|Two Valentine's Day Gifts for Your Sweetheart |
On Valentine’s Day, you can make your sweetie’s heart beat stronger with two simple, heartfelt gifts:
Gift Number One:
A Romantic Valentine's Day Dinner for Two
Start with a light, heart-healthy meal like this one, suggests Deborah Zippel, RD, dietitian for Bridgeport Hospital’s Project Heart Smart cardiac wellness program.
The American Heart Association (AHA) now says that two servings a week of fatty fish such as swordfish, salmon, or tuna can help to protect against heart disease. With its thick, colorful sauce, this dish provides a way to dress up salmon without covering up its natural flavor.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 medium Italian plum tomatoes, diced
- 6 medium black olives, coarsely chopped
- 6 medium green olives, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons coarsely or finely chopped fresh parsley (Italian, or flat-leaf, preferred)
- 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
- 1–1/2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic or 3 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- Pepper to taste
- 1–pound salmon fillet
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat bottom of skillet. Add tomatoes, black and green olives, lemon juice, parsley, capers, garlic, and pepper; stir to mix.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook until mixture is reduced by about one third, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, rinse salmon and pat dry with paper towels. Using a spoon, push reduced sauce to one side and place salmon in skillet. Spoon sauce over salmon.
- Cook, covered, over medium heat for 15 to 17 minutes, or until salmon flakes easily when tested with a fork.
The American Heart Association Meals in Minutes Cookbook
Swiss Chard Saute
Dark green leafy veggies are delicious—and great for your heart!
- 2 tsp. olive or canola oil
- 1-2 tsp. minced garlic, to taste
- 1 small onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 2/3 cup sliced celery
- 1 Tb broth or water
- 4 cups coarsely chopped Swiss chard
- Heat oil in large nonstick skillet, add garlic, onions, and celery. Sauté, stirring, for about 3 minutes.
- Add the broth or water and Swiss chard, stirring to combine well. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, over low heat for about 5 minutes or until chard is wilted and tender.
Jane Brody’s Good Food Cook Book, WW Norton & Co, NY, 1985
Of course we know we can’t pig out on chocolate, but it's nice to know that it does contain flavonoids (substances that are good for the heart). So a little Valentine’s Day chocolate won’t hurt us!
- 1 (18.25–oz.) package light devil’s food cake
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 2 Tb. canola oil
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 large egg
- Cooking spray
- 3 cups cold fat-free milk
- 1 (3.9-ounce) package chocolate instant pudding mix
- 1/2 cup Kahlúa (coffee-flavored liqueur) or 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
- 1 (8-oz) carton frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
- 1/2 cup (about 4 bars) chopped reduced fat chocolate toffee crips bars such as Hershey’s Sweet Escapes.
- Preheat oven to 350
- Combine first 5 ingredients in large bowl, beat at medium speed of a mixer until well blended. Spoon batter into 13 x 9” baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake 350 for 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
- Combine milk and pudding mix in medium bowl; prepare according to package directions
- Tear half of cake into pieces; place in a 3-quart bowl or trifle dish. Pour half of Kahlúa or coffee over cake pieces; top with half of pudding, whipped topping, and chocolate bars. Repeat with remaining cake, Kahlúa/coffee, pudding, whipped topping, and chocolate bars. Cover; chill at least 4 hours.
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Gift Number Two:
A Longer Lasting Valentine’s Day Present
Treat yourself and your best-beloved to Project Heart Smart, an eight-week program co-sponsored by Bridgeport Hospital and Ahlbin Rehabilitation Centers. This program, led by cardiologists, cardiac rehabilitation nurses, an exercise physiologist and a dietitian, includes personalized nutrition education and counseling, exercise, stress reduction, cardiac education, and gourmet heart-smart dinners.
Says Suzanne Pollard Quintner, cardiac rehabilitation coordinator at Bridgeport Hospital: "What's more romantic than telling your loved one you'd like to spend many more healthy years together!"
For information on Project Heart Smart times, dates, locations, and costs, call 888-357-2396.
For a copy of the AHA’s 2000 Dietary Guidelines, go to www.circulationaha.org.