Once you've got kids, things like Valentine's Day don't have quite the same sort of romantic resonance they used to. You, your partner, plus 2.4 kids and a dog don't quite make for the same luxurious love-fest you might once have enjoyed.
But the kids are only around for a little while, and you can inject some of your own romantic fun in there too. But it is also a good chance to have a bit of family fun too.
And making a big, fun, extra-ordinary breakfast is a good way of keeping the kids occupied too. I don't know how you do it, but in our house we decided to alternate Valentine's Day and our anniversary. So one of us gets spoiled with a sleep in, breakfast in bed, and some quiet time with the kids rushed out of the house if the day falls on a weekend. Or the school run covered if it is a week day.
And of course we have our special Valentine's Day breakfast. If you do this too, I have just one word of advice. Make sure that you include a cleaning up and washing up clause in your agreement, so you don't come downstairs all rested and relaxed to a wreck of a kitchen!
Cool Valentine's Day pancakes
I've found some fabulous ideas for making pancakes into hearts. First there's the simple approach - take a round pancake then cut out a V shape at the top.
But this has to be the simplest, yet creative, idea I've seen yet. I found it on this site, and all you need is a heart shaped cookie cutter, and some red food colouring.
Make up two bowls of pancake mix - either from scratch or buy the ready made stuff. Add the food colouring to one bowl. Then make an equal number of white and red pancakes. When they're done, use the cookie cutter to cut out a heart shape from the middle. Put the red heart in a white pancake and vice versa. Serve arranged on the plate with whatever toppings you like.
I also found this unique and rather clever craft idea to make your own! All you need is a heart shaped cookie cutter, and tinfoil. The DIY Tinfoil Shapes Tutorial is just, frankly, genius! Folder over strips of tin foil a few times, and use the cookie cutter to shape it into a heart. It's an American site, so they suggest coating with non-stick cooking spray. I know you can get cooking spray's here in the UK but you probably don't have one to hand in the kitchen. I think I may try a little coating of butter while it is in the mould - although that might make it a bit slippery to get out.
Then use this shape to make your pancakes or eggs. How cool is that?
If you don't like the idea of having to do any of it yourself, I've found lots of different products to make a heart shaped pancake. For example, you can buy a heart shaped frying pan. This has the advantage of being able to make both heart shaped pancakes and heart shaped fried eggs.
You can buy this mini heart frying pan from Lakeland for £9.99, for example. Or there's this Tala Pancake Making set at Amazon, which has a heart shaped attachment. It costs £15,98 and delivery is free with Amazon Prime. I also found these heart shaped 'rings', which you can put in an ordinary frying pan for making both eggs and pancakes - the Silicon House and Heart Ring Set from the Cooks Kitchen (£6.73).
What if you want to go for the full works, eggs, bacon, sausages? Well the eggs are sorted if you can make your own heart moulds using the directions above.
Strips of streaky bacon can be folded into a heart shape. Cover a baking tray in foil and coat it (lightly) with oil. Fold the bacon into heart shapes and bake in the oven. I'm not keen on streaky bacon myself, but might have a go at this using back bacon. If you've got some sharp kitchen scissors you could cut the back bacon into strips, and either make large and small hearts or use them to make heart layers.
Now for the sausages I found some great ideas on American sites (yet again! They do like to have fun with their food). However, as they're US they seem to use hot dogs or as they say, weiners. For breakfast? Well I am sure I can adapt some of these ideas for sausages.
Cute Food For Kids shows how to make a hot dog heart. Slice the cooked hot dog down the middle - but not all the way to the top. Then peel the two halves back.
The is the best take on an omlette that I've come across. It is the Sausage Heart Balloon. Looks fairly easy and is a stunning visual. Plus it would be great fun to make for the kids. I might leave out the cottage cheese bits though!
Family Fun has a nifty idea to take two halves of a sausage and make it into a heart shape shot with an arrow using a length of uncooked linguine.The ends of the arrows are made from cheese.
If you really want to go all the way you could say it with a bacon bouquet! I'm not kidding. A whole bouquet made up of bacon roses. Click here to find out how to do it (or to just have a good laugh!).
Nom Nom Nom. I'm starving hungry now having researched this. I think I'll definitely have a go at the red and white pancakes. What do you have planned?