Cupid Made Me Do It

Conversation HeartsCupid Made Me Do It is a story I wrote back in 2002 just after my husband, Ed, had triple by-pass surgery. That’s been a lot of years ago and I’m pleased to say his health couldn’t be better, something we give thanks for every day. I think you’ll agree this is a story that can be enjoyed year-round along with warm-from-the oven Heart-Smart Oat Muffins.

A Valentine’s Day present from my husband, Ed, arrived early this year. His gift to me was not planned and came as a surprise to both of us. You see, last year Ed had unexpected triple by-pass surgery, and I look at his now healthy heart as a present to me that’s beyond measure. Although sparkling diamonds, luscious red roses and Godiva chocolates would be wonderful, Ed gave me a more heart felt gift, which helps to insure that we have a longer life together.We were driving to lunch together one day last week when I asked Ed if he was nervous about an upcoming follow-up appointment with his cardiologist.“Yes, I’m a bit apprehensive about going in for a routine exam, after all my last routine check-up landed me in the hospital for 10 days recovering from by-pass surgery.” Ed shook his head in disbelief. “It doesn’t seem possible that we’re looking at nearly a year since the surgery.”“Do you feel like the ‘new man’ the doctor said you’d feel like within a year?” I asked turning into the restaurant parking lot.Ed thought for a moment, “I can’t say I feel like a new person, but I get stronger every day and now I evaluate my overall progress and stamina monthly rather than daily as I did for so many weeks after I came home from the hospital. One thing I find astounding,” he added, “is how common by-pass surgery is these days.”

“Perhaps it has become a run-of-the-mill surgery, but it was the most terrifying experience I’ve ever been through in my life!” I commented to Ed. “Although, it’s comforting to know your heart is 10 years younger coming out of surgery than it was going in. Modern technologies, along with some skilled doctors have helped in assuring your sense of well-being and fitness in the coming years – and I like that part!” I said to Ed.

Ed leaned over the center console and gave me a kiss on the cheek. “Thanks for sticking by me through this whole thing,” he said.

Surprised by what he terms “PDA” (or public display of affection), I replied, “Maybe you haven’t noticed a change in yourself, but I’ve observed a fresh gaiety in the romance department.”

His eyes widened, I could tell he wasn’t sure what I was going to say next. “Every day for the last month have been popping up in unexpected places in the bedroom. Sometimes I discover a KISS ME heart on my pillow, or a YOU’RE CUDDLY heart balanced on the tip of my teddy bear’s nose or a BE MINE heart precariously teetering atop my Joy perfume bottle.

“Do you suppose there’s more to improving a heart than what meets the eye?” I asked, peering at him from under arched eyebrows. “Because it appears to me that my generally not-so-romantic hubby has been demonstrating a delightful change in matters-of-the-heart.”

Ed’s face lit up, “I think those devilishly delicious oat muffins you’ve been baking are bringing out the cupid in me!” he said with an impish wink.

Cupid Made Me Do It” Heart Smart Oat Muffins

Muffins, Oat Heart Shaped21/2 cup raisins or currents
1/2 cup water
1-3/4 cups oat bran
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat bran
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup non-fat milk
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup nuts, chopped fine
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 ripe bananas, mashed OR 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin

Topping
Combine 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon with 1/2 cup granulated sugar and
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts.

Place raisins in microwave-proof bowl; add 1/2 cup water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 90 seconds. Allow raisins to “plump” for 5-10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine oat bran, flour, wheat bran, wheat germ, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and salt in large mixing bowl; add milk, egg substitute, nuts, applesauce, mashed bananas, and raisin/water mixture. Mix just until moistened (do not over-beat). Fill greased individual-sized heart shaped muffin pans (or use standard muffin pan and cupcake papers); sprinkle muffins with cinnamon/sugar/pecan topping. Bake until topping is crispy and brown, about 17-22 minutes.

Yield: 12-14 muffins

Heart Smart Banana Blueberry Muffins: Omit raisins; add 1/3 cup honey and fold in 1 cup frozen blueberries.

Heart Smart Apple Date Muffins: Omit bananas and raisins; add 1/3 cup honey, 2 cups finely chopped apples with peel and 1 cup chopped dates.

Each muffin contains approximately 140 calories with 25 calories from fat.

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