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Monday, February 13, 2012

St. Valentine, an Herbalist?


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Good morning, All!  For those of you in Northeast Texas if you haven't had a chance to glance out the window this morning, we had a light dusting of snow and ice on the ground.  As your fearless blogger, I ventured outside to take a few photos for you (before chore time, mind you!).  Now, I am never quite sure how these things happen, but there I was happily taking photos when at one point I squatted down and the next thing I knew my backside was soaking up ice and snow and my green mud boots were up in the air.  I had tumped over! (For those of you that are "not from around here" tump is Texas slang meaning to spill or dump.)  Okay, I am getting away from the story I wanted to tell you
about St. Valentine but I found a site on Texas slang and well, the first word listed was...... 

aggravated






used to describe everything from mild annoyance to murderous rage. Usually pronounced "agger-vated." 
You mean to tell me that the rest of the world wouldn't use that word in that way if their backside was soaked with ice and snow?
 
I really was having trouble finding the perfect topic for the post this morning.  Then I found this story about St. Valentine at About.com in the home cooking section, of all places.

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"There are several views on the history of Valentine's Day.  One is the story of Valentine, a physician also said to be a gastronomist, who made his medicines more palatable by mixing them with herbs, spices, honey and wine.

Honestly, that is an herbalist!  The best definition I could find for gastronomist is a connoisseur of good food, a gourmet.

The doctor was converted to a Christian priest and began treating the blind daughter of one of Emperor Claudius II's prison guards in an attempt to restore her sight.  Valentine was incarcerated for his religious beliefs, and after his refusal to renounce Christianity, was executed by Claudius II on February 14 in the the third century.  Legend has it that he had fallen in love with his patient and sent a note to the girl, signed "from your Valentine," before his execution.  Supposedly the girl's vision was posthumously restored by his treatment and faith at the very time she was reading his last words.  Valentine was canonized by Pope Gelasius in 496 and his feast day was celebrated until its removal in 1969 from liturgical calendars."http://homecooking.about.com/od/foodhistory/a/valdayhistory.htm
Dark Chocolate Bar and Beans
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Valentine's Day is tomorrow.  Actually, if you haven't got your sweetie something by now, you are about out of time.  Roses are always nice, and I guess are the gift of choice, but honestly, chocolate is my favorite gift.  I love to receive chocolates on Valentine's Day.  Or any day for that matter.

And now chocolate has been found to be good for the heart, contains minerals and is a definite mood booster.  Dark chocolate and cocoa are rich in cell-protecting antioxidants -- natural compounds found in fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts.

Did you know that dark chocolate and cocoa may be good for your heart.  There have been clinical trials where dark chocolate and cocoa have reduced blood pressure, improved blood flow and showed mild anti-clotting effects and for your arteries, well, it just may help prevent plaque formation.

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Because of these amazing findings, more research is being done on chocolate's potential cancer-fighting abilities and it's ability to improve cognitive function.

And believe it or not, dark chocolate has a low glycemic index similar to that of oatmeal.  That is good, because it does not send your blood sugar spiking!

This was probably the most interesting health benefit....Chocolate boosts serotonin and endorphin levels, relieving pain and boosting your mood.  In a chocolate/sex study, urologists from Milan's San Raffaele hospital questioned 163 women about their consumption of chocolate and their sexual fulfillment.  "Women who have a daily intake of chocolate showed high levels of desire than women who did not have this habit," the study found.  "Chocolate can have a positive physiological impact on a woman's sexuality."

So, fellas, go ahead and get those pretty roses for Valentine's Day, but buy your gal chocolate regularly!

Let me share my favorite chocolate recipe with you.  I have family members that beg for these no bake cookies.  This recipe is so old, I am pretty sure my mother made these cookies when I was a kid.

Susan's Favorite No-Bake Chocolate Cookies


No-Bake Chocolate Cookies!
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2 C. sugar
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. cocoa
1 stick butter

Boil 1 minute, take off heat, add 1/2 cup peanut butter, 3 cups quick oats (I use old-fashioned) and 1 tsp. Vanilla.  As a bonus treat, I add 1/2 c. shredded coconut.

Drop on wax paper.

I only make 1/2 this recipe if Cousin Sandra or I are having a chocolate craving.  But, when family shows up and clamors for these I make the whole recipe.  Sometimes I have had to make these several times during family visits!

Well, it is time to sign off and get something done around here.  Like bake some Sourdough bread or maybe, make a batch of No-Bake cookies for Valentine's Day.

Until next time, have a sweet Valentine's Day.....Susan

We're all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness - and call it love - true love. ~Robert Fulghum, True Love


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