Valentine’s Day With Food Allergies Can Still Be Sweet

Valentine’s Day is that chocolate filled holiday that some of us love and some of us dread. I know there are those that dread it for other reasons, but I’m going to focus on the food aspect. It’s hard for those with food allergies, especially kids,  to stand by and watch all of the chocolates, nut and dairy filled, and the cookies, full of eggs and wheat, that surround the day. However, it doesn’t have to be something to dread and here are some ideas for your allergic sweetheart (who may very well be your child) that are just as good as those sweets.

• Try something relaxing. If Valentine’s Day is about love and pampering, maybe some gentle bath salts of bubble bath in a cute cosmetic case. Girls love this kind of stuff, not matter their age.
• A fun piece of jewelry. Again, girls of all ages love jewelry and it doesn’t have to break the bank. Make it a fun bracelet maybe pink or red or with a heart. Girls also love any kind of hair accessories, give her a headband or clips with hearts.
• A favorite movie is always good, and again, works for any age. You can snuggle in with your sweetheart to a romantic classic, or give the kids one of their favorites and make it a family Valentine’s night. They always love a movie from a book they’ve just finished.
• A set of books for two. Give your honey and yourself each a copy of the same book, try a romantic, racy one, or just one you both have been waiting to read. Start them together and talk about them as you read, it’s your own private book club. Speaking of books, there is usually a great selection of kids Valentine’s books in the bookstores right now. Picture books are favorites of children, and your grown up sweetheart (or child) may like a book of poetry, classic or modern.
• Write a story for your honey. This would be great for a child or your significant other. Write about a special time the two of you shared (maybe when you first met or the day you got engaged, with your child first day of school or day he was born is good). Add photos and you can even have it bound if you want.
• Cook an allergy free meal together. Take the time to be together and cook some delicious food to share. It’s more private than going out, less expensive and you don’t need to worry what is cross contaminated with your food.
• Go for a favorite place tour. Go with your sweetie to the place you first met, where you had your first date, where you got married. Maybe you don’t live in the same town anymore, but you could recreate some of the same things, find a similar coffee shop or movie theater like the one you went on on your first date.
• Do something healthy and outdoorsy. Exercise together; it’s good for the heart! Go for a walk or play some tennis (love/love!). If it’s too cold, bundle up and go anyway; once you get going, you’ll warm up.
• If food is still on your list, there are some good allergy free chocolates out there like www.amandasown.com or www.vermontnutfree.com. Or you can always try your hand at making your own.
• Bake some allergy free cookies or cakes using ingredients safe for your particular allergy needs. Decorate them together, then eat! There are some great recipes on our site or any others if you don’t have one already.
• Have fun valentine’s foods that don’t have anything to do with allergies – cut red bell peppers and strawberries into heart shapes, cut out heart shaped sandwiches or toss some red jeweled pomegranate seeds around the plate. Set the table with cut paper hearts and some candles, it can be just as special without all of the sweet things on it.

• If you must have chocolate – do it yourself. Chocolate covered strawberries are very Valentine-y and simple. Purchase nut free chocolate morsels or slab, melt in a double boiler or microwave. Wash and completely dry large strawberries and dip into the melted chocolate, cool and – mmmmmm.

• Have a non-chocolate treat. Here’s a great nut free recipe for cupcakes and you can decorate with tinted frosting and mini hearts (* these are NOT Dairy or egg free – if you want you can try substituting with an egg substitute or dairy free product).

Sour Cream Lemon Pound Cake Cupcakes

1/2 cup butter
4 oz softened cream cheese
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
*1teaspoon lemon extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 oz sour cream
*1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

*you can use vanilla extract instead of the lemon and lemon zest

Beat butter and cream cheese together until creamy. Beat in sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating just until incorporated, stir in lemon extract and zest or vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beat until blended. Spoon into cupcake pans, either lightly greased or into papers. Bake at 350 degrees for about  18 minutes or until they begin to turn golden (or until a wooden pick inserted into centers comes out clean). Cool completely and spread with frosting of your choice. Decorate with Valentine candies or pipe with colored icing.

Below is another recipe you may want to try from Enjoy Life
Foods (www.enjoylifefoods.com) which I came across on www.GoDairyFree.org.

Sweetheart S’mores

Contains NO: wheat, gluten, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg or soy

1 pkg (10 oz) Enjoy Life® Snickerdoodle cookies
3 large marshmallows
1 Enjoy Life® boom CHOCO boom chocolate bar (rice milk or dark chocolate)

• Cut marshmallows in half for 6 pieces total. Set aside.
• Break the boom CHOCO boom bar into four sections. Then break each section in half for a
total of eight pieces. Set aside.
• Slightly flatten two Snickerdoodle cookies. Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter or a knife to cut
out “sweetheart cookie.” Place one piece of chocolate in center of one cookie.
• Slightly flatten a marshmallow piece and place it on top of the chocolate. Cover with remaining
cookie. Assemble more s’mores with remaining ingredients.
• Place s’mores on a microwavable plate. Microwave for 10-20 seconds or until the chocolate
starts to melt and the marshmallow softens.
• Remove and enjoy!

Yield: 6 Sweetheart S’mores

You may also be interested in Milk Free Chocolate, Nut Free Chocolate (visit
www.premiumchocolatiers.com):

One more stop to make on your web browsing is Gnosis Chocolate (I have to confess, my mouth is watering):

Remember the importance of the day, just showing someone, even yourself, a little extra attention, it’s not all about chocolate and cookies!

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