Valentine’s Day Dinner

February 1st, 2020

By Alisa Star

AMORE… love is in the air! It’s a day where people all over the world celebrate love. It’s a day to show affection and friendship and celebrate over a romantic dinner together. We often splurge over that expensive meal with the one we love, making reservations at the most romantic restaurant around the town.

This Valentine’s Day treat you and your loved one to the perfect romantic candlelight dinner for two at home, with this mouthwatering recipe and decadent wine pairing meal. With a few key ingredients and some simple steps, you will be finding yourself creating the perfect Valentine dinner.

Nothing says LOVE like homemade spaghetti and meatballs. Everything about it is romantic, even where the recipe originated — Italy. To make this decadent rich sauce is a bit time consuming, to slow simmer it for hours is the key to a delicious mouthwatering sauce, the longer it simmers, the more the flavors bloom into pure bliss.

For the meatballs:
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground beef
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 tbsp crushed garlic
1 egg
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

For the sauce:
1 tbsp good olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 tsp minced garlic
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 cans plum tomato puree
1/2 cup good red wine such as Chianti
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped basil
1 tsp fresh thyme
Salt and pepper

1 — Combine ground meats, bread crumbs, parsley, parmesan, garlic, salt and pepper, and egg in a bowel. Combine lightly with a fork, make sure to mix all the ingredients together well. Using your hands form the fixture into 2-3 inch meatballs. You should have enough for 12-14 meatballs.
2 — Pour vegetable oil into skillet to a depth of about 1/4 inch deep, heat oil to a medium heat. Place meatballs in batches and brown on all sides, turning carefully with a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. (If you don’t want to fry the meatballs, you can bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes). Set aside. Discard oil, but don’t clean pan.
3 — For the sauce, heat olive oil in the same pan. Add onions and saute over medium heat until they are translucent, 5-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the wine and cook on high heat, stir and scrape bottom of pan until the liquid evaporates; this takes about 3 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes, and the puree, and simmer over low heat for 1 hour. Add parsley, basil, and thyme salt and pepper. Simmer for another hour.
4- Return meatballs to sauce, cover on low heat, simmer for 20 minutes. Serve over cooked spaghetti, grate fresh parmesan over top. Place basil leaves over top of meatballs for garnish.

South American and Californian wines like cabernet Sauvigon, merlot and malbec all go well with spaghetti and meatballs. Tomato based sauces have high acidity, and need wines with equal or higher acidity levels to match them. If you like a sweeter wine I would go with a malbec, Kaiken Ultra Malbec is a great choice. If you like a bolder flavor with more tannins, go with a good Cabernet, Caymus cab is good, or 2018 Prisoner cab will pair just as equal. If you’re a merlot lover, try Duckhorn Vineyard Merlot, it’s quite popular, and will pair great with red sauce.

Makeup tips and tricks for Valentine’s Day!

February 1st, 2019

Love Conquers All!

By Blaine Ochoa 

February is the month we celebrate Valentine’s Day, relationships, and love. I want to encourage you to reflect on the relationships in your life. Be thankful for your family, friends, and significant other. All year long we should try to love and uplift one another, and cherish the moments spent together.

If you are spending the evening with someone special or spending it by yourself, I hope you make it a magical evening. I want to share with you some of my favorite makeup tips and tricks to give you a fabulous, perfect “date night” look – just in time for Valentine’s Day! (Even if your date night is with yourself and a bottle of wine).

Eye Makeup

* After you cleanse and moisturize your face and apply the proper primer and foundation, I would suggest doing a smoky eye look for date night. In order to achieve this look you would start with a light color eyeshadow in the inner part of your eye lid. Then add a light brown or black and blend into the outer corner of your eyelid. Next I would add a personal favorite, Marc Harvey’s gold and silver glitter eyeshadow lightly on top of your lid and on the arch of your eye, to give a glam pop of shimmer.


* I love fake lashes! They will make your eyes pop and look bigger and voluptuous. Gently apply eyelash glue to your fake lashes and apply just above your real lashes on your eyes. Then let dry and voila. My favorite lash line is Lucky Cat Beauty Faux Lashes.


* I would also recommend adding a subtle bronzer right under your check bones and adding a light blush gently on top of your check bones. NARS cosmetics has a great line of blushes and Makeup By Sheila I would recommend for a bronzer.


* To complete your date night look, I would add a fun, vibrant lip color! You could do a nude, light pink, or red. Start with a matching lip liner and finish with a gloss on top of your lipstick. I tend to use MAC cosmetics for lipsticks.

Fun fact: Lucky Cat Beauty in Houston has a fabulous new line of lipsticks that were named after influential women in Houston. There is actually a gorgeous red color named after me – called “Blaine.” I will definitely be wearing it this Valentine’s Day!

I hope you use these makeup tips and recommendations to help you look extra special, and have a wonderful date night to remember. You can also use these suggestions all year round! If you have any questions or would like to contact me please visit Beauty with Blaine or email me at [email protected]

~Love is the greatest thing on earth. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love your Valentine and their Heart

January 1st, 2018

By Nicole Dixon
American Heart Association

We made it through the holidays and are focused on New Year’s resolutions like getting healthy, losing some weight, and finding more time to exercise. Next thing you know, up sneaks the sweetest holiday of the year, Valentine’s Day.

It’s no surprise that Valentine’s Day and chocolate are a match made in heaven. As a matter of fact, according to, approximately 58 million pounds of chocolate candy and 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are bought during Valentine’s Day week each year.

So, what can you do to show your fondness to your sweetie on this special day while caring for their health and well-being? There are lots of healthy options like fruit baskets and non-edibles, but if your heart is set on showing your sweet side with chocolate, read on.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA), researchers found that eating raw almonds with dark chocolate and cocoa significantly lowered the LDL (or bad) cholesterol for overweight and obese people.

The findings might not apply to everyone. For the small study, researchers followed 31 overweight and obese participants between the ages of 30 to 70. During the first month, participants didn’t eat any almonds, dark chocolate or cocoa. In month two they ate 42.5 grams of almonds per day, and in the third month they ate 43 grams of dark chocolate combined with 18 grams of cocoa powder. In the fourth – and final – month, participants ate all three foods. The results showed that eating almonds alone lowered LDL cholesterol by 7 percent, and the combination of the three reduced small, dense LDL particles that are a risk factor for heart disease.

Past research has shown health benefits of eating almonds, dark chocolate and cocoa, but this new study focuses on the health benefits for overweight and obese individuals. Unfortunately, caramel and nougat were not included in this study.

So, does this mean you can go hog wild on these snacks? That’s a negative, ghost rider. For this study, those grams equal out to small portions: nearly one-third a cup of almonds, one-quarter cup of dark chocolate and 2 1/3 teaspoons of cocoa per day. According to the lead author, Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton of Penn State University, people can have around 270 discretionary calories each day. We should use those snack calories for something that’s tasty and good for our hearts, rather than focusing on snacks with added sugar.

Go ahead, give your heart to those you love, and love their heart by considering healthier options like dark chocolate covered almonds in moderate amounts, paired with some of your favorite red fruits such as strawberries, apples, pomegranates, and raspberries. It’s still a sweet treat that’s sure to say ‘I love you’ in more ways than one.

Why this matters
An estimated 28.5 million adults have total cholesterol levels above 240 mg/dL. This could place them at a greater risk of heart disease and stroke.

New research shows that long-term exposure to even modestly elevated cholesterol levels can lead to coronary heart disease later in life.

Eating a healthy diet is a key factor for lowering your cholesterol.

If you’re one who likes to snack at work, small amounts of almonds, dark chocolate and cocoa may help get you through your day.

About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit

Bay Area Houston Magazine