With the nation’s most romantic holiday just around the corner, everyone is asking the same questions: “How will YOU celebrate?” Though I’ve been single for more years than I can count on hands and feet, I’m a hopeless romantic at heart. That being said, I’ve whipped up a few hearty concoctions for you to try at home this year: A smoothie recipe with extra charm, a Mac and Cheese recipe made with love, and a super easy chandelier DIY to romance the atmosphere…
For this Valentine’s Day favorite you can romance the heart with any kind of smoothie you desire. Above is a kale & coconut milk concoction which you can find in my Healthy Smoothies column, however, the real secret here is using strawberries to make little hearts in and around the cup. To cut the strawberry in the shape of a heart begin by laying one strawberry down on its widest side and use a knife to cut the stem out in a deep V. Now slice the strawberry along the same axes into 4 slivers, each will now be in the shape of a heart! Place one of these hearts along the rim, and put the rest inside of the smoothie. To put them along the edge of your glass place the strawberry along the inside wall at the top of the drink, then use a knife to press the strawberry slice against the wall of the glass as you push it down into the drink. Repeat with the other strawberry hearts. Share your drink with a partner or make enough for the entire soiree. This smoothie recipe also makes a great breakfast to surprise your love bright and early.
Mac with Love
Everyone loves Mac and Cheese, so you’re already on your way to winning over hearts the moment you decide to make this dish. The additional romantic twist is in the heart shaped sausages. I used bratwurst for flavor, but hot dogs are the popular solution to this five-star delicacy. Begin by cooking your mac as you normally would, <<here’s a link to my personal favorite recipe for a healthy mac>> to add the hearts use a knife to cut out a 1/5 size chunk of meat down the length of the sausage, then slice them into quarter-inch divisions and toss the hearts into the recipe. Serve as you normally would and enjoy the surprised look on your guests’ faces as they realize the mac really was “made with love.”
Love is in the Air
Here we have a ceiling adorned with hearts to set the romantic atmosphere. Before going into details, I want to share with you two of my favorite tricks for decorating for parties, that I’m sure you will find useful:
1. YOUR LOCAL DOLLAR STORE. They will have cute and inexpensive themed decorations, just shop early enough in the season before they sell out. When everything costs a dollar, a little goes along way. Remember that the decor from a dollar store isn’t necessarily meant to last, but it makes a beautiful statement when decorating a home! Your purchases were worth the short-lived investment if they made people happy and if they helped make the occasion more memorable.
2. NEEDLE AND THREAD. For this decorating trick, you do not need to know how to sew, the only technique you must know is getting the thread through the eye of the needle. Trust me – it’s not that hard! The thread will be used for dangling decor from your ceiling. Thread is perfect for this because it is so thin that you can’t see it unless you’re looking for it, and it’s really quite durable and easy to manipulate into knots. While many people opt for fishing line because it’s clear, the tangled mess fishing line will make is not worth the effort; thread will be easier to work with and just as unnoticeable. Please use thread, it’s cheaper too.
Now that you know two of my party secrets I hope you can venture to your local dollar store and find what you need! To create the heart chandelier as pictures above I found a heart garland at the dollar tree, and bought red and black construction paper along with it. I draped the garland around my ikea lights with tape and flair. Then I filled the ceiling with hanging hearts on a string. To recreate this look you can cut colorful paper into varying sized hearts and string them together with needle and thread, tying a small knot at the base of each heart before stringing the next one on. I formed about 7 different threads of dangling hearts and hung them up on the ceiling with tape around the chandelier to create a ceiling full of love.
The reason I aim for the ceiling when it comes to party decor, is so people will not be bumping into it and messing it up, decor is best when it stays out of the way! With a fanciful ceiling, you are not creating any extra clutter at the scene of the party you are merely creating an ambience, as if to say “love is in the air!”
Conclusion: Feel the Love
With these three healthy, tasty, and crafty Valentine’s Day ideas I hope you now feel a little more prepared to celebrate one of my favorite occasions! Whether your holiday looks like a romantic night for you and your boo, or a rom-com fest with your girls, or perhaps a love appreciation day with the family… the truth is, everybody has someone to love, so be sure to tell them how much they mean to you.
Thanks for reading! I’d appreciate if you could spread the love here on my blog by SHARING your favorite idea in the comments below, which DIY will you be trying? Also, don’t forget to let Pinterest and Twitter know how you feel! 😉 Happy Valentine’s Day!