If you are thinking about what you can throw together for Valentine’s Day dinner to delight your kids — or better yet, if you have not even started thinking about it yet, here are a few quick and easy ideas. Keep in mind that these ideas are for the laziest of lazy moms like me. If you have 3 Pinterest boards dedicated to potential Valentines-themed macaroons and tartlets to select from or if you have ever created your own holiday-themed goodies and specially lighted them for an edible glamour shot, stop reading here. We can’t be friends and you make me feel bad about myself. Lazy, busy and frazzled moms (I’m all 3)…read on.
1. Dye It Pink – If you have red food coloring, you can do this. My mom always used to pull this on us and it is AWESOME! Kids freakin’ love to come to the table and see regular stuff dyed colors (think green for St. Patty’s). Here are a few ideas, but be creative since enough food coloring can give virtually anything a pinkish hue. Some of my favorites are milk, mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower, vanilla pudding, yogurt, cottage cheese and cream cheese.
2. Heart Shapes – There are tons of kids foods that will accommodate heart shaping. You can take the cookie cutter route and make a heart shaped sandwhich, grilled cheese, pancake, eggs, mini pizza etc. You can also shape things yourself such as meat loaf. Even easier is just arranging food in a heart shape on the plate. M&Ms, berries, chocolate chips, olives, fruit/veggie pieces, cut up meat or even condiments like a heart-shaped squirt of ketchup or chocolate sauce.
3. Special Sweets – A special dessert always does the trick, but you may not have time to make a triple layer cake and ganache (whatever that is). Instead try cool whip and instant pudding or Jell-o. I remember thinking that this was a decadent and rare treat when I was little — especially when put into a ‘grown-up’ parfait-type glass. Another option is some vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce with some pink or red sprinkles (maybe you have some leftover red sprinkles from Christmas?). Even the most simple store bought desserts can be made toddler-fancy with a few flourishes. An ice cream sandwich with whipped cream and a strawberry on top is delicious. A spray whipped cream heart around 3 Oreos is art. Two chocolate chip cookies with ice cream in the middle rolled in sprinkles is heaven. Whipped cream and icing are your friend and they are also writing tools – write ‘I Love You’ on any food to make it special!
So go forth mommy and with just a little effort and virtually no thought, you can delight your little ones palates and show them you care. Unfortunately when they get older, this won’t fly– although I’d be pretty psyched if someone gave me a fancy ice cream sandwich on a plate and I’m 39 — so I’ll be keeping these ideas in play for as long as I can. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Check out our other Valentine’s Day/Love Themed Posts this week: On Brangelina’s Love Letter (Guest Post from Maura McCormick of Play Pen; The Irreverent Parents Guide and My Valentine’s Day Evolution.