Our Paleo Family

Valentine’s Day Recipe Round-Up

Valentine’s Day: It’s coming soon, that day we set aside to celebrate those we love the most. How do you show your love to your sweeties?

Here I am with my loves, enjoying one of our favorite places. I even love the small one who refuses to smile for photographs. Can you tell where we are?

When I was growing up, I always woke up Valentine’s morning to find one of those Russell Stovers red shiny heart shaped boxes filled with chocolates waiting for me. I knew it was coming, but it totally made my day! 

I continued that tradition with my kids for a while, but as I started thinking about what kind of little gift to give them this year, I couldn’t help thinking about all the candy they still have left from Halloween and Christmas. Way more candy than they will ever eat, frankly. And Easter is coming soon and you know there will be some chocolate eggs around!

So this year we decided to take the kids to the circus. You know, the greatest show on earth? It is ending it’s almost 150 year run this year. We’ve talked about going for years but never got around to it. Well, it’s now or never, so we went for it. I hope they love it!

But I also want to give them a little gift, a surprise to wake up to on Valentine’s morning. My daughter is really into Calico Critters. She absolutely loves these cute little animal “people” and all their stuff. She has houses, a camper, a car, a school, a treehouse, and on and on. It’s a lot of stuff and a lot of tiny little pieces. She plays with them so creatively though and that’s the kind of play I want to encourage. So this year we’re giving her the camping set. It’s not expensive and since we enjoy camping as a family, I thought it would be a fun addition to her collection.

Calico Critters Camping Set

My son loves to play games. We have all my old games and some of my husband’s from when we were kids and many of them are in pretty bad shape. I found a nice, wooden set that has chess, checkers, backgammon, Chinese checkers and several other games all in one box. It looks like something that he can keep and play with forever, then hand down to his kids, unlike our versions of those games in cheap cardboard and plastic.

In addition, each kid will get a roll of tape and a new pencil. They’re always stealing my tape so it must be ultra valuable. I’m sure they’ll love this gift. And they can never find a sharp pencil when they need one, which is only every single day, so they will get a new mechanical one. It will be lost by Wednesday.

And then there’s my husband. We’re not really a super romantic couple. We like to go on dates when we can and a few years ago, we started taking a weekend away just the two of us. This is an extremely valuable investment in our relationship. So we tend to not spend on little occasions, like Valentine’s or even our anniversary, but we do take a nice weekend away. Now, by nice I mean a biking weekend (see last year’s report on the Virginia Creeper here) or a quick trip to a beach. We like to be adventurous, spend as much time outside as possible, and do something active. This year we’re hoping to go to the Shenandoah Valley area of Virginia. I’m having trouble narrowing down our agenda because this is a big area. We want to do some hiking, some biking and some relaxing. If you know anything about that area and have recommendations, I’d love to hear them.

This year, Valentine’s Day lands on a Tuesday, which is Scout night in our house, so I won’t even see my husband much that day. While I was at Trader Joe’s this past weekend, they had tulips on sale, so I bought some for myself. When he got home from his camping trip, I told him thank you for the flowers. He just laughed. I know he appreciated it. I find that for us, it works well to keep expectations reasonable. I couldn’t be mad at him for not buying me flowers if he doesn’t know I want them or doesn’t have time to shop. I know some of you wouldn’t be happy with this sort of arrangement, but it works for us.

I show my love often through acts of service and many of those acts of service involve food. Last year, I created the chocolate cake you see below. The boys were camping the weekend before Valentine’s and it was a big surprise for them when they got home. This year….not so much. I’ve been so busy with other things that I haven’t planned a special meal or treat. But I will make sure they all get to eat – something – this week. 🙂

If you’re looking for special recipes to prepare for your loves, I recommend these classic chocolate favorites:

No One will Know it’s Paleo Chocolate Cake – this takes a little investment of time, but it is oh, so delicious! You could also make the cake and frost it with my paleo “buttercream” – so yummy! And faster.

Flourless Chocolate Brownies – these are quick, easy and call for ingredients you likely have on hand.

Fudge Bars – a Christmas classic in our house, but rich and fudgey and perfect for showing your love anytime of year!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries: our homeschool group is making these this coming week so I found this lovely picture on the internet. I have made them before and they’re super simple. Here’s how you do it:

  1. wash strawberries well and dry thoroughly
  2. place chocolate chips in saucepan over low heat and stir until melted (this is my preferred brand of chocolate chips – the mini ones melt really fast!).

  3. grasp stem and leaves firmly and swirl around in chocolate
  4. lay on parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate until chocolate hardens (this happens quickly so you won’t have to wait too long to enjoy them!)

Of course, if your sweetie doesn’t enjoy sweets, or is trying to avoid sweets, then these chocolate ideas are not good ones. Maybe your love enjoys a hearty, comforting meal. Then make chicken pot pie or fried chicken. For fried chicken, you could try the AIP version or the nut-crusted version. Both are really delicious! Choose what works for your family.

Whatever you do to celebrate Valentine’s Day, whether you have a sweetie to hug or not, I hope you remember that you are dearly loved by our God and Creator. He made you because He loves you and want to know you.

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave His son. His one and only son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in Him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.” John 3:16 The Message