With Christmas just three weeks away, you may be wondering what to get that special woman in your life. Well, as a woman, I have some ideas of my own: a KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer in ice blue for a mere $300, or a Maserati Gran Turismo in matte blue Mediterranean for around $130,000. If you’re really trying to win her heart, then the Maserati is the way to go.

I know a Maserati seems a bit extreme but it’s pretty much the number one turn-on for women, at least as far as cars go. That’s not just my opinion, and my dream, it’s a reality. Some would say that the other big turn-on’s are chocolate, shoes and money. In fact, it was because of this very discussion that I learned about the “Maserati Study,” as I call it.

While having coffee with friends, a Maserati passed by and my eyes lit up as one gentleman said, “Someone should make cologne that smells like money to attract women.” And then he added, “You know, there is an actual study where they showed that the sound of the Maserati does attract women.” So I did some Googling and found the study that measured men’s and women’s responses to the sound of luxury car engines compared to the sound of an “everyday car.”

Forty participants listened to the recorded sound of a Maserati, a Lamborghini and a Ferrari, as well as a Volkswagen. They then had their saliva tested for testosterone levels, a hormone which indicates arousal. The results found that 100 percent of female participants had a significant increase in testosterone secretion after listening to the Maserati, compared to only half for men. More men preferred the sound of the Lamborghini.

The study was conducted by a psychologist commissioned by Hiscox, an insurer of luxury cars. I wonder if the increased testosterone levels of women had a greater impact on their insurance costs, or that of the male Maserati owners? The study’s author added that although the sound of a luxury car caused a “primeval physiological response,” the sound of an average car engine actually led to a decrease in testosterone.

When you’re spending more than $100,000 on a car, get it in blue because blue is a color that has been shown to suppress appetite. With little money left for luxuries like food, you certainly don’t want to be driving around hungry all the time or else your rumbling stomach will drown out the purr of the Maserati engine.

When it is time to eat, be sure to choose blue foods such as blueberries and blue potatoes. These antioxidant/carb rich foods will keep you fueled all day. You may be walking more since your new Maserati only gets 12 miles to the gallon. And as you go through life eating a diet rich in blue foods, your memory will remain sharp because the anthocyanins that make foods blue have been shown to decrease age associated memory loss. You should never forget where you parked your beautiful blue car because you must always valet a Maserati anyway.

I just remembered, the first car I bought was a blue Volvo and now I drive a blue Nissan Xterra; a blue Maserati is definitely in my future.

For the present, I will share my blue-food recipes which are nutrient-rich but cost effective enough to keep you in the black so you can buy your Maserati and be tickled pink.

Elizabeth Brown is a registered dietitian and certified holistic chef who is a frugal foody but enjoys the finer things in life. To try more cost-friendly recipes visit her website: www.TheKitchenVixen.com.

Blueberry brain-food muffins

Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or any combination of flours

1/2 cup vanilla protein powder

1 cup oats

2/3 cup honey

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Combine wet ingredients in a separate mixing bowl:

2 eggs or 1 whole egg plus 1 tablespoon ground flax plus 3 tablespoons water

1/4 cup canola or grape seed oil

2 cups fresh or thawed frozen blueberries

1/4 cup milk or water (to moisten batter)

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine. Add the blueberries and their liquid or additional milk or water to moisten batter if needed. Brush muffin tins with oil. Spoon batter into muffin tins (3/4 full).

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. (Note: muffins will have blue tinge but are very tasty)

Makes approximately 20 servings. Cost: $.79 each. Per serving (60g): 155 calories, 24g carbs, 2g fiber, 6g protein, 4g fat. Rich in manganese, magnesium, selenium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, zinc and copper.

Blue potato salad

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons mayo

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons honey

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pound blue potatoes (about 12 each)

4 carrots, grated

4 stalks celery, finely chopped

2 (6.5 ounce) cans Blue Crab

Whisk half the green onions and next seven ingredients in medium bowl. Cover and chill dressing.

Best to make dressing a day ahead to allow flavors to blend.

Cut potatoes into a medium dice (1/2 inch squares). Add to a large saucepan, plus enough water to cover by one inch. Boil on high, reduce to medium heat. Boil until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and cool to room temperature. Add carrots, celery and crab. Toss with enough dressing to coat evenly. Cover and chill two hours or up to one day.

Makes approximately eight (1 cup) servings. Cost: $2.50 each. Per serving (194g): 160 calories, 23g carbs, 3g fiber, 13g protein, 3g fat. Rich in vitamins A, C, E & B6 plus calcium, potassium, copper, iron, manganese and magnesium.

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