Whether you are hosting friends, or having a pre-dinner snack with a loved one there is no need to go above and beyond for Valentine’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against this Hallmark Holiday- but I don’t believe in purchasing flowers or going out to a romantic meal on one of the most expensive days of the year. Here are a couple of easy sweet bites that you can use for any occasion.

Cheese and crackers are appropriate for any occasion…

For me, Wine and Cheese never gets old. There is nothing like starting off the evening or as the French do it, ending a fabulous meal, with wine and cheese. A beet, pistachio and feta cheese salad (on the upper left corner of photo) is a good stop from the richness of the cheese and dates.

Dates: Stuff them with a pecan if you like the salty sweet taste… or choose to stuff them with a bit of goat cheese and wrap them up in prosciutto. This  small bite goes great with red wine. You can also use dates to make a date Jam- it is very thick and rich but if you add a dab of it to your cracker with a salty cheese it creates a beautiful taste.

Drunken Figs

I call these Drunk Figs. If you like dried fruit, liquor and a bit of chocolate these are the treats for you.Ingredients: Dried Figs, 1/2 Cup Brandy , 1/4 Cup Sugar ,1/2 Cup Water, Bittersweet Chocolate and Nuts, Coconut.
Boil water and sugar till sugar dissolves. Add Brandy and Figs. Bring to boil and then let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove dates and let sit to dry and cool. Heat bittersweet chocolate in the microwave. Dip Figs in the chocolate and roll in whatever toppings of choice. I don’t like coconut but I wanted to provide some diverse options. Another idea is to stick a nut inside the Fig as well- or a piece of ginger!

“There is no Wrong way to Eat a Reese’s”

This homemade spicy Reese’s was inspired by my new favorite chocolate: Lindt Excellence Chili. It is dark chocolate that leaves you with a little kick at the end. When it comes to chocolate, I always seem to choose the ones that blend opposite flavors together. I am a huge fan of salty sweet: chocolate covered pretzels, Chocolate covered nuts and well of course, peanut butter and chocolate!

My spicy homemade Reese’s are best of both worlds. Melt bittersweet chocolate in the microwave. Pour half of it into cupcake wrapper. Let sit in the fridge till it gets hard. Spread a layer of peanut butter (I like to use the pure peanut butter because it is less sweet) and then a layer of wasabi paste. Pour the rest of the melted chocolate on top and put it back in the fridge. I know wasabi and peanut butter may sound odd to you- but I promise its delicious!