Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and whipping up some delicious homemade treats is the perfect way to show your sweetie (or your whole family) that you care! With a nod to Mediterranean ingredients and attitudes, the tips and delectable recipes below can help you put a delicious bite on the table as a treat for a special occasion like Valentine's Day.
Favor Fruit: Fruit is naturally sweet and comes loaded with nutrients. Fresh fruit tastes its best when it is ripe, local, and in season. This time of year, try dried fruit for extra concentrated flavors. Consider frozen fruit or canned fruit packed in 100% fruit juice if the ingredient you want is out of season.
Bake with Whole Grains: In most cases you can replace half or more of the white flour in your favorite recipe with whole-wheat flour. (Try white whole-wheat flour if you have picky eaters skeptical of the brown color of regular whole-wheat flour.) Or go beyond wheat - substituting other whole-grain flours and meals for some of the wheat can add a satisfying nuttiness and density to baked goods. For best results, seek out recipes that call for whole grains.
Stir in Nuts: Cooking with nuts is a great way to pack extra flavor into small bites. Toast nuts lightly in a dry skillet over medium heat to intensify their flavor before adding them to your favorite recipe. Nuts also offer endless variations on recipes. Try switching walnuts to pecans, or almonds to hazelnuts in a recipe for a new take on your favorite treats.
Savor a Small Serving: A key part of the Mediterranean Diet is the idea of enjoying the pleasures of the table. Enjoy meals with family and friends, and take time to notice and appreciate the foods on the table. Take a small serving and savor its aroma, texture, and flavor. Being mindful of what we eat is especially important during those special times when we have reason to celebrate.
(Click on the titles or photos below to link to the recipes.)