Sunday is a day near and dear to my heart – International Chocolate Day.  Chocolate (being one of the four major food groups in our household) really does have some health benefits.  As a matter of fact, dark chocolate is one of Dr. Oz’s favorite foods as well ( 

The reason we like dark chocolate so much is that it’s rich in antioxidants as well as vitamins A and E, which is good for blood circulation and the skin.  Studies have shown that eating up to three ounces of dark chocolate (more than 60% cacao) a day can lower blood pressure by as much as 10%.

I shared this recipe a few years ago but it’s so good, it bears repeating.  From the November/December 2006 issue of Herb Quarterly comes a facial mask.  Their recipe calls it “Orange Truffle Facial Mask” but since I’m addicted to Girl Scouts Thin Mint cookies, I substitute peppermint oil for the orange.

1 tsp cocoa powder (the same stuff you buy in the baking aisle at the grocery store)
1 tsp honey
1 drop orange essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir thoroughly (adjust ingredient amounts as necessary for desired consistency).  Apply to freshly washed skin, leave on for 20 minutes and wipe off with a warm, damp washcloth. (Use a dark washcloth – the cocoa will stain light-colored fabric.) Refrigerate the unused portion (if any) and use within a week.

It smells heavenly and leaves my skin very smooth and soft.  Relaxing for 20 minutes doesn’t hurt, either!