Showing and sharing the love this Valentines Day.

Maybe it’s a bit of Friday the 13th fate or just a lesson to be learned but this afternoon was a tough one.  Today Aaron’s class had a valentines day party – which most of the parents were clueless about.  It was a sugar filled, artificial crap fest.  Sent Aaron to the nurses office afraid he was going to vomit.  Other classmates also felt the effects.  Nice.  Way to show the love.  I won’t dwell on this any further, but I will focus instead on the lessons to be learned.  Quality over quantity, every single time when it comes to our health.  There are a thousand better choices that could have been made in Aaron’s classroom today, but instead I’ll share a few of the goodies our family will be enjoying to show our love this Valentines day.

Red – it’s the color of the day. There is a natural, delicious way to turn your foods pink and red with out Red40. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has a whole section devoted to the dangers of food dyes: http://www.cspinet.org/fooddyes/.  What’s nature’s alternative?  Beets, baby, Beets – yummy, sweet, nutritious – CHEAP – beets.

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Take 3 large beets, wash, peel, chop into bite sized pieces.  Put in a sauce pan and fill with water until beets are just covered.  Bring to a boil – covered, until beets are tender.  Remove lid and continue to boil until water is reduced to about 1/4″ to 1/2″ depth in the pan.  Remove beets, save the liquid.  That liquid is your red dye!  Store in a glass container in your refrigerator.  Freeze for longer term use.  What to do with the beets?  Eat them!  Smash them with some butter and salt and pepper, add them to smoothies for added sweetness, red color and nutrition.

Cherry – Chia pudding (it’s a deep rose color , not brown- hard to tell in the pic)

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  • 3/4 c milk of choice (canned coconut milk makes the creamiest pudding)
  • 2T chia seeds
  • 4 dates
  • 1/4 t vanilla
  • 1-2 t beet red food dye – the more dye the deeper the color

Blend in high powered blender until smooth.  Scrape down and blend again.  Chill for 1 hr to thicken.  This can be breakfast or snack or dessert!

Raw Sunflower Hummus – can be made pink with the red dye.

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This is one of my new favorite weekly recipes. So versatile as you can add what ever seasoning you want.  It’s a creamy white color so would take to the beet food dye well.  The sunflower seeds are soaked to make them easier to digest.  Read up on the benefits of soaking nuts and seeds: http://gnowfglins.com/2009/12/02/how-and-why-to-soak-and-dehydrate-nuts-and-seeds/?utm_content=bufferf060e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

  • 2 cups raw sunflower seeds (soak in water 8+ hours, drain water and rinse seeds before use)
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • juice of one lemon (~3 T lemon juice)
  • 1/2 t garlic
  • sea salt, pepper,
  • 1/2 – 1 t seasoning of choice (red curry powder, yellow curry, chili powder, cumin)
  • Fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley) are also delish in this hummus, but they change the color so less likely to look pink/red.
  • 1-2 t “beet” red food dye if you want it pink for valentines lunch/snack.

Mounds Chocolate Truffles

Those of you that have known me since the BK (before kids) days remember when I used to make real, decadent, 3 day process making a mess of the whole kitchen chocolate truffles.  Well – the age and patience level of my sous chefs and healthier lifestyle required a new recipe.

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  • 5 oz shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2/3 c coconut oil
  • 1/2 c nut/seed butter of choice (peanut, almond, sunflower, etc)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 T  “beet” red food dye (or more for darker color) optional
  • 1 c dark chocolate of choice (I use premium 70% dark – quality over quantity.  You get what you pay for with chocolate)

Mix coconut, coconut oil, nut/seed butter and vanilla in mixer.  Slowly add food dye to desired color. Form into balls of desired size and set on parchment lined or silicone sheet and freeze until hardened.  Melt chocolate over double boiler.  Roll balls in chocolate and set back on lined/silicone sheet and freeze until set.  Store in refrigerator.

Happy Valentines Day to you and your loved ones!  Show your love through acts of kindness, caring, patience, understanding and generosity…and maybe a bit of chocolate!

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