We know Valentine’s Day is traditionally all about the romance, but with all the fun candies, cards, colors and decoration possibilities, it seems like the perfect excuse to throw a party for the kids. And why not make it a pink one! We’ve got some great ideas for nibbles, both indulgent and healthy, that will make any party guest blush. With a few helpful tips, you can fill the table with imaginative, unconventional pink treats in less time than you’d think. After all, you still want some energy left for celebrating grown-up style once the kids are in bed.
Pop to It
You know you can whip up a batch of crisp-rice treats in no time, and the kids will love them, but we know you like a more personal touch. Mix things up a little, just to keep it fun. Switching to popcorn for your “cereal” is one way to move outside the box. For 8 cups of popcorn you’ll need about 3 cups of mini-marshmallows and 2 to 4 tablespoons of butter.
Melt the butter and marshmallows in a saucepan or your microwave and add a few drops of red food coloring to make the mix Valentine pink. Add popcorn and the Jelly Belly Conversation Beans from Hedgehog in a Bucket and toss them all together until they make a fun, sticky mess. Press the pink corn into an oiled heart-shaped cookie cutter to shape the treats. For a fun presentation, put them on long lollipop sticks with a decorative ribbon and serve them in the hedgehog’s bucket.
Salty and Sweet
The only thing more addictive than crisp, salty pretzels is pretzels dipped in chocolate. Put aside the dark-chocolate ones for yourself, for later (nobody will tell) and use white chocolate to make a party-pink version for the kids. It’s fast and simple if you do it yourself or a fun activity with the kids. All you need is melted white chocolate, pretzels, and pink decorating sugar or candy sprinkles.
Hold each pretzel by its bottom loop and dip it into the melted white chocolate. Gently scrape off any excess chocolate, then hold the pretzel over a clean bowl and sprinkle it with decorating sugar or candy sprinkles until it’s covered. Set the pretzels aside on a sheet of parchment until the chocolate sets, then transfer them to a Valentine-themed treat jar. Challenge the kids to guess how many are in the jar.
Wash It Down
A houseful of laughing, running, playing kids will get pretty thirsty before the party’s over, so you’ll want to be prepared. Pink lemonade is an excellent quencher, and you can make your own without artificial flavors or colors. Start with your favorite natural lemonade, either homemade or a good quality store-bought brand.
Berries are your best bet when it comes to “pinking up” your lemonade without food coloring. Frozen raspberries or blueberries are best because they release loads of colorful juice as they thaw. If you like, you can filter them out once your lemonade is the right color. Replace them with fresh raspberries or sliced strawberries and serve the frosty lemonade over ice in sturdy Mason drinking jar mugs.
Lovin’ the Layers
While you’re picking up berries for the lemonade, grab some extras. You can use them to make a tall, cool, colorful treat that even the picky eaters won’t be able to resist — yes, it’s a parfait. Layers and layers of sweet — but healthy — kid-bait. Start by mashing or pureeing some ripe strawberries, then mix the berries into plain or vanilla-flavored Greek-style yogurt to make a pink, pudding-y filling. If you use plain yogurt, you might want to sweeten it with a smidge of honey or another natural sweetener. Because, you know … kids.
Set out a tall drinking glass for each of your size-small partygoers and maybe one more as a reward for yourself. Spoon a bit of your yogurt mixture into the bottom of each glass and add a layer of raspberries, blackberries or sliced strawberries. Keep layering until the glasses are full. Add a layer or two of crushed pink animal cookies or something else sweet, to make it more of a treat. Decorate each parfait with a few berries or a cookie and serve them with long spoons.
Fill ’em Up
In between the sweet treats you’ll want to give the kids a bit of serious fuel so they don’t run out of oomph in the middle of all the fun. Hummus is a good choice because it’s nutritious and surprisingly filling, but its drab brown color isn’t especially Valentine-friendly. You can fix that in a hurry by adding a small roasted beet to the chickpeas and garlic in your food processor. Cover the feed tube with a kitchen towel to prevent any splatters — beets stain pretty badly — and puree the hummus to a smooth and vivid pink.
The hummus will look spectacular in a clear glass bowl — but only use if your guests are big enough that breakage isn’t a concern. Otherwise, use something safe. Set out a selection of cut vegetables for dipping, along with pita chips or something else healthful and bread-like. February is still cough-and-cold season, so if your party includes any notorious double-dippers you might want to offer the kids individual portions of hummus on their own plate.
Use these pink snack ideas and who knows, you just might start a new tradition with your kids. These snacks would also go great paired with a card or craft for Valentine’s day too! And now it’s your turn. What are your prettiest pink treat ideas for Valentine’s Day?