There are all sorts of aphrodisiac foods and herbs out there, ranging from delightful and delicious (e.g., chocolate) to exotic and weird (e.g., cobra blood). For those of us who love cooking, Valentine’s Day offers an opportunity to try new recipes, perhaps ones that are more decadent than what’s in the normal dinner rotation. Well, I’d like to take this opportunity to share a couple of my own out-of-the-box recipes for love, hopefully with enough time for folks to order ingredients online if that’s necessary. (I’ll include some links for that at the end.)
Both of these recipes are perfect for opening up the heart, whether you want to relax into a romantic evening with your sweetheart or just be cheerful and present for a social gathering.
Five Senses Tea
This first creation, a tea I call Five Senses, is a delightful blend of sense-awakening herbs. I love to give this tea in a decorated glass jar as a gift, especially for bridal showers and weddings, because it just looks, smells, and tastes so sexy!
2 parts damiana: opens the heart and increases circulation to engage the sense of touch
2 parts rose petal: a beautiful-looking flower, easy on the eyes, and a symbol of love
½ part cardamom: a stimulating scent to excite the sense of smell
½ part cinnamon: a sweet-tasting aphrodisiac to nourish the sense of taste
¼ part lavender: offers visual beauty, a calming scent, and a calming effect when consumed
¼ part cacao nibs*: energizes and stimulates the central nervous system
¼ part vanilla bean: sweet-tasting and calming
*You could leave out the cacao if you are sensitive to stimulants like caffeine, or if you want a mellower-tasting tea.
Directions: Use four heaping teaspoons for a strong cup of tea. Steep for three minutes in just-boiled water (removed from heat). Steep longer for a whole pot of tea, up to 15 minutes for a big teapot. Cover this tea while it steeps, so you can keep those heavenly essential oils in your cup! And finally, the one sense heretofore ignored—sound: This tea is best enjoyed in a ceramic mug with milk and honey. Let the sound of the spoon ringing on the side of the mug as you stir in your milk and honey be the first sign that you’re about to pamper each of your other four senses!
A bonus for you extra-adventurous types—this makes an excellent mead too.
Chocolate-Honey Love Nuggets
This next treat really packs a punch! You would not believe a food could make you feel so…FUN! The recipe is pretty flexible; you’ll probably want to tweak it to your taste as you work. Each time I make these little nuggets of wonderful, they’re slightly different due to varying proportions and availability of ingredients, but always dee-lish!
3/4 cup almond butter: Of course almond butter is good for you, but its main purpose here is to hold things together and impart a grounding, nutty flavor.
1/4 cup cacao powder: If you can’t find any, cocoa will be okay. Cacao is the raw form of the cacao bean. It tends to be a little more bitter and “floral” in flavor than the roasted and processed product, cocoa, and it retains more of the plant’s beneficial properties.
3 Tbsp – 1/4 cup raw honey (to taste): Again, the raw product is preferable, but pasteurized honey will work. The difference is that pasteurized honey is a sweetener, while raw honey is a food. The latter is anti-inflammatory, calming and energizing at the same time, and incredibly nutritive.
1 Tbsp coconut oil: Oh boy! This stuff is miraculous. It is chock full of so many things that are so good for you, but for our purposes today, I want to focus on the immediate benefits of its specific type of fatty acids. MCFAs (medium-chain fatty acids) provide instant, high-quality energy, because they require very little energy for the body to process.
1 Tbsp cinnamon: a powerful and energizing natural aphrodisiac.
Grated coconut, as needed, to get the right consistency: Bulk and flavor is what it’s all about: The coconut tastes good and adds a needed dry ingredient to the mix.
Some optional ingredients to consider: Here are some optional ingredients you might want to try. You might choose two or three of them: rose and tulsi are a great combo, for example, or coffee and orange. I actually used every single one of the below ingredients this time, and frankly, it was a bit much. UPDATE: After two days in the fridge, they were awesome! The flavors mingled perfectly.
1/4 tsp cayenne: this will really get the blood moving and spice things up.
1 tsp orange peel: a great-tasting and breath-freshening after-dinner bitter. (This time, I used schizandra berry in place of the orange peel. YUM!)
1 tsp of very finely ground coffee: I always add coffee to mine! It should be noted, though, that unless you grind the coffee very, very finely (think finer than espresso), it will add a bit of crunch.
1-2 tsp powdered rose petals: to make it that much more romancy.
1 tsp powdered maca, ashwagandha, tulsi, or eleuthero: They’re all members of a specific class of herbs called adaptogens, which balance our hormones, calm our nerves, clear our brains, and promote a general sense of well-being. Ashwagandha, maca, and eleuthero have mild enough flavors that they won’t influence the overall taste of your treats very much. Tulsi is by far the most delicious and fragrant of the four, but maca is probably the most “Valentinesy,” if you know what I mean *wink* (with ashwagandha being a close second in that department).
*Note that for each 1 Tbsp (3 tsp) of additional dry ingredient you use, you’ll need to add about 1 Tbsp of honey or coconut oil to keep the right consistency.
Directions: If you’re starting with anything that isn’t already a powder (like coffee or orange peel), grind it up very finely in a coffee grinder. Mix the whole mess together until you have something about the consistency of Play-Doh. Roll it up into balls about the diameter of a quarter, and enjoy! You could dust your nuggets with cinnamon, cacao, or rose powder (or some combination thereof) so they’re not sticky or oily on the outside. (I used a mix of cacao and powdered sugar this time, but that made them a bit too sweet for my taste.) If you refrigerate your love nuggets for a couple of hours before eating, they’ll firm up to a more truffle-like consistency.
I hope you’ll enjoy these recipes as much as I do, and happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours. And, as promised…where to buy herbs: My favorite place for things that I cannot find locally is Mountain Rose Herbs. If they’re out of stock or don’t carry something, I usually look to Frontier next.