While most children in Prague have been enjoying these past days dressed up in their costumes and celebrating Carnaval, our household is working on spreading the love. I have been busy preparing our home to celebrate my second favorite American holiday: Valentine’s Day! For me, this day has never been about the romance, the flowers or the chocolates. Just like Julia Child and her husband, I get a kick out of making and sending home-made valentine cards to my family and friends. Who doesn’t enjoy receiving a greeting decorated with lots of hearts, glitter and lace with the colors red, pink and white? Even though Valentine’s day isn’t widely celebrated here in Prague, unlike the States, I am excited to introduce this holiday to my daughters and spread some of Cupid’s inspiration.
In fact, I must have been feeling extremely excited about Valentine’s day because I decided to host an afternoon play group for my daughters’ friends and their mothers. However, coming up with a menu was a bit challenging. What exactly does one prepare for a group of year old toddlers?
This is what I came up with:
Heart Shaped Cheese and Jam Sandwiches
1 loaf of whole wheat or white bread
1 small heart-shaped cookie cutter
Olive oil (just enough to grease your baking tray)
1 round of pasteurized goat cheese
1 block of cream cheese
Your choice of red colored low sugar jam. We used raspberry and strawberry.
Preheat oven at 150 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with a few tablespoons of oil. Using a small heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut heart shapes from slices of bread. Place on cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. Depending on what type of goat cheese you purchase, you can also add it to the baking tray to warm it up.
Serve with cream cheese, goat cheese, a serving of raspberry and strawberry jam.
This recipe was adapted from Weelicious.com One of our lil’ pals has a dairy allergy, so instead of whole cow’s milk, I used soy milk.
Carrot, Apple, Coconut and Cinnamon Mini-Muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 carrots, peeled & grated, about 1 cup
1 apple, peeled and grated, about 1/2 cup
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup soy milk
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup honey
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl. In a small bowl, mix the carrots, apples and coconut together. In another separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet and stir to combine. Then add the carrots, apple and coconut mix and carefully blend. Place 1 tbsp of batter into greased mini muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
These are usually served in round balls, but for Valentine’s day, I used a large heart-shaped cookie cutter for this occasion.
Heart Shaped Potato Poppers (adapted from The Laurel’s Kitchen)
1/2 onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 teaspoon thyme or oregano
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 cups mashed potato
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup bread crumbs (whole grain if possible)
1/4 cup crushed pine nuts (optional)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 F/180 C
Saute onion and celery in oil. Add your choice of herb. Combine all ingredients and shape either into a heart or 1 1/2″ balls. Place on greased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until slightly browned. Serve warm and if you like, with some tomato sauce.
Valentine’s Day isn’t Valentine’s Day for me if I don’t get crafty. Here are the links to some of the activities I did with my 18 month old twins! Happy Valentine’s Day from Prague!