"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." The great cartoonist Charles M Schulz perhaps explains Valentine's Day better than anyone. While most people
look at the day as a romantic holiday to get beautiful red rose bouquets delivered from Mark's Garden or bought on line at Costco, I see it with a whole different spin.
Now all of you who
know me, have experienced first hand the excitement in my eyes at the end of December when the Valentine aisle appears at Michael's. Rows of red ribbon decorated with hearts, red plastic heart boxes, shiny heart bags, heart cupcake liners, cake decorations,
confetti, blank cards, and wreaths for the front door fill my basket, along with my 25% off your total order coupon. Nevermind that it's not even December 25th yet. For me, Valentine's Day is just around the corner.
After loading (hiding) all of my Michael's crap in the trunk of the car I wander over to Dollar Tree to see what I can find before it's sold out (by the end of December, mind you). There I find heart tins perfect for giving
heart cookies. And I will make them. Buttery-dipped-in-chocolate heart shortbread cookies that melt in your mouth. For a buck, the tins are bright pink and red, and I snatch up about 10 of them. I also grab the shredded red and pink paper which costs $3.99
a bag at Michaels, even with my coupon. Man, you've got to love that Dollar Tree. This junk I hide in my closet.
When December's over I casually walk through See's Candy to check
out what's in store for Valentine's Day. But I don't buy it. Because it's wrong to buy candy weeks before it's going to be consumed. You never buy until the week before if you're giving the chocolates to someone. Now I didn't say anything about chocolate
that you might have to eat before Valentine's Day; that's another story. At See's take photos, go online, make a list, then return a week before VD and buy the following, if I may be so blunt as to suggest: Milk Chocolate Bordeaux Hearts
($5.20) Milk Chocolate Hearts ($7), and of course Bridge Mix ($18.50 for my mom! ) See's is for See's lovers only! Samples abound so I always get some butterscotch squares while I'm there, I mean they practically insist you have a sample.
So back to the weeks before Valentines Day, shop every grocery store imaginable from Bristol Farms and Whole Foods to Ralph's to find any and all commercially made candy from Rollo to
Hershey's miniatures. They all taste so much better enrobed in their Valentine's wrappers. Buy them all to fill mini Papyrus bags for your best Valentine friends. Sample each one to make sure they are as delicious as they were last year. (They are!)
Next make cards. That's right. Get stickers, buttons, jewels and any other red and white fun crafting items you can find at Michael's. Spend hours in Michael's selecting perfect supplies for designing
cards and envelopes. (Note to self: This is why no one, and I mean no one will ever go with me to Michael's. Ashley Crosner, I mean you!) Eat some of the mini Reese's peanut butter cups while crafting. They go well with creating and give
Once you've experience all the sweet love of Valentine's Day you still have Valentine's night to look forward to. Look for restaurants that are serving creamy silky chocolate mousse,
succulent juicy chocolate dipped strawberries, or even a souffle.
And don't forget February 15th. It's an important day too. All Valentine's Day novelties are at least 50% off. You can always
stock up for next year. We're celebrating at The Fork in the Road so I'll keep you posted.