(Side note: If you're not in the mood for a sappy story... I give you permission to go ahead and skip ahead to the delicious recipe!)
So on this particular Valentine's Day, my first in a relationship, I was just another teenager, hopeful that the silly holiday would still be fairly romantic even if we were apart. I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting, but I definitely wasn't prepared for what came next.
After school on the "big" holiday, I came home to an over-the-top (in my teenage opinion) bouquet of roses on my kitchen counter. As I opened the attached card to see who it was from, as most years it was my dad treating me or my mom on the holiday, there was Doug's name and those three little words at the bottom.
"I love you.”
I love you. I was not ready for this. For one, we had only been officially dating a little over a month and "seeing" each other since the prior August. How can he love me? I am not ready for this. Do I have to say it back? Do I even love him yet? This is too soon. Well, I did as every polite girlfriend would and... thanked him for the roses... and totally ignored the "I love you" part. After all, I was "only sixteen." (Poor guy had to wait in agony until I reciprocated the sentiment some months later--but hey, at least I did it in person!)
Now flash forward to 2017. We're now married with one little boy and a baby on the way. The uncertainties of dating life are behind us along with the seemingly life-changing "I love you's" and the big romantic gestures. But that's okay. This year we will be celebrating the holiday either relaxing on the couch watching a favourite show—or maybe, just maybe, even breaking out a restaurant gift card from Christmas for a night out! After all these years, we've learned that low-key nights are some of the best nights.
So whether you and your valentine are one or twenty-five years in, this holiday doesn't have to be over-the-top romantic. Just spend it together. (Or on the phone or FaceTime if you're long distance dating!)
(However, if my husband is reading this, feel free to whip out a big romantic gesture at any time!)
Also... if you're feeling up for it... try making these super easy homemade chocolates--made with only the most delicious ingredients!
Almond Butter Chocolate Hearts
Yields: ~24 one-tablespoon-sized chocolates
2 cups semisweet or dark chocolate chips
1 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
Almond Butter Filling:
3/4 cup natural almond butter
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (or honey)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
- In small microwavable bowl, melt chocolate chips with coconut oil, stirring every 15-30 seconds, until smooth. Make sure not to overheat!
- Pour approximately a teaspoon of chocolate into each chocolate mold cavity using a teaspoon or piping bag. This will use about half of entire chocolate mixture. Tilt and rotate the molds so that the chocolate coats the entire cavity of each mold.
- Place chocolate mold in fridge to set for 5-10 minutes. However, don’t leave the chocolate in the fridge too long or it will crack and “sweat” when brought to room temperature again.
- In a separate bowl, mix together almond butter, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt until combined.
- Transfer almond butter mixture to piping bag and fill each chocolate mold cavity, equally dispersing the mixture between all of the cavities. Gently tap the mold on the counter to level the filling and remove air bubbles. Be sure to leave space in each cavity for the remaining chocolate.
- Cover the almond butter filling with remaining chocolate. Level each chocolate using the backside of a butterknife or the straight edge of cake frosting spreader, scraping away any excess chocolate.
- Place filled chocolate molds in fridge. Don’t attempt to release the chocolates until completely set and hardened.
- Store in refrigerator and remove chocolates ~10 minutes before serving for a more melt-in-your-mouth texture. Enjoy!