Heart Healthy Valentine's Day

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What is Heart Healthy Valentine's Day?

The store aisles are all decorated with dangling hearts, heart shaped banners and colorful paper lanterns! Heart light strings, floating heart candles and boxes of irresistible truffles and candies all add to the festive look. You can feel, smell and sense that love is in the air! It’s the festival of romantic love; it’s Valentine’s Day!

You must have said the three magical words “I Love You” many times before, but those words hold a special meaning on this day, which join two souls and bring two hearts together. As they rightly say “You don’t need someone to complete you, you only need someone to accept you completely!”

Heart Healthy Valentine's Day

Doing Things Together

Doing things together is a great way to connect with your partner. Coming up with new ideas that you both enjoy doing together will certainly strengthen the emotional bond between the two of you. However busy you are in your career, setting aside time to doing simple things together with your valentine, be it your partner, girlfriend or wife can give you lot of pleasure and ensure that you have a blast.
  • Go for walks around the neighborhood. You could also take a bike ride or go hiking together if you feel up to it. This is not only refreshing, but it could also be a good time to catch-up on various things that you otherwise don’t find time to do or talk about.
  • Look up and research the latest movies, which are running in theaters, watch their trailers and read their reviews together. Go to the near-by theater or rent your favorite movie and watch it together.
  • If you love to travel, take an experience of a different place and its culture. Plan your travel well ahead. Such trips can be fun and filled with wonderful memories.
  • Book your tickets for a concert and get double the pleasure by watching it together.
  • If you are a sports geek, attend some sporting events, whether it is soccer, basketball, baseball, cricket or any other sport. You will love the atmosphere and cheering for your favorite team along with your valentine can take a whole different meaning.
  • Team up and do things together. Give each other a helping hand and make work lighter.
  • Last but not the least; be there for your valentine. Listen, speak, share and connect on a meaningful level. Just by being there and giving them your time is one of the best gifts that you can give them.
Share Your Time with Your Partner

Healthy Gifts for Your Partner

Typically when you think of Valentine's day gifts, you can’t resist thinking of that scrumptious box of chocolates or candies. But if you want to touch your partner’s heart in a special way and make sure you keep up with your heart-healthy new year’s resolution too, then you need to think out of the chocolate box – literally! Try to swap the candies and truffles with something that is more calories friendly. In addition to heart-friendly foods doing some real-time sweating and some heart-pumping activities with your partner will also make the day more fun.
  • Take a fitness class: For a regular gym enthusiast, taking a zumba/aerobics or any other fitness class that is enjoyed by your beloved one might be easy, but for others it could mean getting out of your comfort zone and doing something special. However, this would mean the world to your partner and he/she would appreciate it way better than a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates. At the end of it, you will also be happy to have burnt the extra calories together.
  • Stress-reliever couple massage: The real purpose of getting a massage with your loved one is to foster more depth of feeling for one another, to surface that love that often lies buried beneath the pain of everyday suffering. The massage will make you feel rejuvenated and relaxed to enjoy and chill the rest of your day.
  • Healthy snacks: You may want to by-pass chips, cookies, ice-cream this year and instead opt for some healthy food. You could consider ordering a basket of fresh assorted fruits, almonds, berries, walnuts, low fat crackers; these are just a few options which are filling and satisfying.
  • Home cooked delicacy: This is a great way to cut calories, save money, and avoid the long wait at the restaurant. There is no end to splurging in a five-course Valentine’s Day dinner meal. At the end of it, your pocket may feel lighter, but you end up packed with calories. If you have the time, prepare a simple romantic candle-lit dinner at home. Avoid pre-packaged meals, which typically contain lot of salt and fat. This is an excellent way to control the quality and amount of food you eat. If you think you need to sharpen your cooking skills, you could also consider taking a local cooking class along with your better half.
  • Cook with Your Partner

  • Get a gym-membership: If your partner has been thinking of starting an exercise program and has been putting it off due to lack of time, this is a good time to present your partner with a prepaid gym membership. Your partner could try out variety of classes typically offered in a gym, which include yoga, aerobics in addition to all the regular exercise equipment. Trying a variety of classes can help motivate your partner to staying healthy and fit.

Heart Healthy Recipes

There are endless ways to limit your calorie intake and boost your nutrition by trying out some new recipes. This Valentine’s Day get creative and experiment in your kitchen. Here are some tasty, healthy ideas, which you could try out at home.

Hot bean dip

  • Extra virgin olive oil – 2 tbsp
  • Chili powder – to taste
  • Cumin – ½ tsp
  • Kidney/pinto beans – 2 cups
  • Roasted and chopped onion – 1
  • Minced garlic
  • Tabasco sauce – to taste
  • Cheese – shredded
  • Salt
Cook kidney/pinto beans in a pressure cooker till soft. Puree them once cooled.

Heat olive oil in a sauce pan. Add cumin/jeera, red chili powder, then add pureed beans, salt, chopped roasted onion and minced garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes. Then add a dash of tobasco sauce and some grated cheese.

Just before serving, transfer the above mixture into a casserole, sprinkle little cheese on top and heat in microwave/oven till cheese melts. Serve with fat free chips.

To make roasted onion: Rub a large, unpeeled yellow onion with olive oil. Wrap in aluminum foil. Heat at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 1 hour. Cool and peel.

Avocado salsa

  • Avocado – 2 diced
  • Corn – 1 boiled
  • Sweet red pepper – 1 medium
  • Olives – as needed
  • Onion – 1 chopped
  • Garlic – minced
  • Cider vinegar – 2 tsp
  • Olive oil – 2 tsp
  • Lemon juice – 1 tsp
  • Salt and pepper – to taste
In a bowl, mix boiled and cooled corn, cut olives, diced red bell pepper and onion.In a small bowl, mix minced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, cider vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Pour into the above mixture and chill in the refrigerator for few hours. Add diced avocados just before serving.

Avocado Salsa

Lemon-Dill Dip

  • Low fat yogurt – ½ cup
  • Low fat mayonnaise – ½ cup
  • Lemon juice – 1 tbsp or to taste
  • Tabasco sauce – dash or to taste
  • Sugar – ¼ tsp
  • Fresh dill weed – ¼ cup chopped
  • Salt – to taste
Mix together above ingredients. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Garnish with parsley. Serve with cut raw vegetables or fruits as a dip.

Grilled fish with pineapple-cilantro sauce

  • Pineapple – 1 cubed
  • Lime juice – 2 tsp
  • Jalapeño pepper – minced – to taste
  • Natural Sweetner - 2-3 tbsp
  • Pineapple juice – unsweetened – ¾ cup
  • Garlic – minced
  • Salt
  • Fish – 6 med sized boneless pieces

Heat pineapple, pineapple juice, lime juice, garlic and jalapeño pepper to boiling point in a saucepan. Keep simmering for about 5 minutes. Once the mixture boils, add the suspension of cornstarch and cold water. Boil till the mixture thickens. Remove from heat; cool 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the natural sweetner. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve warm sauce over grilled fish.

Preparation of fish:

Take any firm fish such as salmon, basa etc., and grill until cooked on both sides. Use a spatula to remove fish from grill, pour the warm sauce and serve immediately.

Chocolate Custard

  • Skim milk – 2 cups
  • Granulated sugar – ¼ cup
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder - 1/4 cup
  • Cornstarch - 2 tablespoons
  • Granulated sugar substitute - 3 packets
  • Eggs – 2 (beaten)
  • Chocolate extract – 1 tsp

Whisk together skim milk, sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and Sweet One in a large saucepan continuously for about 6-8 minutes until mixture boils and thickens.

Remove saucepan from heat. Stir ¼ cup milk mixture into beaten eggs, stirring vigorously to avoid any curdling of the eggs. Pour the egg mixture back into saucepan and add the extract. Cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes or until custard thickens. Do not let custard come to a boil. Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

Berry Mousse

  • Extra-firm silken tofu – 1 packet (12.3 ounce)
  • Fresh or frozen assorted berries – 2 – 3 cups
  • Agave nectar – 2 tbsp
  • Berry liqueur (optional) – 1 tbsp
Blend tofu, berries, sugar or agave nectar, and liqueur in a food processor until smooth. Transfer into pudding dishes and refrigerate until chilled.

Berry Mousse

Valentine's Day is arguably the most romantic dining day of the year. It takes some pre-planning to set up the right atmosphere at home with some easy home cooked food and yes, a nice bottle of Bordeaux or Cabernet Sauvignon can help you bridge the gap and close the distance.

So, this valentine’s day blend ½ cup of hugs, 5 teaspoons of kisses, 2 cups of love and 1 special cup of holiday cheer and don’t forget to sprinkle lots of extra love for that perfect valentine mood!!! After all Valentine's day is the time for love, a time to give and forgive, a time to celebrate life and say a prayer for the love of your life!

A heartful of wishes to you and your valentine… Happy Valentine’s Day!!

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