By Sherry Fiscella
Laundry, dishes, dusting. School, church, basketball and ballet.
Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to slow down and say “I love you” to our busy families. But no one wants to take a family of five to a romantic restaurant, and spending a fortune on roses probably won’t impress a preschooler. What’s a mom to do?
One fun Valentine’s Day tradition you can start with your family is an “I’m Fond-a-You” fondue supper. Begin your meal with a savory fondue, and finish up with a February favorite: chocolate! It’s fun to get creative with dips and dippers and to make meal preparation a family event. Tweens and teens can get involved by creating new dip combinations; let them choose a favorite crushed candy bar to stir into a dessert fondue. Younger children will enjoy slicing fruit with a plastic knife or breaking breads into smaller pieces.
Fondue pots and accessories are inexpensive finds at most discount stores. However, you can also melt or warm your favorite sauces or confections using your slow cooker, a stovetop sauce pan set on simmer, or even your microwave oven for a fast fix. If you don’t have fancy dipping tools, just spoon the dips onto your kids’ plates, and let them spear their dippers with toothpicks and dip away.
Serve cucumber slices, grape or cherry tomatoes, celery sticks and baby carrots on the side with ranch dressing to round out the nutritional value of your meal. Using cute Valentine’s Day plates and napkins will help create a festive mood and make this finger food feast a snap to clean up afterwards.
Remember to thank God for your family during your mealtime prayer. As you enjoy your culinary creations, tell each family member why you are so fond of him or her, and encourage others to share kind words, too. Then, after everything’s all cleaned up, dole out free hugs and kisses. It’s sure to be a love feast you’ll never forget!
Spaghetti sauce with or without ground beef
Warmed cheese soup
Nacho cheese dip with or without ground beef
Warmed cream cheese mixed with imitation crabmeat
Warmed ice-cream toppings (caramel, butterscotch, fudge)
Melted chocolate chips
Melted Almond bark
Melted Caramel candies
Marshmallow Crème, warmed or straight from the jar
Bread bites: French or Italian breads, bagels
Bite-sized chicken nuggets or popcorn chicken
Tortilla chips or snack crackers
Angel food cake or shortcake bites
Wafer or shortbread cookies