who was born in the 60's (okay, so it was '69, but it still gives me something to rub him about, since technically, he's from another decade...) In case your husband was also born in said decade, you can relay the fact that he is NOT ancient, merely "seasoned." I think it's neat how you met, by the way. I might just have to shock the world and share our story, although it can't be too terribly shocking when the first item on the agenda of our first date was to go to church...

    1. Dear sweet Lisa, I am so overdue in replying to this, but I hope I can still say...YES! Share your story! Would love to read it. (Do you ever do the Grammie Time Tuesday Talk party? She's got this planned for next week: "REMINDER: Next week (February 9th) the Tuesday Talk co-hosts are sharing LOVE STORIES. We would love for you to write yours and share at our linkup too." She's at http://grammietime2.blogspot.com/.) I hear these love stories that start out of a churchy element can turn out pretty well! ;) And thanks for the birth year tip...my husband was born in 68! "Seasoned"--LOVE IT!

  2. It's rainy and dismal here in my corner of the world. This pudding seemed like the perfect pick me up. Thanks for a great recipe and story! Yum!

    1. Aw, thank you, Jennifer! Mercy, this is such an old post, I can hardly stand to read it. Must update. BUT, this pudding recipe needs no tweaking; in fact, it will play a starring role in a post I've got coming up, in which I replay a little of this story and feature another favorite chocolate dessert. Thanks for stopping by...it's rainy and dismal here, too. I am answering this situation with brownies. ;)

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I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year-old that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!