Friday, February 13, 2015

“Almond French Toast Hearts” & A “Strawberry Bellini” For "Valentine's Day"

                              “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind”
                                                         By W. Shakespeare

Welcome readers…Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! Take your loved one by the hand, and enjoy this day of “Love.” Here are some interesting facts about this day; Valentine greetings were very popular as far back in history as the middle Ages. Written Valentine greetings did not appear until after the 1400s. The oldest known Valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, in England. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London and wrote a poem for his wife. It is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a Valentine note to Catherine of Valois. By the middle of the 18th century, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange a small token of affection or handwritten notes. In the 1900s printed cards replaced hand written notes due to the progress in printing technology. 

I thought it would be fun to know some facts about the flowers that our loved ones give us.. Do you know what the colors of flowers mean? Well, snuggle up with your loved one and see how well you did on what the colors actually mean.

The rose, undoubtedly the most popular flower in the world, speaks of love and has been the traditional choice of sweethearts during every century. Precisely how it came to be the universal symbol of love and beauty is unclear. However, the rose was a sacred flower of Venus, Roman Goddess of Love, and the color red is associated with strong emotions. The rose is symbolic of both peace and war...both love and forgiveness. The letters of "rose" when rearranged, form the word "Eros"...God of Love. In terms of the sentiments expressed by the different colors of the rose, the commonly accepted meanings are:

Coral -- Desire
Lavender -- Enchantment & Uniqueness
Pink (Pale) -- Grace, Joy & Happiness
Pink (Dark) -- Thankfulness, Friendship & Admiration
Red -- Love, Respect & Courage
Deep Red -- Beauty & Passion
White -- Innocence, Purity, Secrecy, Silence, Humility, True Love
Yellow -- Joy, Friendship, Jealousy, Hope & Freedom
Black -- Farewell
Red/White -- Unity or Engagement
Yellow/Orange -- Passionate Thoughts
Rosebud -- Beauty, Youth & a Heart Innocent of Love
Red Rosebud -- Purity & Loveliness
White Rosebud -- Girlhood
Single Red Rose in Full Bloom -- "I Love You"
One Dozen Red Roses -- "I Love You"
Tea Roses -- "I'll Remember Always"

Another flower particularly associated with Valentine's Day is the violet, which has a special connotation since legend states that violets grew outside the window of the jail where Saint Valentine was imprisoned. In the language of flowers, the violet is symbolic of faithfulness while a violet stone...the also considered lucky for sweethearts. 

mom & dad wedding  (1951)
You can fill your home with romance and love. A day where indulgence and passion is in the air. You may receive flowers, chocolates in a heart shaped box, or gifts to express your feelings towards that special someone, like jewelry. Some find romance on this day when couples become engaged. My dad proposed to my mom on Valentine's Day in 1949 and they married in 1951. This December it will be “64” years of blissful marriage for them. My parents told me the story on how they got engaged….. The year was 1949, Chinatown, New York City in a Chinese restaurant, on Valentines Day. My mom and dad had a favorite Chinese restaurant that was located upstairs from a store. They would frequently meet each other after work. This was the day that my dad was going to surprise my mom with “the ring.” He tried to be ingenious and he put the ring in my mom’s tea cup when she went to the powder room. Just before he poured the tea, my mom said, “What is in this cup?” And low and behold she saw the ring and that is how it all began. So the moral of the story is always look in the cup before you have some tea!

I hope that you enjoyed some fun facts and you have a wonderful “Happy Valentine’s Day” with your loved ones. Here is a recipe for a delicious breakfast which you may want to make for your special Valentine. A perfect way to start your Valentine’s Day. My recipe is called, “Almond French Toast Hearts.” An easy, romantic, and healthy dish. You can use the Almond Butter or some pure maple syrup, or even a dusting of powdered sugar. No matter what you put on them, they are a decadent way to celebrate your Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart. My recipe is a favorite, why not add some strawberries or fresh fruit and enjoy with your favorite person! “Happy Valentine’s Day“!!!! Baci e amore!

“Almond French Toast Hearts”

Prep/Total Time: 25 min.
Yield: 5-6 servings 

10-12 (1 inch) slices of bread
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 Tbsp sugar
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the almond butter:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Cut bread slices into heart shapes. You can use a large, almost 4 inch heart, cookie cutter or cut your own heart shape with kitchen shears. Use trimmings for another purpose. In a shallow bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cinnamon, and 1 tsp almond extract. In large skillet, melt 2 Tbsp butter. Dip both sides of each bread heart into the egg mixture and place on the hot skillet. Cook each side for 2-3 minutes until golden brown.

For the almond butter: in a small bowl, blend together the 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1 1/2 Tbsp powdered sugar, and 1/2 tsp almond extract.

Serve cooked French Toast with the almond butter along with a sprinkling of powdered and fresh raspberries or strawberry slices. Drizzle with pure maple syrup.


The Bellini is a famous champagne cocktail created by Giuseppe Cipriani, proprietor of Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy. Cipriani named his drink after Giovanni Bellini, his favorite Italian painter. The Bellini has become one of the most famous and popular of all wine cocktails or champagne cocktails, and usually is served as a Peach Bellini. This Strawberry Bellini is a twist on the original. Delizioso! Cin Cin!

Strawberry Bellini

1 bottle of your favorite Champagne or Prosecco
1 cup Simple Syrup (or less if you don't like it sweet)
1 small bag of frozen Strawberries
To garnish: use fresh strawberries on the side of your glass or Chocolate covered ones, in a small bowl adds another texture/and flavor.

Take out your blender, and add the frozen strawberries. Then, add the simple syrup. Remember, simple syrup is just equal parts water to sugar and boiled till the sugar is dissolved. So, in this case 1 cup water to 1 cup sugar, dissolved. Next, add about a half cup of the champagne to the blender. Puree for about 30 seconds until the mixture is well blended. Take out your champagne glasses, and pour the puree to about 1/2 the way. Then, add champagne to the remaining half. Stir. It really is a pretty drink, and very simple to make. Enjoy!!

(Please Drink Responsibly)

Till Next Time………………..

Copyright © 2015 “Family Plus Food Equals Love”  All Rights Reserved


  1. I love your post Dottie! I can't believe Valentine is tomorrow.. already!
    I love your romantic bellini and those lovely almond toasts. They seem easy to make too.
    Strawberries with chocolate are one of my favourite treats and I might as well do them tomorrow as they only take a minute to prepare.
    My children will be on holiday next week as it is half term in the UK so I will be quite busy this coming week! Lots of trips to the park I expect and maybe some cooking too!
    Ciao and have a good weekend my friend xxx

    1. Dear Alida,
      Thank you dear friend. Yes, time is flying by and Valentine's Day is upon us. The Bellini is one of my favorite breakfast cocktails. These sweet little hearts that are made as a French Toast are a perfect way to celebrate, any day. I usually cut out the bread ahead of time, not only makes it easier but it seems to then have a crusty part to the edges and that helps with the soaking of the bread in the egg mixture. You got it, strawberry and dark chocolate are so good and they are good for you. Lots of health benefits. That is so nice that your children are on holiday, we call it Spring Break or like half a term. Great time for cooking or baking with your children, and they are learning from you. Thanks for visiting..Have a wonderful fun weekend...
      Dottie :)

  2. Good Morning Dottie ,
    You did a great job on this post and thanks for explain the meaning of the different colors of the flowers . That is great to know.
    What a romantic way for your father to ask your mother to marry him . I have always found Italian men to be very romantic . 64 years this December , what a great love they have ...KUDOS to them and many more years together . What a beautiful wedding photo , so happy and full of joy .
    I will make the almond toast hearts tomorrow for the family .
    The drink is so pretty and easy to make . Thanks so much for sharing and have a great weekend .
    Happy Valentine Day my friend , stay warm and safe ...:) ~Nee~

    1. Good afternoon Nee,
      Thank you for your comment. I know, I always got confused as to what the colors of the flowers mean. Now we know! Yes, my dad is romantic at times, now at 88 years young he doesn't do much anymore. But my mom and dad are truly a love story in it's self. Yes, the photo is a good one, shows my mom and dad's wedding party. They got married at church, and then the reception was at the "Governor Clinton Hotel" in New York City. I do hope that you try these recipes, great fun and yummy too! Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Valentine's Day to you and your family!
      Dottie :)

  3. Dottie, this is a fun loving post! I enjoyed reading about the meaning of the different colors of flowers, I knew some of them and learned new ones. That's a great story of your parents and how romantic and clever your father was. They sound like a wonderful couple and you're all lucky to have each other.
    Love those French toast hearts, perfect breakfast for the big day. And the Strawberry Bellini has to be delicious also. Take care, thanks for the story and Happy Valentine's Day!

    1. Hi Pam,
      So nice to hear from you, thanks for your comment...I am so glad that you enjoyed this post. Yes, my parents are truly a loving couple and an inspiration to me. I am so grateful that I still have them both and that they brought me up in a loving, fun, caring and faithful family. Yes, these French Toast Hearts are really delicious, especially with the flavor of the almond. Always loved Bellinis and another great breakfast drink would be a mimosa. Hope that you have a wonderful fun weekend and a loving Valentine's Day...
      Dottie :)

  4. Hi Dottie:)
    Happy Valentine's Day!!! I hope you are staying nice and warm down there. It's freezing up here {{{brrrrr}}} but I think you "guys" are getting lots more snow than us.

    I really enjoyed this post, Dottiel. I have always been fascinated by the language of flowers. I have a very old book titled Life Among the Flowers from the late 1800s. I think I shared it once. The Language of Flowers has been modernized a lot but I see you have dug up the older versions. I had forgotten about Eros:)

    Your mom and dad's weeding sounds so romantic, ah, love the touch of romance. And these recipes too. They are perfect for this day Dottie.

    Thank you so much for sharing, here's toasting you this Valentine's Day!

    1. Dear Louise,

      Happy Valentine's Day to you and Marion as well, even though I am writing this on Sunday morning. Hope that your day was a good one...So far dear friend, I am staying warm and cozy, but snow is coming down and Sunday we are getting more, possibility a Blizzard. Very cold, Brrrrrrr and windy, hope we can hold on to the power. I know it is freezing all over even down south...

      So glad that you enjoyed this post. I thought of you when I wrote this. as you know I am not a grower of plants and veggies but I do love flowers. I never remember what the colors mean, so I thought this was an interesting subject to do some research on. Yes, I think I do remember the book that you once shared. It is always fun do find out about these things, and I learn so much from the research that I do.

      I would think my parents wedding was romantic, but as you know I was not in the picture till 1954. My mom's gown and headpiece was handmade by a friend of my grandmothers. Yes, my dad was original for that time.

      I agree these recipes are perfect for any day, but especially Valentine's Day. Thank you for visiting and for your beautiful comment..You always brighten my day or night when you post a comment. Thanks friend, Have a wonderful rest of the weekend. Oh and enjoy Monday as it is President's Day..

      Dottie :)

  5. Dear Dottie, I loved the story of how your parents became engaged. It was so loving and sweet. I am happy that they have the blessing of 64 years of marriage. That is so beautiful.
    I also learned so much about the roses. It was fun to know the meaning of the colors and the rose type.
    I hope your day was beautiful.
    Please be careful with this very cold weather. The weatherman says more snow!!!
    xoxo Catherine

    1. Dear Catherine,
      Thank you for your visit and the comment. So thrilled that you enjoyed this post. Yes, my parents, (Bless them) are a very loving and I always loved that story about how they became engaged. I am so grateful that they are still with us. I know the roses are so beautiful and the colors I knew meant something, but always wanted to know. Yes, my day was a lovely peaceful and productive day. Hope you and your family enjoyed it as well. I love the snow and winter, but even I have had enough...and that is saying something. I can't believe more snow...the weathermen had us crazy on the weekend, and then nothing took place at least here we just had maybe about one inch, if that. Hope that this is over soon, but it seems the whole country is off, snow, ice even down south..Hopefully it wouldn't be too bad this week. Be safe and stay warm..Have a good one...Thanks again..
      Dottie :).