Happy Valentine’s Day!

What comes to your mind when you think of Valentine’s Day? Does it include Chocolate and Champagne? Mine does! How about Antioxidants? See how antioxidant-packed dark chocolate is below-hint: it is higher than Broccoli, Blueberries and Greens!

My Valentine Sweetie and I will be enjoying Crab Cakes, a fennel salad(recipe in the next cookbook) sipping Champagne and indulging in Chocolate Cognac Truffles(mint or peanut-butter flavors) over candlelight. A romantic movie with the fire crackling and chocolate truffles melting in our mouths and Hot Chocolate to wash them down  is so heavenly. Yum!

Hey, Valentine’s is for Kid’s too! The perfect time to write your children a love letter! I have seen so many surveys that show what children want most from their parents is time, love and to hear how proud they are of them. Make a big deal of this holiday with your loved ones-it will create memories that will last in their hearts forever. Spend time together cooking, talking, laughing and hugging this special weekend…hey, maybe it will start a new tradition!

If you have children, make the Chocolate Fondue for them to eat-they love dipping the fruit, brownie bites and cake cubes into the warm, gooey Chocolate Ganache! Let them roll out the Shortbread dough and decorate with candies such as Gluten Free sprinkles and Sunspire Drops(similar to M&M’s). Health food stores have lots of healthy alternatives for decorating now! Yeah! Let them have cake and chocolate! They love the Hot Chocolate too! Another good project is to make Ice “Cream” with them and set up a Sundae station for them to make their own!  Of course, you can bake cupcakes ahead of time and make frosting for them and let them decorate them. Too Fun!

See Recipe of the Week and Menu of the Week pages for Crab Cake and Hot Chocolate recipes. If you have my cookbook, No Wheat No Dairy No Problem, the Chocolate Truffles or Double Chocolate Chip Cookies and Fudgey Brownies all make great gifts for your loved ones and Valentine. If you don’t have my cookbook, you can order it from this blog site and I will personally sign it for you and ship it to you.

· Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) measures total antioxidants. Chocolate has the highest ORAC levels per 100 grams (US Dept of Ag/American Chem Society).
Dark chocolate – 13,120
Milk chocolate – 6,740
Prunes: 5,770
Raisins: 2,830
Blueberries: 2,400
Blackberries: 2036
Kale: 1,770
Strawberries: 1540
Spinach: 1260
Broccoli: 894

Cheers with Love and Chocolate, Chef Lauren