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Love, Chocolate, and Massage

Valentine’s Day means chocolate is everywhere … chocolate hearts, chocolate covered strawberries, giant hearts filled with chocolate covered strawberries…

If you’re trying to cut down on sugar consumption like I am, this time of year can be rough. I was worried it would put a quick stop to the successful path I got on with my yearly January reboot. That is, until I found my favorite paleo cookbook by Diane Sanfilippo called Practical Paleo. It’s available here on Amazon.

My favorite treats and sweets recipe (found on page 394) is the Chocolate Coconut Cookies. You likely have all the ingredients in your pantry right now. It’s so easy that you can whip them up after dinner and enjoy them straight from the oven!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup (or more, for sweeter cookies)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded coconut. (I buy the unsweetened kind.)
  • 1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds or 1/2 cup fresh raspberries (optional)

(Another option: Add walnuts and chocolate chips for added texture and some crunch.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, melted butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. Mix in the unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda and shredded coconut until well combined. Fold in the almonds, if desired.

Divide into 12 dollops on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, and flatten them with a fork. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch.

If you wish to add raspberries, add one at the center of each cookie after baking and before eating.

All-Day Dessert

Cookies aren’t the only sweet treat awaiting you this Valentine’s Day.

For the 10th year in a row, Jill Breier and I are teaming up to offer couples massages over Valentine’s Day weekend! Bring your partner, your best friend, your cousin — whoever you want to spend the day with in a relaxing, intimate environment.

Because we only offer these couples massages for two days, we don’t allow online booking. But these spots fill up FAST! If you’re interested in a 60-minute couples massage and a free gift basket full of goodies (more desserts?), I suggest you contact us NOW at 973-744-1576 or email me at darcy@massageinmontclair.com.

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Couple’s massage: A shared experience in relaxation.

A candlelit room with side by side massage tables for a shared experience in relaxation!

A candlelit room with side by side massage tables for a shared experience in relaxation!

What did you do last year for Valentine’s Day? Was it dinner and a movie again? Take-out and Netflix? That sounds to me like it could be any other day – which Valentine’s Day is not.

Valentine’s day is holiday that celebrates the love we feel for those closest to us – our significant others, our family members, our best friends, even ourselves.

From my experience, one of the best ways to really celebrate togetherness – to really get in touch with the love you feel for someone close to you – is to participate a couples massage together.

In fact, couples massage has been shown to provide these great benefits for any duo:

It can boost oxytocin levels, making you feel warmer emotions towards your massage partner. For romantic couples, this might mean a couples massage makes you feel more enamoured towards each other; for best friends, your platonic feelings of love might feel intensified by the end of your session.

Plenty of research has shown that people who do new things together have stronger, healthier relationships. If you’ve never tried massage or couples massage, this might be a great way to bring a spark into your relationship!

Getting a massage with someone you trust can make the entire massage experience feel more relaxing overall. By the end of the massage, you and your massage partner will both feel more calm and bonded because you’ve experienced the entire process together.

If you’ve always done the same thing for Valentine’s day, trying out couples massage might be a new great way to show appreciation to someone you love! Please give us a call at 973-744-1576 to schedule your couple’s massage.

 

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Our Favorite Healthy Recipes For The Holidays

If you’re like me, you love showing up to gatherings with a well thought-out, lovingly-prepared dish. Whether it’s sweet or savory, appetizer or entrée, you want to wow the crowd.

Of course, it’s not always that easy. First, aside from the professional chefs, it’s difficult to make the time it takes to put together a killer recipe! From shopping for produce to chopping it up, it can take hours to put even a “simple” dip together.

Then, there’s the task of figuring out whether a recipe actually matches your skill level. Do I need to go out and buy artisanal olives from the highest mountains of Peru for this “simple” recipe? How much cheesecloth did this recommend? Brine my chicken in what?!

Lastly — and for many of us, most importantly — we want to make healthy recipes. We want to make sure our own health needs our being met while catering to our gluten-free cousins and our newly vegan neighbours.

Healthy Recipes Can Be Simple, Too

Putting together healthy recipes without sacrificing our time and our sanity can be a tough task, but don’t fret — this year, we scoured the Internet to put together this quick reference list so you can eat healthily and heartily all through the holidays.

Super Quick Pumpkin Dip 

Pumpkin Dip with Apples and Cookies

Image credit: Lee Harrelson; Styling: Jan Gautro, Laura Zapalowski

This delicious concoction only requires six ingredients.  Using low-fat cream cheese instead of the full-fat variety lands this on our list of healthy recipes. Serve this before, during, or after the meal; it pairs wonderfully with fruits, meats, and pastries!

You can cut the calories even further by using a Truvia blend instead of brown sugar, and swap agave for maple syrup if you’re looking for something a little more blood-sugar friendly.

Indian Spinach-and-Chickpea Fritters

Image courtesy of Food Network.

From start to finish, these little crisps only take 35 minutes to make. Surprise your guests and family with a new texture and flavor by serving up some chickpea fritters this year!

These fritters work well warm or cold, plain or with sauce, so they’re a wonderfully versatile snack to whip up and take with you.

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Crispy Bacon Vinagrette

Photo: Ellen Silverman; Styling: Toni Brogan

Don’t be the one to bring an iceberg lettuce to the party this year. Add some zest and some crunch with this crispy salad. Each element of the dish adds a different flavor profile — some bitterness from the sprouts, savory bacon, and sweet pecans.

The recipe says it makes eight servings but you’ll probably have to double it because everyone will go back for seconds.

Warm Brie with Fig and Pistachio Tapenade

Brie served with crackers and fruits

Image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Cheese can accompany pretty much any meal for any season. This warm brie gets festive with a figgy topping.

Serve with fruits and crackers as an appetizer or as a dessert; the sweet and savory mixture makes it work both ways!

Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Cashew and Pineapples

Image courtesy of FastPaleo

If this isn’t the perfect recipe, I don’t know what is. A mouth-watering combination of sweet and savory, soft and chewy, with just enough crunch from the almonds.

This low-carb recipe will keep you energized if you serve it as an appetizer, but it’s also hearty enough to pile a bunch of these dates on a plate and call it a meal.

 

Share Your Healthy Recipes With Us!

What flavors get you through the holidays without breaking your health commitments? How do you stay sane without sacrificing too much time? Let us know — shoot us an email, leave us a comment here or on Facebook!

Happy Holidays from all of us at Darcy Doggett Massage and Bodywork!

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