Valentine’s Day has always been special, when I was a little girl my father would always be sure to give me a special gift on Valentine’s Day. He always made me feel loved and appreciated with chocolates, flowers and cards. When I grew older and more responsible he gave me some beautiful pieces of jewelry. Valentine’s Day has become sweeter to me as I’ve grown. I am married and as the years have passed we’ve had children. The depth of love I feel for my husband, children, family and friends continues to grow as I age and I now see things through different a light.
“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”
When my husband and I met, we were soulmates, best friends and inseparable. Neither of us had ever felt anything like this before yet alone ever loved that deeply, we were always together. 1 to 2 days apart was not an option for us because he really does complete me, I am whole when I am with him. He and I truly were made for each other. We fell in love as teenagers and as the days continue to pass and we get a little older every year I can honestly say that we are more in love now than ever before. I am not saying that our lives are perfect or without flaw, but despite hard times we’ve grown closer. we appreciate each other and the beautiful creation that each of us was created to be. We were brought together for a common purpose, to spread light, love, blessings and peace. It started in our hearts, grew when we met and has spread as our family grows and our children get older, they now are spreading light, love blessings and peace wherever they go. It fills my soul to know that love prevails in our family and in our home.
“Young love is a flame; very pretty, often very hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. The love of the older and disciplined heart is as coals, deep-burning, unquenchable.”
– Henry Ward Beecher
When I was young and in love, I have to admit that I viewed Valentine’s Day a little selfishly, “What will I get” I thought, or “Will the gift show how much he loves me or how important our relationship is to him.” I would try to get things that would impress him and show how much I cared. I wanted to be impressed and to see just how much we loved each other by the measure of material things. I now have a completely different view and to think back on those times gives me sick feeling in my stomach to think that I was that shallow. The bumps and bruises that life hurls at you makes you realize that none of the material things matter. What truly matters are the intentions of the heart. A smile, a warm embrace, a shoulder to lean on when you’ve had all you can take, a sweet gesture, the smile of an innocent child, or even the greeting of your pet after a long day. Love in it’s true form is innocent; “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (NIV 1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
– Lao Tzu
After we were married and had children the materialistic views and longings faded away, rather quickly, and those longings were replaced with gratitude, thankfulness and love, lots of pure, sweet love. As our family grew and life took its toll on us with struggles, triumphs, losses, broken and mended hearts, we were brought closer together. These trials revealed the depth of love that we couldn’t have imagined or felt without all the peculiarities life had in store for us.
“Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.”
– Zora Neale Hurston
This Valentine’s Day the truth remains that the love shown, felt, given and received is the beauty just for you and it is pure and natural and old as time itself. This love is meant to fill up your soul so you can reconnect with the purpose of life, to love and be loved.
If you want to spread love and care to those who are close to you, here are some sweet ideas to help you achieve that.
Heart Shaped Chocolate Chip Cookies:
2/3 cup of butter (or shortening)
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. of baking powder
1/4 to 1/2 a tsp. of salt (depending on how sweet you like your cookies)
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cream butter and sugars together, add egg and vanilla, mix well. Add flour, baking soda and salt, mix well. Add the Chocolate shavings and mix well one more time. Roll out onto a floured surface and cut using heart shaped cookie cutters.
Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes. When golden around the edges take out and cool on a wire rack.
After the cookies are cooled place in a clear cellophane bag and tie with a pink, red or white bow. Viola! Gift completed.
These cookie freeze well, this allows you to pull them out and enjoy them whenever you wish. They also make a beautiful and delicious gift for loved ones this Valentine’s Day.
Melt Your Heart Lava Cakes:
Cooking spray, for spraying custard cups
1 stick butter
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Spray the four custard cups with baking spray and place on a baking sheet.
In a saucepan melt the butter. Whisk in the chocolate until it is also melted. Stir in the sugar until well blended. Whisk in the eggs and egg yolks, then add the vanilla. Stir in the flour.
Divide the mixture among the four custard cups.
Bake until the sides are firm and the centers are soft, about 13 minutes. Let stand 1 minute. Invert on individual plates, serve while warm. Top with fresh raspberries, whipped cream and a mint leaf.
Chocolate Fantasy Cheesecake:
Chocolate Cookie Crust:
22 Chocolate Sandwich Cookies Crushed
3 Tablespoons of melted Butter
In a small bowl stir together the crushed cookies and melted butter until well combined. Press the crumb mix evenly on the bottom of a greased 9-inch springform pan.
Double Chocolate Filling:
19 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup chocolate syrup
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
10 ounces Cocoa Mill Bittersweet Chocolate
3 ounces Cocoa Mill Milk Chocolate
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl combine cream cheese and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition.stir in the sour cream, whipping cream, chocolate syrup, bittersweet and milk chocolates . Pour the cream cheese mixture over the crust.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 200 degrees F and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the center no longer looks wet and shiny. Remove the cake from the oven and run a knife along the edges of the pan. Turn the oven off and return the cake to the oven to sit for an additional 2 hours. Chill uncovered, overnight.
The next morning make the chocolate sauce topping:
2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
6 ounces Cocoa Mill Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped
4 Tablespoons Heavy Cream
To serve, place chocolate, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and cream in the top of a double boiler or a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until melted. Remove he sauce from the heat and let cool slightly.off a bit. Pour chocolate glaze over cheesecake and spread into a circle, leaving a bit of a border. Chill just until chocolate has set, about 10 minutes.
If you don’t want to make something or don’t have time:
Go to Cocoa Mill Chocolate Company in Lexington or Staunton Virginia or go online to www.cocoamill.com and pick up one of many selections of Valentine Chocolates. All made by hand using pure, simple and the freshest ingredients.
While any of these ideas are sure to impress and show how much you care the greatest gift of all is to love and be loved.
A Very Happy Valentine’s Day To You!