If home is where the heart is, and the heart is the symbol of love, what better place to celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day than at home sweet home?

Many of my friends share a bah humbug feeling about this holiday (if I may co-mingle a holiday term). Their overall sentiment is it’s overrated, but I say, if you’re a Valentine’s Day fan or not, fixing a fun and festive feast for your sweetheart or family or friends, is a wonderful way to celebrate LOVE.

This year I came up with a love-treat that I’m excited to make for my boyfriend on Valentine’s Day because it features one of his favorite foods. Check out my recipe for a beautiful and edible bouquet of… BACON ROSES!

But since man/woman cannot live on bacon alone, I’ve also included some of my other favorite romantic, fun, easy, and… dare I say “sexy” recipes that are sure to inspire a love-filled occasion.

Bouquet of Bacon Roses

  • Color a dozen wood skewers with green food dye. Let dry.
  • Bacon roseRoll up thick sliced bacon to create the “bud” then secure the bottom closed with toothpicks in a cross shape.
  • Set a cooling rack over a backing dish, then place the bacon buds on the cooling rack, toothpick side down (so grease can drip through) and bake at 400º about 20 minutes until bacon browns.
  • Remove from the oven and when cool enough (but not cold) dip the tips of the buds in maple syrup, then a mix of sugar and paprika. Let cool. Remove the toothpicks.
  • Stick a few baby lettuce leaves on the tip of a skewer, then push them down with a bacon bud, until the bud is snug on the skewer tip, and the lettuce looks like rose leaves nestling the bud.
  • Arrange in a vase or make a bouquet with parchment paper and ribbon.

Of course there are many variations to this recipe, like dipping the buds in chocolate!

Heart Shaped Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil Appetizer

  • Heart MozzarellaUse a heart shaped cookie-cutter to cut hearts out of ¼” to ½” slices of fresh mozzarella.
  • Place the mozzarella hearts over ¼” to ½” slices of tomatoes.
  • Sprinkle with finely shredded fresh basil or arrange whole basil leaves.
  • Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and salt and pepper (balsamic vinegar is optional).
  • Garnish with several black olives around the plate (if you’re an olive fan).

Mussels Arrabbiata (Spicy Red Sauce)… as an Appetizer or over Linguini!

Have you ever looked at an open mussel… really looked? That’s about all I can say about that, except either nature repeated a design, down to-a-V, I mean T, or God has an incredible sense of humor.

By the way, arrabbiata means angry in Italian, depicting the heat from the red chili flakes, so how “angry” and passionate you get is up to your pepper dose.

  • Mussels ArrabbiataScrub and de-beard about 2lbs. of fresh mussels. Discard any that are open.
  • In a large sauté pan, sauté 2 large chopped shallots and 1 clove garlic in olive oil until tender.
  • Hand-crush a can of whole San Marzano tomatoes and pour in the pan.
  • Stir in pinch of thyme, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper, and a healthy swirl of white-wine. Bring to simmer.
  • Add all of the muscles to the pan. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes. Cook until the muscles are all opened (discard any that don’t open). Add chopped parsley and swirl of extra-virgin olive oil. Remove from heat. DO NOT OVER COOK!
  • Pour over cooked linguini or serve as an appetizer with crusty Italian bread.

Hot Bananas Foster with Vanilla Ice Cream

  • Bananas FosterIn a large sauté pan, over low heat, melt ¼ cup of butter.
  • Add 2/3 cup brown sugar, 4 Tbs. rum, 1½ tsp. vanilla and ½ tsp. cinnamon and stir until it bubbles.
  • Place 3 bananas, cut length wise, in the pan and cook a couple of minute. Flip naners over and cook a couple more minutes. Add ¼ cup chopped walnuts. Remove from heat.
  • Plate and serve with scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  • Garnish with whipped cream and a strawberry slices (a naturally heart shaped fruit!).

Lychee Love-tini

I really love Lychee Martinis so I created this blushing “love-tini” for V-day!

  • lychee-martini2 parts premium vodka (my favorite is Nemiroff)
  • 1 part Lychee Liqueur (I like SOHO)
  • Splash of any red berry juice
  • Whole lychees and a berry on a skewer
  • Fill a mixing glass with ice cubes.
  • Add all ingredients.
  • Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with the lychee-berry skewer.

On a side love note, there’s a funny Valentine story in my family. My Aunt Rose-Marie, when she was in Catholic grade school, her teacher (a nun) called her father to notify him and chastise her for receiving 48 Valentine’s Day cards, all from the same boy. My grandfather instantaneously asked the nun, “How many cards did my daughter give him?”—to which she answered, none. At that he said, “So why are you calling me? Seems like you should be calling his father!” and hung up.

However you spend your Valentine’s Day, I wish you a happy day filled with light, laughter, and most of all, LOVE.

Norma sig

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Fix-It Friday is an exclusive Women You Should Know® editorial series authored by seasoned veteran of home improvement, Norma Vally, the former host of Discovery Home Channel’s series “Toolbelt Diva” and a show on Sirius Satellite Radio by the same name. The weekly column is designed to inspire women – weekend warriors, aspiring handywomen, and even seasoned DIYers – to take on home repairs and maintenance projects with confidence and gusto.