Eat your Tomato Heart out!  

TomatoHeart 55F
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4/15/2005 4:16 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Eat your Tomato Heart out!

What comes to mind when you think of February 14th? Chocolate, hearts, and love of course! Does being vegan mean you have to sit back and miss out on the fun of Valentines Day? Absolutely not! With a little time and a lot of creativity you can plan a smashing party.

There is always a lot less to worry about if you throw your own party and it's also a great chance to introduce others to the joy of vegan foods. We like to gather all our friends together and make heart shaped pizzas and chocolate covered treats.

Valentines Day is also about love and what better way to show your love than by making cards for others. Most nursing homes will tell you that while they get lots of donations and visits at Christmas time, the seniors are often forgotten on Valentines Day. A great way to end your party would be to visit your local nursing home bearing cards made by the children, or better yet, have the children go and pass them out.

The success of any party is keeping the children entertained; so let them prepare their own food. The day before make enough little heart shaped pizza crusts for each person to have their own. Have all the toppings washed and cut up on the counter so that they will easily be able to choose what they want on their pizza. We put a little tomato sauce, soy cheese and than top with every veggie we have on hand. While the pizzas are baking lead the children to the table where they can make a few cards. Be sure to have plenty of construction paper, scissors, glue, glitter, and crayons on hand.

After everyone is done making cards the pizza should be done. While they are eating ask everyone to say what they love the most or read some information on the history of Valentines Day. You could also talk about vegans and their love of animals. Additionally you could talk about the human heart and how important it is to our bodies.

When the pizza is gone it is time to make dessert. Depending on the ages of the children you may need a few adults supervising. Have lots of melted chocolate or carob chips on hand in little bowls and let everyone dip a few items, using toothpicks and than placing them on wax paper to harden. Ideas of things to dip include strawberries, banana, apples, apricots, nuts, orange-sections, cookies, pretzels and whatever else sounds good. Also be sure your fruit is completely dry before dipping, as the chocolate will not stick to damp spots.

While the dessert is cooling you can play some fun group games. These could include:

Musical hearts:
This game is similar to musical chairs. First you make a big red heart that a person can hold in both hands. Everyone stands in a circle. A parent then plays music; there are many songs about love you could play. As the music plays you pass the paper heart clock-wise. When the music stops the person standing on the left of the person holding the heart is "out" - he or she must exit the game. The game continues when the music begins again. The game goes until the last person that remains is holding the heart.

Guess the nametag:
Create some nametags with words that relate with Valentines Day. Such as hearts, flowers, red, white, pink, and love. You will then tape these tags on the children's backs. Everyone goes around and gives each other clues about the "valentine word" on their backs. You can ask a person only one question at a time. The game continues until everyone has found what theirs tag says.

Valentine cakewalk:
Place several cut out hearts with different conversation messages around in a circle on the floor. The children each pick a marked spot to stand on around the circle, then some music is started and the children walk clockwise on the marked spots around the circle while the music is playing. The person handling the music periodically stops the music and the children then stay on whatever spot they are on. Someone then draws from the bowl, and the child standing on that message is the winner.

Pizza Recipes:

Herbed Pizza Crust

* 1 cup water
* 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
* 3 cups unbleached white flour
* 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
* 1 tablespoon garlic powder
* 2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Add ingredients to bread machine pan in order suggested by the manufacturer of your machine. Select dough/manual cycle. When cycle is done, remove dough. Divide into six balls and shape each ball into a flattened heart. Bake on cookies sheets for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Tomato Sauce

* 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* 1 diced onion
* 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
* 1 diced green pepper
* 1 can sliced black olives
* 2 teaspoons garlic powder
* 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
* 3 tablespoons Bragg's Liquid Amino
* 3 8oz cans unsalted tomato sauce
* 1 6oz can tomato paste

Pour olive oil in medium pot. Heat over low heat until hot. Put in the onion and cook until onion is transparent. Add mushrooms, green pepper, and olives. Cook until vegetables are almost done. Add seasonings and Braggs and stir for a few minutes. Add tomato sauce and paste. Simmer over low heat for half an hour.

Other heart shaped food ideas include:
Heart pancakes and raspberry syrup
Chili served with heart corn muffins
Homemade heart shaped veggie burgers
Heart shaped cake with strawberry ice cream
Heart shaped sugar cookies with pink frosting

You can take pride in the fact that you'll be sending your guest home with full bellies and a pleasant opinion of vegans.

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