V-day gift ideas

February 13, 2012 at 10:00 am 2 comments

I spent my weekend in Charlotte hanging out with the fam, job hunting, picking out suitcases and bikinis for the cruise, and baking some sweet treats.

I love Valentine’s day. I know some consider it just a Hallmark holiday…but I think it is a special day to let the ones who matter know just how much they are loved πŸ™‚ I got wrapped up baking away in the kitchen with my mom on Friday night making treats for all my valentines. If you are in need of some fresh V-day ideas for your loved ones—here are some gifts for every Valentine in your life!

1. The Watching My Waistline Valentine

One of my favorite cookies are the light, airy meringues my Grams makes. Meringues are cookies with nothing but egg whites, sugar and vanilla–they are delicioso! So Friday my mom and I experimented with a healthy, heart-shaped version of meringues: the Pavlova. Think of a Pavlova as crispy on the outside, light on the inside, really big meringue.

Pavlova Heart with Strawberries

  • 1/2 cup egg whites (approx. 4 egg whites)
  • 1/4 tsp. Cream of Tartar
  • 3/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup Stevia
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • Sliced strawberries

Using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar while continuing to beat the eggs at medium speed. Beat until soft peaks form–meaning, when you pull the beaters out of the mixturem little hills form but the peaks lean over and do not stick straight up.

Then continue mixing and add sugar and stevia, a little bit at a time, until stiff peaks form (now when you pull the beaters out, the little mountains that form should stick straight up, and the mixture will be glossy white). Add cornstarch to the mixture and fold in with a spatula. Add the lemon juice and vanilla and fold in, careful not to deflate the egg whites. Plop the pavlova mixture onto a greased baking sheet in the shape of a large heart, building up the sides. You can outline the edges of the heart with a fork if you want to be fancy πŸ™‚ Bake for 30-40 minutes at 300* F (until hard to the touch). When done, crack your oven door and leave the pan in the oven for another 20 minutes, to dry out.

You’ll have a crispy and light heart-shaped pavlova when you’re done! Fill the middle of the heart with sliced strawberries and enjoy! (**Note: normal meringues and pavlovas are made with all sugar. The stevia is a good sugar substitute, but gives the meringue more of a foamy/airy inside instead of the normal crunchy meringue. If you want that crunch and can spare the calories…replace the stevia with more white sugar!)

2. The Chocoholic Valentine

Seriously, you can never go wrong giving your valentine chocolate! And making your own chocolate valentines can be SO simple! All you need is three easy ingredients from the grocery store.

Cake Balls

  • Box cake mix of your choice
  • 1 tub of icing
  • Dipping Chocolate (I like Candi-Quik)

Prepare the cake mix according to the instructions on the back of the box and let cool for at least 30 minutes. Crumble the cake into a large mixing bowl and add 3/4 of the tub of icing to the crumbles. Using a spatula, mush the cake crumbs and icing together. Add more icing as you see fit, you are looking for the consistency of sticky play-dough. Roll the dough into small, 1-inch balls. Melt the dipping chocolate as the instructions direct (careful not to burn it!) and dip the balls into the chocolate and let cool on a sheet of aluminum foil. If the balls begin to break apart while dipping, it may be helpful to fridge them for a few minutes to firm them up.

I like to dip in white and milk chocolate. I added some pink food coloring to the white to make it more Valentine-y. If you have spare chocolate, drizzle some over the balls and add sprinkles. You can even dip strawberries!

Put them in a little aluminum bowl with a lid and wrap in some pretty ribbon. They really do make great gifts!

3. The Artsy Valentine

If all else fails, use the simplest trick in the book–MAKE YOU OWN VALENTINES!

They are so much more personal than store-bought cards. And all you need is some paper and a few markers. Piece of cake (that would be a good gift too…) πŸ˜‰

Who will you show some love to this V-day?




Entry filed under: Dessert, Holidays. Tags: , , , , .

On My Way Home Be Mine

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Erin  |  February 13, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    you. duh πŸ˜‰
    Prepared to be wowed

  • 2. dee  |  February 16, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    You Should come home more often… the candy tricks were great…… thanks for the Valentine card…..you are unbelievable…..
    Love nana


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