Nothing says romance quite like dinner reservations in a busy restaurant with a prix fixe menu and a wait staff pushing you out the door as quickly as possible to turn over your table for another couple looking for romance. Sound familiar? We call it Valentine’s Day in our house, and we don’t do it.
Once, twenty-one years ago, we tried it. We made reservations, we hated every moment of it, and we said never again. Since then, my husband and I have celebrated Valentine’s Day at home, on our own, away from the forced romance of it all.
In the fourteen years we’ve had kids, it’s really turned into a celebration of our love for them. My husband is good at romance, and he makes it an everyday part of my life, so it’s easy to spend Valentine’s Day celebrating our littlest loves and the sweetness they bring to our lives. He sends me flowers, we eat chocolate, and we make a decadent dinner and desserts at home with the little not so little ones.
On that note, there really is no right or wrong way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your significant other, your kids, your friends, your mom (send your mom some flowers or chocolate…you’ll never go wrong doing this any day of the year). Regardless, I have a few tried and true Valentine’s Day baking ideas that make the holiday a little sweeter when you decide to avoid the crowds and keep it low-key and sweet. That’s really what it’s about, right?
Break out the heart-shaped cookie cutters and bring on the festivities.
Valentine’s Day Recipes for the Littlest Loves of Your Life
The novelty of celebrating our love has not worn off, but the novelty of doing it on a day we’re being told to celebrate our love has. I don’t like being told what to do, in case you were wondering. My husband and I love to make Valentine’s Day special for our kids, and these recipes make it easy to do that. Each one is a little bit special, and each one is a favorite for at least one – if not all four – of our kiddos.
To make the day a little more special for each one, my husband brings each of the girls flowers, chocolates for our little guy, and we make a big deal of it. It’s a lot of family fun on this day, and that’s what it’s all about.
1. Heart Shaped Pizza
You can make pizza any way you want, and that’s what’s awesome about it. Other than the fact that it’s pizza, and pizza is amazing, of course.
2. Pink Pancakes
This is my favorite homemade pancake recipe, but you are absolutely free to make it from a box. You do you, boo. Just add some pink food coloring – or a small drop of red if you don’t have pink – and voila. You have pink pancakes.
3. Heart Shaped-Pancakes
I went back and forth about making a note to make heart shapes with your pink pancakes, but here’s why we’re doing two recipes. Because one of our kids doesn’t ‘like’ food coloring and won’t eat it. Kids are weird. Anyway, it’s easy to make a heart shape if you put your pancake mix in a squeeze bottle.
4. Strawberry Cake Mix Cookies
Those strawberry cake mixes in the baking aisle at the grocery store at the best, and now you can turn them into cookies. You can thank me by sending me cookies.
5. Heart-Shaped Mini Poptarts
This is cute because it’s a poptart, but it’s a poptart you make! My kids love this recipe, but we also make it very clear to them this is a Valentine’s Day only recipe. If you want poptarts any other day of the year, we’ll buy a box.
6. Sugar Cookie Fudge
Sugar cookies are good. Fudge is good. Sugar cookie fudge is great. This is also a cute one for the kids to make on their own – and please decorate until your heart is content.
7. Valentine’s Pink Kiss Cookies
This is my favorite recipe during Christmas. However, for Valentine’s Day, I dye the dough pink and add pink sprinkles. It makes them that much more festive. The kids think anything ‘new looking’ is new.
8. Strawberry Milkshake Cookies
Do you see a trend yet? If it’s pink and it’s sweet, it’s perfect for Valentine’s Day. I’ll be honest and tell you I’ve not made this recipe yet, but I pinned it on Pinterest to make.
9. Valentine’s Cookie Bars
Cookie bars are like brownies, but they’re cookies. They have more chocolate and décor, and that makes them child-friendly. They’re also adult-friendly, so everyone wins here except your diet.
10. Brownie Bark
Nothing is easier than brownie bark, so go ahead and thank me now. Sometimes you’re in the mood to make something sweet, but the idea of spending forever in the kitchen is not the most appealing. When that mood strikes, this is the recipe to make.
Valentine’s Day Recipes for You and Your Love
Traditionally, Valentine’s Day is about you and the person you love the most. Its cute when you’re young. Once you find your person, though, you realize that celebrating your love is a daily act – and that’s the secret to a happy marriage. When everyday is a chance to show the person you love how important they are to you, you both win. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. What’s the problem with one more reason to celebrate your love, right? Here are a few of our favorite Valentine’s Day dinner recipes.
I’m convinced my husband was a professional chef in another life, and he proves that to us all the time. There is nothing I love more than watching him in the kitchen (I am the official maker of beverages) whipping up something decadent and elegant like it’s second nature. These recipes are a few of his favorites. I’ll be honest and tell you they seem impossible to me, but he makes them look simple.
1. Balsamic Goat Cheese Chicken
Chicken is a classic dinner staple. It’s protein, and it’s healthy. You can’t go wrong, but you can make it better than average. This chicken dish is not your everyday weeknight dish with kids, activities, and a life, so it’s a little special to have it on this day of love.
2. Bacon Wrapped Scallops
I’m just going to tell you one time, but the key to bacon wrapped scallops is to make them as a side for a lovely filet mignon. Some people like them as a main dish, but they always strike me as an accoutrement rather than a main dish. Make sense?
3. Rosemary Beef Tenderloin
Rosemary is one of those herbs that really brings out the flavor in great piece of meat. Throw in a little butter, and you have a winning combination. This is a great dish to serve with smashed potatoes and a wedge salad.
4. Lobster Mac & Cheese
Everyone loves lobster. Everyone loves mac and cheese. Also, it’s story time. We are Floridians who live on the coast, but I don’t love the ocean. I love to be on a boat. I love to have ocean-front tables when dining out, but I don’t enjoy touching the water (and I hate the sand). With this in mind, you can imagine that fishing is not for me. Lobstering is HUGE in the Keys, and everyone we know goes lobstering every summer during mini season and regular season (not us because I’m not getting into the water or catching my own food). They bring us back so many lobsters that our freezer is constantly full, and making lobster mac is one of my husband’s favorite ways to use up all the lobster we have hanging out in the freezer.
5. Baked Eggplant Parmesan
Some people don’t care much for meat. It’s a personal preference that some of us might not understand. I say that as someone who enjoys meat, but I also don’t need it with every meal. I love a good pasta dish, and meat is not a requirement for me with my pasta. This dish is very family friendly, but it’s also meatless, so you can include it in your holiday celebration without feeling as if you’re missing out.
Valentine’s Baking Ideas for You and the Girls
Who said Valentine’s Day isn’t for the girls? The term ‘galentine’ has become quite popular in the last few years for a very good reason. Women love a good excuse to dress up and hang out with their girlfriends, and a couple bottles of champagne and some good food pair well with that. What’s more fun than a gorgeous sequin dress, you favorite pair of Louboutins, and a night in with the girls? Well, I’m the only person in my group of friends who loves to dress up, so maybe you’re more of a pajamas and good friends kind of night type of gal. Either way, though, these Galentine recipes are just what the doctor ordered.
1. Red Velvet Truffles
Nothing screams decadence like red velvet and truffles all in one. I love this recipe because it’s simple enough anyone can do it, but it’s elegant enough that it looks as though you put a lot more time into it than you did. It’s a win/win.
2. Valentine Sugar Cookies
Sugar cookies are a holiday staple. You make them into Christmas trees and candy canes at Christmas, ghosts and pumpkins at Halloween, and hearts during the holidays. You can also use premade sugar cookie dough.
*The Most Important Sugar Cookie Tip
The one thing you should know about making sugar cookies is that you cannot use the dough the way it’s made. You must add additional flour to your dough. Why? Because the dough you’re using is too thin to cut and not spread. Here’s an example: You’re making sugar cookies without rolling them out and cutting them into a shape. You place a little ball of dough on a cookie sheet, and the dough expands and forms a very cute round cookie shape.
You do not want that when you’re cutting sugar cookies into shapes. Your shape will expand and become misshapen. You need extra flour to make it denser. This helps keep the cookies from ‘melting’ on the cookie sheet while baking.
3. Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
Here we go again with the red velvet, but it really does have a place this holiday season, does it not? These brownies are also cheesecakes. I am a huge fan of mixing two desserts into one. The trick to this one is to get the consistency just right. I won’t tell you which way to go with that since some people prefer theirs a little denser than others, but it is important to note you do have options.
4. Chocolate Dipped Brownies
Brownie points if you use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to shape thee before dipping them. Pun absolutely, one hundred percent intended. Whether you’re celebrating your girlfriends and you’re all happily married, you’re all single, or you have a mixture, brownies always help. They’re extra indulgent if someone is going through a recent break-up and she needs you guys to be there for her. The only thing that helps as much as a good friend when you’re hurting is a brownie. Warmed up and topped with ice cream, chocolate sauce, and sprinkles. This is also delicious on any day that ends in Y.
5. Strawberry Cream Cheese Pastries
This is a darling recipe – you can use it for the kids, too – because it works for a sweet treat after dinner, to snack on, or to eat for breakfast. We like it because you can take it with you and make it on a trip or use it to accentuate a dessert board for a girl’s night in. They’re sweet, but you can also make them with any fruit you want. You’re not required to go with just the strawberry because you do have options. Options are always good.
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