By Jen Ashenfelter
I think guys have it easy on Valentine’s Day. I will gladly accept a wide variety of gifts–roses, jewelry, stuffed animals, sexy PJs, perfume…. I could go on. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe most gals would agree with me that those are acceptable gift choices. I’m easy to please–it’s the fun things, the simple things that really make this girl happy. (My hubby never disappoints.)
I remember several Valentine’s Days when my father walked through the door at the end of the day with a red foil-wrapped, heart-shaped box filled with chocolates…just for me. (My little sister received her own box.) I couldn’t even tell you what my mother got from Dad because I was just so over-the-moon about my own box of fancy chocolates.
Many years later, along came my sons Nick and Chris. I wasn’t used to thinking of Valentine’s Day gifts for boys. When they were younger it was much easier—stuffed animals were good. As the tween years approached, stuffed animals became unacceptable (and quite honestly, we were overrun by these fuzzy creatures).
Candy is universally accepted, except with one son having allergies to peanuts, tree nuts and eggs. Look at the ingredients on those heart-shaped boxes—a box full of disappointment for my youngest. What’s a mother to do?
With that said, my husband and I didn’t want to set a precedent for giving gifts more appropriate for a birthday or Christmas. However, I wanted to give the boys something special.
Here are a few ideas—which don’t require a holiday spending account—for a fun gift to give your special boy.
Toy sets – Add a train or track set to a Thomas the Train collection. The small LEGO kits include a variety of vehicles and mini figures to go with any larger set. Celebrate your future car enthusiast by adding more Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars to the collection.
Books – It’s a day to celebrate love so why not instill a love of reading with a new book.
Movies – There’s always another Disney or Pixar movie to own, as well as adding to a series collection: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Iron Man, Batman…the list goes on depending on interest and age. If you don’t get out to the movie theaters often, consider a family dinner and movie date…or a gift card to the movie theater.
Music – A tween or teen can never have enough downloaded music and games so iTunes gift cards are perfect.
Art – Crayola, need I say more? Feed their love of art by adding a new piece to their creative supplies—stickers, colored pencils, stencils, finger paints or chalk. For older kids, sign them up for a photography class or spend an afternoon together at a local museum.
Food – What’s that saying: the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? With two growing boys in this household, food is never turned away. I’ve never been a fan of going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day, so I’m perfectly happy to make a favorite dinner we all enjoy, set a nice table and sit down together. To top it off, our dessert tradition has always been chocolate-covered strawberries!
I might stray from our tradition this year for something equally scrumptious: Oreo Truffles. I discovered these tasty gems when a coworker brought a batch into the office before Christmas. I can’t wait for Christmas 2013 so I’m making them now. (I could make them at any time but that would be too easy; it’s safer for my waistline if they are only made for special occasions.)
Something tells me I may be the last one in America to discover Oreo truffles but in case I’m not, here’s the recipe. Happy Valentine’s Day and show the little men in your life how much you love them with a special surprise. Enjoy…
Kraft Foods Oreo Truffles
36 OREO Cookies, finely crushed, divided
1 pkg (8 oz) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
16 oz BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted
- RESERVE 1/4 cup cookie crumbs. Mix cream cheese and remaining cookie crumbs until blended.
- SHAPE into 48 (1-inch) balls. Dip in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.
- REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm.
Kraft Kitchens Tips
How to Melt Chocolate
Place unwrapped chocolate in microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 2-1/2 min. or until chocolate is completely melted, stirring every 30 sec.
How to Easily Dip Truffles
To easily coat truffles with the melted chocolate, add truffles, in batches, to bowl of melted chocolate. Use 2 forks to roll truffles in chocolate until evenly coated. Remove truffles with forks, letting excess chocolate drip back into bowl. Place truffles on prepared baking sheet; let stand until firm.
How to Store
Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.