Spiriteds, grab a mug of something yummo to drink, settle in, and tell me about your life these last almost-two weeks. In our world, we came down with various viruses of the influenza variety. K-Hubs unfortunately had the easiest time. And I say “unfortunately” because that also meant he did all the running around while Twinkle and I stayed glued to the couch. I love me some Wild Kratts, but after two solid days of watching nothing else, I wanted to be well enough to run outside in the snow, television be dambed. By Thursday, I told K-Hubs I hated the world. And by Friday, I knew it was true, because Toodle, my hopes for her dashed, came down with influenza, too. But it was last night that she asked, “Mom, we’re well enough now to do those Dairy-Free Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries on Valentine’s Day, right?”
Oh, girl, you KNOW IT. We are well now. Those strawberries are happening.
We are doing Valentine’s Day family-style this year. And it was Mom who inspired it. Admittedly, she and I did not chow down on these Dairy-Free Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries, but we did dine at Long John Silvers. Because nothing says I Love You quite like fast food fish, hush puppies, and dishing on old boyfriends.
It all started on the way to LJS in sixth grade. I asked Mom if she was okay going out with me that night instead of someone (a guy) she loved. That’s when she turned to me and said, “But I am celebrating with someone I love. You.”
I then asked her more questions. “Did you ever love anyone before you got married? Or was Dad your first love, and that’s how you knew to get married?”
Spiriteds, take a sip of your drink and brace yourselves because Mom launched in the stories of every boy she dated, from her own sixth grade romance to present day. I’m telling you, I learned all about the boys she dated, including those The Gram and Gramp disapproved of (those boys were Mom’s favorites). She delved into that time she cried her eyes out so much they swelled shut. When she saw the horrified, judgmental look on my face, she said, “Oh, you just wait your turn.” Turns out, I did cry over several boys, one of whom I wasn’t even dating. So there you have it.
As we moved through our fish and the hush puppies and refills of Coke, she moved on to her college roommates’ relationships, how different they were from her own. I barely said a word, letting her stroll down memory lane without interruption. Eventually, it was time to end the reverie, put our containers in the trash, and head home. Finally I asked, “So that would be a yes?”
It was her turn to be mortified. “You were just expecting a yes or no answer?” she asked.
“Yep,” I said, grinning.
“Omigod, I can’t believe I just said all that!!!! Omigod!!!! Forget it all!”
“Never. Not a chance.”
Spiriteds, I am so glad she glommed on. I loved hearing about all her old boyfriends, and while I haven’t quite gone down memory lane like that with the girls, I admit, I love knowing as much as I can about my Mom. For wont of a better description, I feel like the more I learn about my mom, the more I understand myself. That night I learned that love comes in many forms with different purposes and different outcomes. And celebrating with your mom is actually super-cool.
It turns out, celebrating with your daughters is also pretty awesome. And Toodle is keeping the spirit of Valentine’s Day ALIVE in our family (and presumably at school, too). We made her Valentine’s box over a week ago, and it is stored properly away in her room and out of Twinkle’s reach. Class Valentine’s are signed, sealed, and soon to be delivered. In the meantime, Toodle is only just counting down every day until the 14th. What will she do on Thursday? Probably start over, or count down to her birthday, maybe even start plotting Christmas. I don’t have the energy to tell her about St. Patrick’s Day.
Rest assured she is keeping me ON LOCK with these Dairy-Free Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries. “So, Mom, you’ll be going to the store on Wednesday to get fresh fruit and some dairy-free chocolate that I can have?” Indeed I am. Although, now that I think about it, maybe I should go sooner. Shh, don’t tell Toodle there’s a slight possibility stores will run out of strawberries. I’ll figure it out. Twinkle and I will traverse the state in search of fresh fruits if we have to.
It will be done.
Like me, K-Hubs is getting a kick out of Toodle’s effervescence. Holidays through the eyes of a child are so absolutely scrumptious. And if these Dairy-Free Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries are what she wants, then by golly, that’s what she’s getting.
If you are new to chocolate-dipped strawberries, fear not. They aren’t hard to make. Easy on the budget, tantalizing to the palate, and ready in minutes, these Dairy-Free Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries are the perfect vegan and gluten-free Valentine’s Day recipe. They also happen to be soy-free, which, with a soy allergy in the house, I LOVE.
If you’d like to drizzle chocolate instead of dipping, then grab a teaspoon, scoop up a little melted chocolate, hold the spoon higher above the strawberry for a thinner drizzle, or lower for a thicker drizzle, and start moving your hand back and forth with the spoon at a slight angle. Sprinkle a little sea salt on top, if desired, and set them aside to allow the chocolate to set.
Then dig in. That trip down memory lane just got a whole lot sweeter.
- 2 pounds fresh strawberries, rinsed and dried
- ½ cup melted dairy-free chocolate chips (I like Enjoy Life brand)
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil, melted
- Pinch of sea salt, optional
- Rinse strawberries and then set aside to dry.
- Melt chocolate chips with one teaspoon coconut oil in microwave-safe dish, according to package instructions.
- Either dip strawberries into melted chocolate mixture and place on smooth cutting board or piece of wax paper, or drizzle chocolate on each strawberry with a spoon. For a thicker drizzle, hold spoon at a slight angle closer to the strawberry. For a thinner drizzle, hold the spoon at an angle higher from the strawberry.
- After dipping or drizzling, sprinkle with sea salt, if desired, and set aside to let the chocolate set. For best results, enjoy the same day.