How much do you love chocolate? I think if we all really knew the power of chocolate and the health benefits we could receive from it, we may even love it more. Is that even possible?
I’m not talking milk chocolate – although, yes, it is delicious. Dark chocolate is the way to go. Did you know it helps with immunity, and in high doses, cocoa can help defend against infection? When you add milk into the chocolate is when you lose all this incredible antioxidant power!
The easiest thing to remember is the higher the cocoa content, the more nutritious it is for you and according to authoritynutrition.com, a 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70-80% cocoa contains:
- 11 grams of fiber
- 67% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for Iron
- 58% of RDA for magnesium
- 89% of the RDA for manganese
- plus, it has potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium!
Of course, you need to be careful; 100 grams of chocolate is a lot and you probably shouldn’t go around eating this every day because the sugar and caffeine content in that much chocolate can be pretty high (not to mention the calories). However, a square or two savored right after dinner periodically is definitely a delicious treat.
My favorite way to eat dark chocolate?
Shave it over a bowl of Greek yogurt – this is delicious! If you eat plant-based like me, use a plant-based yogurt like Good Karma Flax Yogurt (my personal favorite) or Foager Cashew Milk Yogurt. But I don’t advise you eat it between meals because eating it by itself can raise blood sugar levels and it can actually cause more hunger.
So, if you are buying your sweetheart chocolates this Valentine’s Day, do your research and read the nutrition labels! Buy high quality, organic dark chocolate with high cocoa content (70-80% or more). The higher the cocoa means the less sugar you’ll get, and the higher the health benefits you’ll receive. Valentine’s Day is coming up after all, because your dearest deserves nothing but the best!
Speaking of Valentine’s Day…are you cooking for your Sweetheart?
How does a dinner of Organic Filet Mignon with Rosemary-Garlic Mushrooms (Plus Herbed Mashed Potatoes) sound? Delicious, right? Well, I’ve got food covered, the rest is up to you.
Here are the ingredients and directions for the perfect dinner for your Valentine:
- 1 teaspoon salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 4 cloves garlic cloves, minced
- 4 (4-ounce) organic top sirloin steaks
- cooking spray
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 8-ounce package pre-sliced mushrooms (baby bells or shitake)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup organic chicken broth
- 1/2 cup chardonnay
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
Herbed Mashed Potatoes
- 3 large potatoes
- 2/3 cups organic chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon of each freshly chopped herbs (thyme, chives, parsley)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- Combine first 5 ingredients. Coat both sides of steaks with cooking spray, then rub steaks evenly with thyme mixture.
- Place steaks on rack of a broiler or roasting pan coated with cooking spray, and bake at 450° for 8 minutes on each side or until the desired degree of doneness.
- Remove from oven and keep warm.
- (prepare while steaks are in the oven) Heat oil in a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat.
- Add ½ teaspoon thyme, mushrooms, and 4 garlic cloves; cook 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.
- Add broth and wine; bring to a boil.
- Cook until reduced by half (about 10 minutes).
- Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.
- Add cornstarch mixture to pan; bring to a boil.
- Cook 1 minute or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Serve with steaks.
Yield: 4 servings (serving size 1 steak and ¼ c. sauce)
- Peel potatoes and cut them in half.
- Place them in a pot of cold water and cover.
- Bring to a boil over high heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pricked with a fork, about 30 minutes.
- Drain. Bring chicken broth to a boil, and turn down to simmer.
- Mash potatoes and combine broth, herbs and sour cream.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
Yields 4 servings.
Nutrition Facts per serving: 410 cals., 33 gm protein, 55 gm carbohydrates, 6 gm fat.
Serving size: 1 palm-sized filet and 1 fist-sized serving of mashed potatoes.
You can’t have Valentine’s Day dinner without dessert, and if you love dark chocolate you will love my Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownies with Organic Raspberries. They are gluten-free, all-natural, organic, gooey, and delicious! These luscious treats will make Valentine’s sweet.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2/3 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup gluten-free flour (Bob’s Red Mill brand is available at most markets)
- 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (Bob’s Red Mill brand is available at most markets)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cups homemade sweet-potato puree (made from fresh or canned organic sweet potatoes)
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg white
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 2/3 cups organic raspberries, fresh
- Heat oven to 350° and coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray, set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter.
- Remove from heat and mix in coconut oil. Next, slowly stir in cocoa powder.
- Stir with a fork until the chocolate mixture resembles a thick chocolate sauce (not clumpy).
- Cover and set aside.
- In a separate small bowl mix together vanilla extract and espresso powder until the powder is dissolved. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk gluten-free flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
- In a medium bowl add sugar to sweet potato puree and stir well.
- Next, add whole egg and additional egg white and stir until combined.
- Combine flour mixture with the sweet potato mixture until no trace of the flour mixture remains.
- Stir in espresso mixture/vanilla mixture and chocolate mixture until the batter is dark brown.
- Carefully fold in fresh raspberries.
- Spoon into sprayed baking pan and smooth the top with a spatula coated in cooking spray.
- Bake until an inserted toothpick (or knife) comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.
- Cool before serving.
*Swap gluten-free flour for whole wheat flour and omit xanthan gum if you don’t want a gluten-free dessert.
Makes 12 brownies, each brownie weighs 3 oz.
Nutrition Facts per serving: 139 calories, 25 g Carbs, 3 g Protein, 5 g fat
1 serving = 1 medium brownie (entire recipe divided by 12)
Happy Valentine’s Day!
“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” – Thomas Merton