Happy almost Valentines Day!! I've spent the afternoons of this past week with my two favorite elementary schoolers as they get their Valentines goodies ready to distribute to a collection of their classmates. Do you remember Valentines Day back in those days? There was no better way to celebrate. Every student decorated a shoebox in glitter and stickers and set it out on his or her desk. Come the Valentines Party (which also included pink frosting-laced brownies and Hawaiian punch), we'd mosey from desk to desk and slip our Valentines into our classmates' boxes. I remember sitting on the bus ride home, clutching my shoebox in anticipation and wanting nothing more than to spill them out over the living room floor and read them all.
There was such a wonderful collection of cards in those boxes. Pokemon-themed Valentine's Day cards with Pikachu saying "Have a SHOCKING Valentine's Day!" and mini boxes of Nerds came tumbling out as I clapped my hands and wondered where to begin. I remember very vividly getting them from the kids who I didn't normally talk to and thinking Aw, that was so nice of _______! I also remember getting one from a boy named Stephen Spaseff (if anyone of my high school friends read this blog, I am embarrassed), and thinking "Stephen wrote me a Valentine! What does this mean!?!" No matter that we wrote everyone a card; I was on sugar high from the brownies and nerds and could not be dispirited.
Showing love is not the easiest thing in the world. A) It can be hard to make oneself vulnerable to another human and B) It can be hard to give love to oneself. It's much easier for us to flood our friend's shoe boxes and hands with sweet messages and chocolate. And not to sound like a yogi teabag, but loving oneself is the way to go. I think we're better lovers when we do that.
Whether you're looking for something comforting for a Valentine's for one or two or twelve, consider this bread pudding. The coconut milk makes it rich and exotic. It dances the tango with some roasted saigon cinnamon and fills the house with good vibes and good smells. It makes me want to sit on the kitchen table and write Valentines and pick off little crusties. You can find the recipe over on Wanderlust, where it was posted along with some vegetarian chili and lavender lattes for a series on cozy foods. Wanderlust does some pretty stellar things, including music and yoga festivals and storytelling, so I encourage the you take a peek!