Delightfully Healthy! My Healthy Valentine

Tasting Friday, 2/8, 6:00 – 7:30pm

We’ll be serving Roasted Beet Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette & Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes!

It’s almost Valentine’s Day! Here are two tasty treats for a special meal that will help you and your loved ones keep on track with your winter nutrition goals!

Our first recipe for this week is a salad with beets, red onions, and Romaine lettuce. Roasted Beet Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette is the perfect side for a lavish Valentine’s dinner. Not only is it vibrant in color, but it’s also rich in many vitamins and minerals.

Beets are such a great vegetable to use in salads with their beautiful coloring! Beets and other root vegetables are a great source of potassium. Potassium is important in the function of the body’s nerves and muscles and is also involved in blood pressure control. Beets contain a special B vitamin called folate. Folate is important in the metabolism of proteins and helps to make red blood cells. Certain types of anemia can be prevented by consuming folate!

Red onions are rich in vitamin C—an antioxidant that helps to support your immune system. Antioxidants reduce damage to the body and protect our cells, including immune cells. Red onion also contains fiber which is important for digestive health and lowers risk of digestive diseases and have prebiotics which help to add good bacteria that keep your digestive system healthy and prevents upset stomachs. Both of these vegetables are a beautiful deep purple color and contain special chemicals called phytonutrients that help to prevent many types of diseases and improve immune health.

Just one serving of Romaine lettuce contains above and beyond your daily recommended vitamin A and a good amount of vitamin C. These are both health protecting and anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Vitamin A has been shown to improve eye health and is important for healthy skin, teeth and bones. Romaine also contains high levels of vitamin K. Vitamin K is important for making strong healthy bones and aids in healing of cuts and wounds.

Our second recipe (for dessert!) is Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes with Chocolate Avocado Frosting.

Dark chocolate has gotten a lot of praise in recent years because it’s believed that it may help protect your cardiovascular system. The reasoning being that the cocoa bean is rich in a class of plant nutrients called flavonoids. Flavonoids are a diverse group of phytonutrients (plant chemicals) found in almost all fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids are the largest group of phytonutrients, with more than 6,000 types. When we eat foods rich in flavonoids, we also benefit from the antioxidants.  Dark Chocolate also contains significant amounts of the minerals magnesium and copper. A 1.5 ounce bar provides 15 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium, which is good for energy production, strong bones, relaxed muscles and effective nerve transmission. That same bar also contains 34 percent RDA of copper, which helps the brain function and is associated with a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease.

In this recipe, the surprise ingredient is avocado! Avocados contain nearly 20 vitamins and minerals including potassium, vitamin E, vitamin C, B vitamins, and folic acid. They are rich sources of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and dietary fiber. The high fat content of avocados promotes satiety and helps regulate blood sugar. Their versatility in the kitchen continues to flourish, as they attribute velvety creaminess to an array of recipes.

 

Roasted Beet Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette

Adapted from bowlofdelicious.com

Serves 4

Ingredients for salad

2 cups chopped romaine lettuce (rinsed)
1 cup roasted or cooked beets, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 3 beets)
1 medium red bell pepper chopped into small pieces
2 oz  goat cheese, crumbled
¼ cup candied walnuts or pecans
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion

Ingredients for vinaigrette

1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup grapefruit juice (about one whole medium grapefruit)
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Directions

1. To make the dressing, place all ingredients in a mason jar and shake (or a small bowl and whisk).

2.To make the salad, place all ingredients in a large bowl and toss with the dressing (reserve some if you like your salads lightly dressed). Alternatively, divvy up the salad ingredients into individual portions and dress each plate individually.

Note: Dressing will keep in the fridge for two weeks.

Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes with Chocolate Avocado Frosting

Adapted from kimscravings.com

Makes 12

Ingredients for cupcakes

1 cup mashed avocados
¾ cup coconut sugar (or brown or granulated)
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or other preferred milk product)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
2 cups whole wheat flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

Ingredients for frosting

1 medium to large avocado, mashed
1 tablespoon coconut oil
cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk, add more 1 tablespoon at a time for consistency

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat muffin cups with cooking spray or prepare muffin cups with paper liners. Set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the mashed avocado, sugar, milk, vanilla and egg whites.

3. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt; mix until smooth. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake until the tops of the cupcakes spring back to the touch, about 18 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely before frosting them.

4. For the frosting, blend together all ingredients until fully combined, in a blender or food processor. Spread over the cooled cupcakes.

5. Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or the refrigerator for 1 week. You can also freeze for up to 1 month.

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