Dark Chocolate Dipped Apricots with Pistachios and Orange

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If you’re looking for a healthy but delicious Valentine treat, these dried apricot halves dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with chopped pistachios and orange zest are super quick, easy to make and hard to resist.  They make a great gift and are a gluten free treat any time of the year.

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Vanilla~Coconut~Brown Sugar Body Scrub

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Although all the ingredients in this recipe are edible, this is a body scrub perfect for exfoliating dry winter skin and leaving behind a pleasant scent of coconut and vanilla and your skin moisturized.  It is an easy gift to throw together from what is already in your pantry.    I have a jar by the kitchen sink to soften my hands after  long sessions of cooking and cleaning up.   If using in a tiled shower, rinse any residue super well so as not to encourage mold growth in the grout with the sugars. Whether for a sweet smelling Valentine’s Day gift, or  simply for a  winter skin softener to make you dream of a tropical escape,  this is a fun and easy project to create  right in your kitchen!imageimage Continue reading

Balsamic Berry Chocolate Mousse

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On my very first trip abroad I traveled to Italy in the springtime.  In Florence I tasted a simple but memorable dessert of wild strawberries tossed in balsamic vinegar with a bit of sugar.  30 years later I recalled that dessert when I came upon this recipe in the chocolate cookbook Chococo from the UK.  The chocolate mousse combines the classic combination of balsamic and berries with dark chocolate.  Use good quality balsamic and chocolate for the best taste.  The  mousse is layered over macerated berries then topped with fresh berries.  It is a fresh take on traditional chocolate mousse and so pretty to serve for Valentine’s Day.

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Creamy Leek and Broccoli Soup

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” Beautiful soup, so rich and green.  Waiting in a hot tureen.  Who for such dainties would not stoop? Soup of the evening, beautiful soup!”  Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

In honor of National Soup Week in the US, the soup pot has been bubbling with some delicious concoctions.   It’s no coincidence that soup and winter months go hand and hand. Soup is an easy way to boost nutrition to keep us healthy through cold and flu season.  After attending a lecture on nutrition by Jolene Hart, the author of Eat Pretty:  Nutrition and Beauty, Inside and Out(visit her site here ), I set out to create a super soup, loaded with nutritional goodness that was soulful and satisfying.  Served in a hollowed out bread bowl it was substantial and a meal in itself. Continue reading

Romantic Valentine Table for Two

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“It is at the edge of a petal that love waits.”

William Carlos William

Whether you celebrate Valentines’ Day or not, this intimate table setting could also serve as inspiration for a special anniversary dinner, which in my case, is one and the same.

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Decadent Gingered Dark Chocolate Mousse

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With Valentine’s Day around the corner, chocolate desserts come to mind.  A classic chocolate mousse with pretty much just dark chocolate and water will surprise you with its simplicity of preparation and its richness.  Flavored with some chopped crystalized ginger, it is a decadent indulgence with health benefits.  Cacao is the food with the highest concentration of anti oxidants, has immune- boosting properties and provides a good source of magnesium to calm the nervous system and regulate heart rate(Eat Pretty).  Ginger is also a great anti- inflammatory food which aids digestion.  Choose one of the highest quality chocolate you can find in this recipe and a dark chocolate of at least 70% cacao.  Don’t skimp on quality in this recipe, as it’s all about the chocolate.

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