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Show your sweetheart some love this Valentine’s Day by serving heart-shaped ravioli for a romantic meal! If you have little ones, they too will love this homemade ravioli recipe – just grab a heart-shaped cookie cutter to create these ravioli pockets of love!

Ricotta Ravioli Filling

Ingredients

1# high quality ricotta cheese, drained (“Mom” prefers organic)
½# mascarpone
¼# grated Parmesan cheese (“Mom” prefers organic)
3 egg yolks (“Mom” prefers organic, cage-free eggs)
½ t grated nutmeg
1T salt
1t black pepper

Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a bowl or mixer, and place into pastry bags.

Ravioli Dough

Ingredients

2# AP or type “00” pasta flour
10 whole eggs, plus 10 egg yolks (“Mom” prefers organic, cage-free eggs)
1 T olive oil

Preparation

Combine ingredients in a stand mixer with the dough hook attached. Mix on low speed for apprx. 10 minutes, until dough looks smooth and elastic. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, and allow to rest in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

When ready to roll pasta, clear a large work surface, divide the dough into 4 equal size portions and begin rolling through pasta roller, starting on thickest setting. Progressively work down until you have rolled it out on the thinnest possible setting, dusting with flour if it sticks.

Cut off a pasta sheets into 1 foot sections, dust with flour and stack together. Work with 1 piece at a time, keeping the rest covered in plastic so they don’t dry out.

Using your pastry bag, pipe approx. 1T of filling every 4 inches onto the pasta. Spray lightly with water, and lay another sheet down slowly over the top, pressing out all air pockets as you go. Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut into individual ravioli.

Lay pasta on a sheet tray dusted with flour, wrap tightly in plastic. If using within a day or 2, store in refrigerator. If not, place in freezer until frozen solid, then transfer to airtight bag or container.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Chef Shaun Golan of Ballo Italian.*

Will you tea my Valentine? What a sweet and delicious way to tell someone special you love them this Valentine’s Day! DAVIDsTea introduces their 2016 Valentine’s Day Collection to let the recipient know that they are your cup of tea! The gorgeous collection features an assortment of sweet and romantic gifts centered around tea, of course! Some of “Mom’s” top picks from DAVIDsTea include the following sweet finds.

Davids Tea Sweetheart Collection

The Sweetheart Collection

With twelve oh-so romantic teas in pretty clear-topped tins, this gift box is the perfect way to say it with tea this Valentine’s Day!

Heart Shaped Stackable Tins

These cute little heart-shaped tins contain their most romantic teas. Choose between Chocolate Macaroon, Cherry Blossom, Love Tea #7 and Dark Chocolate Delight.

Davids Tea Heart Infuser

Heart Infuser

With this silicone and fine mesh stainless steel infuser in your cup, you’re guaranteed to feel the love. Designed in house.

About DAVIDsTea

Great tea, friendly stores and above-and-beyond customer service. It seemed like a simple idea, but young entrepreneur David Segal and his cousin, retail pioneer Herschel Segal, couldn’t find anyone else that was doing it. So in 2008, they decided to take matters into their own hands. Today DAVIDsTEA has over 150 stores across Canada and the US. You can choose from over 150 types of tea, including exclusive blends, limited edition seasonal collections, traditional straight teas and exotic infusions from around the world. With colourful, modern packaging, sleek in-house designed tea accessories and friendly, welcoming attitude, DAVIDsTEA offers a tea experience that is fun, fresh and unintimidating. To keep up with the latest products and offers, follow along at facebook.com/davidstea and twitter.com/davidstea.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

This ultra-creamy sour cream mixed with capers and zesty lemon adds the perfect touch to these savory appetizer bites. Make the batter a day ahead, or go a step further and make the blinis a day ahead, refrigerate and reheat on a baking sheet in a 300°F oven until warm.

Got some gluten-free guests? Simply substitute your favorite gluten-free all-purpose baking flour blend and one teaspoon xanthan gum for the all-purpose flour. Buckwheat is gluten free. Be sure to have a thermometer on hand to assure the proper water and milk temperature.

Heart-Shaped Blini with Smoked Salmon and Lemon Caper Sour Cream

Blini Batter

Ingredients

1 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 tsp. sugar
2 Tbs. warm water (110°F to 115°F)
1 cup warm soy, rice or dairy milk (110°F to 115°F)
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup Redwood Hill Farm Plain Kefir
2 Tbs. melted butter or Earth Balance Buttery Spread, plus 1/4 cup for cooking
2 large eggs, separated

Lemon Caper Sour Cream

Ingredients

1 (12-oz) container Green Valley Organics Sour Cream
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced (1 tsp.)
3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs. fresh lemon zest
2 Tbs. chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
2 Tbs. finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup capers, chopped, plus more for garnish
Salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
1/2 lb. thinly sliced smoked salmon, cut into 36 bite-size pieces

Preparation

1. Stir together yeast, sugar and water in a large bowl to dissolve. Stir in milk and let stand 5 to 7
minutes, until frothy.
2. Sift flours and salt into a separate bowl. Whisk in yeast mixture, then whisk in Redwood Hill Farm
Plain Kefir, melted butter and egg yolks. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, set in a warm
place and allow to rise for one hour.
3. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold into batter, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise 30
minutes longer. The batter should be bubbly.
4. While the batter rises, whisk together sour cream, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, dill, onion and
capers in a small bowl. Adjust seasonings and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate
until ready to use.
5. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Place batter in a squeeze bottle using a funnel. Add a tablespoon
of melted buttery spread and swirl the pan to coat evenly.
6. Squeeze the batter into the outline of a heart and fill in the heart outline with batter. Cook about 1
to 2 minutes, until bubbles appear, flip and cook 30 seconds longer.
7. Place cooked blini on a parchment-lined baking sheet and keep warm in a 200°F oven until ready
to serve. Serve topped with smoked salmon and a dollop of Lemon Caper Sour Cream.

Makes about 36 heart-shaped blini (3 per serving)

Chef’s Make-Ahead Tip:

To freeze blini, place parchment paper between each blini, wrap in plastic wrap and foil. To reheat, arrange blini on a parchment-lined baking sheet and warm in a 300°F oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

PER SERVING (3 blinis): 192 CAL; 8G PROT; 10G TOTAL FAT (6G SAT. FAT); 16G CARB; 55MG CHOL; 324MG SOD; 1G FIBER; 2G SUGARS

*Recipe and image courtesy of Green Valley Organics.*

Rich, chocolaty and decidedly decadent, this no-fail sour cream chocolate cake is oh-so-moist and lactose free (thanks to silky sour cream) and begs for a fork when topped with sweet-n-tangy cherry vanilla yogurt sauce.

Going gluten free? Simply substitute your favorite gluten-free all-purpose baking mix and one teaspoon xanthan gum for the all-purpose flour.

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake with Cherry Vanilla Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients

1 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup butter or non-hydrogenated butter alternative (like Earth Balance), softened
2 cups Green Valley Organics Sour Cream
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

Chocolate Frosting Glaze

3 Tbs. butter or non-hydrogenated butter alternative (like Earth Balance)
2 Tbs. cocoa powder
3 Tbs. lactose free milk or soymilk
1 cup confectioners/powdered sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
Cherry Vanilla Yogurt Sauce
2 (6 oz.) containers Vanilla or Wildflower Honey Redwood Hill Farm Yogurt
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 cup chopped dark cherries (frozen and thawed is fine)
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour bundt pan.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, combine butter, sour cream and eggs, beating with a hand or stand mixer until smooth.
4. Mix wet and dry ingredients together, and beat with a hand or stand mixer for 3 minutes.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 50 to 55 minutes, until a wooden skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool before removing from pan.
5. While cake cools, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in cocoa and milk until smooth. Remove from heat, add confectioners sugar and almond extract and beat
using a stand or hand mixer until silky smooth. Drizzle over top of cooled cake. Allow to set before serving.

To make the Cherry Vanilla Yogurt Sauce, whisk together yogurt, vanilla bean paste, cherries and almond extract. Refrigerate until needed.

Makes one bundt cake or 8 heart-shaped cakes (using 1/2-cup batter for each cake)

Chef’s Tip: How to Scrape a Vanilla Bean

Slice the vanilla bean horizontally down the middle. Using a paring knife, scrape out the vanilla bean seeds from inside the sliced pods. Instead of discarding the used vanilla bean pods, tuck them into a cup or two of granulated sugar in a covered container. Allow to sit for a week or so and enjoy vanilla-scented sugar in coffee, hot chocolate, baked goods, sprinkled over sugar cookies, and more.

PER SERVING: 376 CAL; 7G PROT; 12G TOTAL FAT (12G SAT. FAT); 60G CARB; 76MG CHOL; 276MG SOD; 3G FIBER; 34G SUGARS

*Recipe and image courtesy of Green Valley Organics.*

Last-minute healthy Valentine’s Day treats to make with your little ones (no heat required!) with a little help from NurturMe. We say make these any shape you desire for a nutritious snack year-round!

NurturMe’s “Be My Valentine” Apple Rice Crisp Treats

Ingredients

3 cups brown crispy rice cereal

1NurturMe Crisp Apple pouch

3/4 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preparation

In a large bowl, mix brown rice cereal with peanut butter.

In another bowl, add 3-5 tablespoons of water to crisp apple pouch.

Stir honey and vanilla into the puree.

Pour into the dry ingredients.

Mix well.

Press into one large or two small glass trays.

Have fun and shape into mini Valentine’s Day hearts!

Optional: Decorate with frosting, powdered sugar, red sprinkles…be creative!!!

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Enjoy!

Yields 15-20 Mini-Valentine Hearts

*Recipe and image courtesy of NurturMe.*

This Valentine’s Day, a craft can do everything from adding a personal touch to a gift for a sweetheart to keeping children occupied and involved in the holiday. For those sending cards by mail this Valentine’s Day, custom address labels are a craft that will impress recipients! Here are some ideas for Valentine’s Day crafts for all ages.

Grownup Crafts: Valentine’s Day Card Books

You know those dozen or so decks of cards you have scattered around the house that you will probably never actually use? This Valentine’s Day, turn those playing cards into a fun, romantic gift for the one you love. All you need is a deck of cards, a hole punch, some magazines or a computer with a printer, and creativity!

Use a hole punch to punch two holes on the sides of the cards. These will be tied together using ribbon or string to create a book. Make a front page with cut-out words from a magazine to express your feelings like “What I Love About You,” or something similar. Each card will then be a page in the book, representing a reason you love your sweetheart. Find a photo in a magazine or on the computer that represents the reason, and glue it along with the wording of the reason on to the card. After you get through 52 reasons, you have a romantic gift!

Valentine’s Day for Kids: Sweetheart Butterflies

A Valentine’s butterfly craft is a relatively simple project that even young children can complete. It is a great way for a child to make a personal Valentine for a parent or sibling. This is a simple craft that is both fun and low on mess.

The butterfly starts with a toilet paper roll, which can be painted red, pink, or purple. Similarly colored construction paper is used to cut out heart shapes, which will be used as the butterfly’s wings. To attach the wings, affix one to each side of the toilet paper roll body of the butterfly using either glue or tape. Children can decorate their butterfly by using markers, crayons, or colored pencils to draw a face and hearts or other decorations. A personal message to the recipient of the Valentine can be written on the back of the butterfly. The antennae of the butterfly are made of pipe cleaners that are curled at one end and glued to the top of the toilet paper roll.

Personalizing Valentine’s Day Mailings: Address Labels

Anyone planning to mail out Valentine’s Day cards to friends and family that they cannot see in person during the holiday can make their mailings even more personal by making their own Valentine’s Day address labels. There are several websites that allow users to design their own address labels. Users can either find Valentine’s Day art on the website and add it digitally to their labels, or prints labels and decorate them by hand. While digitally designed address labels are sleeker looking, those decorated by hand have a more personal touch. The final decision as to which method to use depends on the message that the sender would like to convey.

Whether you are looking for a craft to show your sweetheart how much you care or a project to keep your kids busy this Valentine’s Day, there’s a Valentine’s Day craft available for any sentiment. Being away from loved ones doesn’t mean that the sentiment has to be put on hold; a card that is enhanced by a Valentine’s Day address label is the perfect way to show someone you care.

About the Author

Jessica is a specialist in printing and address labels. When she is not writing for Print360.com, you can find her cooking up a storm in her kitchen.

*Image: nuchylee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

Pamper those you love this Valentine’s Day! Here is a great idea for a homemade foot scrub from Erika Katz, author of Bonding Over Beauty, to make as gifts or just treat yourself!

Erika Katz likes to use strawberries in this recipe because they are rich in salicylic acid which helps dead skin shed more easily. The sugar granules also help to exfoliate skin but are super gentle on delicate skin. You can keep this in the fridge for up to a week. To use your scrub, simply rub your feet gently in circular motions and rinse with warm water.

Strawberry Peppermint Foot Scrub

Ingredients

2 pureed strawberries

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and

2 tablespoons of granulated white sugar

4 drops peppermint essential oil

To Make:

Mix all the ingredients well and put into a pretty jar.

For more tips like these, please pick up a copy of Erika Katz’s book, Bonding Over Beauty, available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon and Indiebound.

5 Unique Gifts For Your Green Valentine

Valentine’s Day is coming up and it’s the perfect opportunity to show your loved one how fabulous you are when it comes to gift giving. Whether you’re green or your significant other is, there are a variety of eco-friendly gifts to choose from this holiday. From jewelry to coffee, here are some great ideas for the eco-warrior in your life:

1. Family Heirlooms

Your family heirlooms can be a great treasure trove of available gift options. If you’ve got a pair of old cuff links, a pocket watch or a ring, find a way to redesign them and turn them into a fabulous Valentine’s Day gift. Re-purposed jewelry is both personal and sentimental and sure to be loved by your recipient.

2. Paper

You can press your own paper, it’s quite easy, or you can buy eco-friendly papers and make a beautiful card or the ever-popular coupon book. Include coupons for massages, a “day off” or a favorite home-cooked meal. Let your significant other trade in their coupons whenever they like. Just make sure you don’t include a coupon for something you won’t have time to do!

If your significant other likes to write or even sketch, put together a couple dozen sheets of organic paper in a tablet. Put your papers together, punch two holes and secure them with hemp cord. Homemade tablets make lovely gifts for anyone who enjoys drawing, painting or journaling.

3. Organic Tees

Who doesn’t love a T-shirt? Long-sleeved tees are great for layering and short sleeve tees are a summer staple. Dozens of online retailers sell organic, eco-friendly tees that are both sustainable and labor-friendly. By purchasing an eco-friendly T-shirt, you’re giving your partner a comfortable shirt and ensuring that the people producing them are being treated fairly. Depending on who you buy from, you may also be contributing to worthy causes in a round-about manner.

4. E-Reader

Before you scoff at this idea, thinking that it’s not eco-friendly at all, if you’ve got an avid reader in your life, think of the hundreds of trees that have been chopped down so your loved one can read the latest paperback every week. By purchasing an E-reader, like Nook or Kindle, you will eliminate the necessity of your significant other to contribute to the deforestation of the planet. What could be more eco-friendly?

Keep in mind that the latest generations of E-readers aren’t just for books! Magazine subscriptions and newspapers can be downloaded as well.

5. Coffee at Home

Almost everyone loves coffee and fair-trade coffee makes a thoughtful gift. Available in a wide variety of flavors, from breakfast blends to high-test roast, buy a selection of organic, fair-trade certified coffees and put together a beautiful gift basket. Throw in a reusable travel mug and you’ve just ensured that your spouse can continue their coffee habit while ensuring that the people who pick the beans and work in the factories are treated humanely.

Valentine’s Day is a personal holiday; choose a gift that will show your loved one that you are thinking of them. With all of the eco-friendly options for gifts this season, you won’t have to sacrifice your green ideals to give the perfect gift.

About the Author

Author Tanya Peterson resides in NYC and is a content contributor for watchrepairny.com, a Manhattan provider of fine watch repair services since 1978. Tanya’s grandfather was in the antique watch business and it’s been a fascination with her since childhood.

*Image: Master isolated images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

Spices, warm chocolate and wine. Can you think of anything hotter for your steamy date night? Try these Molten Merlot Cakes to top off your fabulous evening – yes they are rich, but well worth the splurge!

Molten Merlot Cakes

Ingredients

4 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
1 stick of butter (“Mom” prefers organic)
1 TBS VOGA Merlot
1 TBS Vanilla Extract
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 egg (“Mom” prefers organic)
1 egg yolk (“Mom” prefers organic)
6 TBS flour (“Mom” prefers organic)
¼ tsp Cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425°F. Butter four 6 ounce custard cups and place them on a baking sheet.

Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwavable bowl on high for 1 minute or until butter is melted. Stir with whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in wine, vanilla and confectioners sugar. Stir in eggs and yolk, followed by flour, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Pour batter evenly into the custard cups.

Bake the cakes for 15 minutes or until sides are firm but centers are soft. Let stand 1 minute. Carefully loosen the edges of the cakes with a small knife, place on a serving platter and decorate with confectioners sugar. Enjoy immediately!

*Recipe and image courtesy of VOGA Italia Wine.*

How To Make an Eco Machine Embroidered Valentine’s Card

Valentine’s Day is often criticised for being an overly commercialised holiday dreamt up by the greetings card companies. This year, why not shun the mass produced cards and make up one of your own. Read on to find out how to make a simple machine embroidered Valentine’s Day card that you could give to all the family. Not only will a handmade card mean so much more to that special someone in your life, but by using recycled card and fabric scraps, you can show your love towards the environment too.

What you will need:

• Recycled card – smaller piece for front of card, larger piece to make shape of card
• Assorted fabric scraps
• Pencil
• Scissors
• Glue stick
• Sewing machine
• Contrast color thread
• Scrap paper
• Buttons

1. Start by choosing your fabrics and colors. You can either use what you have lying around, or you can go and buy fabric remnants from the local fabric store. It doesn’t matter whether you opt for plain or patterned but mix it up a bit by having five different fabrics in a medium weight (no transparent chiffon or thick velvet). Also choose your colored card, for the embroidered front and to make up the main card shape.

2. On scrap paper, draw out the letters L O V E in chunky shapes, and draw a heart (draw half on a fold of paper to get a symmetrical heart). When you are happy with them, cut them out to use as templates for the fabric.

3. Decide on the order of your fabrics and use the shape templates to cut out each piece.

4. Stick the heart into the center of the front card with the glue stick. Use a zig-zag stitch to sew all the way around the heart shape. You will need a darning foot and contrasting thread. Try to make one continuous stitch.

5. Repeat for the LOVE letters, placing them across the heart. Sew each with a contrasting thread, you can either use zig-zag stitch as before, or use a messy straight stitch to randomly sew across each letter (or a mixture of the two methods).

6. Sew or glue the buttons onto each corner of the card.

7. Fold the larger section of card over to make a landscape style greetings card, and glue the embroidered card to the front.

8. Use the inside to write your very own personalized message!

About the Author

Emma Waight is an ethical fashion blogger and freelance writer for clothes.org.uk. For style advice and fashion news follow clothes on twitter.