"Lips" cookies from Gelsen's in the OC.

As a teacher, Valentine's Day was always one of my favorite days of the year.  The kids were always so cute about giving and receiving valentines, hearts were prevalent everywhere, and chocolate was always available in the staff lounge.  Thinking back on it, the atmosphere at school and especially in my first grade class was simply one of happiness and friendly love and goodwill.  It was pure unadulterated fun to read the valentine-themed children's stories leading up to the big day as well as reveling in the simple "Roses are Red" poetry of the kids, the decorating of valentine mailboxes, the cutting of symmetrical hearts from a folded piece of paper, and of course the wearing of red and pink to unite us all. 

I have witnessed the beauty of having a special day to celebrate friends and loved ones.  I know that some feel like Valentine's Day is just another plot by big business to make us spend money, fall in line, and do something unnecessary.  They are probably right.  But I do know the look in a child's eyes when their teacher opens the Batman valentine card, reads it, looks the child in the eye with a smile and says "Thank You." I also know that I cry when my grown-up daughter sends me a Valentine's Day card and with her tiny little printing on the inside of the card tells me that I am the best mommy and that she loves me.

So, in honor of this over-commercialized and chocolatey day, I would like to share my long obsession with the heart symbol and some great recipes for Valentine's Day or any day!

Hearts on Fire - The heart as a symbol in western culture and my predisposition to adore hearts. My personal heart objects.

My Funny Valentine - Just who was St. Valentine?

*Coming Tuesday, Feb. 4th after 5:00 pm

Heart-y Recipes - Heart shaped egg in toast, bacon hearts, Red Velvet Brownies and wonderful buttercream frosting, and split-pea heart healthy soup!