Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Hearts

Guesting today is Wendy Lyn Watson, author of the *wonderful* I Scream, You Scream and the upcoming Scoop To Kill... There is a FREE copy of I Scream to a lucky commenter today. Winner will be randomly drawn at 7 pm today...


The temporal proximity between New Year’s Day (ground zero for every diet I’ve ever been on) and Valentine’s Day (when we show our honeys our love with rich food and chocolate) has always struck me as cruel. It’s like the whole world telling you, “Give it up, sister. Stop pretending you’ll stick to that resolution.”
This year, though, I’m bound and determined to have the best of both worlds.

Last fall, Mr. Wendy was very, very sick. He’s on the mend, but we’re still dealing with the fallout. On the one hand, we’re ready to celebrate making it to the other side of ugly with a very special night. And let me tell you, I am in a mood to nurture my sweetie.

On the other hand, while Mr. Wendy lost weight the hard way, I found every ounce and then some. Between vending machine breakfasts and self-medicating with huge platters of nachos, I, um, grew? My cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight all inched up a tick.

So I want to make Mr. Wendy the elaborate, candlelit dinner, and not have to break out the sweatpants the next day. Oh yeah, and I don’t want to spend the whole day slaving over a hot stove, either. Is that too much to ask?

I think not.

Here’s what’s on the menu Chez Wat-Hawk (that’s us) for V-day, complete with links to the recipes:

Penne with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil, and Garlic
In the dead of winter, when most of the grocery store tomatoes are woody and bland, cherry and grape tomatoes are still reasonably flavorful (and if you belong to Costco, you can get big containers of grape tomatoes for a song). Roasting the tomatoes with a little olive oil and balsamic intensifies their flavor and, with minimal work, creates a colorful sauce for any chunky pasta. A little fresh parmesan packs a flavor punch without adding much fat.

Indeed, most of the fat in this recipe comes from relatively heart-healthy olive oil. Because the flavor profile is relatively simple, this is a good place to use that nice bottle of oil that’s been collecting dust in your pantry. Add the lycopene from the tomatoes, pour yourself a glass of red wine, and you can feed your love without hurting your heart. The recipe makes 6 generous servings, each serving providing 450 calories, 15 g fat, and 8.2 g fiber.*

Lower-Fat Deep Chocolate Bundt Cake

This wonderful chocolate cake just happens to be moist, decadent, relatively low-fat, and vegan, too! Trust me, you won’t miss the eggs and butter at all. The flavor is complex enough--and the cake rich enough--that a few fresh berries or a dollop of freshly whipped cream are all you need. (We’re opting for a handful of fresh raspberries, a splurge in honor of the holiday.) The cake makes 12 servings, each one coming in at 255 calories, 6.9 g fat, 2.3 g fiber (with the white flour).*

So love your honey, love yourself, love your skinny pants, love your heart ... and have an extra slice of cake on me.

What are you planning for Valentine’s Day? Are you cooking or eating out? Pampering yourself or someone else?


* Nutrition information was calculated using the recipe calculator on

Heather's truth?
I once sent Ellen Degeneres a signed copy of A Hoe Lot of Trouble after her interview with Sex and the City actress Kim Catrall turned to gardening hoes...and well, the other kind of ho, too.
Oddly, I never heard back from her. :)


panda girl said...

this is our 37th valentine's day. we'll go out for dinner. this year hubby's gift buying works this way. he put a sale paper in front of me with two items circled and asked which one would you want. LOL I haven't picked yet.

Jessica said...

I have to work On VDay, but I'm hoping we can do something special before I go in. (I work 6pm to 6am). The recipe sounds delicious! I may not be able to have it on Valentines day but I'll definitely try it out! Thanks so much!

Vicki said...

We were thinking about going to the movies this year, since it is such a rare thing for us to do AND we were given free tickets at Christmas that we haven't used yet. Add a little popcorn, and there ya night!

Wendy Lyn Watson said...

Ah, the romance. LOL. Panda Girl, I love your honey's approach. At least he asks for input!

Vicki and Jessica, I feel your pain ... trying to fit romance and date nights into busy schedules is remarkably difficult. It seemed easier to do when we were single. Why is that? Huh.

Mare F said...

I wasn't really planning on anything truly decadent, but that cake recipe looks amazing. Thanks.

LoreleiG said...

My sister is working with a non-profit group on an event called "Hearts for Haiti". On Sunday, we will be making Valentine's Day cards and sending them to people in Haiti! I'm sure there will be some chocolate in there somewhere...chocolate covered cherries are my favorite!

Mason Canyon said...

We're not much on celebrating Valentine's Day. However, we do enjoy a good dessert, especially if it's chocolate. This cake looks great. Thanks for sharing. Hope you and Mr. Wendy have a great evening.

And Heather, I hope you and Mr. Webber have a wonderful Valentine's Day too.

chris K said...

I didn't have any plans - always on a budget we're very frugal on valentine's day.

I think this year though we're heading to your house for dinner : ) - what time? LOL.

I'm allergic to the kitchen - my favorite treat seems to be a large plate of Chinese spare ribs (had that on my birthday) and I'm afraid to find out how fattening they are -

Counting down the days till the next book - Although it doesn't work with valentine's day - the best way to not overeat is to be distracted with a good book - : )

Deb Baker said...

We are going out this year. Yeah! Although my husband is a fabulous cook. Yummy looking cake!

Wendy Lyn Watson said...

Mmmm ... chocolate covered cherries. Yum. (Thanks for that low-cal moment of bliss!)

Hope you all enjoy the cake recipe. It really is stunningly good, and incredibly easy.

signlady217 said...

We don't usually celebrate Valentine's Day. But my birthday is that same week, so I still make out pretty good! (pun not intended!)

However you celebrate, or not, hope everyone has a great day and a wonderful time with all the Cozy Chicks' new books this year!

Regina Richards said...

Kids are away on a retreat and hubby has to work, but I can tell by the credit card statement I'm getting roses. :)

So my roses and I will probably rent a girlie flick and spent the evening noshing takeout in bunny slippers.

Viva Valentines!

Lorna Barrett said...

Hubby and I always do an afternoon tea, with the good china, homemade scones, cucumber, egg salad, and salmon sandwiches, English biscuits and, of course, TEA! You'd be surprised how stuffed you can feel after a lunch like that. (I feel like Pavlov's dog just thinking about it.)

Sheery said...

My husband and I are usually very mellow about Valentine's Day as we are pretty lovey with one another all through the year. However, he told me this morning that he has a great weekend planned for us.

I've been really sick for a couple of weeks (even on my birthday, boo)and have actually lost some of my hearing in my left ear as a result. Anyway, my husband is doing something to combine the two events and I am quite excited. He's even arrange the babysitting. That is a gift in itself - having him see to all of the details. :)

I hope everyone has a happy and wonderful weekend.

Heather Webber said...

Valentine's is usually low-key for us, and this year we're supposed to get more (!!!!) snow, so I'm guessing we'll be doing something at home. I might just try that cake--it looks so yummy!

Mary Malcolm said...

I am allergic to eggs, so I'm very excited to get that bundt cake recipe from you, Wendy!

Other than that, this Valentines day I'm grilling up some portabella mushrooms with spinach, onion and just a touch of feta and roasting an acorn or butternut squash (I'm having one of the two today, as well). Not sure about dessert yet, probably an apple, halved and baked in the oven with a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

I am my own Valentine, after all. *big smile*

Sarah MacCallum said...


I just bought your book and am looking forward to reading :-)


Anonymous said...

Wendy, the recipes look wonderful. Yum! I'm going to file them away for later cooking. I'm not sure what we will do this year for Valentine's Day. There is a new Salvadoran restaurant near us that hubby has been to and says he must take me. However, he left for work this morning with a scratchy throat and kind of feeling something coming on, hopefully alergies.

Andrea C. said...

Yeah, Valentine's day veggies don't sound nearly as good as a box of chocolates! Haha

Wendy Lyn Watson said...

Wow - this is what happens when you blog about food ... you end up hungry!

Katie said...

those recipes look fantastic.

I don't do Valentine's...never have, never will. too expensive. this year I'm getting a weekend to myself, works for me :)

Kristin A. said...

Oh my, your menu sounds divine! I noticed the penne recipe came from Cook's Illustrated, which is my and my hubby's fave. If it's one of their recipes you KNOW it's going to be good. As for our plans...still unknown. With two young daughters and no money to spare we'll probably make it a low key family day. I always do a little scavenger hunt for my hubby and starting last year have been doing one for our daughter's, too. Lots of fun! Happy Heart Day to all!

Karen B said...

No plans but the cake sounds fantastic - as does your book!

Jan said...

Thanks for the great recipes!

And I'd love to win your book, "I Scream, You Scream"! Thanks for the contest!

vtcjan at yahoo dot com

Lindy said...

Hey, nice to meet you, Wendy! Your Valentine recipes look delish... but, I'll have to make the Chocolate cake for me since Hubby isn't too fond of cake (bummer). He bought a ham at the store yesterday, so I guess we're having ham--the penne and tomatoes would go nicely. If it makes him happy, it makes me happy too.

Lover of Books said...

I'm going to make dinner tonight not sure about dessert. Sunday is the Daytona 500. lol So I have a babysitter lined up for tonight! Go me!

Lover of Books said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jbstanley said...

Welcome Wendy!

I am absolutely going to make that cake this weekend. I'm kind of a bah humbug type when it comes to V-Day, so my family will be very grateful to you!

Wendy Lyn Watson said...

I'm glad to get so many takers on the cake ... it really is wonderful (as is the penne - Kristen's right about Cooks Illustrated!). I get a lot of weird looks when I bring vegan baked goods (and vegan ice cream) to events, but the *right* vegan recipes can be so very good.

LOL re: the Daytona 500 ... I had no idea. I wonder who on earth was responsible for *that*?

Heather Webber said...

Ooh, Sheery!!! You're the winner of I Scream, You Scream, you lucky woman.

Email your home address to me at and your copy of ISYS will be on its way to you. Congratulations!

Sheery said...

Oh yay, I am so excited! Heather, I sent you an e-mail with my address.

And Wendy, thank you for your blog AND the cake recipe. YUM! :)

lavendersbluegreen said...

mmm yummy - I just love recipes!