Idea for Preparing Your Own Valentine’s Day Dinner

Home-cooked Valentines Dinner for Two


  • Salad Greens with Apple, Walnuts and Brie
  • Sumptuous Seafood for Two
  • Saffron Rice and Roasted Asparagus
  • Deluxe Brownie Dessert

Read more and view recipes ….

Nine in 10 U.S. Adults Get Too Much Sodium Every Day

Nearly all Americans consume much more sodium than they should, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most of the sodium comes from common restaurant or grocery store items.

The latest Vital Signs report finds that 10 types of foods are responsible for more than 40 percent of people’s sodium intake. The most common sources are breads and rolls, luncheon meat such as deli ham or turkey, pizza, poultry, soups, cheeseburgers and other sandwiches, cheese, pasta dishes, meat dishes such as meat loaf, and snack foods such as potato chips, pretzels and popcorn. Some foods that are consumed several times a day, such as bread, add up to a lot of sodium even though each serving is not high in sodium.

“Too much sodium raises blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke,” said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “These diseases kill more than 800,000 Americans each year and contribute an estimated $273 billion in health care costs.”

The report notes that the average person consumes about 3,300 milligrams of sodium per day, not including any salt added at the table, which is more than twice the recommended limit for about half of Americans and 6 of every 10 adults. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams per day. The recommendation is 1,500 milligrams per day for people aged 51 and older, and anyone with high blood pressure, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease, and African Americans.

Key points in the Vital Signs Report:

  • Ten types of foods account for 44 percent of dietary sodium consumed each day.
  • 65 percent of sodium comes from food sold in stores.
  • 25 percent of sodium comes from meals purchased in restaurants.
  • Reducing the sodium content of the 10 leading sodium sources by 25 percent would lower total dietary sodium by more than 10 percent and could play a role in preventing up to an estimated 28,000 deaths per year.
  • Americans eat on average about 3,300 mg of sodium a day. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day, and about 6 out of 10 adults should further limit sodium to 1,500 mg a day.


CDC Vitalsigns – Where’s the Sodium? ….

Korean Sweet Rice Cakes

The rice cakes are made in different shapes and sizes. They are made with white rice or glutinous rice flours, sweetened with sugar, honey or maple syrup.

Most of the cakes are made by steaming but some are fried. Those with fillings can have a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, walnut, adzuki bean paste, or chestnut purée.

Some are decorated on the outside with pine nut, yellow or red bean powder.

The cakes are eaten after the meal but are more often consumed as snacks served with tea.

Barley Beta-Glucan Health Claim Approved by Health Canada

Cargill announced that Health Canada approved the use of Barliv™ barley betafiber (beta-glucan) as a dietary fiber in foods and beverages to help lower cholesterol. The approval was received in early January 2012.

Barliv barley betafiber is a soluble fiber extract that is invisible when added to foods and beverages. It is derived from whole-grain barley and has been clinically shown to lower cholesterol. The high purity and low viscosity of Barliv barley betafiber enable its use in an assortment of applications, from clear and carbonated beverages to snacks and cereals. In both the United States and Europe, qualified products made with Barliv™ barley betafiber can carry a health claim stating they reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

Source: Cargill

Fact Sheet: Oat and Barley ß Glucans ….

Lasagna Layered with Scallop Carpaccio and Apple


Black lasagnetta

1¾ cups flour
8 egg yolks
1 tbsp cuttle fish ink or squid ink (1 blister package)
1 tsp olive oil
(or purchase fresh ready-made pasta sheets to cut in four 4-inch squares)

Saffron lasagnetta

1¾ cups flour
9 egg yolks
1 tbsp Spanish saffron
1 tsp olive oil
(or purchase fresh ready-made pasta sheets to cut in four 4-inch squares)


8 large Alaskan scallops
2 Sun Moon or Fuji apples, sliced
1 shallot, diced
1 tsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste


2 tbsp butter
2 fresh tomatoes, seeds and skin removed, cut in small cubes
2 tbsp Italian parsley,chopped


Black and saffron lasagnetta

  1. Add flour to bowl of a stand-mixer. In a separate bowl whisk together oil, egg yolks and saffron or ink. Add egg mixture to flour. Mix using dough hook until a solid ball forms; dough should be firm but soft. Set dough aside and let rest for at least an hour.
  2. Roll dough through a pasta machine at its thinnest setting, or roll pasta out by hand using a rolling pin. Cut pasta into 4-inch squares. Cook in plenty of rapidly boiling, salted water for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain pasta.


Sauté sliced apples and shallot in butter, adding salt and pepper to taste. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Take 4 scallops and slice each one horizontally into 4 slices.


Melt butter and sauté tomatoes.


  1. Place 4 black pasta squares on a baking sheet. Spoon apple filling onto centre of each square.
  2. Place 4 slices of scallop on top of apple stuffing for each pasta square. Place saffron pasta square on top of scallop slices angled so that black pasta shows.
  3. Cover with aluminum foil. Place in a 325ºF oven for 4 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, grill remaining scallops for about 2 minutes each side.
  5. Remove lasagnetta from oven. Transfer to serving plates. Spoon tomato butter sauce over and sprinkle with Italian parsley. Place a grilled scallop on each plate, on top of lasagnetta.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Canadain magazine