I have no trepidation about Valentine’s Day.
While the arrow wielding, chubby little cherub has struck me with a few arrows that didn’t exactly stick, I am not jaded about love, nor do I have a myopic view of it either.
Love makes the heart happy
I have had the good fortune of experiencing deep, passionate love.
I’ve also been blessed with the honor and privilege of experiencing maternal love.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the sisterly love that remains wrapped around my life like a snug cocoon.
Love, oh love
The range of love I’ve experienced has led me to believe this one thing: the reciprocity of love is the essence of what makes love that splendid thing I do not want to live without.
I no longer think of Valentine’s Day in term of flowers, cards or candy. But I won’t turn them down.
I think of Valentine’s Day in terms of recognizing the people who continue to surround me with pillars of love.
Gee, I’m getting a little misty eyed.
The cost of Love
Valentine’s Day is just one of countless moments in our lives we pause to celebrate or proclaim those we love, those who bring value and beauty our lives.
That calendar celebration and proclamation is far too often a pricey exploit.
According to the National Retail Federation,” U.S. consumers are expected to spend an average $143.56 on Valentine’s Day. Total spending is expected to reach $19.6 billion, up from $18.2 billion last year.”
That’s a lot of clams, lavish dinners, sparkling jewels and premium roses.
I say go for it. Participate. Partake. Celebrate – responsibly of course.
But after the flowers have wilted and died, the box of Godiva chocolates is empty, the lavish dinner is forgotten, the heart stirring card is tucked into a cabinet or deposited in the round file, why not make a proclamation to give an enduring gift of love – the gift a healthy heart.
Healthy Heart Month
Valentine’s Day is just a day, albeit a somewhat significant one. But the entire month of February is observed as American Heart Month which seems to get completely overshadowed.
Since 1964, a Presidential proclamation has been issued to commemorate American Heart Month. Why? Because cardiovascular disease continues to be the leading cause of deaths in America. The National Heart Association says that every 38 seconds a person dies of cardiovascular disease (stroke, coronary artery disease, heart attack). That’s about 2,300 people a day, and 2,300 families who lives have abruptly shifted and changed. My family experienced the untimely death of a beloved and cherished member due to heart disease.
There is good news Dear Heart
Knowing your family history and making lifestyle changes (managing stress, losing weight, getting physically active, making healthy choices in what you eat, and cutting back on alcoholic beverages) can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease significantly, as much as 80%.
Healthy heart recipe – start here
Your assignment during American Heart Month is to eat more heart healthy meals as a declaration of the love you have for yourself, and as a declaration of the love you have for those you cherish.
My Pan Grilled Chicken Breast with Chick Pea Sauce is a heart healthy gift I give to you. The chicken is moist, tender and flavorful. The Chick Pea Sauce, made with fresh thyme and lemon juice, is savory and soul satisfying. An option is to finish the plating with pan grilled corn cut from the cob. This is a meal that will make your heart happy and your lips part with a smile.
I’d like to thanks the great folks at Goya Foods for providing some of the ingredients used in making this recipe.
Talk about it
Have a heart to heart chat with yourself Dear Heart. There is no time like the present, and no better time than during American Heart Month to give yourself and those you love the gift of a healthy heart.
Now that’s real love my foodie friends. Time for you to get cooking!
Pan Grilled Chicken Breast with Chick Pea Sauce
A delicious, hearty healthy meal
2 boneless chicken breasts (Simple Truth Organic Chicken Breast featured here)
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice for chicken marinade
½ teaspoon lemon juice for Chickpea Sauce
1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme leaves
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1~ 15.5 ounce Goya Chick Peas, drained
2/3 cup chicken stock
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ear of corn, husk and silk removed
- Wash and pat dry chicken breasts. Place chicken breasts on a cutting board and slice each one in half to yield four pieces. Generously season chicken breast slice with salt and cracked pepper.
- To a small bowl add 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon chopped thyme leaves, and ¼ teaspoon garlic powder. Mix well and pour into a plastic zipper storage bag. Add seasoned chicken breast slices to marinade, seal the bag and marinade 15 minutes. Massage and turn the bag a few times.
- While chicken is marinating, to a skillet or stove top grill pan set at medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of Grapeseed or corn oil and pan grill the ear of corn. Rotate the corn in pan until it is lightly browned on all sides. Remove from heat, set aside and let cool.
- Remove chicken breast from marinade after 15 minutes and place them in the same skillet or grill pan. Cook on each side for about 2-3 minutes until medium brown in color.
- When done, remove chicken breast from skillet or grill pan and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Place in a 400 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 10 minutes.
- While chicken is in the oven, to a blender add drained Chick Peas, ¼ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, cracked pepper, 2/3 cup of chicken stock.
- Use the liquidfy setting and blend until creamy.
- Pour sauce into a small sauce pan. Place sauce pan on stove top and bring to a gentle boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. When done, remove from heat, keep warm.
- Remove chicken from oven after 10 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes. While chicken is resting, cut the corn from the cob (video here).
- Place a chicken breast on a plate, spoon Chick Pea sauce over breast, top with grilled corn and fresh chopped thyme. (Note: as featured here, chicken breasts are sliced at a diagonal before plating. See “Happy New Year, happy new food,” for example.