Why I celebrate Valentine’s (and a wheat-free Valentine’s day menu!)

  When I was a little girl we lived across the country from my grandma.  Yet each year at Valentine’s we received a little box from her with the same, predictable items in it:  tiny stuffed animal for each of us girls, a small box of chocolates, and her traditional, heart-shaped, pink-icing, double-layered lemony cookies.  I knew what was in that box each year, and each time it arrived in the mail I couldn’t wait to open it.

Fast forward to my college/career single days, and I still liked Valentines.  My grandma had passed away, so now it meant watching chick flicks and eating raw cookie dough with my friends and waiting until February 15 when all the chocolate went on sale.

Now I have kids.  And they love cookies.  And I love to make our traditional cookies which have next to no nutrition benefits but are oh-so-good for my soul, because they remind me of the love I have received in the past and make for special memories with my kids now.

We will make those cookies tomorrow, together, as we laugh and talk about whatever is on our hearts.  I will make heart-shaped salmon-salad sandwiches for lunch, because my girls love everything hearts right now.  We will have a “treasure hunt” and find a box of chocolates.  And then we will close the day with our traditional “spaghetti” and meatballs dinner.

Last night my hubby and I celebrated at a little Italian restaurant back in the Houston suburbs that we found nearly ten years ago when we first moved here.  It reminds of of Tarentelli’s in New Jersey, where we celebrated our first Valentine’s together.  Today we also ate out,  so I’m looking forward to balancing out the high-carb, high-fat outings and traditional cookies with some protein and fiber tomorrow night.

We don’t typically follow a gluten-free diet, but  I have fallen in love with my Veggetti slicer and  I can’t wait to substitute the long curls of zucchini for traditional spaghetti.  We are cleaning out the freezer, and I have a package of venison and a package of wild pig that I can grind up for the meatballs.

So, my wheat-free, lower-carb plan for tomorrow:

  • zucchini spirals sauteed in olive oil
  • homemade meatballs and spaghetti sauce
  • green beans with olive oil, tarragon, and salt
  • salad of course!
  • fondue-style fresh fruit dipped in chocolate sauce (chocolate chips melted with cream)
  • rose bouquet centerpiece
  • background music (Luigi Boccherini or Yo Yo Ma)

I love simple traditions that tell my family how much they matter.  I love the reminder that comes each year to do something sweet for loved ones.  I love keeping it simple but fun, so that we can look forward to it year after year.

Happy healthy Valentines to you and yours!