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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Sweets for the Sweet: Happy Valentine’s Day

By Sherrie Norris

Valentine’s Day is just hours away — and what better way to show your love than with treats from the kitchen.

Keep in mind, sometimes, it’s the little things that make a difference.

In addition to stirring up a little something sweet, spend time reflecting on the good times. Try to reenact your first date. Play a little “romantic trivia” by creating a game based on questions about your relationship. Give rewards for the right answers and lovingly accept the wrong ones. The following are some sample questions you can use: Where was our first kiss? Where did we go on our first date? What kind of car did I own when we first met?. . . you get the idea?

And in the meantime, hope these recipes help seal the deal.


Sweetheart Cake

1 box white cake mix (plus ingredients as listed on box)

3 oz. box strawberry-flavored Jell-O

16 oz. pkg. frozen sliced strawberries, thawed and drained

3 ½ cups powdered sugar

1 cup butter, softened

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Red and/or pink candies

Preheat oven as directed on box. Grease and flour two 8-inch baking pans, one round and one square. Add the Jell-O to the cake mix, then prepare the mix as directed on box. Fold half the strawberries into the batter, stir well and pour into prepared pans and bake according to package directions. Remove cakes from pan and allow to cool completely. To make frosting, beat the sugar, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the remaining strawberries and beat until well combined. When the cakes have cooled, cut the round one in half and place the two semi-circles against two sides of the square cake to form heart-shape. Spread frosting and decorate to your heart’s content with the candies.


Romantic Trifle

1 pkg. angel food cake mix, prepared as directed and cooled

1 large pkg. vanilla instant pudding, prepared as directed

1 16. oz. pkg. frozen strawberries

8 large bananas, sliced

1 large carton whipped topping

1/4 cup slivered almonds

Tear cake into bite-size pieces; layer half the cake, pudding, fruit and whipped topping in large bowl. Repeat layers with remaining ingredients. Top with almonds. Chill until serving time. Makes a lot!!


Simple Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Fresh strawberries

Semi-sweet or white chocolate chips

Crisco shortening

Ahead of time, rinse (and let air dry) fresh strawberries with stems intact. For each batch, melt 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips with tablespoon Crisco over double boiler, stirring constantly. Dip strawberry halfway in chocolate and place on waxed paper until set. Best if served the same day.


Sweetheart Shakes

3 cups milk, divided

1 cup vanilla ice cream, softened

1 (3 ½ oz.) pkg. vanilla instant pudding mix, divided

1 cup strawberry ice cream, softened

3 drops red food coloring

Add 1½ cups milk to a blender; add in vanilla ice cream and 1/3 of the pudding mix.

Cover and blend on high until smooth (about 15 seconds). Pour mixture into four 8-oz. freezer-safe glasses; freeze for 30 minutes. Pour remaining ingredients into blender; cover and blend until smooth (about 15 seconds).

Pour into glasses on top of vanilla portion and serve.


Heart Pizza  

1 pkg. ready-made pizza dough

Pizza sauce, at least ½ cup

Grated cheese of choice

Vegetable toppings of choice: peppers, onions, mushrooms

Meat toppings of choice: cooked ground beef, sausage, pepperoni or ham

Unroll dough onto cookie sheet. With sharp knife, cut dough into a heart shape. With excess dough, create a rim around the edge of the heart.

Spread sauce over pizza base and sprinkle with cheese. Add toppings of choice. Bake pizza according to instructions on the package, about 20-25 minutes.


Krispie Kisses

6 cups Rice Krispies

1 pkg. marshmallows

3 Tbsp. butter or margarine

Cooking spray

Small strips of paper

Label each strip of paper with a Valentine’s Message, ie: A Kiss For You

Follow directions on cereal box for making Rice Krispie treats; allow mixture to cool until easy enough to handle. Form mixture into small kiss/funnel shapes. Place on waxed paper to cool completely. Then, wrap each “kiss” and strip of paper in small pieces of aluminum foil. Give as a gift to someone special.

(Great treat for the kids to help make.)