Love, at least the kind that drives a $20 Billion economic boost for the American economy, takes center stage in February; but is this really a celebration of deep affection for the people closest to us or a very successful marketing strategy executed by retailers? Valentine’s Day is the #1 holiday for florists, based on fresh flower purchases, with more than 250 Million roses alone produced to meet the expected demand this year. It’s no surprise that the vast majority of buyers of the fresh flower purchases made for Valentine’s are men. I may be going out on a limb here, but I think there is way too much pressure on everyone, especially men, to spend way too much money on gifts on February 14th.
Call me old fashioned but I believe love should be expressed daily and it certainly doesn’t need to come wrapped up in a shiny bow or cost a week’s pay to be meaningful. The greatest gifts for someone you love are your time, your attention, your care, a hug, a touch, a smile – all these things matter much more than roses that will fade in a day or two, an expensive dinner out in a noisy restaurant among a hundred strangers, or a box of candy that is really nothing but empty calories and day-after guilt.
Food has long been connected to love. Taking the time to prepare food for your family and friends is truly a gift. Here is a recipe for something special you can prepare for someone you love, including yourself! It is a recipe I veganized from one of my favorite recipe books, “Quinoa, The Everyday Superfood 365” written by Patricia Green & Carolyn Hemming. My regular readers already know how much I love quinoa. Well, this may surprise you, but this incredible moist, out-of-this-world vegan chocolate cake is made with quinoa. It is truly a special treat. I hope you enjoy it.
February is Heart Health Month. Did you know chocolate is good for your heart? Hooray!!!! Well, there are some exceptions to this: the more processed chocolate is, the less heart-healthy value it has. The BEST chocolate to use in your baking is Cacao Powder ( I used Himalania Organic Cacao Powder in this recipe. Check out the information on the goodness cacao powder offers here. So, go ahead and eat some chocolate cake (just remember in all things moderation is key).