Italian Roast Beef Crescent Ring – Love at First Bite!

Indulge your little sweethearts with a heart-shaped dinner, it’s a fun way to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a family. I’m not talking about lobster tails or expensive steaks, but a meal that everyone can appreciate. My recipe for Italian Roast Beef Crescent Ring is cheesy, meaty goodness shaped like a heart to win hearts! Italian Beef Crescent Ring -- a quick and easy sandwich recipe to share for weeknight dinner, potluck, party, super bowl, Valentines Day or anytime for casual entertaining.

Speaking of food crushes, I first made this recipe for BeefLovingTexans.com and have become obsessed with it, making it again and again for casual weeknight dinners and to take to a Super Bowl party (in a football shape, naturally)! It can be cut into small pieces for an appetizer or paired a larger portion with a green salad for a well-balanced meal.

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Be Mine! Sugar-free Strawberry Protein Truffles

This post is sponsored by Now Foods. I received products for review and compensation for my time, however all comments, opinions, recipes and enthusiasm are my own.

Today, I’m delighted to share with you a Sugar-Free Strawberry Protein Truffle recipe that will take your Valentine’s Day game to a whole ‘nutha level! These sweet little treats are not only sugar-free and dairy free but also pumped up with sustaining protein and heart-healthy fats that won’t jack up your blood sugar and then leave you in a nasty carb crash.  Perfect for a post-workout treat, healthy dessert, sensible snack and really cute way to woo the one you love on Valentine’s day! Sugar Free Strawberry Protein Truffle - a low carb way to show your sweetite that you care this Valentine's Day. A sensible snack, post-workout treat or healthy dessert

Now, before you get confused, I’m a way more of a Race Boss than a Cake Boss! My cake, candy and cookie decorating skills can be so lame that I’m often forced to do penalty burpees! But these protein truffles are simple to make and there is no “cooking.” Plus, I’ve offered several decorating options – easy, easier and easiest!

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Surf & Turf Recipes for a Delicious Date Night

Surf & Turf Recipes - simple and delicious dishes featuring beef and seafoodEver find it hard to decide between serving seafood or steak when making a romantic dinner or special date night? I say, why deny – the marriage of meaty, mouthwatering steaks with delicate, succulent seafood is a bond that shouldn’t be broken. In fact, I’m pretty sure SURF AND TURF are those three little words your significant other wants to hear on Valentine’s Day. And, maybe “I LOVE YOU” later! Here are a few favorites from my personal recipe collection and from friends at Cooking Light and Texas Beef Council. Pair up one from the beef list and one from the seafood list for a memorable meal your love will LOVE!

FAVORITE STEAK RECIPES FOR DATE NIGHT:

Spice Crusted Tenderloin Steak - TheFitFork.comSpice-Crusted Tenderloin Steaks – I don’t know how many times I’ve made this insanely good beef recipe – you just can’t go wrong with tenderloin.  Slice up your beef into filet steaks (or ask the butcher) and get grilling. If it’s still cold outside, this simple recipe works well on an indoor grill pan like this one XOXOX.

 

Pomegranate Steak with Quinoa makes a healthy date night meal

 

 

Pomegranate Steak with Quinoa – The additional of an ancient grain makes this strip steak super well balanced!

Pan Seared Strip Steak is surprisingly lean, but tastes sinfully delicious.Pan-Seared Strip Steak – Smoky, savory and seemingly sinful, this recipe is made with a strip steak which is actually quite lean. I’d be inclined to sprinkle some blue cheese on top for an umami one-two!

 

 

 

 

Mojo Flat Iron Steak

Mojo Flat Iron Steak – Flat iron is a very tender cut of beef, slice thin and serve with some grilled shrimp for a tasty tropics-inspired treat!

FAVORITE SEAFOOD RECIPES FOR DATE NIGHT:

Cumin-Dusted Seared Sea Scallops are so quick and easy to make -- plus very healthy!Cumin-Dusted Seared Sea Scallops – My simple recipe for scallops is super flavorful and can be made in mere minutes while steaks are resting!

Crab Stuffed Lobster with Citrus DressingCrab-Stuffed Lobster with Citrus Vinaigrette – I went coastal crazy when I tried this — this easy lobster (and crab!) recipe is so easy and elegant plated as a side dish with the perfect steak.

 

 

 

Shrimp sauteed with Cajun spices

Sauteed Creole Shrimp – I originally made these quick Cajun-inspired shrimp to toss on a salad but found a few strategically placed atop a steak are spicy magic!

Lemon Grilled Bay Shrimp are sure to add some zest to any meal!Lemon Grilled Bay Shrimp – Let shrimp soak up flavors in a 10-minute pre grill marinade of lemon juice, garlic and simple spices. I serve with the wedges, it looks so lovely!

 

 

 

 

So what are your dinner plans for Valentine’s Day? Do you love beef and seafood — are you more surf or more turf when it comes to life?  Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer 

 

 

Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate #BeeSweet + Giveaway

Healthy Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate uses Honey Crystals, Fresh Strawberries, and Fat Free Milk that froths up!This Valentine’s Day, treat your sweetie to my Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate – it’s a mug of hot, steamy love. There is no better way to warm up on February 14th, with the exception of a great big hug from your honey. Homemade from the heart, your favorite guy or girl will be tickled pink to sip away at this berry blissful beverage – and you’ll fall in love with how simple it is to make. Read to the bottom for giveaway.

Healthy Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate

Oh, and something else to adore – instead of fake flavorings, peculiar preservatives and corn syrup sweeteners found in many hot chocolate mixes, this made-from-scratch recipe uses fat-free milk (for the best frothing!), real strawberries and just a touch of added sweetness from Nektar Honey Crystals.

Healthy Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate

Can you believe this recipe makes it’s own whipped cream?! Well, not really cream, but the air that gets whipped up while blending makes a nice creamy top that is dense enough to hold sprinkles or colored sugar! I don’t really know the science behind it, but fat-free milk works the best for creating foam in the blender or with a frother. If you don’t do dairy, you can swap out for almond, coconut or cashew milk and still end up with a delicious drink.

Dark Chocolate Pretzels Covered with Nektar Honey CrystalsSince this recipe isn’t over-the-top sugary sweet, indulge your loved one with the perfect pairing – Dark Chocolate Covered & Nektar Honey-Crystal Dusted Pretzels. Ahh, strawberry hot chocolate and dark chocolate pretzels ARE a delicious duo, trust me!

And, it’s always tasteful to express your sentiments with food, words are also nice! Send a FREE “HoneyGram” to your sweetie – along with your personalized note comes with a complementary packet of Nektar Honey Crystals to melt your loved one’s heart. Go HERE to send a HoneyGram – hurry, ends 2/7!

Nektar Honey Crystals productsI first discovered Nektar Honey Crystals when looking for a way to pre-sweeten the homemade holiday tea bags I was gifting family and friends  – you must check out my DIY Tea Bag post, it’s genius. You also need to check out Nektar Honey Crystals, an equally clever and convenient idea Forget about the sticky mess usually associated with honey, these 100 percent natural crystals are super yummy sweet and deliver the familiar flavor of honey and the convenience of cane sugar anywhere — at home or on-the-go. They are non-GMO and naturally gluten free – pick up a bottle of spoonable crystals or a box of individual on-the-go packets at your local Walmart and also enter my giveaway at the end of this post!

Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate

Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate (serves 1)

  • 8 ounces fat-free (skim) milk
  • 2 to 3 large strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1 ounce quality white chocolate, broken into bits
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon Nektar Honey Crystals (depending on sweetness preference)
  • Garnish: colored sugar or sprinkles, if desired

To make, place milk and strawberries in a blender.  Blend together for approximately 45 seconds until strawberries are incorporated and froth areating up on top (strangely enough, skim milk works much better than higher fat milks).

Place blended mixture into small saucepan along with honey crystals and white chocolate.  Heat over medium-low heat, stirring gently until white chocolate is melted and drink is heated through. Pour into 12-ounce mug, top with colored sugar or spinkles if desired.

Enter giveaway below to try a bottle of Nektar Honey Crystals!

This post and giveaway sponsored by Nektar Naturals, however the recipe, opinions and enthusiasm are all mine! 

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Why You Should Workout with Your Sweetie + Partner WOD

Benefits of Working Out Together - TheFitFork.com

Most people don’t equate Valentine’s Day with working out, but maybe they should! Breaking a sweat with your sweetie is not only a fun “date” and good for your health, it also boasts bunch of benefits that will keep any relationship fit and strong.   Here are the three most compelling reasons, in my opinion, why couples who sweat together, stay together.

Soulmates make the best ‘swolemates’. Opposites often attract and even similar-personality partners may not have many interests which overlap. However, exercising together is an activitity that can help every couple connect — it creates accountability, increases synchronicity, and promotes a shared passion. One study (Aron, Norman, Aron, & Heyman, 2000) suggests that couples who participated together in an exciting and challenging physical activity reported a higher level of love and relationship satisfaction.

More fun, less stress.  The never-ending responsibilities of adulthood can take a toll.  Instead of coping with worry, anxiety and conflict in an unhealthy manner, exercising is a positive way to shed life’s irritations . . . and maybe even a few unwanted inches. And, when you hit the gym, tackle the running trails, or go zen in a yoga class with your spouse or significant other, it’s like a date – and that’s fun!

Ooh, la, la endorphins and other hormones! The racing pulse, shortness of breath and sweatiness that comes from a good workout sounds a lot like the symptoms of romantic attraction! Researchers (Dutton & Aron, 1974) say that people can easily mistake the two – so if you’re feeling hot and bothered at the gym, this is why!

Here’s a partner workout you can try with your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day – or any other day of the year!

Heart Pumping Partner Workout - TheFitFork.com

zooma buttonI also want to give a shout out the Zooma Women’s Race Series again – I’m back in my 4th year as an ambassador for this very fun and empowering race targeted to women. While there is a lot o she-power going on at Zooma, MEN are not excluded – in fact, they are welcomed! I especially love it when I see a couple running side by side, one giving encouragement to the other! So, round up your most loved running partner and enter the upcoming Texas race on March 28, 2015.  Pick from the half-marathon, 10k or 5k and don’t forget to toast each other afterward with complementary wine and bubbly at the finish line!  Register for the Texas race HERE and use discount code JENNIFER15 or 10% off any distance.

Here’s another fitness shout out – this time for Tommie Copper, a line of stylish yet functional compression wear that supports muscles for improved performance, recovery and relief. Look at some of these cute items I’ve been wearing to the gym and on my runs – and Tommie Copper has just as much gear for the guys! Right now a huge Presidents’ Day Sale is going off and you can save up to $40 on your order along with free shipping – check it outtommie copper jennifer fisher

Michele's Granola BarsReady to share a post-workout snack together? Well, if I was picking, I’d split a Core Power High Protein Shake with my hubby and one of these delish granola bars from Michele’s Granola. Made from scratch in small batches, these healthy treats are packaged 10 bars (assorted flavors) to a pack and can be ordered from Michele’s Granola web store. Ooh, the Cherry Chocolate is my favorite.

Disclaimer: I was provided product or sponsorship in return or my review and promotion of these products. However, all opinions are my own.

Fast, Fit Family Valentine Dinners – Mix and Match Menu

10 Ideas for Mix and Match Family Valentine Dinner - TheFitFork.comHas your week of work, working out and kids’ activities been more jam-packed and crazy than a floral shop filled with frantic husbands and boyfriends fighting for the last bouquet? Well, don’t fret that you haven’t made a menu for Valentine’s Day, I’ve got you covered!  Check out my ideas for quick-to-make, kid-friendly dinner ideas that provide the quality nutrition you love!  I have three ideas each for salads, entrees and desserts — plus a bonus baked heart fries recipe– feel free to mix and match!

SALADS:

Spinach Strawberry SaladStrawberry Spinach Salad – This beautiful berry salad will get any spinach avoider to start eating greens!

 

 

 

 

Cucumber Heart Salad

 

Simple Green Salad with Cucumber Cutouts – Dress up a simple green salad with cucumbers punched out in the center with a small heart cookie cutter.

 

 

 

 

Grapefrut and Hearts of Palm Salad

Grapefruit and Hearts of Palm Salad – Fall in love with the sweet-tart zing of this salad from Cooking Light. If you think the kids won’t like the slightly nutty, semi-firm texture of palm hearts (but I think they will), simply swap for another veggie.

 

 

 

 

ENTREES:

Give Me Amore Pizza

Give Me Amore Pepperponi Pizza

Give Me Some Amore Pizza with Quick Homemade Sauce – The kids will be begging for one more slice of this super-quick, convenience crust pizza that features homemade sauce made quickly in the blender (no simmering required).

Fish Baked in Parchment Paper

Herbed Cod with Vegetables in Papillote – This recipe I made for Litehouse foods sounds like it should be learned in a French culinary school, but it’s really super easy! Just wrap up ingredients in parchment paper and bake for about 15 minutes!

 

 

 

Spice Crusted Tenderloin Steak - TheFitFork.com

Spice Crusted Tenderloin Steaks – You can’t fail with a filet – and caramelized with spices and grilled to perfection, you will win Valentine’s Day dinner hands down.  Oh, and not only is tenderloin super tender (duh), it’s one of the leaner cuts!

 

 

 

 

DESSERTS:

Chocolate Yogurt Tart with Strawberries - TheFitFork.comStrawberry Greek Yogurt Tart – This better-for-you dessert features a grain free crust, creamy filling made with stevia-sweetened Greek yogurt, and lots of lush berries on top.

 

 

 

Strawberry Yogurt Chocolate Ice Cream TopperChocolate Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Topping  – I love this fun idea from friend Emily at the Litehouse Foods blog, she transformed Green yogurt fruit dip into a frozen “bark” to use as garnish on a favorite flavor of ice cream.

 

 

 

Strawberries and Chocolate Dip - TheFitFork.com

Berries with Chocolate Dip – Simple, sensible and a real sanity saver if you haven’t anything planned for dessert

 

 

 

 

 

Herb Lover's Oven Potato Fries for Valentines - TheFitFork.comThese were a popular recipe from last week — Herb Lover’s Oven Potato Fries

Herb Lover’s Oven Fries for Valentine Steak Dinner + Chocolate

Valentine’s Day is sneaking up . . . do you have big plans? I doubt my husband and I will battle the crowds (or be willing to pay the bill) for a fancy dinner out, so I’ll be preparing a memorable meal at home.  Plus, there are the kids . . . .and, I’m sure those non-stop eating machines will want to be fed as well!

Herb Lover's Oven Potato Fries for Valentines - TheFitFork.com

With so many boys and men in the house (oldest son in almost 18 years!), there’s not a lot of appreciation for decorating food in shades of pink for Valentine’s Day.  But, I did find the way to their hearts with these darling (oh, I mean “manly”) Heart-Shaped Oven Fries.  Oven fries are so easy and inexpensive to make and my guys gobble up this healthier dude food with “amoré” – give me “amoré,”Mom!

Heart Cookie Cutter and Potaotes

I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter and baked both the hearts and the remaining potato “circles” with the cutouts missing. I wish I would have taken a photo of those as they came out of the oven, but I was just so focused on the hearts! If you want to make these baked fries “regular,” simply slice into think wedges for the same result.

Baked Potato Fries - TheFitFork.com

Pan Seared Tenderloin Steak with Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes - TheFitFork.comFor Valentine’s Dinner, I’ll be serving this cute side dish with the Pan-Seared Tenderloin Steak with Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes I developed for BeefLovingTexans.com.  This steak dinner is a surprisingly easy way to beef up the romance on Valentine’s Day and won’t bust your budget – meaning more funds for wine, chocolate and other treats for your sweet!

If steak isn’t in your budget, these baked fries would be adorable with a romantic burger!

 

 

Hot Chocolate Fudge CakesI still haven’t decided what to serve for dessert yet – it will have to be something wonderfully chocolaty. After all, dark chocolate is a superfood that provides important nutrients that protect the heart! Cooking Light has a collection of 100 Lightened Chocolate Dessert Recipes that will make your heart skip a beat  — swoon-worthy but not sinful!

Personally, I’ve been stalking the recipe for Hot Chocolate Fudge Cakes . . . warm, gooey and individually portioned to prevent “accidentally” eating the whole cake. For Valentine’s Day dinner, I think I would add some lush raspberries on top!

 

Herb Lover's Oven Potato Fries for Valentines - TheFitFork.com
Herb Lover's Oven Potato Fries
Print Recipe
Pair these daring heart-shaped, oven-baked potatoes with your Valentine's Dinner -- simply spudtacular and spiffed up with herbs!
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Herb Lover's Oven Potato Fries for Valentines - TheFitFork.com
Herb Lover's Oven Potato Fries
Print Recipe
Pair these daring heart-shaped, oven-baked potatoes with your Valentine's Dinner -- simply spudtacular and spiffed up with herbs!
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees F and with rack in top.
  2. Wash potatoes and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide planks. Use small cookie cutter to punch out the center of each potato circle.
  3. Put cut potatoes in bowl and fill with hot tap water, let sit for 10 minutes. When potatoes are done soaking, drain, and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Add potatoes back to dried bowl and toss with olive oil, 2 teaspoons of the salt, pepper, parsley, sage and rosemary.
  5. Spread fries out evenly across baking sheet and bake on top rack until fries are starting to turn golden brown, about 25 minutes. Use a spatula to turn fries and continue to roast until crisp on outside, about 15 - 20 minutes longer.
  6. Remove fries from oven, sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, and serve while still warm.
Recipe Notes

Cut into 1/2-inch wedges, if preferred.

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A Romantic Slow Cooker Recipe (Yes, Really!) – Orange & Sugar Snap Beef

Crock Pot Sugar Snap & Orange Beef

I have the perfect dish for you to whip up for your sweetie for Valentine’s Day – my recipe for Slow-Cooker Orange and Sugar Snap Pea Beef! It’s a little sweet, a little spicy and very healthy for your honey. Ladies, they say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and, by the way my husband gobbled this healthy dinner, I’d say this Asian-inspired dinner was a winner. And, men, if you’re looking for a way to impress that someone special, I just want you to know that women think it’s super sexy when guys self-initiate cooking and cleaning up in the kitchen – this crockpot recipe is insanely easy to make and has virtually no clean-up.

February isn’t just about “hearts” in a romantic way; speaking cardiovascularly, it’s also National Heart Month!  I like to use the month of February to “check-in” with my health and show love to my heart with healthy changes in diet and exercise – and renew any of my New Year’s resolutions that have started to slip away! Little changes in the foods you consume, like increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables on your plate and reducing salty, sugary snacks, can add up to big benefits in terms of your overall health. Eating lean protein is important, too! A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers from Penn State University found that people who participated in the Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) study, consuming about 3 to 5 ounces of lean beef daily as part of a heart-healthy diet, experienced a 10 percent decline in LDL “bad” cholesterol.

Asian Orange Beef in Slow Cooker

My recipe for Slow-Cooker Orange and Sugar Snap Pea Beef is the perfect way to put your lean protein plan into motion – plus you get some fruits and veggies to boot! Who knows, you may even reduce your bad cholesterol if you follow the protocols of the BOLD study – I’m happy to share lots of healthy beef recipes with you including Sirloin Cobb Kebabs and Spice Crusted Tenderloin Steaks.  Just search the word “beef” in my recipe collection to find more!

SLow Cooker Ingredients

Slow-Cooker Orange and Sugar Snap Pea Beef Recipe 

  • 2 lb. beef chuck shoulder steak – trimmed and sliced into 2” strips
  • 1/2 cup Litehouse Food’s Tangy Orange Dressing & Marinade *
  • 2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Sriracha Chile Pepper Sauce (found on Asian food aisle)
  • 1 Tbsp. Litehouse Food’s Instantly Fresh Ginger
  • 1 Tbsp, Litehouse Food’s Instantly Fresh Garlic
  • 1 large onion cut very coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 6-oz can mandarin oranges that have been drained (or may use fresh)
  • 1 (8-oz) package sugar snap peas
  1. Add beef, dressing, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, Sriracha and onion to 3-qt or larger slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours until beef is tender.
  2. Turn to high. Remove ½ cup of liquid and stir in cornstarch until dissolved. Stir this mixture back into slow cooker. Add sugar snap peas and oranges; cover and cook on high 10 minutes until peas are crisp-tender.
  3. Serve over brown rice with sauce from slow cooker.

*If you can’t find the dressing in your market, you can order it online at LitehouseFoods.com or substitute ½ cup fresh orange juice