Fiddlehead Ferns…who knew? by Elizabeth Brown, MS, RD

Fiddlehead Ferns and the First Snow Fall
During a recent visit to Pennsylvania, I experienced some firsts. My mom and I visited Cabela’s, a huge sporting goods store about an hour west of Allentown, my home town. Cabela’s is like a play ground for hunters and fishermen, but they also have great outdoor wear for active individuals. When you first walk into Cabela’s, you will either be entranced or offended by their endless array of wildlife taxidermies. I loved the huge aquarium that wraps around one entire wall and is filled with big freshwater fish and turtles. And I did buy some outdoor wear which came in handy for the first, and very early, snowfall of the year.
Hunting and fishing isn’t for everyone, but growing up in PA, I was exposed to such sports at an early age. My dad used to hunt deer in his back yard in the country. I couldn’t kill an animal myself, but as a child I loved to shoot target practice with a bow and arrow, and rifles. However, I do understand the necessity to keep the deer population under control, otherwise they may end up dead on the side of the road.
We look to fish or fish oil supplements to get our omega-3 fats which have been shown to help fight inflammation, lower cholesterol, ward off dementia and even combat depression. If we ate wild game as one of our protein sources, we’d actually get some omega-3’s as well. Wild animals live on a diet of grasses and bugs, naturally rich in omega-3’s. We’d also get a desirable ratio of omega-6’s to omega-3’s. The goal is to eat a diet with a ratio of 4g of omega-6 fats or less for each 1g of omega-3’s (4:1 or less). Poultry has a ratio of 16:1 and venison is 3:1. Free-range, grass-fed beef is also 3:1. Plus these “red” meats provide significant sources of iron, B12, selenium and zinc; minerals that are essential for transporting oxygen rich blood to working muscles and for building your body’s own antioxidant defense system. Just some food for thought when making protein choices.
My mom’s boyfriend is an avid fisherman who does what’s called “catch and release.” The fish go back in the water and instead of bringing home fish he brings home stories about the one that got away. During his recent fishing trip to Canada, he also brought back some fiddleheads.
While visiting my mom, she said, “There are some fiddleheads in the freezer if you want to try them.” I said, “What are fiddleheads?” My mom said, “They’re some kind of vegetable Bill gets from Canada. He says the people there love them.” I couldn’t believe there was a vegetable, native to North America that I had never heard of. I quickly pulled out my iPhone and fervently did some research to learn that the Fiddlehead fern is native to Canada, mostly found in the coastal regions of British Columbia as well as Ontario and Quebec. They’re also found in the moist meadows and riverbanks of Vermont and Maine. I thought, “So, they are wild harvested. That’s a good sign.”
Fiddleheads are the first greens to “spring up” in the spring. They  show up after the last snow fall and they must be picked within a month’s time, before they change from a tightly wound looking spiral (or frond), and unfurl into a full fern, at which point they become too bitter to eat. They also must be cooked and cannot be eaten raw, because they tend to hold microflora in their tightly coiled fronds which can cause symptoms of a food borne illness. However, it seems that the microflora, like the microflora in our bodies, may actually be what make fiddleheads so resilient.
Fiddleheads are rich in protein and fiber. They provide 50% of the Daily Value for vitamins A & C plus significant amounts of riboflavin, niacin, manganese, copper, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and calcium.
Dr. John DeLong, a researcher from Nova Scotia Canada, claims that fiddleheads also provide those coveted omega-3 fatty acids, particularly the EPA omega-3 fats, which up to this point I thought only came from animal sources. Upon further research, I learned that EPA is found in some plants, primarily microalgae, which could be where fiddleheads get their EPA. However, while digging a little deeper, I also learned that some plants, as a defense against certain types of fungi, particularly “water molds,” will convert the omega-3 Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA), into EPA. Perhaps the young fiddleheads protect themselves against these invading molds by converting ALA to EPA, which, like in humans, is essential for bolstering the immune system. So then I thought, “Hmm, if plants use EPA as a defense against “water molds,” could people do the same?”
After some research on PubMed, I found over 100 articles that say just that. EPA can help alleviate “allergic rhinitis,” such as that which I experience while visiting PA where mold is prevalent because of the damp environment. In fact, I sneeze incessantly the entire time I’m in PA. Perhaps I should eat more fiddleheads next time, and be sure to take my Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega Xtra which contains 800mg of EPA & 400mg of DHA per 2 capsules. They are the best on the market so I have to let people know.
If you are ever fortunate enough to try fiddlehead ferns, and it’s really just so you can say you’ve had them, you must follow these instructions to prepare them. They could be just what the doctor ordered to boost your immune system, but if prepared incorrectly, you might be visiting the doctor with symptoms of food borne illness instead. Food borne illness was reported by people who ate fiddlehead ferns that were sautéed without first being steamed or boiled. So if you decide to eat fiddleheads at a quaint little restaurant while visiting Canada, Maine or Vermont in the spring, be sure to ask precisely how they were prepared. I’d hate to see you ruin your vacation all because of a little fern. 
But you wouldn’t be the first.
  
How to Prepare Fiddlehead Ferns:
Rinse the ferns under cool running water while rubbing off any brown, thin skin, that remains after picking. Cut about 1/2 inch off the end of each fern. (This is time consuming but necessary.) Steam or boil the fiddleheads for 5 minutes to kill off any harmful bacteria. Then, sauté them in butter or olive oil. Add minced shallots, onion or garlic if you like. Serve with brown rice and steamed fish, venison, or grass-fed beef. The fiddleheads taste like a cross between bitter asparagus and spinach. I scrambled mine with eggs mixed with turkey bacon, green peppers, tomatoes, onions and spinach. The combination was delicious and I felt great afterwards. No food borne illness symptoms here. I must have done something right!

Garbanzo Bean Cookies, NATURALLY Gluten Free & High in Fiber

What is life without COOKIES??

I’m in Love, I’m in Love and I don’t care who knows it…

Garbanzo Bean Cookie Recipe

Garbanzo Bean Cookie Recipe


I’ve been Gluten intolerant for several years and I really miss cookies. Yes, there are gluten-free versions on the market. And there are gluten-free recipes using gluten-free flour, but since giving up most processed foods, I find that gluten-free cookies send my blood sugar and my energy on a roller coaster.

Then one day, after sharing my Black Bean Brownies with a coworker, she said, “Oh my God, these are soooo good!!!” And then she said, “Have you heard about the Garbanzo Bean Cookies?”

And with both excitement and intrigue I replied, “No.”

Immediately I pulled out my iPhone and began Googling. I found several posts using the EXACT same recipe for Chocolate Chip Garbanzo Bean Cookies. Each recipes called for 1 ¼ cups of garbanzo beans, but having measured the yield of a can of garbanzo beans, I know that you get 1 ½ cups of beans from a 15oz can. So I thought, “Why not use the whole can?”   Gabanzo beans draining in sink

These same “copied” recipes also call for baking powder. Now, I’m not a food chemist, although I did take many food science classes during my undergrad Nutrition Science coursework, buuuuttt, as far as I know, baking powder doesn’t really do anything unless there is some kind of leavening agent involved, namely eggs or an egg substitute. So what IS the point of the baking powder in these cookies??? NOTHING. I made these garbanzo bean cookies with and without the baking powder and it did not make one IOTA of a difference.

Some other ingredients found in this recipe include salt, vanilla, peanut butter and chocolate chips, of course. Baking Powder NOT Required

In the end, I feel this cookie hits the “COOKIE SPOT” without causing the unnerving BLOOD SUGAR rollercoaster found after consuming flour laden cookies.

Aside from modifying the mimicked garbanzo bean cookie recipe, I also came up with some variations based on taste and/or supplies…

Here is my rendition of Chocolate Chip Garbanzo Bean Cookies…

Garbanzo Bean Chocolate Chip Cookies

Garbanzo Bean Chocolate Chip Cookies

Garbanzo Bean Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ready in 30 minutes                                                                                                    –    Makes 20 servings

Preheat oven to 350 degrees


+ 1 ½ cups garbanzo beans, one 15 oz can, drained

(save liquid in a bowl in case you need to add moisture)

+ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

+ 1/4 cup Organic Dark Brown Sugar

 

+ 1/2 cup ALMOND butter or nut butter of your choice

(I prefer the taste of the cookies with almond butter over peanut butter)

 

+ 1/4 cup ground flax seeds (for binding)

(You can make the cookies without the flax but it helps keep them together better & adds a bunch of OMEGA-3 fats!!)

+ 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

ONE

Place everything, EXCEPT the chocolate chips, in a food processor. You can also use a blender but you will need to push the ingredients down without hitting the blades. It’s tricky, so be careful.  Garbanzo beans in food processor

TWO

Blend to a creamy, cookie dough, or pudding-like, consistency. Add liquid, if needed, about 2 Tablespoons at a time, until you reach the desired consistency. If you’re batter is thinner than pudding, it’s OK. The cookies will be a bit flatter but still cookie-like.

Add the chocolate chips and pulse to combine.

THREE

Use a teaspoon & a spatula to spoon the batter onto the tray. Scoop batter with the spoon and push the batter off the spoon with the spatula. Don’t worry if your batter doesn’t fall in a perfect circle.

Since these cookies won’t rise, you can place them fairly close to each other; at least four rows across and six rows down.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 27 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown.

Remove from oven and let cool. These cookies are more like little cakes. They are AWESOME straight out of the oven or even the next day or two. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Label & date and consume or share within a week. OR freeze for later consumption. They thaw within a few hours in the refrigerator or in an oven set at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.

 

Cost per serving: $0.26

Nutrients per serving (1 cookie / 24g):  Calories: 84, Total Fat: 5 g, Total Carbohydrates: 10 g, Dietary Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 2.5 g, Sodium: 4 mg

Omega-3 Fats: 210 mg, Omega-6 fats: 990 mg

RATIO Omega-6: Omega-3 = 4.7:1 (ideal is < 4:1)

% Daily Value

20% manganese

9% magnesium

9% copper

7% vitamin E

7% folate

7% phosphorus

6% iron

4% niacin

4% zinc

4% calcium

4% potassium

3% riboflavin

2% selenium

2% B-6

2% thiamine

1% vitamin D

0% B12

0% vitamin C

 

 

 

 

Ready in 30 minutes  Makes 20 servings

Ready in 30 minutes  Makes 20 servings

Ready in 30 minutes  Makes 20 servings

Aphrodisiacs by Elizabeth Brown, MS, RD

One seductive salad

(originally published in the Santa Monica Daily Press Newspaper 2008)

Aphrodisiacs & zinc

The Kiss. It is my favorite painting. It is my favorite experience. The most important one is that first kiss. It can make or break a relationship. You either feel it or you don’t. Kissing is one way to “feel it” while still behaving like a lady or a gentleman.

I’ve always been a hopeless romantic, preferring to wait for the perfect person rather than jump into a relationship simply to avoid being alone. I am so taken in by Hollywood’s portrayal of love and romance. In my favorite movie, Never Been Kissed, Drew Barrymore’s character recites a monologue about experiencing that first kiss with the right person. If you’re a romantic, please rent this one. I won’t give away the story except to say that she’s a writer and a hopeless romantic, just like me.

Because I am The Kitchen Vixen, people don’t automatically think “soft and sweet” but instead expect leather and lace and recipes for attracting sex. I often get asked for advice about the best “Aphrodisiacs”. An Aphrodisiac is anything that is believed to increase sexual desire. It could be an object, beverage, or food.

Oysters are one of the best known aphrodisiacs. Their popularity grew out of their shape. Look at an oyster and you’ll see what I mean.

Oysters also happen to be the richest source of zinc from any one food source. Zinc is a primary ingredient, so-to-speak, in the production of sperm. Perhaps that is the reason men claim to be affected by oysters.

Aphrodisiacs initially gained recognition during ancient times when food was scarce, nutrition was poor, and libidos were low. Associations were drawn between certain foods and increased sex drive and voila – magic potions for love.

While working as a Diabetes Educator, a national news company interviewed me about aphrodisiac claims. I remember telling the interviewer that I often saw married male patients only when they were not able to fulfill all of their husbandly duties. When Diabetes affects that aspect of life, it has gone uncontrolled for far too long. On the plus side, at least something was motivating them to change.

I became a Diabetes Educator because I felt that the way I would teach Diabetes sufferers to eat is the way I would teach everyone to eat. The misconception about Diabetes is that eating too much sugar, or processed carbs, causes the disease. In reality, Diabetes is genetic. It presents itself, more or less, when someone is inactive. The muscle cells become lazy and do not use sugar the way they should. Yes, reducing processed carbs and sugars will definitely help, but activity is the best medicine of all.

Aside from being active, and this goes for everyone, eat a diet loaded with colorful antioxidant rich fruits, vegetables, and heart healthy fats. These are the foods that might protect us all from chronic diseases and the ever thwarting signs of aging.

Try this aphrodisiac salad with all of those coveted nutrients including zinc from pine nuts (a source less obvious that oysters) and arugula, which has been known throughout ancient times as Rocket! And don’t forget the dark chocolate. Women know of its powers. Men, you will have to give some to your lady and judge for yourself.

Whether your meal is meant to win a heart, steal a smooch, or solicit a night of unbridled passion, just remember, it’s all about the K.I.S.S.Keep It Simple Sweetie. This recipe is so simple, light, yet satisfying, you’ll have plenty of energy for whatever transpires.

Aphrodisiac Salad
(Double is making for two)

Ingredients
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp honey
2 cups arugula
(arugula’s peppery flavor complements the sweetness of the berries, much like the perfect couple—sweet and spicy!)
1/2 cup black berries
1/2 cup raspberries
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp pine nuts
1/4 ounce dark chocolate

Procedure

  1. In a large salad bowl, combine the first three ingredients. Mix with a fork
  2. Add the arugula and toss to coat with dressing.
  3. Add the berries (a.k.a. fruit nipples)
  4. Squeeze some lemon juice over the salad (the lemon juice helps to pull flavors together much like salt, but without the unwanted water retention that follows and may hinder the evening’s romance)
  5. Sprinkle with pine nuts
  6. Use a small, microplane type grater, to shave chocolate atop the salad

Per serving:
290 calories, 16g heart healthy fats, 36g carbs, 9g fiber, 5g protein

 

SLAW: fill the VOID by adding SLAW to meals & snacks

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Not sure what to do with that head of cabbage you bought several weeks ago?

Peel off the outer leaves, chop it up & add some shredded carrots & fresh chopped herbs. I often have cilantro & parsley just looking to be put to use.

Next, make a dressing. If you don’t like mayo, well, you’re crazy, just like my friend Danielle. I always tell her I can’t believe we’re friends. She doesn’t like mayo, catsup or vinegar. As if????

on the other hand, my BFF Kara likes mayo. Guess we know why she’s my BFF.

You can use Greek yogurt, which is actually healthier. Or try lime juice, minced jalapeño, olive oil & something for sweetness. If you have a blender, try some dates & blend your sweet & spicy ingredients to toss with your slaw. Cilantro, with it’s cooling elements, works perfectly here!!

Now, the only problem you’ll have is seeing your slaw disappear QUICK-ly. And you’ll be repeating the prep steps all over again.

I’m gonna eat some slaw for breakfast. No kidding.

Cereal? What’s that?     SLAW is where it’s AT!!!

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Black Bean Brownies: FOX News Cooking Segments

Beans: the often overlooked “Super-Food”


BEANS are THE highest fiber food in our “whole food” repertoire (natural and not man-made like Fiber one bars). They are high in protein, 16g per cup. They are a very, very slowly digested source of energy yielding carbohydrates; perfect for people with blood sugar issues such as Diabetics.
Beans lower cholesterol, naturally, not because man added something to them. They are high in antioxidants that protect the body from cancer. They aid in weight loss on so many levels, from increasing satiety to lowering leptin levels. 1 ¼ cups of cooked beans provides as much protein as 3 ounces chicken for 1/4th the cost and 2 ½ times more volume. That volume and the super-antioxidant content, plus half of your daily fiber needs, are what makes beans a “Super-Food.” Add to that the fact that beans promote weight loss while allowing you to eat more calories. In a study comparing bean eaters to non-bean eaters, the bean eaters lost 7 pounds more and ate 200 calories more than the non-bean eaters.
The protein in beans is not complete but when you eat whole grains, or other complete proteins throughout the day, your body has what it needs to make complete proteins. In the brownie recipe, we have eggs to make a complete protein. In the shake we have the milk and in the black bean and quinoa mango salad, we have the quinoa to help complete the protein for your body.

When using beans as protein source in the shake, you get the protein you would get from a protein powder but you get so much more, such as Manganese, Magnesium, Copper, Iron, Zinc, All of your B vitamins except B12 plus extra Calcium, Potassium and Omega-3 fats. You don’t get any of that from protein powder and you save $0.37 per serving. The protein shake with beans costs only $0.70 for a 15oz serving.

Black Bean Brownies
Makes 20 servings – Ready in 1 hour

2 cans black beans, drained
6 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup cocoa
1 cup chocolate chips
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

9×12 inch baking pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Oil baking pan.
Puree all ingredients, except the chocolate chips, in a food processor until you reach a smooth consistency.
Pour batter into baking pan. Disperse the chips evenly over top of the batter.
Bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Best if refrigerated overnight.
Cut into 20 squares

Cost per serving: $0.51
Nutrients per serving (1 piece, 53g):  Calories: 141, Total Fats: 5 g, Total Carbohydrates: 19 g, Dietary Fiber: 4 g, Protein: 5 g 

% Daily Value
17% manganese
14% copper
12% magnesium
10% phosphorus
  9% iron
  8% selenium
  8% folate
  6% riboflavin, niacin & potassium
  5% zinc

Mango Bean Smoothie
Makes 1 serving – Ready in 5 minutes

1/2 cup white beans (such as navy or pinto)
1/2 mango, rough chopped
1 cup lowfat milk (any type)
2 Tbsp coconut, shredded, unsweetened 
6 mint leaves
4-6 ice cubes, add gradually

Throw everything in a blender and blend. Add ice gradually until your reach a desired consistency.

Cost per serving: $0.70
Nutrients per serving (1 shake/ 2 cups):  Calories: 350, Total Fats: 6 g, Omega-3 fats: 110 mg, Sodium: 140 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 55g, Dietary Fiber: 9 g, Sugars: 27g, Protein: 19g 

% Daily Value (DV)
Manganese:     36%
Calcium:          35%
Potassium:      28%
Vitamin D:       25%
Vitamin A:       20%
Vitamin C:      13%
Copper:           11%
Iron:                18%
Selenium:          4%
Magnesium:    17%
Phosphorus:    17%
Vitamin-E:         2%
Niacin:             10%
B-6:                    7%
Riboflavin:         4%
Zinc:                   8%
Folate:               31%
Thiamin-B1:    18%
B-12:                  0%

Black Bean, Quinoa & Mango Salad
Makes 1 serving – Ready in 10 minutes

1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 mango, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp flax oil
Sea salt & pepper to taste

Per serving: 314 calories, 54g carbs, 11g protein, 6g fat, 245% DV vitamin C, 76% vitamin A, 11-45% for all vitamins and minerals except vitamin D, B12 and calcium.


Kicking the Craving Habit

We have all been plagued by food cravings at some point in our lives. We can’t help it, we’re born to crave. It’s part of survival. At birth we crave sweet because mother’s milk is sweet, and high in fat, so when we taste sweet, we associate sweetness with energy, both immediate and stored fuel. But even when we are old enough to make more cognizant choices, often times those inherent tendencies kick in, especially during times of stress. If we are stressed, either because of a deadline, because we skipped a meal or because we exercised and didn’t eat enough, our survival mechanisms will kick in and we reach for quick-fix sugar sources to feed our brain, and high fat foods to provide long-term storage. We also grab for fatty foods because their texture offers a soothing mouthfeel that is learned. High fat foods are high on the hedonic, “pleasure seeking” food scale.

Statics show that 97% of women & 68% of men experience food cravings, 40% of women and 15% of men crave chocolate. Low levels of serotonin, a “feel good” hormone, has been associated with food cravings. Some experts also believe that cravings are your body’s way of trying to take in lacking nutrients, aside from sugar and fat, your body also uses a lot of vitamins and minerals during times of stress or during strenuous activity. Some of the nutrients our body seeks during times of stress include the B vitamins, prevalent in carbohydrate rich foods, but not in highly processed carb sources. Magnesium is another “nutrient” we crave during stress. Many experts speculate that we crave chocolate because it is a good source of magnesium. But spinach, is even higher when you compare ounce for ounce. And one cup of cooked spinach (about 8 cups raw) is only 53 calories whereas one cup of chocolate is 863 calories. If magnesium is what you are truly craving, then you’d better learn to head the signs and load up on spinach or you’ll be buying new clothes every season and not necessarily because you are so fashion conscious.

Other high magnesium foods include all leafy greens, beans, nuts (especially brazil nuts, cashews, almonds and pumpkin seeds) as well as brown rice, barley, quinoa and dates.

To help you overcome your cravings, keep nutrient dense snack options on hands at all times. Fresh fruit, especially crunchy apples and sweet berries can easily offset your desire for less nutritious options, plus they add disease fighting antioxidants and fiber. Cut up veggies such as cucumbers, carrots and celery and creamy dip made with Greek yogurt will please your palate for creamy, fatty foods, while adding calcium, protein and fiber rich, water rich, low calorie crunch that beats the butt of any potato chip; baked, whole grain or whatever marketing tactic comes along. If nature made it, it’s made to eat, if man made it, RETREAT!

If you really have a chocolate craving, some experts recommend small pieces of dark chocolate, but when you’re truly hungry, your body wants volume and one little 1/2 inch square will not suffice. Instead, try my Aphrodisiac salad that incorporates spicy arugula with sweet berries, zinc rich pine nuts, sweet balsamic vinaigrette dressing, and rich, dark chocolate shaved over top. It’s an unusual combination that satisfies so many senses and can even sublimate for “something” missing, which is another reason we often “crave,” as a substitute for “affection.”

As a final offering, I also recommend simple frozen grapes and an ounce of mixed nuts. Use a portion-friendly container for calorie dense snacks such as nuts. A one cup serving of frozen grapes and a one ounce serving of mixed nuts has 150 fewer calories than a cup of ice cream plus at least 10-20% of all of your essential minerals and most of your vitamins. Ice cream has little to offer besides your daily allotment of saturated fat.

Crispy Kale Chips
Makes 1 serving – Ready in 20 minutes

One bunch kale, dinosaur or curly
2 tsp canola or other high heat oil
Dash of sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and dry the kale with paper towels. Use kitchen shears or a knife to remove ribs and cut kale into 2 inch pieces. Toss in a bowl with oil and sea salt. Place on 2 large baking trays lined with parchment paper. Bake 10-15 minutes or until edges are slightly browned.

2. Remove the kale chips from the oven. Enjoy!

Nutrients per serving (1 bunch):  Calories: 194, Total Fats: 10 g, Total Carbohydrates: 20 g, Dietary Fiber: 4 g, Protein: 6 g
Daily Value: 400% vitamin C, 180% vitamin A, 10-30% for every other vitamin & mineral except B12, vitamin D, Selenium & Zinc

Savory Greek yogurt dip
Makes 1 serving – Ready in 5 minutes

1/2 cup Greek yogurt, plain, fat-free
Juice & zest of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp fresh chopped dill
1/8 tsp (dash) garlic powder

Mix everything together in a small bowl. Serve with your favorite sliced vegetables such as carrots, celery, peppers and cucumbers.

Per serving: 68 calories, 7g carbs, 10g protein, 0g fat, 25% DV for vitamin C, 13% DV for calcium

Aphrodisiac Salad
Makes 1 serving – Ready in 10 minutes

2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp flax oil
2 tsp honey
2 cups arugula (arugula’s peppery flavor complements the sweetness of the berries, much like the perfect couple—sweet & spicy)
1/2 cup blackberries
1/2 cup raspberries
1 Tbsp pine nuts
1/4 oz dark chocolate

In a large single serving salad bowl, pour in equal portions of apple cider vinegar, olive oil and honey. Mix with a fork. Add two big handfuls of arugula. Toss with dressing. Add 1/2 cup each of Blackberries and Raspberries. Squeeze some lemon juice onto the salad, just enough to sprinkle with flavor and extra antioxidants. The lemon helps to pull together flavors similar to salt but acts as a diuretic, unlike salt. Sprinkle with pine nuts and shaved dark chocolate. Cut slivers using a sharp knife or a microplane. Apply just enough chocolate to decorate the salad. A little goes a long way to perfectly compliment the flavors of the sweet berries and spicy greens.
Per serving: 290 calories, 16g heart healthy fats, 36g carbs, 9g fiber, 5g protein.

Other winning nutrients include 73% of your Daily Value for Vitamin C– perfect for protecting the immune system of both you and your loved on, 25% of the Daily Value for Vitamin A- obtained from those ever loving, visual protectors known as carotenoids. 15% of the Daily Value for that essential, oxygen transporting nutrient known as Iron (typically found in highest concentrations in animal products). Plus 11 % of the Daily Value for Bone Building Calcium and even more if you add a touch of creamy goat cheese. This salad contains a significant amount of every Vitamin & Mineral (10% or more) except for Vitamin D & B12 – you may want to eat it while standing in the sun for 15 minutes a day to get your D & perhaps accompanied by some poached chicken or fish for some B12 & extra protein. Best of all, this salad contains a variety of tastes, textures and colors all indicating a wide range of disease fighting, antioxidant nutrients.

Although one might think an Aphrodisiac Salad should be savored only in pairs, this salad can be eaten and enjoyed absolutely anytime your heart desires. To protect your heart & increase your energy, you also get 2,660mg of ALA omega-3 fatty acids from the flax oil. Omega-3 fats make every part of your body work better. You and your loved one will thank me forever.