The week of love is once again upon us, and while Valentine’s Day isn’t here just yet, we’re already feeling a bit overwhelmed. From boxes of chocolates and bottles of wine to red rose bouquets and ribbon-tied teddy bears, we’re surrounded by messages prompting us to show our love by sharing a decadent gift. While we appreciate a good bar of dark chocolate as well as the next person, we can’t help but notice that if we really cared for someone else’s heart, we’d be more conscientious with the aforementioned-shaped gifts we give.
So what should a health-conscious person do to show their love on Valentine’s Day? Why, with the gift of pomegranate, of course! Blood red in color and shaped like a heart (you know it is), pomegranates are a delicious, juicy fruit that is full of, you guessed it, heart-healthy properties. Even more, it’s seasonal and quickly found at almost any grocery store in your area right now!
Pomegranate is a nutritional powerhouse packed with essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients, including:
- Vitamin K/potassium
- Vitamin C
Over the past few years, this powerful antioxidant yet somewhat hard to peel fruit has been the subject of numerous medical and nutritional studies, all of which draw similar conclusions. In clinical trials, pomegranate juice has been show to:
- Improve blood flood flow in people who have coronary heart disease
- Help repair and prevent DNA damage (which can lead to cancer)*
- Act as an anti-inflammatory, helping to protect against cancer and other chronic diseases
- Assist in the reduction of LDL oxidation/lower bad cholesterol
- Lower blood pressure
- Support memory function
- Support a positive mood and help protect against depression
- Suport the immune system
If that isn’t enough of an arugment for you to put the candy bar down and pass on a basket of pomegranate this Valentine’s Day, perhaps this delicious recipe for Whipped Farmer Cheese with Pomegranate and Honey will. Or, you could always pick up a bottle of our delicious Lifeway Pomegranate Kefir. Happy bellies, great moods and strong immune systems: what more could you ask for?
Whipped Farmer Cheese with Pomegranate and Honey
- 4 ounces goat cheese, softened
- 6 ounces Lifeway Farmer Cheese
- 1 – 2 Tbsp Lifeway Plain Kefir (or milk), as needed
- 1-2 Tbsp honey
- ¼ cup pomegranate arils, plus more for garnish
- 1 baguette, sliced into rounds
- Olive oil or olive oil spray
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350° F. Place baguette rounds on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush or spray the tops with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the tray into the oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until slightly brown and crisp. When finished, remove from the pan and set aside.
Add goat cheese to a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until it is creamy and smooth. Next, add the Farmer Cheese and one tablespoon of kefir. Continue to beat until mixture becomes light and fluffy, about two minutes. If the mixture has a hard time coming together, add additional kefir, but don’t worry if there are a few chunks. Add in honey and a pinch of salt. Continue whipping an additional 20-30 seconds. Gently fold in the pomegranate arils with a plastic spatula.
If serving immediately, transfer the mixture to a serving dish, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with pomegranate. Serve with warm crostini. If serving later, transfer mixture into a sealable container and store in the refrigerator.