In the spirit of finding alternate ways of commemorating Valentine’s Day, and to follow up on Sandy’s blog post last week about treat ideas that don't mean consuming tons of candy, I would like to share some alternative gift ideas. Think outside of the box.....of chocolates! You don't have to turn to sugar to shower those you love with sweet treats in honor of the month of love! Kind gestures/gifts can be equally as nice, or even better!
As candy and chocolate last only a moment, these gifts can last forever…your loved one will be able to remember your thoughtfulness, generosity, as well as the time and effort you spent to make their day that much more special. Here are a few ideas to give you some inspiration:
- Homemade card with construction paper and a personal note: think how much Grandma, Mom, or Dad would love to see your creativity and skill!
- Framing one of your favorite photos: what a great way to “capture the moment” and remember a special memory you shared with your loved one.
- Painting something at a pottery painting venue (like a bowl, or a picture frame!...something that would get used or displayed and remind the person of your effort and creativity)
When I think of Valentine’s Day, my thoughts revolve around hearts, flowers, sweet delights and the people in my life. I try to celebrate this day in a way that tells them that I love them. Should I send hearts made of chocolate? Well…I could, but what about celebrating the day in a way that is not just about candy, candy and more candy?...this day is about celebrating the people around us in ways both "traditional" and not so traditional.
Valentine’s Day is not just an excuse for an all out “Sweets Fest”. There are many ways to enjoy the day and still have a sweet indulgence. Get the family together and try this: melt a good quality dark chocolate (8oz or more) in a microwave safe container. You will want to chop the chocolate into pieces and put the timer on 3 intervals of about 1 minute each. Stir the chocolate until it is blended and melted thoroughly. Allow it to cool down.
Dip cut up fruits such as mangos, whole strawberries (organic if possible),orange slices, apple slices, bananas, and even pretzel rods. This is a sweet indulgence for everyone with the benefits of dark chocolate and fresh fruit together! ) Dark chocolate is a strong anti-oxidant, which offers protection against free radicals and also contain flavonoids.
Dr. Oz describes flavonoids as “these really powerful, vitamin-like substances that when you eat them, dilate the arteries of the body," Dr. Oz says. "We actually have data they may be beneficial to the heart. So a little bit of dark chocolate is a wonderful healthy dessert."
Dark chocolate (70 % or higher cocoa contents is ideal, anything over 50%-60% is far better than milk chocolate which does not have the health benefits of dark; remember, the higher the percentage, the more flavonoids).