By Jillian Moore
Whether you bring a date or embrace your independence with friends, Valentine’s Day is a reason to celebrate. Here’s a list of a refreshments to make every guest happy:
1. Love comes in all shapes and sizes, and drinks do too! Put a festive spin on a classic with Strawberry Moscow Mules.
- 1.5 ounces vodka (1 shot)
- 1.5 ounces strawberry soda (get the sweet stuff!)
- ½ of small lime
- 8 ounces ginger beer
- strawberries and lime slices for garnish (optional)
- Pour vodka, strawberry soda, juice of ½ lime and ginger beer into copper mug or glass.
- Stir to combine, serve cold.
2. Serve Stupid Cupid’s cocktail for the bitter friend who couldn’t find a date.
- 2 ounces gin
- juice of ½ a lemon
- ½ ounce lime cordial
- dash grenadine
- dash bitters
- salt for rim
- raspberries & mint leaf to garnish
- Combine gin, lemon juice, lime cordial, grenadine & bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with crushed ice.
- Shake vigorously.
- Strain into a cocktail glass that is rimmed with salt and garnish with raspberries & a mint leaf.
3. Red Velvet Puppy Love Chow is perfect for the young couples just getting started.
- 5 C. Rice Chex cereal
- ¾ C. white chocolate melts or chips
- ¼ C. chocolate melts or chips
- 2 oz. cream cheese, room temp
- 1 ½ Tbsp. milk
- 1 C. Red Velvet Cake mix
- ½ C. powdered sugar
- Valentines colored M&M’s or other candies
- Heart sprinkles
- Measure out Rice Chex cereal and place into a large bowl.
- Place cake mix and powdered sugar into a large plastic bag or Tupperware with a lid.
- Melt chocolates together in the microwave or on the stovetop. Careful not to burn and stir until smooth.
- Stir in cream cheese and milk (the chocolate will get thicker, but it’s okay)
- Pour chocolate over Rice Chex cereal and stir until coated.
- Dump cereal into the bag or Tupperware with powdered sugar and cake mix. Shake, shake, shake until coated.
- Dump onto a cookie sheet and let cool.
- Mix with extra colorful candies and serve!
**NOTE: Because of the cream cheese, keep in the fridge if you won’t be eating them that day. You can also omit the cream cheese all together if you wish…if you do that, you don’t need the milk either!
4. Dairy-Free Fudge for the animal lovers who still want their chocolate fix.
- 1 can (13.5 fluid ounces) full fat coconut milk
- ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
- 3 cups dairy free dark chocolate chips
- Line an 8x8 inch square pan with parchment paper so that there is an overhang on two sides.
- Place the coconut milk in a sauce pan and heat over medium low heat, just until it starts to stem a little bit. Sift in the confectioner’s sugar and whisk to combine. Do not overheat or boil.
- Add the chocolate chips and stir well until fully melted. This will happen quickly, don’t burn the chocolate.
- Pour into the prepared pan and spread out evenly with a spatula. Let it cool for about 30 minutes on the counter.
- Place in the refrigerator for two hours or until the fudge is firm.
- Use the parchment paper to remove the fudge from the pan, then slice into squares.
- Store in the refrigerator.
5. Don’t suffer through Cheesy Dates — make your own!
- Pitted or unpitted dates
- Cheese: soft goat cheese, creamy blue cheese or a sharp, salty gouda would all be amazing
- Slit each date in half lengthwise, remove the pit and replace it with a piece of your favorite cheese
WAYS TO SAY I LOVE YOU
If a party isn’t your style, show how much you care by giving sweet treats to every loved one in your life.
1. Heart-Shaped Bacon, because well, who doesn’t love bacon morning or night?
- Line a baking sheet with tin foil. (Fold edges upward so you capture the grease. This makes it so you basically don’t have any clean up.) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Take two pieces of bacon and proceed to fold them into a heart. You will start by overlapping the two pieces at the bottom of your heart and then loop the sides up to make the round tops. Twist the top bacon loop so the bottom is now facing up–this will give the heart more dimension.
- Once you’ve made all of your hearts, bake the bacon for about 15 minutes
2. If our predictions are correct, both kids and kids at heart will go crazy for these Fruit Roll-Up Fortunes.
- 1 box Fruit Roll-Ups
- Permanent marker
- Parchment paper (Don't use plain paper; it will stick to the Fruit Roll-Up.)
- 1 (2-inch) round cookie cutter
- Write messages with a permanent ink marker on parchment paper.
- Unroll 1 Fruit Roll-Up (any flavor you prefer), and cut it into 4 squares.
- Stack the 4 squares on top of one another, and cut with the 2-inch round cookie cutter.
- Grab the corners, and crease in the middle, pinching to form the fortune cookie shape. Pinch the shape together in the middle until it sticks and stays folded.
3. Aim for convenience and ease by spreading the love with Cupid’s Arrows.
- Heart-shaped gumdrops
- Pretzel sticks
- Add a heart to each end of the pretzel sticks
- Use the top of the heart for one side and the bottom of the heart for the other so it looks like an arrow.
4. Valentine’s Day Trail Mix is the perfect tasty snack for the health nuts in your life — and it doesn’t need a cheat day!
- ½ cup goji berries
- ½ cup mulberries
- ¼ cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
- ⅓ cup cashews (raw or roasted & unsalted)
- ⅓ cup sliced almonds (toasted)
- 2-3 sections of dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- Mix ingredients together in a small bowl and serve. Store in an airtight container for up to 7-10 days.