Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Guest Post: DIY Valentine's Treats

Valentine's Day is right around the corner.  Here are some ideas to make it fabulous!

Spoil your valentine with homemade sweet treats this year. These fun DIY food projects are a breeze to make and are as delicious to eat as they are to look at.

But before we get into the sweets, here's a fun and simple gift idea for your sweetie: Love coupons. Normally these coupons retail for $15 or more at specialty stores but with a little time, patience and creativity you can make your own for pennies of the price. All you need is some scrapbook paper, embellishments like stamps, stickers or ribbons and a pen to write your coupon sayings.

I recently read a blog by Ed Young, a well-known pastor and author, that gave me a fun idea for my coupons. He has made his wife Lisa feel like the apple of his eye for more than 30 years, and he lets her know every day he's thinking of her by doing sweet things for her. In the article, Pastor Young said he leaves little love notes throughout the house for his wife to find and loves making her her favorite foods.

Red Velvet Pancakes

For a romantic spin on breakfast, combine the deliciousness of a pancake with the richness of a red velvet cupcake. And what do you get? Red Velvet Pancakes! Yum.

Recipe courtesy from ThatsSoYummy.com.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons red food coloring
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, sour cream, food coloring and vanilla until combined. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until combined. Be careful not to over mix. Next, add chocolate chips and fold into batter. Pour about 1/3 cup onto medium/high griddle and lightly brown on both sides.
Sprinkle powdered sugar and fun heart sprinkles on top. Serve with maple syrup or cool whip, whatever you like!

Conversation Hearts Cheesecake

Who doesn't love cheesecake? Transform the traditional round cake for some candy-themed hearts. I guarantee they taste as good as they look.

Recipe courtesy of HungryHappenings.com

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Food coloring: pink, purple, yellow, green, blue and red
Supplies needed: Heart-shaped silicon mold, stand mixer or mixing bowl and hand-held mixer, rubber spatula, fine tip paint brush, roasting pan big enough to fit your heart-shaped molds.

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. You will need a water bath to bake the cheesecake, so line pan with enough water to go half way of the sides of the heart molds. 

Combine graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon and melted butter, stirring until it looks like sand. Spoon out a tablespoon of crumb mixture into each heart cavity and press the crumbs down firmly, making the crust even. Keep in refrigerator until ready to use. 

In a bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium high until smooth. Add sugar and beat for one minute. Add eggs and beat until creamy. Next, add sour cream and vanilla and mix just to combine. Equally divide the filling among six bowls and add food coloring to each bowl to create the colors you want. 

Pour colored cheesecake filling into the heart molds. Set the mold into the water bath and bake for 15-28 minutes. Once cool, use food coloring and fine tip paintbrush to paint conversation heart sayings in all capital letters. "BE MINE?"

For a detailed list of directions with pictures, visit the Hungry Happenings site.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie Topped With Valentine's MM'S

For a delicious treat, make a strawberry banana smoothie beautifully placed in a canning jar, topped with cool whip and pink, white and red MM's.

  • 1 banana
  • 4 large fresh strawberries or 1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 2 cups ice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla Greek yogurt
In a blender, combine all ingredients. Blend until smooth or until it reaches your desired consistency. Place smoothie in canning jars and top with some whipped cream and MM's. For an extra touch, tie some bakers twine around the lip of the jar.

Margaret Branson
Margaret has been redecorating homes since was 6, when she created curtains from pink Kleenex to match the parlor furniture in her dollhouse. She's been enjoying decorating and accenting rooms and giving advice to her readers on decorating, ever since.

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