I’ve always thought Valentine’s Day was kind of silly. I’m sure that I really enjoyed the holiday back in elementary school when we made little Valentine mailboxes out of shoe boxes and got lots of adorable cards and candy. But once those days ended, Valentine’s Day probably fell to the bottom of my ‘favorite holiday’ list, somewhere between St. Patrick’s Day and Boxing Day.
It’s not that I’ve ever had a bad Valentine’s Day experience. I’ve been married to/dating the same fella for 6 Valentine’s Days. And every single year has been celebrated with good food and a fun time together. In fact, for your viewing pleasure, I have compiled the few photos that I could find of our previous Valentine’s Day celebrations. Apparently I am not very good at actually getting photos of us on Valentine’s Day, but the food was certainly well documented.
Valentine’s 2007: I couldn’t find a photo of this, but I’m pretty sure that Eric brought me flowers and took me down to the river in Oldham County, where we enjoyed a picnic in the back of his 4Runner. I specifically remember eating a ton of chocolate covered pretzels.
2008: We made scrambled eggs and biscuits in the kitchen of Eric’s dorm. I believe we wore sweats and gorged ourselves on some s’mores dessert.
2009: We wanted to go hiking, but it ended up being crazy cold outside, so we set up my tent in Eric’s apartment living room and watched movies. I’m pretty sure we had steak and asparagus for dinner.
2010: We cooked a dinner of steak, asparagus, rolls, and sparkling grape juice. The steak was most likely cooked on my roommate’s George Foreman grill. Classy.
2011: I don’t have any photos of last Valentine’s Day, so I’m going to assume we ate steak and asparagus, along with some indulgent chocolate dessert.
2012: Eric is cooking dinner tonight (steak and asparagus; how did you guess?!), and I made red velvet cake bites for dessert (recipe to follow).
So this year, I’m casting aside my former dislike of Valentine’s Day. Why should I not love a holiday that encourages (and even urges) massive chocolate consumption? How could I not love a holiday that can provide its own genre of tacky clothing (ugly Valentine’s sweater parties, anyone?)? Why have I never enjoyed a holiday that is focused on sharing love with others?
I got so into the Valentine’s Day spirit this year that I painted my fingernails pink (I only paint my nails about once a year, so this is a bigger deal than it seems), and wore Valentine’s Day colors of pink and purple. I smiled at my Valentine themed Starbucks cup when I met Eric for a coffee date this afternoon. I wished friends a ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ at Zumba last night. I’m a changed woman.
I guess it helps that my super wonderful and thoughtful husband left me little notes all around the house this morning, written in crayon on paper hearts he cut out himself. How cute is he? I’m firmly against Eric spending a ton of money on roses for me (I prefer the gift of keeping that $50 in our bank account), so I always request that we don’t celebrate this holiday with gifts. A thoughtful note means more to me than a dozen roses. Anywho, before I get too lovey-dovey and make everyone uncomfortable, I’ll give you the recipe for red velvet cake bites. I would like to thank my dear friend Becca for opening my eyes to the world of cake bites a few years ago. They are the bomb. Let me warn you that these are in no way healthy. But it’s Valentine’s Day. Live it up, friends.
Red Velvet Cake Bites
1 box red velvet cake mix (and all ingredients required for baking the cake)
1 can cream cheese frosting
1 package white almond bark
Bake the cake according to package instructions in a 13 x 9 inch pan. Let the cake cool completely (I usually bake the cake in the evening and let it cool overnight).
Break the cake up with a fork or spoon and put it into a large bowl. Mix in the cream cheese frosting until well combined (it will be very moist and messy).
Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Using your hands, shape the cake mix into small balls and place on the wax paper. Place in the freezer for a least 4 hours.
When the cake balls are frozen, melt the almond bark on the stove in a saucepan over low heat, stirring continuously until melted. Dip the cake balls into the melted almond bark and return them to the wax paper. Freeze until ready to serve.
I have made these things about a dozen times, and I still have no idea how to make them look pretty. Mine always turn out kind of globby and ugly. I picked out the most beautiful ones to photograph for you. The rest are far worse. But I am a firm believer that taste is more important than presentation. And these are divine. But if anyone would care to improve my presentation, please tell me how to dip them in almond bark correctly. Thank you.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Update: No photos of the dinner this year, but the steak was awesome. We must share the recipe for the brine Eric masterfully whipped up this morning. It’s so good!