Monday, February 10

Valentine's Day Ideas

Valentine’s Day Cooking, Decorating and Crafts

February is the month of romance.  All across America we celebrate St. Valentine's Day but did you know that Valentine's Day is also celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia.
Have you ever wondered how this day for Love got started?

The Legend of St. Valentine
Saint Valentine was a real person and the patron Saint of young love and happy marriages.

The Catholic Church recognizes a martyred Saint named Valentine, and records say that Valentine was a priest in third century Rome.  The Emperor thought single men made better soldiers, so he outlawed
marriage for all young men.  Valentine defied the decree and continued to perform marriages in secret. 

Another version of the story says Valentine was jailed and sentenced to death in Rome, after helping Christians escape death by the Romans.  It is said he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and wrote love letters to her signed “from your Valentine”. 

By the Middle Ages Valentine became one of the most popular saints in England and France.

Valentine's Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine's death, which probably occurred around A.D. 270.  
Pagans believe the date was set in February to overshadow their fertility festival.

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine's didn't begin to appear until after 1400.

Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as "scrap." Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (Christmas being number one.)

Decorating Ideas:
Here are a few decorating, craft and recipe ideas. 
Hint: A few decorations placed around the house will help remind your husband or partner that's it's Valentine's Day! 

Valentine Blocks: 
Great for decorating the entry. Click here for directions:

Set out small little heart shaped or love themed bowls filled candy and chocolates.

Felt Hearts:
To make these simple felt hearts cut 2 heart shapes from red felt. 
Use white cross-stitching thread to sew the two hearts together around the edges.
Just before finishing the last few stitches add a little cotton filling.  If desired, add a loop for hanging.

I purchased this beautiful carved wooden heart from JoAnn's Fabric Store for $1.49. 

Target has lovely Valentine’s decorations, including this vintage look wooden LOVE sign.
I display mine on the entry table along with a crocheted heart.

This is a fun and easy adult or kids craft.  If you’re sending out Valentine’s Day cards or giving them to friends these are great little gifts to include.  
My daughter and I recently started a Book Club so I'm giving these out at the February meeting.

 Supplies needed: 
  • paint color strips (from a local home improvement store)
  • glue
  • scissors
  • scrapbooking paper
  • ribbons
  • a circle and a heart shaped hole punch

Choose paint strips that are Valentine color themed.

The back of the paint strips have store names and advertisements so glue the paint strips onto Valentine themed scrapbooking paper. 
Cut out around the paint strip. Clip corners of one end if desired.
Punch heart shape holes the length of the paint strip, then punch out a round shaped hole at the top. Add a ribbon in the round hole. 

A finished bookmark and
the back of one in the making.

If desired, use a red ink pen to sign and date your bookmarks. 
An added bonus: the heart shapes punched out of the bookmarks can be used as Valentine’s confetti!

These would also be great to string and use as a mini banners for cupcakes.

Valentine’s Day Food:
Romantic Dinner:
Food seems to be the center of a lot of Holidays, and Valentine’s Day is no exception.  Many people dine out. But if you decide to home cook a romantic dinner, here's a recipe for Jamaican Pork Tenderloin
It’s pretty easy to make but looks amazing served with a spring mix salad that topped with pecans and cranberries. Substitute Raspberry Jam in the sauce where called for. It will give it a redder color for Valentine's Day.

Setting the Mood:
Have multiple red candles on the table during dinner, giving off a warm romantic feel.
I like to re-purpose my beautiful red sparkling Christmas candles for Valentine’s Day.
Just reminder, candles are hot and the wax is extremely hard to remove.  This I know first hand, ugh.  Always use caution and make sure to have each candle on or in a container.

Informal Dinner:
For an informal dinner, my son’s girlfriend Jennica made 2 heart shaped pizzas. 
She spread the dough into greased heart shaped cake pans, (these are very used and worn out pans, ugh).
She then added sauce, cheese and my son Daniel’s favorite toppings. What a cute idea!

Try using red bell peppers instead of green, sliced white button mushrooms or white onions.
And pizza sauce and pepperoni are shades of red! 

But honestly, the heart shape alone is what got me.

Another tip:
Like my son and his girlfriend Jennica, sometimes schedules conflict.  Solution: Celebrate Valentine's Day on the day before or after, you'll beat the busy restaurant crowds.
And if you have kids, a babysitter may be easier to find!

Valentine’s Dessert Ideas:

Brownies: Make box or from scratch brownies, top with chocolate icing then place whole raspberries or strawberry halves on top.  Or sprinkle brownies with red and pink M and M’s or little candy heart sprinkles.

Make this easy and oh so delicious Raspberry Sponge Cake.

Use Valentine themed cupcake liners for a festival touch to cupcakes. Add a mini banner made from the heart shapes left over from the bookmarks, tie to sticks and put on cupcakes.

Whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies and immediately after pulling them out of the oven, push a few red and pink M & M’s into them. The same idea works with other cookies such as sugar or oatmeal.   
Or shape the cookie dough into hearts before baking.


Eggs in the Blanket:  Make “egg in a blanket”, but instead of a cutting a round hole into the bread, cut a heart shape.  I love this one and is one I'm serving on Valentine's morning.

Toast:  After toasting cut the bread into heart shapes either free hand or with a cookie cutter. Serve with red jams or jellies like strawberry or raspberry.

Heart Shaped Egg:  One that’s a little trickier but really fun is a heart shaped egg.   Place a heart shaped cookie cutter into a lightly greased skillet and crack an egg into it.  Let the egg cook until mostly set.  Remove the cookie cutter and any part of the egg that might have seeped out of the cookie cutter.  Flip egg once to complete cooking if needed.  Again, this one is a little tricky and may take practice. 

Happy Valentine's Day!
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  
Love never fails." ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4 - 8 

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love
But the greatest of these is love"
 ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13


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Anonymous said...

Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you provide. Excellent ideas, especially the heart pizza! Carol

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Thanks Carol, the pizza was my son's girlfriends idea. I think it turned out great!

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