I’m not the kind of girl that needs fancy gifts or over-the-top flowers on Valentine’s Day.  And I would much rather stay home with my husband and kids than be at a crowded restaurant.  None of that says “L-O-V-E” to me, and instead just feels a little contrived.  What I do cherish is a small homemade something — a card, some tea personally delivered with a kiss, or a little treat.  I’m easy.  And I love doing the same in return just to keep in the spirit and show a little love.  I thought since Valentine’s Day is in 8 days (!), we should get organized and do a little planning.  Hence today’s themed post!  Here are some of my favorites to have some fun on Valentine’s Day:

 

Silicone Heart Molds

silicone molds

Nothing says Valentine’s Day  like heart-shaped food!  Impress your loved ones by whipping up your favorite muffins, cakes, and candies using these heart molds!  Heck, I think you could make my baked oatmeal in the shape of a mini heart!  I have a few heart-shaped silicone molds that are the perfect way to make anything into a shape of a heart.

Silicone does not outgas or leach, making it a much safer choice than a nonstick finish or aluminum leaching from metal baking pans.  Not all silicone molds are created equal though.  Do yourself a favor and look for food-grade silicone, with no added fillers.  I do wonder about the molds that are colored, but I cannot find any data on them.  I have this one from amazon which is less than $10.  And there are other sizes, as well.  Treats that would work nicely in the molds are the grain-free chocolate zucchini cake or the millet blondies, as well as any cookie or quick bread recipe.

 

Valentine’s Day Rubber Stamps

stamps

My son loves making his own cards, which I think are always so much cuter than store-bought.  But it can be a lot of work to make enough cards for the whole class plus all the teachers.  To the rescue are these cute rubber stamps.  I bought a few, including one that has a Happy Valentine’s Day message and a set with lots of different hearts, which comes with a pink ink pad.  Of course you can use any ink pad you want.  I love this one which will be back in stock on February 8th.  Stamp these on some craft paper and you’ve got yourself an adorable, easy, DIY Valentine!  Glued-on Hershey’s kiss optional.

Heart-Shaped Cookie Cutters

hearts

The year I bought these heart shaped cookie cutters, I used them to make hearts out of everything except cookies!  This is such an easy way to have some fun with your meals on Valentine’s Day.  You can cut almost anything into hearts, from cooked lasagne noodles, to carrots and beets, to pancakes and brownies, to toast and on and on.  I prefer graduated stainless steel cutters (versus plastic) that come with their own container for easy storage.  If you do buy metal ones, they’ll last longer if you wash and dry by hand.  These are a good set.

 

 

Superfood Spotlight: Pitaya

pitaya

There are a some foods that come in the most insane colors that it is hard to believe that they are found like that in nature.  I am thinking about a bright glowing orange butternut squash cut open right in the middle of winter.  Or a stunning green avocado split down the center.  And, the bright neon pink color of pitaya.  Have you ever seen pitaya??  It is unbelieveable!  This glowing hot pink fruit, a variation of the dragon fruit, is used similarly to acai- it is sold in packets of frozen puree and is great for making smoothies and bowls.  While acai has been the star player for a while now, the health benefits of pitaya are through the roof!  It contains cancer-fighting antioxidants and is even believed to help regulate blood sugar. The taste is mild and tart, not quite as sweet as acai but still juicy and satisfying.  You can find frozen pitaya at Whole Foods.  Use my acai bowl recipe and just sub pitaya for acai.

Seasonal Produce:  Blood Oranges

blood orange love

With the slim picking of produce right now, I am all over the citrus family.  Tangerines, oranges, grapefruits, pomelos, kumquats, you name it.  We all know that citrus fruits are packed with Vitamin C, but what if there was a citrus that also contained anthocyanins, the same antioxidants found in berries??  Well, let me introduce you to the blood orange, which is packed full of nutrition and deliciousness.  The name Blood Orange comes from the fact that the inside flesh has a red color.  Perfect for Valentine’s Day!

My favorite way to use blood oranges is in this Salmon, Beet and Spinach Salad.

Check out these other great way to use blood oranges from around the web!

Blood orange braised cabbage from My New Roots (which I made last night with a piece of halibut — very tasty)

Yummy Supper’s Warm rice salad with chard, feta, walnuts, and blood oranges

Smitten Kitchen’s  Flaky Blood Orange Tart

Click here for my post on how to segment and cut citrus fruit.

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