A Few of Our Favorite Things – Valentine’s Day!

By Ann Fulton & Emily Russo, MS, RD, CDN

Cards and chocolate are always welcome, but we have a few new ways to send love on Valentine’s Day this year. From food to flowers, something for kids, and kitchen gadgets, there’s something sweet (and even spicy!) for everyone.
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Cards and chocolate are always welcome, but we have a few new ways to send love on Valentine’s Day this year. From food to flowers, something for kids, and kitchen gadgets, there’s something sweet (and even spicy!) for everyone.

 

Valentine’s Day is a holiday that celebrates love – love for friends, family, communities, neighbors, and sometimes that one special person. To kick off this year’s celebration, we’re starting with a few personal memories from our Valentine’s Days past…

Ann’s fondest memories are of decorating old shoe boxes used for school Valentine card exchanges and the anticipation of opening all those little cards with silly riddles and the occasional box of conversation hearts.

When Emily was little, her mother tied pink balloons to her kitchen table chair on Valentine’s Day morning. It was something she always looked forward to and was a special way to say I love you.

So without further ado, following are some ideas to make your holiday extra special this year. And please feel free to share your favorite Valentine’s Day memories!

 😘 FAVORITE WAY TO SET THE MOOD

Tulips are a lovely gift for a friend
🌷 Flowers

Roses are certainly the Valentine’s Day classic, but consider other arrangements that may surprise a neighbor, friend, or colleague.

Simple: Tulips feel like a harbinger of spring when the weather is anything but, and you can find beautiful and inexpensive bunches at the grocery store. Sharing them with a friend is sure to spread joy.

Fancy: If you’re looking for online delivery services and a curated selection of unique bouquets, check out Urbanstems. They offer next-day delivery nationwide and same-day delivery in NYC and DC. They responsibly and sustainably source all their stems so you can feel good about what you’re sending.

🍷 A bottle of red
Wine pairs so well with a romantic dinner at home. Here are two special bottles of red that have been our favorites this year:

Meiomi Cabernet Sauvignon from California is smooth and velvety. With its blackberry aromas and toasted vanilla notes, this wine is a crowd (or date) pleaser. $22.

Meiomi reds

Cooper & Thief Cellarmasters are known for aging their wines in bourbon barrels, a method that creates a uniquely rich flavor. Their red wine blend is smooth and jammy (a wine term referring to a cooked berry sweetness) and would pair very nicely with the next recommendation. $30.

Cooper & Thief Wine

🧀 Say cheese!
Cheese boards are a special and romantic way to start or end a dinner at home. Emily and her husband love to try interesting cheeses, but their son runs from the room if he smells anything too funky. For the holidays, Emily got her husband a cheese board that has a cover so that they can hide the smell when needed!

Crate and Barrel Cheese Board

🎵 Music
There’s nothing more romantic or nostalgic than playing “your song.” If you don’t have a song yet, you can borrow one of ours. Ann’s first dance at her wedding was “It Had to Be You” by Harry Connick Jr., while Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning” was Emily’s song of choice.

 

🍡 FAVORITE SHIPPED DESSERTS

Mini Melanie
We love to highlight women in food, especially fellow entrepreneurs. Melanie Moss is a parent at the preschool where Emily’s kids attend. She is the founder of Mini Melanie, a dessert business she owns and operates with her sister.

Mini Melanie Cake Pops

Emily has served their cake truffles and cake pops for celebrations, and they are always a hit. This Valentine’s Day, send something special (and unbelievably delicious) to your loved ones anywhere in the country – they ship nationwide and are guaranteed to please!

Personalized M&Ms
Emily’s daughter has a best friend named Jack (quite the coincidence with this name!). For her birthday, Jack’s mom thought it would be cute to get her personalized M&Ms with a picture of her on each candy.

But when we opened her gift, turns out the M&M store sent us personalized M&Ms with a photo of a random couple! Despite the snafu we enjoyed the candy and the laugh – personalized M&M’s are always a fun way to send love!

Does anyone recognize this cute couple?

🎁 FAVORITE GIFTS FOR A LOVED ONE

A Great Book
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig explores what our lives would look like if we had made different choices – what kind of relationships would we have, what would our profession be, and how would we define success? An enjoyable and thought-provoking read.

Fun Kitchen Gadgets
The home entertainer in your life is likely to have some fun with heart-shaped kitchen gadgets and tableware. Williams Sonoma has some festive options, including these heart appetizer plates, oven mitt and potholder set, matching adult and child heart aprons, this heart ice cube tray and more!

Something Spicy
For the hot sauce lover, Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to share something spicy! Try Fuego’s Hot Sauce of the Month Club for tasty small-batch hot sauces. Starting from $12.95, there are gift boxes to fit all your hot sauce needs and preferences!

Fountain Avenue Kitchen DIY Gifts
Don’t forget to check out this year’s Valentine’s Day Collection for DIY gifts, grafts, and recipes!

🧸 GIFTS FOR KIDS

For an exciting variation on the traditional Valentine’s Day card, kids can show love for their friends, family, and neighbors with this Hide & Seek Rock Painting Kit (see photo below). Find your own rocks, or use the smooth ones included in the box, which also contains paint and decals to make unique designs for pals. Alternatively, you can place them in spots around the neighborhood for others to find and brighten their day!

Valentines Day Rock Painting

We love this heart-shaped grilled cheese (using a heart-shaped cookie cutter), and so will your little ones. A simple way to say I love you without too much fan fare, it pairs well with this tomato soup on a cold, wintry day.

Grilled cheese and tomato soup are a match made it heaven...one that becomes infinitely more fabulous with a simple twist!

📹  FAVORITE VALENTINE’S DAY MOVIES

Looking for something new to watch this Valentine’s Day? Tick, Tick…Boom! (2021) starring Andrew Garfield as Jonathan Larson (the man behind Rent) and directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, is an autobiographical musical drama. The music and performances are excellent and heartfelt.

Leaning more towards a classic rom-com? In that case, I’d recommend visiting the 80’s or 90s when rom-coms were at their finest. It’s hard to find fault with When Harry Met Sally (1989) or You’ve Got Mail (1998).

👩🏼‍🍳 WHAT WILL WE BE EATING ON VALENTINE’S DAY?
The jury is still out on the final details, but we love these Fountain Avenue Kitchen recipe pairings:

Meal Suggestion For The Meat Lover:

Easy prep is followed by a low and slow stint in the oven for flavorful, fork tender meat that will warm your soul. Optional day-ahead prep offers added benefits and convenience. Beef Short Ribs with Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes and Blistered Green Beans.
Finish off the meal with Favorite Flourless Chocolate Cake.

Meal Recommendation For The Salmon Lover:

A simple spice rub and easy glaze meet heart-healthy salmon in this effortless entree that's worthy of the regular dinner rotation!
Chili-Maple Glazed Salmon with Whole Roasted Parmesan Cauliflower.
For something sweet, finish the meal with classic Chocolate Dipped Strawberries.

Meal Inspiration For The Vegetarian:

A protein-rich pasta will make this a filling meatless meal, although chicken, shrimp, white beans, or another protein of choice may be added.

Roasted Veggie Pesto Pasta and Almond Coconut Strawberry Shortcakes for dessert.

Meal Ideas For A Breakfast Celebration (and fun for the kids!):

How do you plan to celebrate your Valentine’s Day this year? Please share by commenting below. And if you end up trying one of our Fountain Avenue Kitchen recipes, post and tag us on Instagram or Facebook!

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