This is for all you hopeless romantics…the guy that sends his wife the customary dozen red roses paying 4 times more than he would any other day OR ordering that stupid 5 foot Teddy bear that somehow the idiot on the TV commercial thinks he’s going to ‘benefit’ from it.
Don’t get me wrong...no one loves roses more than me, but if you want them to mean something send them (better yet, deliver ’em in person) for no reason…just because. Step it up a notch and visit your local florist and pick out your own combination of flowers and create your own arrangement. Don’t forget to add some greenery which will compliment the flowers and add texture to your arrangement.
Here’s an awesome idea… Spend Valentine’s Day at a local winery. Take a tour, meet the winemakers and sample different wines. It’s original, unique and sounds like fun. Winery and vineyards have tasting rooms and wine pairings like chocolate or hors d’oeuvres and some offer complete dinners on special days like Valentine’s Day.
Give the gift of chocolate
Chocolate…the food of love and I’m not talking about the heart shaped box of milk chocolate you can purchase at every grocery store and greeting card shop in town. Stay away and don’t be tempted by the pretty box….read the ingredients!
Did you know… These mass produced chocolates contain:
- hydrogenated oils
- high fructose corn syrup
- artificial flavors
- artificial colors
- GMO oils and
- processed refined sugars, just to name a few. And what does this mean…”Partially produced with genetic engineering”? Check it out for yourself…read the label.
I’m talking about the perfect chocolate…chocolate with benefits.
Did you know… Chocolate can be part of a healthy diet. Yes, indeedy, if it’s dark chocolate.
In a blender, place 1/4 cup cacao powder, 2 cups coconut cream, 1 tsp pure vanilla extract, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup almond milk and a pinch of sea salt. Blend on high until smooth and divide into dessert bowls or pretty glasses used for wine or champagne. Place in the fridge for an hour or so and they’ll be ready by the time dinner is done. To serve, top with a few fresh raspberries or better yet…a strawberry.
The cocoa bean is rich in antioxidants, called flavanols, which help with blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and circulation. Dark chocolate has a positive impact on vascular health as well as digestive health.
Recently, I read about a study conducted in Italy with a group of men and women ranging in age from 60-78 that had artery problems in their legs. They were asked to eat 40 grams (that’s only 1.4 ounces) of dark chocolate each day. Due to dark chocolate polyphenols and micronutrients with antioxidant properties, the participants were able to walk farther and longer with decreased mobility pain.
Another study done at Harvard Medical School followed a group of mentally healthy people with an average age of 73. They drank 2 cups of hot cocoa each day resulting in an increase of blood flow to the brain AND the participants experienced improved memory recall on the standardized tests they were given. Impressive.
One of the largest ever research trials underway, as I write this, is being conducted by Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital (where one of my daughters was born) with 18,000 men and women participants taking place over the course of the next 5 years. They will be taking daily cocoa pills and placebos to determine the value of cocoa in minimizing the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
One cocoa pill packs a whopping 750mg of cocoa flavanols which equates to eating enough chocolate to gain over 50 pounds of weight a year.
I’m very excited to see how this research study goes…just wish I knew they were seeking participants.
Chocolate…a guilty pleasure no more.
Choose the right chocolate and treat yourself every day. An ounce of dark chocolate, hot cocoa and hopefully soon, a supplement that will provide us with all the health benefits of the little cocoa bean without the calories, sugar and fat.
⇒ Click here to check out my Table 38 House Chocolate Sauce recipe.
In downtown Wilton, NH there is an old fashion candy shop that started in 1911 and is now run by the 3rd generation of candy makers. The smells in this shop are to die for. You can actually watch it being made and even talk with the chocolatier. They produce some of the best candy and chocolates in New England. I invite you to check out Nelson’s Candy Shop at www.nelsonscandieswilton.com
Can I interest you in chocolate covered strawberries? Easy to prepare or purchase online and have them shipped the same day to a loved one far away. They are a decadent special treat and healthy, too. Think about it…you have all the benefits of dark chocolate that I mentioned earlier, plus so much more.
Did you know… Juicy, delicious strawberries are:
- high in vitamin C
- packed with antioxidants
- rich in nutrients
- contain minerals like folate, potassium, manganese and magnesium
- contain dietary fiber
- strawberries boost our immunity
- helpful in promoting good eye health as we get older
- helpful in improving our skin elasticity as we age and helpful in preventing normal collagen destruction
- contain phytochemicals that benefit our heart health
- these same phytochemicals also help reduce inflammation in our joints which may cause arthritis
So…with Valentine’s Day literally just a few days away, show your sweetheart your love with the gift of chocolate.