Cooking from the Heart

Gear up for Valentine's Day with great cooking tips and romantic recipes! Whether you've planned for a big night out on the town or a quiet night in with just the two of you, I hope you'll enjoy these tips and recipes to make this Valentine's Day the best you've ever had!

Recipes and Tips to tempt your mate!


Drinks: Red Valentine Velvet Ice


2 pounds fresh cranberries
4 cups unsweetened apple juice (separate into 2 parts)
3/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange rind


Wash the cranberries and combine with 2 cups of apple juice and all sugar in a large pot. Cook at high/medium high until cranberries pop for (approx. 6-8 minutes). Put mixture through a food processor, then add remaining ingredients. Pour this mixture into an ice cream machine and stir on and off until mixture is slushy (if you don't have an ice cream maker use a metal bowl). Choose your glassware (champagne glasses are best) and dip each glass first into a plate of lemon or lime juice and then into a plate of sugar to sugarcoat the rim of your glass. Serve the frozen mixture in the glass. Garnish with a mint leaf (optional). Voila!

Did you know?  You can create natural breath fresheners! It’s always good to have breath fresheners on hand. There are natural breath fresheners like fresh parsley (that's why you always find parsley on your plate when dining out - try after your meal - you'll be amazed!) or lemon/lime wedges that you can dip in sugar that can help get rid of those nasty odor-remnants of your meal. Not only do they work well, but they're healthy as well. They can also help the body digest your meal and add flair to your dinner plate or table setting!

Appetizer: Phyllo Cheese Triangles By Tavolo Healthy Kitchen, Tavolo


1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
4 sheets of phyllo dough (you can get in your local grocery store's freezer section)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly oil baking sheets as needed [2 for recipe making 28 triangles] or coat them with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, stir together oil, mustard, salt and cayenne. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo on a work surface. (Keep remaining phyllo covered with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel.) Dampen a pastry brush with water and lightly brush phyllo with oil mixture. Sprinkle with about 1/4 of the Parmesan. Lay another sheet of phyllo on top. Lightly brush with more oil mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan. Repeat with two more sheets of phyllo, oil mixture and Parmesan. Cut phyllo crosswise into 4 strips. Cut each strip into 7 triangles. Transfer triangles to prepared baking sheets. (The unbaked triangles will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months: freeze in a single layer, then stack in a container and cover tightly. Do not thaw before baking.) Bake triangles, 1 sheet at a time, for 6 to 10 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. (The triangles will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days.) (Time to make - approx. 30 minutes)

Main Course: Linguine with Tomato-Mint Sauce By Tavolo Healthy Kitchen, Tavolo

Freshen it with ripe summer tomatoes, a couple of cloves of garlic, chopped fresh herbs and a brightening touch of lemon. You wind up with the complexity of a slow-cooked sauce spiked with the vibrant notes of fresh tomatoes.


1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
1 pound linguine
2 tsp olive oil
2 cups favorite prepared spaghetti sauce
salt & pepper to taste
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, cored and chopped 


In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook linguine until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and lemon juice and cook for 1 minute more. Add spaghetti sauce, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in parsley and mint. Season with salt and pepper. Drain the pasta and serve topped with sauce. (Time to make - approx 25 minutes)


Refreshing peppermint ice cream is sandwiched between the delicate heart-shaped meringues and then served in a pool of rich fudge sauce.
Check out Martha Stewart's Heart-Cookie line-up!

 A plate or gift box of homemade heart-shaped cookies can say “I love you” just as eloquently as an expensive box of chocolates.

Did you know? In Europe, February 14th is believed to be the day that birds choose their mates. (info from

Have a little fun while you're at it - Do these together!

Why not surprise your love and send him or her a passionate Valentine's e-card... - provides fill-in-the-blanks secret love letters, classical poems, and romantic e-cards.

Are you up to the test? Check out these Valentine's Quizs and see how you score!
Valentine's Day Fun Facts

Happy Valentines Day to Everyone and may you find new ways to love the people around you, whether it be a special mate, family member or friend. 

"There is only one happiness in life, to love and to be loved." 
George Sand, letter (1862)

** Tip of the Week ** Candlelight is often romantic, but when it comes time to trying to clean up after a melted candle, the romance is quickly gone. As hard as we try to clean our candle holders, by scratching or trying to poke the bits of remaining wax away, it proves to be impossible and much too time consuming. Next time, try this instead: Put your candle holder into your freezer for a few hours. Once the holder freezes, the remaining wax will shrink enough to come out easily. Now there's no reason to put off enjoying the ambiance of the soft glowing ambers of candlelight.

Krista Barrett has been writing for the past 15 years. Her writing has been printed in newsletters and magazines, as well as on websites. She is the Managing Editor of two websites; a writers resource site called Writers Manual and a cooking site called A Gourmet Kitchen. She writes on a wide variety of topics including health and wellness issues, the craft of writing, as well as short stories, poetry, and novels. She has completed two fiction novels of the romance/drama genre and she is now working on her third fiction novel. You can read up on her romance fiction here: KB Books. She also does web design, editing and proofreading on a contract basis.

For more great recipes, check out her cookbook:

New Years Party 2001 Cookbook!

Ring in the New Year with delicious menus in the New Years Party Cookbook! (Contains over 30 recipes including appetizers, side dishes, soups, salads, main dishes, desserts, and drinks). 45 pages.

For more information, click here!

For more great recipes:


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