Recipes to Love Yourself on Valentine’s Day and All Month Long

(Disclosure: Post Shredded Wheat, Cans Get You Cooking, Mazola Corn Oil, Sabra, Wonderful Sweet Scarlett’s, KIND Snacks, Genova, and American Pistachios are TV clients of mine. I was not compensated to write this blog posts.) 

Give a piece of your heart this holiday season.

Give a piece of your heart through joyful eating.

Love is in the air! We’ve got Valentine’s Day coming up soon. It’s also national Heart Health Month, Canned Foods Month and Grapefruit Month (seriously!)

I’ve got some fabulous ideas that celebrate all February has to offer through food. You can crunch, munch, and sip your way to a healthier heart without wasting hours in the kitchen.

If fries, pizza, and soup sound like your top heart healthy menu…. come on over to my place! (I’m kidding!) You’re in luck… because I have baked zucchini fries, hummus pizza, and pasta e fagioli you can make in 20 minutes and much more!

Check out my recent segment on Let’s Talk Live D.C. in the video clip below and read on to hear what I’m loving and why. Plus, get the recipes you need to fill your belly with deliciousness.


Post Shredded Wheat, Recommended by Doctors

A national survey showed 9 of 10 doctors would recommend Post Shredded Wheat as part of a healthy eating plan to help prevent heart disease. Whole grains, fiber, no cholesterol or sodium.imagegen

Now, let’s talk taste. I love warming mine up with milk, cinnamon, and fruit in the chill of February. You can do lots with Post Shredded Wheat besides the cereal bowl, like DIY trail mix and in recipes where you need “crunch”.

Cans Get You Cooking All Week Long

Kelsey Nixon's Pasta e fagioli (for Cans Get You Cooking)

Kelsey Nixon’s Pasta e fagioli (for Cans Get You Cooking)

You know that feeling when you are short on menu ideas, you’re hungry and tired after a long day. You need to eat, you’d like it to be pretty healthy and easy. Take out would be easy… but you don’t have to if you have a well-stocked pantry (aka “cantry”) filled with canned foods you can use to make healthy homemade meals easy. Try this pasta e fagioli recipe with cannelini beans, fire roasted tomatoes, and chicken broth.

It’s national canned foods month – a great time to stock up on your favorites and pick up something new. I’ve been buying canned artichokes to go in pasta dishes and sauteed with chicken, spinach, and feta cheese. The can locks in flavor, freshness, and nutrition naturally when fruits and veggies are at their peak.

Baked Zucchini Fries and Lemon Pepper Chickpea Salad with Mazola Corn Oil

Big news, corn oil (like Mazola) was shown to help the body lower cholesterol better than extra virgin olive oil, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Lipidemiology. (that’s a tongue twister!) Here’s the gist, corn oil has naturally occurring compounds called plant sterols – more than any other oil – 40% more than canola oil and 4x’s more plant sterols than olive oil. These guys help block cholesterol absorption.

Lemon pepper chickpea salad

Lemon pepper chickpea salad courtesy of Mazola

You can use Mazola corn oil in baking, like these zucchini fries with a panko parmesan crust I made for Mazola.  A little creamy yogurt dip (or marinara) and you won’t believe vegetables could taste this good. I get no complaints when I serve these up.

Also try Mazola in a marinade like in this lemon pepper chickpea salad. Make it ahead and use it in recipes throughout the week.

Pizza Niiiiight – with Sabra Hummus

Yes, I’m serious… and don’t call me Shirley. Sabra makes the #1 selling hummus. It’s great as a dip and spread. But most people don’t know you can cook with Sabra hummus too.

Flatbread pizza with Sabra hummus

Flatbread pizza with Sabra hummus.

Enter “pizza night” reinvented for a love-your-heart twist. You will love how easy and delicious this is. Simply pick up some flatbread, smear it with Sabra hummus and lightly sauteed veggies (leftovers are great too! We had some grilled veggies from the weekend kabobs. I chopped up mushrooms, onions, and red and green peppers for mine.) I also used just a bit of feta cheese.

If you’re cooking for a clan, go ahead and do some with red pizza sauce ones too. Sabra also makes salsa and guacamole. Try mexican pizza with refried beans, salsa, veggies, and cheese, topped with guac before serving. This is an easy one to involve with kids. See what toppings they would like to have. They can help you with the cooking and hey, why not get them to help with clean up!

Wonderful Sweet Scarletts – The Sweetest Red Grapefruit Around

Grapefruit are in season (of course it is also national grapefruit month) and why not think outside the half grapefruit at breakfast box and do something unexpected like broil it. Yep, I said it. Broil that bad boy for a yummy caramelization that will make your salads pop with flavor.

Scarletts_8lb_box_hr_highresTry Wonderful Sweet Scarletts – the Texas Red Grapefruit – with 100% vitamin C, vitamin A and lycopene – a powerful antioxidant you can only find in the red variety.

After broiling for about 8 minutes with just a touch of sugar on top, you can add it to yogurt, oatmeal, or salads – just toss and dress with your favorite veggies and salad mix-ins.

I like to juice grapefruit and use it in marinades and very simple salad dressings. If you want to spruce up your water try some freshly squeezed juice with fizzy water for a refreshing drink.

Spread KINDness to Your Valentine

KIND snacks have the February heart health, Valentine’s Day, and happiness trifecta. They have nuts as a main ingredient, they have dark chocolate varieties (for your sweetie) and you can feel good about all the KINDness going around through #KINDawesome cards and KIND causes. kind_bar_darkchocolatecinnamonpecan_2

Allow me to explain: KIND will donate $10/month to the most popular cause at www.causes.KIND.com – and all you have to do is vote! You can get a natural feel good vibe off of a small act on your part to help those around you.

Getting a little more personal, get yourself a #KINDawesome card and give it away to someone you spot giving an act of KINDness. Then they can redeem the card for a KIND bar sample box with another #KINDawesome card. It’s like paying it forward over and over again.

Upgrade the Taste of Your Tuna with Genova

Chilled grilled vegetables with Genova tuna.

Chilled grilled vegetables with Genova tuna.

Genova is premium quality seafood with three simple ingredients – wild-caught Yellowfin tuna fillets, a touch of salt and just enough olive oil– simple ingredients that make Genova uniquely satisfying. Genova takes tuna to a whole new level of luxury.

Try chilled grilled vegetables with tuna or tuna with black lentils. These dishes are easy to prepare and offer rich, savory flavors you’ll crave.

American Pistachios Make a Smart Snack

American pistachios have the perfect heart health formula: Plant protein, mono and polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals.  Plus they have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show they may support heart health by reducing oxidative damage and improving cholesterol levels. You get 49 kernels, 160 calories and 1.5 grams saturated fat per serving. For recipes and tips visit Americanpistachios.org.


(Disclosure: Post Shredded Wheat, Cans Get You Cooking, Mazola Corn Oil, Sabra, Wonderful Sweet Scarlett’s, KIND Snacks, Genova, and American Pistachios are TV clients of mine. I was not compensated to write this blog posts.) 

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