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How about a Valentine's Day Potluck? (Recipes included)

posted Feb 10, 2013, 6:53 PM by Aileen Hamilton
I couldn't help but laugh when I learned that our tween's parent teacher conferences were scheduled on the 14th of February. Since it's a weekday, I was forced to pick the latest slot available so Craig would be able to make the conference, also. So while everyone else might be sitting at a nice candle-lit dinner making googly eyes at their sweetheart sitting across from them, (Or next to them, if you're like me and Craig and you like to request a booth table so you could sit next to each other and hold hands), we will be sitting across from my daughter and her teachers talking about her performance in class.

BUT!!! Knowing that our Home Group from the church we attend will be meeting a few days apart from Valentine's Day, I came up with an idea. (Me and my Big Ideas!)  Clearly I won't be having a traditional Valentine's Day dinner with my sweetheart, so why not do something non-traditional and have a Valentine's Dinner with our church family in our Home Group? Geeeeenious!  So I went online to see if this might have been something that has been 'pulled off' before, and when I googled 'Valentine's Day Pitch-In', for some reason my search results returned a bunch of pick-up lines. (Pitch-In/Pick-Up lines) I don't see how they're the same, do you? So then I googled 'Valentine's Day Potluck' and wouldn't you know that Valentine's Day Potlucks among friends is more common than I thought!

So what do we bring to a Valentine's Day Potluck? Well, that could be something YOU love (something you make often because you enjoy it that much) , or something that'd show how much you love Everyone Else (Liver and Onions wouldn't work here), Something red or Pink tinted, and of course, anything HEARTY.  I googled the definition of a 'Hearty Meal' - I got results  such as something full, heavy, and even 'man-sized', comforting.  (I had to give myself a pat-on-the-back for thinking of a way to describe food with the word HEART in it - HEARTY- that's pretty clever if you ask me!)  'Spread the Love' with what savory snack, dip, casserole, salad, sweet, or treat you come up with!

Tonight our Home Group came together. Hearts dangled from the ceiling, and I was quite impressed with the many delicious dishes that came waltzing through the kitchen, I grabbed my camera! (Many of us even showed up wearing RED for the occasion!) From a heart-shaped meatloaf, to a HEARTY Cheesy Potatoes and a Macaroni and Cheese Dish and everything else down to fabulous sides and desserts that were so delightful, I was almost tempted to blare out into singing, "Caaaaaaaan you feel the looooooove tonight?" Everyone was so delighted! I heard a comment from one us saying, "I'll take five helpings of everything!" Lots of wonderful aromas filled the entire house, and our bellies were very very happy!


~~~Crock pot PINK Peppermint Hot Chocolate~~~
Who wouldn't love being able to make hot chocolate in a crock pot???  And PINK hot chocolate, how cool is that??
I was even more excited when I went to the store and found heart-shaped marshmallows to top our mugs with, ohhhh, yeah!
This recipe makes about 16 cups, perfect for a crowd!! 

You'll need:
-2 cans of Sweetened Condensed Milk
-2 cups of half and half
-8 cups of whole milk
-1 1/2 cups of Peppermint Baking Chips (I used Andes)
-2 cups of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
-6 Tablespoons of Baking Cocoa Powder
-4 Tablespoons of Powdered Sugar
-Suggested Toppings: Whipped Cream, Mini Marshmallows, Mini Chocolate Chips, Shaved Chocolate, Chocolate Sprinkles 

Directions: Combine all the ingredients together in a 5 quart crock pot. (If you have a smaller crock pot, you can easily half the recipe, and have half the serving size). Stir all the ingredients well. Set your crock pot on low for four hours, stirring once halfway through cooking time. After 4 hours of cooking time, put on 'Warm Setting' to prevent gelling. (As it gets cold it becomes too thick) Serve WARM!  Garnish with suggested toppings!  

~~~Slow Roasted New RED Potato Salad~~~
This gives a slight different texture than the normal potato salad we're used to, because the potatoes are slow roasted in the oven.
You'll need:
-One Dozen New Red Potatoes, Chopped and Diced 
-Olive Oil for drizzling before Oven Roasting
-3 chopped, hard-cooked eggs
- about half of a chopped celery
- 1/4 cup green onion, sliced
- 6 slices of cooked-crispy bacon bits
-1 cup of mayonnaise
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper to Taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. While oven is pre-heating, prepare potatoes. Sprinkle lightly with Sea Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder. Drizzle potatoes with Olive Oil, and slow roast in the oven for about 45 minutes. Add cooled potatoes to the rest of the ingredients. Chill for at least a couple of hours to allow the flavors to blend, Serves 8-10

~~~Glorious PINK Fruit Salad~~~
Craig's Grandma made what she called a 5-cup Fruit Salad. Adding Cherry-Pie filling to her recipe turned it PINK, for a delicious Valentine's Day treat!

You'll need:
-1 21oz can of Cherry Pie Fillng
-1 14oz can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
-1 11oz can of Mandarin Oranges
-1 15oz can of Crushed Pineapple
-1 Cup of Shredded Coconut
-2 Cups of Miniature Marshmallows
-1 16oz tub of Frozen Whipped Topping
-1/4 cup Chopped Pecans to garnish Fruit Salad
Directions: Thaw the tub of frozen whipped topping, and then combine all ingredients. Chill for several hours or overnight. Top with chopped Pecans, Serve chilled.

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10
Happy Valentine's Day from Pure Heart Farms to You and Yours!