Planning a special date? Forget about trying to snag a reservation at a too-crowded, too-noisy and too-pricy restaurant. I have a better idea: Make dinner (or breakfast) at home with these mouthwatering meals. Double bonus: They feature libido-boosting superfoods. Lucky you!
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Start your day off with breakfast in bed! These fluffy pancakes offer a double dose of pumpkin — in the sweet maple-pumpkin batter and in the delicious yogurt-pumpkin topping. Pumpkin might be thought of as a fall favorite, but fortunately, you can find canned varieties year-round. Pumpkin is packed with antioxidants and potassium, which helps increase blood flow to all extremities. Better blood flow isn't the only benefit of the orange orb — it can also lead to increased energy and improved mood, which in turn can enhance our libido. For a sweeter presentation, make these flapjacks heart-shaped (using cookie cutters) for your special someone.
Superfood: Spicy Peppers
Spice up your slow cooker with this recipe. I use just three simple ingredients: spicy-hot salsa, chicken and taco seasoning (that's it!) to make the easiest pulled chicken recipe ever. Add some sliced jalapeños or a drizzle of sriracha if you and your dining partner want to kick up the heat a little more. Once the pulled-shredded chicken is ready, enjoy it on lettuce wraps for a low-carb and elegant date night. Or use it to build what I like to call "Go-for-the-Gusto Enchiladas."
The secret sexy ingredient is spicy pepper, which will not only help you turn up the heat in the kitchen but also in the bedroom. Capsaicin, the ingredient that gives peppers their heat, stimulates your nervous system, getting your blood pumping, elevating your body temperature, increasing your heart rate, and triggering the release of feel-good hormones — all of this can help boost libido.
No date night would be complete without a sexy sip, so whip up a batch of this flavorful, fruity, no-added-sugar sangria. Prep a pitcher earlier in the day so when you're ready to serve, all you need to do is top it with a splash of seltzer, more pomegranate seeds for garnish if desired, and then enjoy. I made pomegranate the star because there's some research showing it can help increase your sex drive.
In fact, one study from the United Kingdom found that pomegranate juice increased levels of testosterone by 24 percent on average. You can either buy store-bought pomegranate juice and a separate package of seeds, or purchase a whole pomegranate and dissect; it will produce up to 2 cups of seeds. As for the wine? I tend to make sangria with Pinot Noir because it contributes a light, sweet and smooth taste (but of course, sipper's choice on the vino).
For healthy tips, follow Joy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and check out her cookbook "Joy's Simple Food Remedies: Tasty Cures for Whatever's Ailing You." Watch her on NBC's Health+Happiness every weekend.