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Recipes Last Updated: Mar 19th, 2010 - 11:39:35

Special Valentine Treats For Your Child's Lunch
By Christine Steendahl
Jan 30, 2009, 00:42

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, considering making some simple Valentine’s snacks that the little ones can take to school? Whether you are preparing them for your own child’s lunch or as a special snack for the class, here are some snacks that are easy to transport and easy for the little ones to eat once they dig in!

Marshmallow-Popcorn Hearts are a simple alternative to popcorn balls. With this recipe, you can skip the Karo syrup and just melt some marshmallows instead! This quick and easy recipe works just like Rice Krispie bars, only it uses instead!

Here’s what you need to get started:
• 10 cups popped popcorn
• 3 tablespoons margarine or butter
• 1 10-ounce package regular marshmallows
• Red food coloring
• Red colored sugar
• Put the popped corn (minus the unpopped kernels) into a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan and keep it warm in your 300 degree oven.
• Melt the butter/margarine and marshmallows in a large kettle or in the microwave. (Microwave: 1 ½ to 2 minutes, stirring once) Stir the mixture until it is smooth, no lumps, and then add the red food coloring.
• Stir in the popped popcorn- about half at a time.
• Wait 10 minutes or so until it is cool enough to handle.
• Grease individual heart shaped pans with butter.
• Press the popcorn mixture into the greased pans.
• Cool the popcorn hearts. Remove from pans. Sprinkle each with red colored sugar.
• Wrap each individually in plastic wrap- pink or red finishes it off nicely.
• Makes 9 hearts.
This one can be a little sticky, but for an extra-special snack, exceptions can made to almost any rule. Take along a pre-packaged wet napkin in a zippered plastic bag to aid in simple clean-up.

Candy Apple or Caramel Apple Valentines-
1 bag of caramels
1 pack of craft sticks (like popsicle sticks)
1 bag of apples or your choice
wax paper
cake decorating tool
Flavored icing

Melt the caramels or hard candy according to the package directions. Insert a craft stick into one end of each apple. Dip the apple into the melted caramel, covering it completely. Lift the apple and let it drip for a few seconds and then place it on the wax paper until completely set- about two hours) Use a cake decorating tool (or a plastic bag with a hole in the corner and a decorating tip) to write a sweet message on each apple. Wrap in plastic wrap and secure the wrap at the top of the apple with a rubber band, leaving the stick exposed as a handle.

Finally, you can whip up these peppermint stars from a easy meringue batter. They make a tasty little snack that travels well in a lunch.

Peppermint Stars
Makes: 45 cookies
Prep: 30 minutes
Bake: 15 minutes

• 2 egg whites
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
• Red food coloring (optional)
1. Place egg whites in a medium mixing bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Line two large cookie sheets with brown paper or foil; set aside.
3. Add vanilla and cream of tartar to egg whites. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff, glossy peaks form (tips stand straight) and sugar dissolves. Quickly beat in peppermint extract. Tint pink with several drops of red food coloring, if desired.
4. Using a pastry tube with a large star decorating tip, pipe cookies onto prepared cookie sheets (form cookies about 1-1/2 inches in diameter). Bake in a 300 degree F oven for 15 minutes. Turn off oven and let cookies dry in oven with door closed about 30 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets. Cover and store in a dry place. Makes 45 cookies.
Your children will be delighted when you take the time to make these special Valentine’s Day snacks for their lunches. After all, special surprises from those who loves us most are what Valentine’s Day is all about!

Don’t miss our other feature Valentine’s Day Articles including: Healthy Treats for Valentine’s Day http://www.dinewithoutwhine.com/article-healthy-valentine.htm and Valentine’s Day Treats for Work and School http://www.dinewithoutwhine.com/article-valentine-treat.htm presented by Dine Without Whine – A Family Friendly Weekly Menu Planner .

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