Did you know the rose was the favorite flower of Venus the Roman goddess of love? Or that February 14th was once a celebration of the feast of Lupercalia in honor of Juno in the ancient Roman times? In 1537 England’s King Henry VII officially declared this date St. Valentine’s Day. But, who is this St. Valentine? There are a few theories on how this holiday came about. According to History.com St. Valentine was a priest who served in the 3rd century in Rome. The Emperor Claudius II outlawed single men from getting married during the war deciding that single men made better solders. Valentine disagreed with the outrageous law and continued to marry single men in secrecy. Once Claudius found this out, he ordered Valentine put to death. Therefore, some believe that this day is a celebration of his death. Other stories include Christians making sacrifices on this day of animals for fertility and purification then run through the streets with the hides gently slapping women who believed this will make them fertile. I think this practice would not be so welcomed in 2017.
Today, stores are overflowing with boxes of heart shaped chocolates, stuffed teddy bears holding signs saying “I Love You”, bags of little sugar candy hearts with messages saying, “Facebook me”, singing cupid cards, and flower shops can’t keep up with orders. Restaurant reservations are overbooked; Jewelry stores are crowed with men buying a special heart shaped pendant or perhaps an engagement ring. Social media and cell phones are exploding with, pictures of presents received, “Happy Valentines” day emoji’s, little red hearts in text messages and snap chat selfies. Today this is a billion dollar money making holiday. Here are just a few stats from a 2014 report:
The average American spends about $120.00 on Valentine’s Day being mostly men.
Flowers 52.2 million
Jewelry 50 million
Apparel (sexy lingerie) 38.3 million
Specialty gifts (use your imagination here) 18.6 million
Movies (including adults only) 7.2 million
Restaurants (not McDonalds) 7.1 million
Salons and spa’s 1.2 million
Chocolate 1.7 billion
Estimated 58 million lbs. of chocolate will be purchases
36 million of those heart shaped boxes of mystery filled chocolates
Even pets’ benefit from Valentines with pet stores selling heart shaped special treats and cupcakes, collars, bows, and heart shaped squeaky toys.
Don’t have a special someone? That’s ok there are plenty of friends and family willing to set you up on a blind date or go to a singles party. Then of course there is always that friend who thinks you might like a “grow your own boyfriend/girlfriend” gag gift. Or you can buy your own box of Godiva chocolates and take a bite out of each one to see what kind it is and put it back, drink a bottle of wine while watching an “Officer and a Gentleman” in your PJ’s and fluffy pink slippers.
What do I think about Valentine’s Day? Buy your special someone a romantic card that will only get thrown away 2 days later? Do I want a dozen long stem roses that will cost double the amount than on any other regular day that will die in about a week? How about reservations at a fancy restaurant where they offer a special dinner and a bottle of champagne for a great deal? A big teddy bear that says “Be my Valentine” when hugged? A small box wrapped in a red bow that contains glittery diamonds along with a bill the next month? No, Valentine’s Day to me is just another holiday that makes companies a lot of money.
My husband and I don’t need these things to show that we love each other. I married my best friend and my companion. We laugh every single day either at each other or with each other at the most silliest of things. We are team and competitive to the extreme when we run, bike, and lift weights pushing each other to be our best. Although we do get on each other’s nerves disagreements are quickly forgotten. Sometimes just a look, a gesture or an unspoken word is all we need. We are the same in many ways but opposite, he is Felix with his OCD and I am Oscar, I have more important things to do than organization. I drive like a Nascar driver...get out of my way, no time for traffic and he is more cautious obeying every single rule on the road dubbed, “the rule man”, which to me rules are simply made to be broken. He is a tech geek and I am the artist. He moves like a sloth and I am a Tasmanian devil. We met at a half marathon, our first date was a Sunday long run, got engaged at the finish line of a marathon and got married at a half marathon in Vegas. We try and have fun as much as we can and enjoying all the small moments that matter the most. So what are we doing for Valentine’s Day?
Well, we decided to do what we always do, went to our favorite vegan restaurant that we go to every other week, ordered our favorite heaping mound of nachos and shared pizza and salad and went home to watch a movie. I usually make desert and treats all the time sense I love to bake and was trying to think of something different for Valentine ’s Day. I do remember him asking me some time ago if I could make a vegan tiramisu. I never made it before so I thought I would give it a try. It ended up coming out awesome with so much flavor. I made it with a vanilla layer cake, coffee syrup and a creamy filling with a layer of chocolate topped with some walnuts. This was perfect after a great dinner while watching a movie with some hot tea. This turned out to be a simple recipe that took no time at all. He thought it was great! Next time you are undecided what to do for Valentine’s Day, keep it simple, enjoy the little things and making something homemade is always better and more fun than store bought.
I could not decide how I wanted to make the creamy filling so I made 2 which was a great idea
Yields: One 9x9 cake pan (or you can use mason jars)
Time: 1 hour
CREAMY FILLING 1 (make while cake is cooking)
CREAMY FILLING 2 (make while cake is cooling)