Victoria is a stay-at-home mom, author, educator, and blogger at Healthy at Home. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.
A Day to Lavish the Love
Valentine's Day is a day to show the people you care about how much you love them. It's typically a day to give cards, flowers, and candy; a day for partners to go out to dinner for a date; and a day for kids to have parties at school and eat lots of sugar. At our house, we indulge in lots of fun Valentine's Day crafts, make cookies and other fun treats, and really lavish love on our children.
We've never been the kind to do lots of gifts for each other for any holiday or occasion, but we do love to spend quality time with each other and do nice things for each other. I think I would just be happy to wake up to an empty sink and the laundry put away. But this is another great tradition at our house. We always make a special breakfast, where the kids can get involved in cutting heart shapes into fruit, making heart-shaped pancakes, and even making fun flavored breakfast items together.
Valentine's Day doesn't have to look a certain way just because it's what other people do. Consider stepping out of your comfort zone this holiday and truly expressing your love for those in your life that you care about. And don't forget the kids. This is a wonderful opportunity to lavish love on them, as well, and teach them about the importance of showing those you love how much you care.
Maybe you can make handmade cards this year for each other, make a special breakfast together, have a picnic in the middle of the living room full of homemade goodies, and read books to each other about love and being loving. You can bet that's what we will be doing for Valentine's Day this year!
1. Valentine Pancakes
The fun part about this idea is that you take your favorite pancake recipe and make it into a unique Valentine's Day creation. The best way to create this beautiful plate is to cover the bottom of a large plate in your favorite jam, like strawberry, raspberry, or even cherry, and then pour your pancake batter into a pour bottle, measuring cup with a spout, or even a plastic storage bag with a little bit of one bottom corner cut off.
Then you can just write your chosen message right into your heated pan on the stove. Consider some messages like Be Mine, You're Special, I Love You, Love, My Valentine, etc. Once the letters start puffing up, flip them. Just remember to place them in the right direction, in the right order on your plate, for your message to get across! Consider adding sliced fruit to the plate, as well. And don't forget the fork!
2. Heart Toast
This is a lot easier than it looks and can be easily done by your children. Simply press a heart cookie cutter lightly into your bread to make a heart-shaped indention, and then toast your bread lightly in the toaster. Once you pull it out, paint the heart shape in the middle of your toast with your favorite jam. Mixed berry worked the best in our house as it was deep dark pink.
Why not also serve heart-shaped eggs with your toast for a creative treat?
3. Heart-Shaped Cinnamon Rolls
I really love these. It doesn't take a different recipe than my wonderful standard No-Rise Cinnamon Rolls. It's just what you do with them at the end that makes them special. You have at least two choices for how to make them into hearts before baking. You can either roll them up from both sides rather than just one and after cutting them, pinch them together at the bottom. And you can even simply take the regular cinnamon rolls and form them into hearts with your hands by pushing them in at the top and pinching them at the bottom.
There is no magic, except your imagination, that goes into these beauties. For a special touch, smash a strawberry or two, or possibly a raspberry, into your icing before spreading it on to make it pink for Valentine's Day. Yum!
4. Cupid's Arrow Kabobs
As you can see, you're just making precious mini hearts out of your pancakes, which can be done the same way you formed your letters at the top of this article. Just make tiny heart shapes instead. Skewer them with your favorite fresh fruit for a special treat. If you really want to be creative, you could cut your fruit into heart shapes or shapes to match the back of your arrows.
5. Heart-Shaped Mini Quiches
Just about anything can be made into sweetheart shapes for your Valentine's Day breakfast. Most people do not own a heart-shaped muffin tin. So the way you get this great heart shape is to place a small stone on one side of your muffin cups to make the top indention for your hearts after filling them. Heart-shaped bacon is a nice touch. Here's my simple recipe for quiche:
- 1 1/2 cups sweet potato, shredded and peeled
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 cup veggies
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 cup organic whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line your muffin tin with silicone baking cups. (I love these silicone baking cups because they are easy to use, cheap, and reusable.)
- I really like containing my mini quiches in shredded sweet potato for a little extra sweetness, but if you prefer, you can leave them out of the recipe.
- So I peel and shred a sweet potato, toss it in the coconut oil, and press tablespoon-sized amounts into each baking cup, pressing it up the sides.
- Then I finely chop my veggies (and meat, if you prefer), divide them amongst each of my baking cups and top with cheese.
- Finally, I mix up all other ingredients in a small measuring cup and pour it into each of my muffin cups to cover all of the fillings.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, and enjoy! The baking cups should just slide right off for you without a mess.
6. Strawberry Parfaits
These sweet little cups of deliciousness are as easy as putting a little organic yogurt into the bottom of your bowl, adding some homemade granola, and then topping with some sliced-up strawberries. Yum! I usually keep a few different flavors of my homemade granola around at all times and rotate them out for the different holidays. I really like mine with almonds and shredded coconut, but feel free to try out various flavors in your parfait.
This sweet breakfast would also be great with a variety of different kinds of berries if you choose to use them. Feel free to get creative!
7. Salted Caramel Sweeties
What could be easier and more delicious than simple strawberries cut in half and dipped in some homemade caramel sauce?! The sea salt sprinkle is totally optional, but really honestly adds some depth to this sweet treat that you wouldn't expect. Below is my homemade caramel recipe. You'll be surprised at how amazing these are!
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- In a medium saucepan, mix your coconut sugar and water.
- Bring it to a boil on medium-high and let it boil for about 1 minute without stirring.
- Then reduce the heat to medium-low and add your heavy cream.
- Return it to a boil and then immediately turn it down and simmer until your sauce thickly coats the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes.
- Finally, remove your sauce from the heat and let it cool for about 5 minutes before using it.
8. Raspberry Muffins
These delicious muffins are so good first thing in the morning. I like to make a batch or two when I have some spare time and slide them into a storage bag in the freezer. That way, when I desire, I can pop a couple out and let them thaw on the counter (or nuke them for 30 seconds in the microwave) for a nice sweet breakfast, usually on the go with my little ones running around the house.
- 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup raw honey
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup organic yogurt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin tin with silicone baking cups. (I really love these. See the link above for a great price.)
- Mix all of your ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, saving your raspberries for last and folding them in gently.
- Fill your silicone baking cups about 3/4 full with batter and slide them into the oven.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until they are slightly browning on top.
9. Heart-Shaped Breakfast Sandwiches
My husband is a huge fan of breakfast sandwiches. Cook up some eggs, potatoes and sausage and slide them into a pastry, tortilla, or in between two slices of bread, and he's happy. This is a super cute way to make some little breakfast sandwiches for the whole family in keeping with the Valentine's Day theme. They can either be secured between two pieces of pastry dough and cooked in the oven or between two pieces of bread (sealed on the sides with a fork) that can be lightly broiled for a nice toast on both sides.
10. Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries
I think these are the tried and true Valentine's Day delight, and thankfully they are so incredibly easy to make at home. Simply melt some dark chocolate chips in the microwave (with the help of a little coconut oil or not), and then dip in your fresh strawberries. Set them out on a plate or on some parchment paper for easy removal as you dip them, and then slide the whole plate into the refrigerator until ready to use. I wouldn't suggest trying to keep them for more than a day or two.
11. Heart-Shaped Pancakes
If you are crafty and can pour your pancake batter into a measuring cup with a spout or a plastic bag with the corner cut off, then you can make heart shapes in your hot pan on the stove. Otherwise, make good use of some heart-shaped cookie cutters for these precious chocolate chip pancakes. Chocolate pancakes (made by mixing melted dark chocolate chips into your batter) are even better! Cutting your fruit pieces into heart shapes, if you're so inclined, just seals the deal of the romantic breakfast. Good luck!
12. Heart Fruit Platter
I think this is the easiest and yummiest option of them all. Think about just loosely arranging the outer heart shape with some cut-up fruit and then dumping the rest of it right into the middle. Cutting and peeling your fruit is going to be the hardest part of this beautiful breakfast. In fact, make it big enough and put it out in the middle of your breakfast table to tell everyone how much you think of them this Valentine's Day. You could even go all out and make some heart-shaped pancakes to go with your spread.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Valentine's is the perfect time of the year to go a little out of your way to profess your love for a special someone—or, in my case, all of my special people, big and small. Why not do it up and grab some flowers, make a special breakfast, hand-make a sweet card, and leave little notes all over the house to really make your partner and/or kids feel really loved?
We truly have one holiday that isn't typically celebrated with family and friends, that has all of the makings for romance whether you try very hard or not. It really doesn't take all that much effort to really make your loved ones feel really special, and I promise you that those feelings will be remembered, cherished and returned gratefully in response. Everyone likes feeling special and knowing that someone else in their life cherishes them.
Even if you do nothing more than leave a plate of easy-to-make chocolate-dipped strawberries and a sweet note, it would make a great Valentine's present to someone. And I highly recommend including your little ones in this holiday tradition. What better memories can you give your kids than treating their other parent with love and thoughtfulness and even remembering to do a little something for them? Good luck, have fun, and enjoy yourself! A batch of chocolate pancakes can give and give for almost a week if you make enough.
© 2019 Victoria Van Ness