Valentine’s Day and decadence seem to go hand in hand: dozens of overpriced red roses, big boxes of over-processed chocolates and fancy overindulgent candlelit dinners. If you’re over all these over-the-top traditions, then it’s time to change things up by creating homemade treats prepared with an extra helping of love.
Breakfast in Bed: Heart-Shaped Grain-Free Pancakes
Looking to start your better half’s day off with a hearty and heartfelt surprise? “These pancakes are not only very Instagram-able, but they also are easy to make and won’t spike your blood sugar the same way as traditional pancakes,” Catalano says. “They are made with almond flour — a great substitute for baking flour because almonds are a wonderful source of healthy fat, fiber, vitamin E, magnesium and of course protein — and coconut flour, which is rich in fiber, healthy fats and protein. Plus, it’s low in sugar and digestible carbohydrates.”
1 cup almond flour
¼ cup coconut flour
3 large eggs
2 large bananas
1½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup almond milk, unsweetened
¾ tsp cinnamon
1. Heat oven to 200 degrees (for keeping the cooked pancakes warm until serving time).
2. Place all ingredients in blender and blend on high speed. Stop and stir a few times in between.
3. Heat pan on medium-low and grease it with melted grass-fed butter or ghee.
4. *Pour ¼ cup batter into heart-shaped mold. Cook three minutes, until edges look dry. Remove heart-shaped cookie cutter/mold and flip to cook other side for two minutes until pancake is golden brown.
5. Serve with desired toppings, such as berries and melted nut butter with cinnamon.
*Pro tip: Coat the bottom edges and inside of the heart-shape cookie cutter with oil or cooking spray. Lay it in your pan and pour the batter inside.
Dinner for Two: Turmeric Salmon and Massaged Kale Love Bowl
Join your partner in the kitchen and make a romantic dinner that’s rich in heart-healthy proteins, veggies and herbs. Afterall, you never know what massaging kale together might lead to. “Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which reduces inflammation — when the body becomes too inflamed, you can damage your blood vessels and risk getting heart disease or a stroke,” Catalano says. “Omega-3 fatty acids also can lower blood pressure and reduce blood clotting. Turmeric is a magical root that has incredible anti-inflammatory properties — it also helps boost your immune system and protects your heart by reducing free-radical damage. Because the main compound in turmeric (curcumin) is not absorbed well into the bloodstream, taking turmeric with black pepper enhances absorption.”
2 salmon fillets (roughly 8 oz each)
¼ tsp ground turmeric
1 lemon, sliced in half
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
pinch of ground black pepper
6 cups kale (It shrinks when you cook it.)
pinch of pink sea salt
3 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
1. In bowl, mix turmeric, pepper and lemon juice together. Then pour mixture into sealable bag, place salmon inside and let marinate in fridge for one hour.
2. Grease warm skillet with coconut oil or ghee, remove salmon from bag and place salmon skin-side up. Pour two more spoonfuls marinate onto salmon.
3. Cook six minutes and then flip salmon. Sprinkle extra turmeric and black pepper on each side while it cooks. Continue to flip until salmon is cooked to your liking.
1. To massage kale, remove ribs of leaf and rub kale leaves together. Once you rub leaves together, you’ll notice the leaves will darken. Breaking down the cellulos structure makes kale more digestible and taste even better.
2. Place massaged kale in pan with coconut oil or ghee on low heat. Lightly cook a few minutes till kale is warm. Avoid overcooking so you maintain the vitamin content.
1. Place massaged cooked kale in bowl.
2. Place salmon on top. Feel free to play around with garnishes, such as sliced avocado, beet sauerkraut or sprouts.
Sweets for Your Sweetie: Frozen Raspberry Truffle Bites
Unlike a box of sugary candy, these decadent truffle bites are made with natural ingredients, are low-glycemic, and are rich in healthy fat and protein. “I love to keep these in my freezer year-round so I can make healthier choices when I am craving something sweet,” Catalano says. “Unlike commercial chocolate, raw cacao is an unprocessed version of the cacao bean that has not been chemically processed and roasted. Because it is raw, there are large amounts of antioxidants and flavonoids in this tasty superfood. Raspberries are rich in fiber and manganese, a trace mineral that helps keep your metabolic rate high — which is a great aid in weight loss.”
½ cup raw cashews (soaked four hours in purified water, drained and patted dry)
½ cup frozen organic raspberries
1 tbsp unsweetened raw cacao
2 tbsp nut butter ( walnut, cashew or almond)
½ tsp vanilla-bean extract
2 dates (remove pits)
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ cup coconut flour
1. In food processor, grind up cashews and coconut flour.
2. Add raspberries, dates, cinnamon, raw cacao, nut butter and vanilla extract.
3. Blend a few minutes until smooth and pink.
4. *With your hands, roll mixture into small balls.
5. Once you shape your truffle bites into small balls, roll them in raw cacao powder and garnish with a frozen raspberry on top.
6. Place truffles on sheet of parchment paper and leave in freezer 15 to 20 minutes.
*Pro tip: Wet your hands first so they don’t stick.