Valentine’s Day


How do you celebrate the holidays?  Halloween, Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day?

Holidays in our house have changed in the pasted couple years.

Halloween is no longer about going out late to costume parties and drinking spiked punch;

Now, it means pumpkin picking, putting together the perfect costume for my little guy, and trick-or-treating in our neighborhood.

Christmas used to be focused around where we were going and what gifts we were going to give or receive;

Last year, we sipped hot cocoa with homemade marshmallows (recipe to come) by the fire, watched just about every animated Christmas show on tv at least three times, and decorated the house to look like something out of National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation.

Easter meant church and then finding the best brunch spot in town;

These days it’s Easter egg hunts in the backyard and dying eggs (and our fingers) all different colors.

Valentine’s day is no exception.

To be  honest, Valentine’s day used to stress me out a bit.

Either I didn’t have a Valentine, so I spent it with my single girl friends eating chocolate and watching sappy movies, or I was in a relationship and worried about planning something somewhat romantic.

It seems Valentine’s Day has always been filled with high expectations. 

Valentine’s day these days means doilies, construction paper, and glitter and baking donuts with sprinkles for toddler tea parties (http://17andbaking.com/2010/02/02/rising-confidence-and-yeast-raised-doughnuts/).

This year we decided to have some of James’ friends from preschool and their parents over for a festive Valentine’s brunch.  

After the Evite was sent out, I started looking on Pinterest for inspiration for ideas for food and games for the event.  

Pinterest is the perfect party planning tool!  

To entertain the kids, I made a punch box similar to this one-http://pinterest.com/pin/152418768608647935/, only I made it using heart-shaped cut-outs and red and pink polka-dotted tissue paper.  The kids had a blast punching through the holes and finding surprises inside.

The kids drank strawberry milk (made with strawberry Nesquik)…I’ve found that most kids love when things are tinted pink!  Red and white straws also livened up the drinks-http://www.amazon.com/Kikkerland-Biodegradable-Paper-Straws-Striped/dp/B004K8N0Z0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329176297&sr=8-1

I tossed together a pizza with some dough I had frozen (http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/001199.html), mozzarella, cheddar, parmasan, and cut out heart-shaped pepperoni…you can never have too many heart-shaped things on Valentine’s day!

I tried making a citrus berry terrine for the first time and it came out great!  I used strawberries, blueberries, and oranges.  Super simple recipe-http://doriegreenspan.com/2009/07/-if-youre-looking-for.html.  It is so colorful and refreshing…your guests will love it!

Cinnamon raisin pecan rolls with big dollops of cream frosting = yummazing!  http://joythebaker.com/2009/06/cream-cheese-cinnamon-rolls/

And then there was granola…this has become my favorite things to make.  I probably make a batch of granola or granola bars every week.  It is so hearty and satisfying…and it’s a “heart”-healthy treat for the day.  I’ll be posting a granola making tutorial soon, but for now, I’ll just give you a teaser…cashews, pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds, cranberries, honey, cinnamon…home-baked goodness-

And last but most certainly not least, a giant apricot and cream filled danish…this pastry will blow your mind!  Check out my recipe in a post later today-

We also served up a big batch of extra thick bacon (bacon can never be too thick!) and chicken apple breakfast sausages (a staple in our house).  A little protein is essential to balance out all those sweet treats!

Everyone left with full bellies and ready to take naps.  

I like how things have changed around here.  Every year we seem to add new traditions to our holiday mix.

However you choose to celebrate the day, I hope you enjoy a special Valentine’s day with the ones you love.

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