Have Your Cake and Eat it too on Valentine’s Day
Chocolate increases energy levels and improves mood. Make your Valentine happy by serving this dessert made with a fraction of the fat.
Ingredients: Serves 12
- 7 oz. 60-70% bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 2/3 c. plus 1/4 c. sugar
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1 c. nonfat or low-fat milk
- 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Line the bottom of an 8- or 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper, coat sides of pan with cooking spray.
- Place chocolate and cocoa powder in a large bowl.
- Combine flour, 2/3 c. sugar and salt in a saucepan.
- Whisk in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture bubbles. Boil for 2 minutes.
- Pour the mixture over chocolate and cocoa. Stir.
- Stir in egg yolks and vanilla. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 1/4 c. sugar, beat until stiff.
- Gently fold egg whites into batter and pour into pan.
- Set cake pan in a larger baking pan and place on the oven rack. Pour boiling water into the baking pan to come a third to halfway up the side of the cake pan.
- Bake 20 to 25 minutes. (Cake will be gooey inside.)
- Remove the pans from the oven. Transfer the cake pan to a wire rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.
Nutritional Information: Serving size = 1 slice;
Calories 164; Fat 6g; Saturated fat 3g; Cholesterol 35mg; Carbohydrates 29g; Protein 3g; Fiber 2g; Sodium 49mg; Potassium 92mg
Manage Stress in Honor of American Heart Month
Managing stress is important for heart health. Learn to manage the triggers and prevent it from impacting your well-being. Practice stress management with these tips:
Self-Soothe - Calm your nervous system and decrease your heart rate with deep breathing, yoga and tai chi.
Eat a Healthy Diet - Limit caffeine and alcohol.
Exercise Regularly - Endorphins released during exercise improve mood and increase energy levels.
Sleep - Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep can leave you alert, calm and rested.
Eliminate the Risk of Colds and Flu
During winter months, the air lacks humidity or moisture. Indoor climates can be especially dry. Using a humidifier indoors can help put moisture back into the air and reduce your risk for skin and breathing problems such as these:
Colds and Flu - Moist air makes it more difficult for viruses like influenza to survive and pass from person to person.
Bronchitis - Symptoms like coughing, sore throat and wheezing can be alleviated with moist air.
Nosebleeds - A humidifier helps keep the skin inside the nose moist and less prone to cracking and bleeding.
Dry Skin - Itching and burning associated with dermatitis can be relieved by increasing the level of humidity indoors.
Stretches to Ensure a Healthy Back
If you sit for long hours, you risk lumbar spine, upper back and neck pain. Try these stretches right at your desk:
Leg raises - Sit upright, on the edge of your seat. Raise one knee up, straighten it, bend and place your foot down. Repeat with the other leg.
Neck stretch - Turn your head to one side, keeping your torso facing forwards, reach down with your left hand, keeping your body and shoulders still. Repeat.
Sit up straight - Sit at the front of your chair, push your pelvis forward and make sure your knees face downwards.
A Quick and Easy New Way
The fastest way to get a refund is to E-file and choose direct deposit*
The IRS began offering the Free File program on January 16. Prepare your returns using the online Free File program that offers two filing options. Taxpayers can choose from:
- Brand-name software - Offered to nearly 100 million individuals and families with incomes of $60,000 or less;
- Online fillable forms - The electronic version of IRS paper forms available to taxpayers at all income levels.
Don’t forget the tax deadline is April 15, 2015. For more information on using tax software and e-file, visit IRS.gov.
Check for These Signs
Too much caffeine can negatively impact your mood, energy, and even health.*
The American Dietetic Association recommends no more than 300mg a day, or the amount in about two or three 8-ounce cups of coffee.* If you’re consuming more than this daily, it could be the reason why you may be feeling anxious, irritable and tired. Indicators you could be taking in too much caffeine:
- Afternoon Slump - Caffeine can leave you feeling energetic and then tired when the caffeine starts to wear off. These dips in energy can leave you feeling like you’ve hit a wall in the afternoon.
- Urine is Dark Yellow - When your urine is yellow, it’s a sign you may be dehydrated. Consuming more than 500mg of caffeine a day can trigger dehydration.
- Sleeplessness - Caffeine lingers in the body for several hours and can affect your sleep cycle. To ensure a better night’s sleep, eliminate caffeine after noon.
- Anxiety - Caffeine is a stimulant that triggers adrenaline in the body, increasing heart rate, stress and depression.
- Heartburn - Caffeine relaxes the esophagus, allowing acid to recede in your chest causing a burning feeling.
If you’re looking to cut back on your caffeine intake, take steps to eliminate it slowly and stick to a schedule. Eating healthy foods that provide energy can also help curb the craving for more caffeine. To get an idea of how much caffeine your favorite drink has, visit caffeineinformer.