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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Skip the Sweets: Non-sweet Valentines for you Sweetheart

With more than 1.7 billion spent on candy for Valentine’s day, and an average $140 spent per person on Valentine’s day, there might be more creative ways to show your sweetheart you care than by fueling their sweet tooth. February, as we know, is heart health month and so I’ve found some fun food-related gift ideas that will show them you love them and that you want them to stay healthy for years to come.  
 shallow focus photography of steak on wooden tray

Consider taking a cooking class together, or even just cooking a romantic dinner either together or to surprise your sweetheart.  I’ve brought some traditional Valentine’s day entrĂ©e’s today that are simple, delicious and provide a bit of “wow” factor.  Tuscan Steaks and Mediterranean Grilled Shrimp make great stand alone entrees, or pair up nicely as a romantic surf-n-turf menu.  I like using corn oil because it is full of cholesterol-blocking plant sterols. And in recipes that involve outdoor or indoor pan frying or grilling, the high smoke point makes it an idea choice for recipes such as these.  So, consider either cooking for or alongside your sweetheart for Valentine’s day (and save yourself the stress of braving the crowds).

Another gift idea for the food lover in your life is an edible flower fruit or veggie arrangement. Produce is naturally beautiful and so it is fairly simple to put one of these arrangements together.  Youtube is rife with instructional videos on how to do this.  It is as simple as using a flower-shaped cookie cutter to cut flower shapes from slices of melon and putting them on skewers, or using a paring knife to turn a carrot into a tulip with a few zig-zag cuts.  And making it yourself doesn't just save you money, but earns you bonus points for effort with your sweetheart.
top view photo of green leafed plants in pots
Another option would be a gift that keeps on giving flavor as it grows.  Fresh herbs aren’t just delicious and encourage more creativity in the kitchen, but they have lots of protective health benefits.  Not only do they contain antioxidant vitamins such as A and C, but they contain polyphenols that can help protect against heart disease, Alzheimers, and cancer.  They also have antimicrobial qualities to help protect against harmful bacteria. So consider a counter-top herb garden for your honey.

Thinking a bit more creatively outside the candy box will not just show your sweetheart how much you care about them, but create healthful habits and memories that will last much longer than any simple sugar will.