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I’ve made no secret about my love for chocolate. I like it dark (only 70% and above, please) and I like it as low in sugar as possible because the sugar masks the rich flavor. It has to be soy free because even though people say soy lecithin is not worth sweating over, it causes my psoriasis to flare.Chocolate

So yeah, I’m pretty picky about my chocolate, but I also indulge in it regularly. I also give the good stuff to my kiddos so while they may end up in therapy one day for the myriad of ways I have over- or under-parented, I will go to my grave resting assured that my children have discerning tastes in chocolate.

Valentine’s Day is one big chocolate-fest at our house. I literally serve it every single meal, and I do so with glee. I don’t “junk” it up – everything I serve is on the real food / whole food end of the eating spectrum. I just rely on cocoa and cacao and some chocolate bars to make things feel festive and special one day out of the year.

Here are some fun ways you can inject a little cocoa-fueled frenzy into your V-Day activities:

  • I finally caved and bought [amazon_link id=”193660812X” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Paleo Chocolate Lovers’ Cookbook [/amazon_link]by Kelly Brozyna. The kids and I thumbed through it this week and they’ve selected many (many!) recipes they want me to make. It looks like the Chocolate Banana Pancakes will be on our Valentine’s breakfast menu.
  • Speaking of pancakes, if you want to make them even more fun, you can cook them in the shape of a heart. I have better luck with [amazon_link id=”B00004S1CK” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]cookie cutters[/amazon_link] than I do with the actual heart-shaped pancake molds.
  • If the kids weren’t in school, their midday snack would likely consist of a smoothie. As I’ve mentioned before, creamy smoothies begin and end for me with frozen bananas, so pop those smushy leftovers in the freezer now to prep for Friday. I toss a few frozen bananas in with a spoonful of cacao powder, a chunk of almond butter, and some coconut milk or grassfed (full fat!) yogurt, depending on what I have and blend away.
  • For lunch, I will include some squares of a high quality dark chocolate in their lunch boxes. Right now the [amazon_link id=”B002SJUN2G” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Vivani 85% Dark Chocolate bars[/amazon_link] are absolutely rocking my world. (Don’t gasp at the price – you’re buying in bulk here. And you will want them in bulk.) They are soy free, vegan, 100% organic, and the sugar is raw cane. They also boast decent stats for chocolate: 6g fiber, 3g protein, 15% RDA of iron and just 6g of sugar. (That’s about half the sugar in most of the other dark chocolate bars I have sampled.)
  • Sometime in the middle of the day, my mom’s annual gift from Edible Arrangements will arrive and that will serve as the kids’ after school snack.
  • I am still debating on what our Valentine’s after dinner dessert will be. The two leading contenders are Sarah Ballantyne’s (The Paleo Mom) Molten Lava Chocolate Cake and the Flourless Chocolate Cake from Real Food RN. It’ll be a busy week, so we will see what I can pull together.

So yeah, it’s a lot of chocolate. But it’s also not junk. We do it once a year, and it’s kind of our thing. One of the best parts about raising your kiddos on whole, real food is that it doesn’t take much for them to feel like they’re having a “special occasion.” And, when they’re so satiated by high quality chocolate goodness, they just don’t ask to eat the dye-filled and partially hydrogenated junk they may get at school. It’s a win-win.

What are your Valentine’s Day family traditions?

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