Valentine's Day is one of THOSE holidays. Some of us scoff at the push to buy chocolates, flowers and other goodies for our loved ones. Others find it to be very romantic and go all out to make it a special day each year. Children are so excited to put little cards of their favorite characters into construction paper covered shoe boxes for their friends.
A new tradition of celebrating the holiday called "Galentine's Day" has taken off for women who want to band together and celebrate the day without men. Whatever this day may mean to you, I thought a little history lesson would make the holiday a bit more and perhaps give it stronger meaning for you.
The man behind the holiday, St. Valentine was a Roman priest during a bloody and war-filled era. The emperor during Valentine's time was having a lot of trouble getting the young men of Rome to join his army. He decided this was because they were too strongly tied to their families. His solution? Ban all marriages and engagements of young men. This would then push them to join the army as they would feel like they had nothing to lose.
However, true love can't be banned just like that, right? (That sounded sappy, didn't it?)
Right. And so Valentine secretly began marrying many young couples. He knew such a decree was unjust. However, he was eventually arrested and thrown into prison for defying the emperor. It is said that while he was imprisoned, he healed one of the jailer's daughters of blindness and this man was so grateful that he became a man of faith.
Valentine was set to be put to death for his crimes against the emperor but before his sentence was carried out, it is said that he wrote a letter to the girl he healed heeding her to stay true to her faith and he signed the letter, "From Your Valentine."
St. Valentine was put to death on February 14, 270 AD.
Kind of makes you think, doesn't it? It also makes one realize this holiday may be more than a 'Hallmark" holiday full of chocolate, hearts and roses.
Perhaps this holiday is about staying true and standing up for what you believe in. And sometimes doing that takes risks and is not necessarily the popular route.
I am a big history nerd, so when I read up a bit more on the holiday, I thought it was a really powerful story to share. What is it that you believe in? What is it that you would stand up for, even if you knew you may lose in the end? What is that important to you?
This Valentine's Day, eat your treats, tell your loved ones they are special to you, and on top of that, find a way to stand up, be true, and keep the faith! I think that's better than any Hallmark card out there.
Every year, I go back and forth on whether I will bring you any chocolate covered treat for your sweetie. I usually decide not to and then I think up something that sounds perfect for Valentine's Day and end up getting it to you last minute. Take last year's Coconut Truffle Pops, for instance. I began the post barking about the fact that we don't really do this holiday. Another year, I made a simple Dark Chocolate Strawberry Chia Pudding, but again, called this a "Hallmark Holiday." Skeptic? That's me!
But this year, with a new look on the holiday, I will bring you another cliché recipe if you will! These No Bake Double Chocolate Raspberry Crumble Bars are another variation of my favorite Blueberry Chia Crumble Bars. I was actually getting ready to update the photos of the blueberry bars when I thought up the chocolate raspberry version to celebrate my Valentine.
There is another flavor your coming your way, but these may make you decide you never want to try anything else! I make a quick and simple chia jam for the fruit layer. All you have to do is mash the fruit, add chia seeds and some maple and stir. It's so easy and also great for toast and in oatmeal. But if you needed to save some time, any jam will do if you have a jar handy.
After the number of times I had to test the last recipe I baked, I love the no bake aspect of these bars. No bake is just my thing. I have so much respect for true bakers. I am just not the best at it nor do I have the patience! So if you are looking for a simple Valentine's Day treat, or even if you just want a fun treat for any day--give these a shot! Sweet and fruity and so simple to make!
For the Bar and Crumble Layer
- 1 1/3 c raw almonds
- 1 1/3 c raw pecans
- 12-13 medjool dates
- 3 T cacao powder
- 1/3 c dark chocolate chips
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 T coconut oil unmelted
- Dash of sea salt
For the Raspberry Jam
- 2 c fresh raspberries
- 2 T chia seeds
- 1-2 T pure maple syrup honey or your favorite liquid sweetener
- In a small bowl, mash the raspberries well.
- Add in the maple and chia seeds and whisk together until well combined.
- Chill for about 30 minutes or until the jam is set.
- In a food processor, combine the almonds and pecans. Pulse for about 5 second intervals until the mixture is a combination of grain like pieces with small chunks. You want there to be some small chunks still so don't over process.
- Add all other crumble ingredients and process until fully combined and dates are broken down.
- Press mixture firmly into a parchment lined 8x8 pan.
- Remove the jam from the refrigerator and spread evenly over top.
- Finally, sprinkle the crumble topping over the jam.
- Allow to set in the freezer for about 15 minutes before serving.
- Remove and cut into bars. Store in the fridge.