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Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Valentine's Treats for My Family

A week ago or so, Kris asked in the comments if I had any plans for this Valentine's Day. With the holiday now just around the corner, I thought I'd share some of the things I'll be doing for my family to celebrate. More than just about any other year, this year, I really have to work with what I've got. So, here's the first of a handful of posts telling you what we'll be doing.

This first one is a family tradition that goes back over 30 years in my household and was inspired by a treat that my mother would make about 60 years ago.

For special days (birthdays, Christmas, St. Patrick's Day), my mom would make shaped pancakes to delight my sister, brother and I when we were small children. She would "draw" the shapes on the griddle with the tip of her large spoon and ordinary pancake batter that she thinned just a bit, making teddy bears, our initials, shamrocks, bells, "gingerbread" men, and Christmas trees.

When my own oldest child was a toddler, I discovered that hearts are also easy to "draw" with the batter. Ever since, I've made heart-shaped pancakes for my family nearly every year. Some years, I left the pancakes plain, so they could be to-go Valentine's breakfasts. Other years, when Valentine's fell on a weekend, I pulled out all the stops.

Well, this year, Valentine's Day is on a Sunday, which means I'll be up bright and early making heart-shaped pancakes with all the trimmings.

I use a large serving spoon to make the heart shapes, pouring the batter into a large blob, then drawing it down on one side.

And finishing the other half of the heart on the other side in the same way, just reverse.

They don't look perfect, but they're close enough.

Once flipped over, they begin to look better.

After they finish cooking, I plate them up then outline the edges with whipping cream and fill in the centers with whatever red or pink jelly or jam I happen to have. This year, I'll be using pink vanilla-rhubarb spread to fill the centers.

Pancakes are a very inexpensive treat that I can make for my family any time the mood strikes. The ingredients are basic -- flour, milk, egg, oil, sugar, salt, baking powder -- and items I always have on hand. Making them festive is the fun part. To this day, I think chocolate chip pancakes are still my daughters' favorite festive pancakes. But I also like to add colored sprinkles for confetti pancakes or top with fruity syrups to change things up from the traditional maple syrup. But for this upcoming holiday, it just wouldn't be Valentine's Day if I didn't make heart-shaped pancakes.

Tomorrow, I'll share another Valentine's treat I have ready and waiting.


  1. Nice idea! We probably won't do too much for Valentine's day since we never have in the past. We don't need the candy or extra treats either (weight issues for adult kids). But I will say that my youngest daughter when living at home loved chocolate chip pancakes. She still wants them when she comes home to visit. I transitioned over to mini chips so there wasn't that big morsel to bite into. And I can control the amount of chocolate chips!

    One year my husband brought the two mom's (his mom and my mom) a bouquet of flowers. My mom was surprised and asked what the occasion was. When he told her she was speechless. Mom had never received a Valentine's gift BUT I will say she never allowed us to participate in school Valentine's day by buying cards. If we wanted them we had to make them with stuff we had at home. That was so very hard to make 35 cards and we hated it. Maybe she is getting softer in her aging years! I let my kids buy pass around cards but I was never a big holiday person either (any holiday). It's how we are raised, I guess. My parents came out of WWII and the depression so that explains a lot of frivolous stuff as unnecessary. I respect that and choose to live my life that way also.


    1. Alice, my own kids had Valentines from the store to pass out, but just addressing and signing them was torture for them. Their fine motor skills weren't good and it was very laborious. I hated it and they did, too, but it was expected. In hindsight, I would do it differently today and get them a signature stamp or talk to the teacher.

    2. Hi Alice,
      That was so sweet of your husband to buy flowers for both of the moms. It's those unexpected special touches that are really memorable.
      Mini chocolate chips -- what a great idea for pancakes! I'll remember that next time I have some of the mini ones.

  2. Heart shaped pancakes are a fun tradition. My kids were big eaters and never really noticed what their food looked like. They just wanted it quick, tasty, and lots of it. I made themed pancakes a few times, but no one was interested or noticed, so as you can guess, it's not a tradition in our house. I look forward to seeing the other treats you have in store.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      I can imagine growing boys would just devour their meals, not even noticing what the food looked like. My own son always noticed how things looked, but that's just his personality. And we've talked about how girls just like more of these things, or so it seems at times.

  3. I may use your idea! I just double-checked the date--Valentine's Day is on a Sunday, and we typically do brunch for our lunch after church--it's not really much harder to make heart-shaped pancakes than it is to make circular pancakes (ok, my kids can go through a LOT of pancakes so maybe the first one will be a heart and the rest can be circles). Thank you, Lili!

    I like to try different pancake recipes to change things up. Some of our favorites are gingerbread pancakes .... we also like chocolate pancakes (made with baking cocoa). I feel like these small variances keep my family happier with the food we eat and so not eating out often doesn't seem like they are "deprived". After Christmas I pulled out a trick that I haven't used since they were small. Each of them got a metal cookie cutter for Christmas--I coated them with cooking spray and used them as a form to make shaped pancakes. Even though they are teens, they both thought it was fun. If any brave souls out there want to try this, learn from me .... use a potholder to protect your hands when the metal cookie cutter gets hot. If you don't ... ouch.

    1. Hi Kris,
      I'd forgotten about cocoa pancakes. My mom would add cocoa powder and chopped nuts. Those were so good.
      We still have church online in our area. Do you have in-person worship now?

      Such a great idea to make shaped pancakes using cookie cutters. Good reminder that they get hot! Ouch!

    2. This Sunday is the first week of in-person worship. However, this Sunday is one of my days to be able to be with my mom at her AL facility so I think we will attend church virtually. It's a long distance between our church and her facility and it makes a lot of extra driving for me to do (and we will be in a snowy weather pattern, so, bad roads!).

    3. I'm so glad that you're going to have time with your mom, Kris. I hope it's a good day.


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