As we wrote back in October (Halloween WITHOUT food coloring), it’s possible to have a fun and festive celebration for your favorite holiday without using all sorts of fake food colors. After all, artificial food colorings and food dyes aren’t all that great for your kids, and in some cases food dyes have even been associated with behavioral problems. (For more thoughts on this issue, check out Spoonfed’s article on “The Color of Trouble.”)
So when you’re planning your Valentine’s treats, step away from the red dye and think about better ways to show your love. Can you make your food in the shape of a heart (like this bread)? Now’s a great time to make use of all of those heart-shaped cookie cutters you’ve been holding on to. Think heart-shaped sandwiches, heart-shaped pancakes, etc.
Even better, why not just stick with foods that are naturally red? If you’re cooking a main course, use tomatoes, red peppers, beets, red chard, and even cranberries or apples to brighten up a pasta, rice, or meat dish. If you’re cooking dessert, fresh fruit is the way to go. Strawberries or raspberries are the perfect delicate topping for just about any dessert. If you need to make frosting, consider coloring it with beet juice, cherry juice, or pureed fresh berries.
Need some inspiration? You can read about this Real Red Food Valentine’s Day Party story from Nourish MD by way of Kid Appeal. The kids’ red food ideas included goji berries, pomegranate seeds, and even dragon fruit.
Need dessert recipes? We’ve got you covered. For cookies, check out these raspberry jam Cut-Out Heart Cookies from Our Big Earth, or these Peanutty Valentine’s Cookies from Heidi’s Recipes. If you like chocolate, check out this Chocolate Raspberry Tart recipe from Dianasaur Dishes. If you’re not a chocolate fan, try these Mini Frozen Lemon Tarts from One Hungry Mama. If you need a special gluten-free treat, check out this recipe for Gluten-Free No-Food-Coloring Red Velvet Cupcakes from Book of Yum.
And if you don’t want to bake dessert at all, check out these DIY Valentine’s stickers from One Hungry Mama. Just print them out and add them to your favorite fruit. How’s that for natural?
(Photos courtesy of Morguefile)