Conversation Hearts

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In honor of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to do something different and write about the ionic conversation hearts. When I was little, I couldn’t wait for February 14th to come around. I loved addressing my Valentine cards to my fellow classmates and giving out and eating conversations hearts! After my daughter Laura was born, I was again able to participate in one of my favorite childhood experiences! I know that this is a “girlie thing,” because my husband doesn’t share the same enthusiasm.

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The first conversation hearts were created in 1866 by Daniel Chase, who created the machine that press food dye onto candy wafers made by his brother, Oliver Chase. Oliver was the founder of the New England Confectionary Company, also known as NECCO, maker of the famous NECCO wafers. The heart candy is sold under the brand name, “Sweethearts.”

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Over the years, the Sweetheart sayings have changed to reflect the culture of our times, like #LOVE and GIRL POWER. They are sold in six varieties, the original, Dazzle Tarts, En Español, Chocolate, Sugar Free and Color Your Own. They do not contain gluten from wheat, rye, oats or barley. An incredible 100,000 pounds of candy hearts is produced each day from mid-February to January! It even beats chocolate as the best-selling Valentine’s Day candy!

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Lentils with Bruschetta Sauce Appetizer

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This is a family favorite, full of protein and fiber from the lentils and so easy to make!

  • 1 package Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils*
  • Trader Giotto’s Fresh Bruschetta Sauce (14.5 oz)
  • Trader Joe’s Longboards Organic Tortilla Chips

Mix the lentils and the bruschetta sauce in a bowl and serve with the tortilla chips.

*I cook my own lentils using Trader Joe’s Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Broth (32 oz) and 2 cups dry green lentils. Bring the broth and the lentils to a boil over medium heat and simmer for about 45 minutes or until liquid is all gone. Add salt and pepper to taste. I use 2 1/2 cups cooked lentils for the appetizer and freeze the remainder.

 

My Favorite Organic Preserves

Preserves

On occasion, I love to have peanut butter and jam on sourdough toast. Trader Joe’s has an organic line of preserves available in strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and apricot with 40% less sugar than regular preserves. So far, I have only tried the raspberry, blueberry and apricot. When I first tasted them alone, I found them to be quite sweet. However, having it with organic unsalted peanut butter and the bread, the sweetness was perfect! My favorite flavor is raspberry, but the blueberry and apricot are also quite good. The prices are very reasonable too!

Start Your Morning with Oatmeal!

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I use Trader Joe’s Steel Cut Organic Oats sprinkled with organic dried cranberries and sliced almonds, but you can add anything you want. The cranberries add sweetness and the almonds give crunchiness. Starting your day with oatmeal is so healthy for you. It is a good source of fiber and contains 5 grams of protein per serving. Oatmeal is also recommended for people with heart disease and diabetes. For more information about the benefits of oats go to http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=54