Fennel & Blood Orange Salad

Ingredients

1 bulb of fennel, cut in 1/2 and remove core
2-3 blood oranges
salt & pepper
3 glugs of extra virgin olive oil

Preparation

Slice fennel as this as possible (use a food slicer or mandolin if available).

Peel & supreme the oranges. Save the extra pulp & squeeze the remaining juice into the bowl.

Mix sliced fennel, juice from the pulp & oranges – season with salt & pepper.

Drizzle with olive oil & toss.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Chef Jason Bartner from La Tavola Marche (Organic Farm, Inn & Cooking School) in Le Marche, Italy.*

Need an eco-fabulous Valentine’s Day gift idea that will pamper and delight any woman? Guilt-free and calorie-free, the new Shea Terra Organics Dark Chocolate Sugar-Stone Exfoliating Cream is a true treat for the senses! You can cure your chocolate cravings while exfoliating and and softening the skin on the hands, feet and body!

This anti-aging exfoliating cream is made with rich cacao, which is a superfruit, USDA certified organic shea butter, organic sugar, all-natural vanilla and pumice to deliver a large dose of antioxidants as you cleanse and wash in the shower. It’s easy – just massage (or get your partner to massage!) the cream into wet skin in circular motions while in the shower to work away the dead, dull skin. Gorgeous soft skin is within reach for a big night out (or in!) on Valentine’s Day!

To learn more about Shea Terra Organics, their various organic skincare products, or to order online, visit SheaTerraOrganics.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

Busy Parents – How To Bring Back The Romance on Valentine’s Day

When parents are busy with work, children and other obligations, it isn’t difficult to see how planning a romantic Valentine’s Day can seem impossible at best. Helping the kids get ready for their Valentine’s Day parties at school, going to work and juggling other commitments can make this day for lovers seem like anything but a day to celebrate the love you and your partner share. However, it is time to take back your special day and rekindle your love. When you remember that little things mean a lot, you can keep romantic sparks flying throughout the day between you and your sweetheart, reigniting the passion that can often be squelched in day to day living.

Here are some ideas for all of those busy parents out there, so they can have a truly romantic Valentine’s Day:

Start The Day Off With A Bang

Write a loving message on the bathroom mirror so the first thing your lover feels on Valentine’s Day morning is passion and anticipation for your special day or evening together.

Keep The Sparks Alive Throughout The Day

If your partner needs to go to the office on Valentine’s Day, you can have some romantic gestures in place to keep the sparks flying, even when driving to work. Put a love letter on the seat of his or her vehicle or put a CD in the car stereo that contains your special song with a sticky note that says “play track #3.” This will ensure smiles and nothing but strong feelings of love before the day has even truly begun.

While at work, a loving note inside of your sweetheart’s lunch bag, purse or briefcase is a wonderful way to keep the Valentine magic coming all day long. In addition, in this technological age, never underestimate the powerful feelings that can come from sending an electronic Valentine’s card with a personalized message, a loving email or even a steamy text message.

Plan A Brief Period Of Time Together Before The Evening Truly Begins

If the day has been busy, nothing can put more of a damper on a romantic evening than feeling rushed or pushed to begin the celebration as soon as a husband or wife walks in the door. When possible, try to create a little relaxing atmosphere and ambiance with music, candles, wine and just take a little time to unwind before moving on to whatever you had planned for the evening. It takes time to relax and change gears after a long day, so allow some time to get into the moment.

Have A Great Evening Planned – But If Everything Doesn’t Go As Planned, Don’t Abandon Ship!

You may have planned a romantic evening out with dinner reservations, entertainment or even a romantic carriage ride to make your Valentine’s Day extra special. Hopefully every magical part you planned together will go just how you envisioned. However, most parents recognize that things can and do change where children are concerned. A babysitter can cancel, a child can come down with a cold and many other unexpected, disappointing events.

If things don’t turn out as you’d hoped, don’t despair! Your love is all that truly matters, and it is your job to make lemonade out of lemons. Of course, you will want to carry on where you left off in the very near future and have that special evening out on the town. But don’t throw your romantic evening away just because it didn’t turn out how you had hoped. Order in your favorite food, snuggle and watch your favorite love story in your bedroom, give each other a massage after the children are asleep, indulge in strawberries and chocolate in bed and anything else your heart desires. It is always wise to have a little romantic emergency kit available in case things don’t go as planned on Valentine’s Day. No matter what, always remember that this is your special day, and your love is all that truly matters, no matter where you go or what you do with your Valentine.

About the Author

Grace Pamer is the author of romanticfrugalmom.com, one woman’s on going quest to keep romance alive despite the time pressure of dealing with three beautiful but crazy kids and an always working husband. Check out her love letters for her section if you’re looking to put the romance back into your marriage with a well crafted love letter to your nearest and dearest.

*Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

Cinnamon, brown sugar and dates make a sweet irresistible layer in this moist coffeecake. To save time in the morning, prepare the night before and refrigerate unbaked. Bake in the morning and serve warm.

Breakfast Date Cake

Ingredients

3/4 cup Sun-Maid Chopped Dates
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened (“Mom” prefers organic)
2 large eggs (“Mom” prefers cage-free)
1 cup buttermilk (“Mom” prefers low-fat buttermilk)

Preparation

PREHEAT oven to 350 F. Coat a 9×9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
COMBINE dates, brown sugar, walnuts, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl. Set aside.
COMBINE flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. Set aside.
BEAT sugar and butter in a large bowl with electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and beat until light and creamy, about 3 minutes.
ADD flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, mixing on low speed just until batter blended.
SPREAD one half of the batter in prepared pan. Top with one half of the date mixture. Spread remaining batter over dates and sprinkle remaining date mixture on top. Bake immediately or cover and refrigerate overnight.
BAKE for 40 to 45 minutes or until deep golden brown and pick inserted in center comes out clean. (If refrigerated, bake uncovered 45 to 50 minutes.) Cool 15 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.

Makes 9 to 12 servings.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Sun-Maid.*

February is National Heart Month

“Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States.” -CDC

The most common heart disease in the United States is coronary heart disease, which often goes unnoticed until it manifests itself as a heart attack. In fact, every 25 seconds, an American will suffer a coronary event and about one every minute will die from such an event. These astounding numbers is why the month of February is dedicated to heart health awareness.

Let’s Take It from the Top

Heart disease, or cardiovascular disease, is an overarching term used to describe a number of problems related to plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries. The plaque buildup slowly narrows arteries making it more and more difficult for blood to flow—creating a risk for heart attack or stroke. Other varieties of heart disease include heart failure, an irregular heartbeat—or arrhythmia—and heart valve problems.

While some of these conditions are genetic, the threat for other conditions can be modified by controlling risk factors associated with heart disease like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and secondhand smoke.

Lifestyle Modification

According to the American Heart Association, there are seven simple steps to improving one’s health and decreasing the chances of heart disease:

• Get active
• Eat better
• Lose weight
• Stop smoking
• Control cholesterol
• Manage blood pressure
• Reduce blood sugar

The exciting part is that these changes are inexpensive and even modest improvements can make a huge difference. Check out the AHA’s interactive program and get your heart assessment.

The best lifestyle modification is not having to do any modification; so practice healthy habits with your children from a young age to create healthy adults. Family schedules are busy, but be sure your kids are getting the recommended amounts of physical activity. Serve healthy meals and teach your children the importance of good nutrition. As they grow, help them develop successful stress management techniques that they can carry into adulthood. Finally, secondhand smoke can be just as detrimental as smoking, so for the sake of your children, raise them in a smoke free home.

Go Red for Women

American Heart Month 2012 has placed special emphasis on women’s health with a series of Go Red for Women events. Heart disease and stroke are the number one and number three killers of women in the United States. It’s estimated that one in 2.4 women lose their lives to these diseases—breast cancer kills one in 29 for comparison. The campaign gives women tips and information on risk factor reduction. National Wear Red Day is February 3rd, 2012 so wear red, set up a fundraising project, and show support for the women in your life!

About the Author

Guest author Maggie, is a writer for the Affordable Style Network, specializing in discount reading glasses, handbags, scarves, sunglasses, and other accessories. With an educational background in health and science, she enjoys sharing her medical knowledge and love of wellness with others. One such project included the Eye Health Guide, a resource for all things vision related. Outside of work, Maggie enjoys running, traveling, trying new restaurants, and concert-going.

*Image: vichie81 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

Make Dude Food Heart-Healthy

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the number one killer of U.S. men, accounting for about a third of all deaths. Men have a higher incidence of CVD than women and tend to experience their first cardiac event earlier.

“Sometimes men take a fatalistic approach to heart health,” says nutrition consultant Christopher Mohr, Ph.D., R.D. “They think if someone in their family had heart disease, it’s over for them the same way, but really, they can prevent it up to 80 percent of the time with a healthy diet and lifestyle.”

On the flip side, he added, some men, especially when young, think they’re invincible and don’t have to worry about heart health. But they should.

To combat these attitudes and statistics, CanolaInfo created a “Heart-Healthy Dude Food Recipe Collection” to encourage men to make some of their favorite dishes better for them. Each recipe is made with canola oil, which has the least saturated fat and most omega-3 fat of all cooking oils. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a qualified health claim on canola oil’s potential to reduce heart disease risk when used in place of saturated fat.

“I don’t tell my patients to give up their favorite foods,” Mohr says. “I simply encourage them to make smarter choices, like substituting canola oil for solid fats or other oils and choosing lean cuts of meat, and to be mindful of portion sizes.”

CanolaInfo’s Dude Food recipes include Hoisin-Whiskey Glazed Meatballs, Beef Tenderloin with Balsamic-Coffee Sauce, Herbed Pork Chops on Mustard Sauce, Fall-Apart Beer Brisket, Grilled Tuna Steaks with Cilantro and Basil and this one:

Deep, Dark and Stout Chili

Ingredients

2 Tbsp canola oil, divided

1½ lb extra lean ground beef (or 1 lb extra lean ground beef and 15-oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained)

2 cups diced green bell peppers

1 cup diced red onion

3 cans (14.5 oz each) no-salt-added stewed tomatoes

1 bottle (12 oz) dark stout beer

3 Tbsp chili powder

1½ Tbsp ground cumin

1½ Tbsp smoked paprika (optional)

1 Tbsp sodium-free beef bouillon granules

1 tsp salt

Toppings

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

½ cup finely chopped red onion

1 medium lime, cut into six wedges

Preparation

1. In Dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp canola oil over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, brown beef, about 3−4 minutes per batch, stirring frequently. In sauté pan, heat remaining 1 Tbsp canola oil and cook bell peppers and onions 4 minutes or until onions are soft, stirring frequently. Stir in cooked beef and add remaining ingredients, except salt. Bring just to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes. Stir in salt.

2. Serve chili with choice of toppings placed in three small bowls.

Yield: 8 servings. Serving size: 1⅓ cups.

Nutritional Analysis per Serving: Calories 240, Total Fat 8 g, Saturated Fat 1.5 g, Cholesterol 45 mg, Sodium 480 mg, Carbohydrates 18 g, Fiber 5 g, Protein 20 g

The complete “Heart-Healthy Dude Food Recipe Collection” is available at www.CanolaInfo.org.

*Article and image courtesy of NAPS.*

This is a great low-fat, reduced-sodium chili that will please a lot of people! Note that it uses chili powder made from pure ground chilies, not chili powder. You can find ground chili in the spice section of most major groceries or in Latin American grocery stores.

Corazonas Heart-Healthy Chili

Ingredients

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 cups diced red onion (2 small), divided

1¼ pounds ground turkey

2 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium black beans

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes with puree

2 cups diced red bell pepper (2 medium)

1 quart low-sodium reduced-fat chicken broth

¼ cup ground chili powder (such as ancho, pasilla, or New Mexico)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

¼ cup cornmeal

Preparation

1. In a large pot over medium-low heat, warm the oil and sauté 1½ cups of the onions until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the turkey, breaking it into large pieces only (you don’t want it to get too crushed). Brown briefly, then add the beans, tomatoes, bell peppers, broth, chili powder, garlic, cumin and oregano. Stir well and set the pot lid ajar.

2. Simmer the chili over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes. Remove the lid and add the cornmeal while stirring. Leave the lid off and simmer another 15 minutes, until the chili thickens slightly.

3. Serve with the remaining ½ cup onions sprinkled on top.

Serves 8 to 10.

*Recipe courtesy of Corazonas.*