15% of U.S. women send themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day.

73% of people who buy flowers for Valentine’s Day are men, while only 27% are women.

About one billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year. That’s the second largest card-sending occasion of the year, second only to Christmas.

About 3% of pet owners will give Valentine’s Day gifts to their pets.

During the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would wear these names on their sleeves for one week. To wear your heart on your sleeve now means that it is easy for other people to know how you are feeling.

Alexander Graham Bell applied for his patent on the telephone, an “Improvement in Telegraphy,” on Valentine’s Day, 1876.

Cupid, another symbol of Valentine’s Day, became associated with it because he was the son of Venus, the Roman god of love and beauty. Cupid often appears on Valentine cards holding a bow and arrows because he is believed to use magical arrows to inspire feelings of love.

In the United States, 64% of men do not make plans in advance for a romantic Valentine’s Day with their sweethearts.

Teachers will receive the most Valentine’s Day cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, and then, sweethearts. Children ages 6 to 10 exchange more than 650 million Valentine’s cards with teachers, classmates, and family members.

The Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare’s lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet every Valentine’s Day.

The Empire State Building in New York City played a prominent role in the movie Sleepless in Seattle. The following year, fifteen couples took (or renewed) their vows on the 80th floor of this famous landmark.

Valentine’s Day is big business. Consumers will spend an average of $77 each on Valentine’s Day gifts this year.

E-commerce retailers expect to rack up about $650 million in sales of food, candy, flowers, and other Valentine’s Day gifts.

Chocolate is often something which is recognized as something that you should not eat. It is often put to blame for various types of health effects, obesity, acne and even the cavities that you get in your teeth. However, what you may not know is that there are various types of benefits which are associated with eating dark chocolate. Take a closer look at these benefits, which may encourage you to want to eat more dark chocolate in the future.

Why is Dark Chocolate Healthier Than Milk Chocolate?

Many people prefer milk chocolate; the truth in the matter is that it does not have the healthy benefits to offer that dark chocolate does. Chocolate which contains higher levels of cocoa offers the highest number of healthy advantages. What this means is that cocoa such as dark chocolate can provide you with more health benefits than milk chocolate, which mainly contains added sweeteners. White chocolate, on the other hand, does not contain any levels of cocoa. This is great news for dark chocolate lovers!

What are the Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate?


1. One of the best ways to lower your risks of developing cancer is by consuming foods which are high in anti-oxidants, such as fruits and vegetables. Cocoa also contains anti-oxidants which are helpful in decreasing your risk of developing cancer.

2. A recent study has shown that dark chocolate has the ability to lower your blood pressure, since it contains flavonoids. The experiment consisted of two groups, one of which who ate dark chocolate and another who ate the same amount of white chocolate once a day for fifteen days. The group who ate the dark chocolate did have a decrease in blood pressure.

3. The flavonoids which are found in dark chocolate are also known to help the blood flow more smoothly through blood vessels, as well as increase the amount of blood that can flow to the brain. This will decrease your risks of having a heart attack in the long run.

4. Dark chocolate also contains phenyl ethylamine, which is known to work as an aphrodisiac. It works by stimulating the nervous system, which ultimately will give people the feeling of being in love.

5. The truth is that chocolate is actually known to be very beneficial to your teeth, which is probably the exact opposite of what you have been told. There are certain substances in the cocoa of chocolate which are known to actually kill off the bacteria that cause your tooth decay, resulting in cavities. ~ Please remember to brush and floss after very meal!

Keep in mind that, when it comes to any of these health benefits, the only type of chocolate that will be able to provide you with them are dark chocolate.

Although you know that dark chocolate can provide you with many health benefits, one of the main questions that you may have is how often you should actually eat chocolate. The most important thing that you should keep in mind is that, regardless of the health benefits it can provide you with, you should never overdo the amount of chocolate that you eat. While everything in moderation is okay, chocolate will make you gain weight if you decide to eat it too frequently, just like any other food will. Eating a small piece of chocolate each day will not hurt as much as you would have thought though!


Best of Cooking!



1 pkg. (12 oz.) dark chocolate morsels                      

1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream or half and half

1 tsp. vanilla


Assorted fresh fruit, cake, pretzels or marshmallows~ a fresh lemon segment in chocolate, a delicious combination…


Preheat oven to 350F. Combine chocolate morsels, sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk), whipping cream and vanilla in small-Baking Bowl. Stir using a wooden or Bamboo Spoon. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven, stir until smooth. Serve with fresh fruit, angel food or low fat pound cake cubes, pretzels or marshmallows.

Best of Cooking, Denise

  Denise Murray, now a 15-year resident of Forest Park. (Lived on the North shore of Chicago for 3 years prior, and a Southwestern before that) comes to us with over 33 years working in Food Service....