Valentine's Day recipes, homemade decorations, heart-shaped cupcakes, cookies

Arrgh! Your child did it again. She volunteered you to make three dozen cupcakes (pink, heartshaped, with sprinkles, please) for her class Valentine's Day party--tomorrow! And when does Lil Miss Cupid spring this news? 9 p.m.--no time to go to the store for supplies. Well, have no fear, Mama Been-There-Done-That has super-fast, last-minute, homemade treat recipes made with on-hand ingredients. You get bonus DIY heart-shaped snacks and improvised frosting, sprinkles and decoration tips.

DIY heart-shaped cookie cutter--Murphy's Law will have it that if you need heart-shaped cookies you won't be able to find your heart-shaped cookie cutter. If you ever had one. So, here are quick, homemade ones. Bend a coat hanger or large paper clip into a heart shape. Or draw a half-heart on the folded edge of a piece of sturdy paper. Cut out the heart and place on rolled out cookie dough. Trace around it with a butter knife, toothpick or metal skewer. Or just freehand it! The kiddies will
Pink cupcakes made with diy food coloring

Heart-shaped cupcakes--Make paper cupcake holders shaped like hearts by folding in half. Open and fold top point inward to form rounded sides of heart. Place folded cupcake paper in cupcake tin with three marbles: one between the halves of the heart to keep it open and one on each side to support the point.

Homemade pink frosting. Mix three parts red and one part blue food coloring and dye vanilla frosting. No food coloring? Use these mix-ins: red juice (grape, cherry, cranberry or beet), red pop, strawberry jam; strawberry ice cream syrup or red gelatin dissolved in a little hot water. Or melt red hard candy in the microwave.

No frosting? Blend a stick (or 8 ounces) of margarine with powdered sugar and milk to desired consistency. Add a dash of salt and vanilla or almond flavoring. For chocolate, add baking cocoa, melted baker's chocolate or melted chocolate chips. No powdered sugar? Heat granulated sugar in sauce pan to make glaze? No margarine? Use milk for icing.

Homemade Valentine decorations. Fresh out of requested sprinkles? Shave chocolate pieces. Crush hard candies in the blender. Form heart shapes with tiny candies: M&Ms, Runts, Nerds or other small candy. Use mini-marshmallows, pretzels, chocolate, cherry or vanilla chips, Snip fruit snacks, jelly beans, gum drops, red licorice into small pieces. Cut letters from gum strips or Fruit Roll-Ups. Kid's favorite: decorate with breakfast cereal: Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops, Trix, Fruity Pebbles.

DIY Valentine decorative frosting. To make icing you can write with, place frosting in small plastic bag. Squeeze frosting into corner, tie end closed and snip the tip off the corner. Use like decorator icing to write Valentine messages, like "These cookies brought to you by a creative mom who's kid forget to tell her till the last minute!" (Probs too long, but tempting).

DIY Valentine sentiments. Add messages to cookies and cupcakes with valentine conversation hearts. Write valentine words with Alpha-Bits cereal or letter-shaped pretzels. Cut letters from Fruit Rollups. Write on cookies with diluted gelatin water in a turkey baster. Form letters from thin cut strips from licorice or use string licorice, also called licorice laces.

Let little last-minute Lucy help and you'll get some fun bonding time, too. Your emergency Valentine treats may turn out to be the most popular yet!

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Freelance writer, Top 100 Yahoo! Voices, Yahoo! News, Shine, Michigan, Detroit), blogger, teacher, mom of 4, happily married 25 years. Graduated GVSU 1986, psychology/general education and special education. continuing ed up to present. Certified MI teacher. Writing Michigan history mystery, children's Gothic fantasy. Areas of expertise: education, relationships, mental health, nutrition, history, world cultures. Passions: faith, Catholic church, sustainable living, interfaith initiatives, living simply that others might simply live. Working on MA in EI education. 

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