A Valentine's Day dinner with sugar and spice and everything nice

Happy Valentine's Day!

If you're like me, your Valentine's will be a day full of chocolate. Honestly, I eat healthy probably 90 percent of the time, but I've got a special place in my heart for chocolate. The darker, the better these days. And there's no better excuse than Valentine's Day to have a bar of the good stuff, that's for sure.

My faves? The Lawrence-connected Madecasse and the Lawrence-made Sleepy Jean's, of course.

But a woman cannot live on chocolate alone. Amazing, yet true.

Thus, if you're having dinner at home tonight with your chocolate and maybe some wine, I have a few suggestions for you.

First, check out what Megan Stuke and I came up with for this month's Delicious/Nutritious. There's a wine element, you won't be sorry.

Secondly, let me suggest a simple, hearty meal that will balance your blood sugar after a day filled with the highs and lows of cocoa love: Easy Green Quinoa and Chipotle-Glazed Butternut Squash.

Sound good? It is. Amazingly good. And super healthy.

The Easy Green Quinoa has both kale and sea veggies in it, plus, it's extra good topped with avocado (as above). Find the recipe on Gena's excellent site. (Note: If you don't have kelp seasoning or don't want to use it, you're probably going to have to salt and pepper the quinoa to taste, as it'll be bland without it).

The Chipotle-Glazed Butternut Squash is a twist on a recipe by Mark Bittman. It is a really different way to have squash — perfect if you're a bit sick of it after having it all winter. Bonus: It goes really well with the quinoa. And it's spicy enough to, um, well get your blood flowing.

Chipotle-Glazed Butternut Squash

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into half-moon shapes

1/4 cup olive oil

1 canned chipotle chile, chopped, with 2 tablespoons adobo sauce

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon honey

Salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the squash pieces on the lined baking sheet.

Combine the olive oil, chipotle chile, adobo sauce, garlic, honey and some salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Brush the glaze evenly over the squash and roast for 45 to 60 minutes, turning once or twice and basting with any pan juices. When the squash is tender and deeply colored, remove the squash from the oven. Serve hot or cooled. Careful, they're spicy!

Hope you have a wonderful day!


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