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February 2004 Issue
by Ronda L. Halpin
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    "Forget love ... I'd rather fall in chocolate!"


Welcome to the February issue of Seasoned Cooking. February is a month marked by a special holiday near the middle of the month. Valentine’s Day bring with it an opportunity to show that special someone how much you care. And here at Seasoned Cooking, that means showing a little flair in the kitchen!

We begin with an elegant meal that’s offered to us in the Phil’s International Flair column. Phil is roasting game hens and making a rub for them that is sure to impress – all without the fuss that’s often associated with special meals. Speaking of low-effort meals that impress, a special salad topped with broiled salmon is a meal that can literally come together in minutes. Get the details on this menu by visiting the Kitchen Focus column. If, however, your Valentine’s Day plans include time spent away from the kitchen, take along a filling and unusual wrap sandwich that’s meant to be shared. The Mediterranean-inspired wrap that’s presented in the Rush Hour column is the perfect meal to be shared when you’re on the go – whether you’re at the beach or taking a stroll on your favorite path. It’s definitely a great way to enjoy time with your sweetie!

Speaking of sweets, what would Valentine’s Day be without them? We begin our journey of sweetness with the Happy Endings column. Imagine a dessert that’s a combination of the best of pumpkin pie and pudding. That’s pumpkin custard and the recipe is surprisingly simple. If chocolate is more your flavor, you’re not alone! This favored treat has been prized by many for many, many years. One of the best things about chocolate is the many forms it takes: a hot beverage, a decadent bar, a swirl of fudge on top of a dense cocoa cake, even a slight sweetness added to spicy dishes from Latin America. With so many options to choose from, we’re asking you to share your favorites in the Seasoned Opinions column. And, of course, we’re sharing some of the more unique chocolate renditions in this month’s Ingredient SpotLight column as well. Get a touch of the rich, sweet and savory in one place … along with a look at the history and facts surrounding chocolate.

Before you pause over that last paragraph to complain about the health value of chocolate, remember that it’s loaded with beneficial antioxidants. While you might not want to make it your sole source of them, a little chocolate now and then can help your body fight dangerous free radicals and make you smile. What more could you ask for? To get more information about antioxidants, the foods that provide them and the medical opinions about various supplements available, check out this month’s Health & Fitness column. It will convince you that loading up on fruits and vegetables … and the occasional glass of wine or piece of dark chocolate … can be among your best nutritional decisions.

There's a lot more to enjoy in this month's issue of Seasoned Cooking -- from starting your day with delicious and healthy flavored yogurt to a look at quick and easy entertaining ideas that will have you enjoying time with friends and loved ones regularly. Enjoy and here's to a seasoned lifestyle.

    Ronda L. Halpin

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