Valentine’s Day Blog & Goodies 💕
Hello hello, Foodie Friends! 🙂 Hope you’ve had a fantastic week! For this (early) Valentine’s Day edition of Foodie Adventures, we’re showcasing some great options for a stay-in dairy-free Valentine’s menu, and reviewing a great local baker, Jamie from Comfort & Joy, and her Valentine’s sweets & treats box. Read on for more! 💜
Sarah’s Valentine’s Day menu at home (All three Milk-free!)
When I think about eating around Valentine’s Day, what comes to mind is thoughts of super rich, decadent, and special occasion type foods.
Unfortunately, for someone with food intolerances and allergies like me, Valentine’s Day is not a great holiday, seeing that chocolates and dairy products surround it.
Since there are so many of us staying home for the holidays, this is a perfect opportunity to revisit some of my favorite indulgent drinks, appetizers, dinners, and dessert recipes. This blog will create a guide for a three-course, dairy-free friendly menu at home!
Part of me wanted to put this drink section under dessert because the two I included were super sweet! If you love a good boozy dessert drink, this is the perfect section for you. As a part of a project we took on last year with a company in Columbia called Wislla Distribution, we had the chance to make brand new recipes utilizing their various fruit purees.
These two sets of drinks, the Boozy Non-dairy Creamsicle Frost and the Boozy chocolate orange bomb were recipes from one of the last two batches of purees we had saved, the orange one specifically.
This creamsicle drink is exactly what you think it is. If you imagine back to running to an ice cream truck during the summer as a kid and ordering a creamsicle popsicle. This drink has that super rich, creamy, orange taste, and poured over the top of ice cream makes this an absolute winner!
The inspiration for the chocolate orange bomb was actually a candy I used to get as a kid in my Christmas stocking. There’s a company called Terry’s that makes a chocolate orange. The chocolate is in the shape of a whole orange, and when you hit it with a mallet, it breaks off into orange shaped wedges. This drink captures everything that was so great about that chocolate, but adding a boozy, dark chocolate-y twist!
There are really only two recipes that I would say appetizer wise make the cut! The first would be my Infamous Spinach Artichoke Dip, that my good friend and old roommate asks me to make every year for his birthday. This, of course, is my updated non-dairy version, which includes dairy-free friendly goat cheese, and all types of other ingredients to bolster up the flavor.
This is a newcomer dip to my blog, with our Cheesy BBQ Pulled Pork Dip. Definitely a little more labor-intensive, if you decide to make your own pulled pork like we did. However, store bought pulled pork or pulled pork from your local barbecue joint would work just as well! This is super easy to make dairy-free friendly with my suggestions on the recipe, and either of these two dips would be great crowd-pleasers or super indulgent date night appetizers.
For dinners, especially the romantic kind, most of the time, I think Italian. These recipes are super simple. My Crock-Pot Pesto Mozzarella Chicken is a big crowd-pleaser and something you could throw in at the beginning of the day and have it be ready by dinner time. It goes fantastic over pasta and is super creamy and delicious.
My Dairy-free Fettuccine Alfredo Sauce is something I created after not being able to have mac & cheese or a creamy pasta dish that was non-dairy friendly. This is awesome paired with some lemon pepper shrimp, adding roasted vegetables or garlic to this, and can be dressed up or dressed down for whatever the occasion.
The last is an original recipe of mine, my Chicken, Goat Cheese, and Balsamic Stuffed Sweet Potatoes. I came up with this recipe one evening after having some sweet potatoes left over and needing to use up some chicken and goat cheese in my fridge. This is definitely one of my favorite recipes to make and super versatile, you could exchange ingredients in this recipe and it would still turn out delicious!
For desserts, only one recipe stands out and it’s my most chocolate heavy recipe on the blog! We have come up with a fantastic Dairy-free Microwave fudge, including the addition of non-dairy chocolate chips.
One thing that people might not realize is that some chocolate chip brands actually include dairy, which would be an easy thing to overlook in most recipes. There is a list included in the fudge recipe above from another blog that details a fantastic look at non-dairy chocolate chip approved brands.
*Bonus* Sweets & Treats!
Another thing I’m super proud to talk about is a new local Sweets & Treats Guide for Valentine’s Day, which was my first collaboration with Off the Grid Greenville, another great organization putting spotlights on local small businesses and restaurants. This was posted on Wednesday this week and has already become super popular! It includes chocolates, ice cream, baked goodies, and more, all from restaurants that we vetted that include dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options for the above and more. I am so excited to try out these restaurants and bakeries, and happy to add all of these to our roster of Sarah-friendly places to go eat!
Let us know what you think of our three-course menu here. Are there other dishes you would have included from our recipe roster? We love to hear your feedback!
Comfort & Joy Review
Before we jump to the gorgeous Sweetheart Boxes Jamie made for Valentine’s Day this year, I sat down with Jamie to get a behind the scenes look as to how she got started in Greenville’s baking world.
Comfort & Joy has been around for about a year, her anniversary since getting the L.L.C. is March of this year.
“I have wanted my own restaurant ever since I learned how to spell the word. My mom would sit me up on the counter and we would make breakfast every morning. At one point, I started asking her what she did so I could learn how to make it by myself.”
“I got my first look at Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on TBS when I was a child, and that movie moved my heart and soul in a way that I have never been able to find anywhere else. After I saw that movie, I told my mom and dad, “I’m going to be a cook, I’m going to be a baker, I’m going to make sweets for a living!””
“From working at numerous bakeries in Greenville in the past, to having a mentor guide me through my first steps into baking as a teenager, I realized that owning my own bakery in the future would be an uphill grind. I also understood that most people don’t make money their first two years of business. But my passion was going to drive me to never stop unless I had what I was looking for – what everybody had been denying me and telling me I wasn’t good enough to have. So my goal now is to go from being a home baker to having a commercial kitchen or food truck/trailer.”
“Another goal this year is to start doing “Market Research Wednesdays” – having that be my day to do nothing but finding different flavors and inspirations that are completely different. Like going to an Asian or Indian market and finding cool ingredients to experiment with.”
“It’s one thing to have the comfort food you love come through and through, but another to be adventurous with flavors and pay the price for the speciality ingredients, while finding the market that has the palate to appreciate it.”Jamie McKinney, Owner of Comfort & Joy Baking
I’m always happy to shine a spotlight on awesome local bakers, and super happy to have found a kindred foodie adventurer spirit in Jamie!
Her Sweetheart box, comprised of all the goodies you’ll see below, was absolutely delicious, and we were so lucky to have her sweet treats as a part of our (pre) Valentine’s week this year.
You can order one of her Sweetheart boxes by messaging her online here, available until Feb. 10th!
The first of the goodies we tried were the big ones – the strawberry cheesecake cookies, “BOB” brownie, and pink rice crispy treat.
The cookies were soft, but crunchy and lacey around the edges, and the little cheesecake bites in the middle were a tangy bite to go along with the light strawberry flavor.
The “BOB” were amazing, chewy, soft brownies sandwiched by delectable caramel in the middle – these were probably one of my top three favorites out of all the things we tried. The rice crispy treat reminded me of some great homemade ones I used to have growing up as a kid, loved this!
Next came the cute little cake pops! The first was a Double chocolate flavor, then the Italian creme flavor, Cake batter, Banana Pudding, and the Peanut butter pop. The favorite (from my Jamie) was the peanut butter pop, as it had that great peanut-y taste but with the texture of brownies almost.
Loved these dark chocolate covered strawberries too, that she coated in homemade toffee pieces! The unique topping gave a great crunch to the soft strawberry and deep chocolate flavor.
Jamie’s Turtle Crack was amazing, reminded me of a similar dessert, using saltine crackers, caramel, chocolate, and pecans, that we’d make around the holidays and crack into pieces. She kept the chocolate chips and nuts more whole for her version, which added great crunch to this.
Last, but certainly not least, was her lemon raspberry bars. You could really taste the love in these y’all. Absolutely loved the lemony flavor of these, and you can tell she put a lots of butter into that melt-in-your-mouth crust.
I would highly recommend getting one of these for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day, and be quick because they’re going fast! Thanks again so much to Jamie for spending the time to talk with us and for making us these awesome goodies in advance. 💜
So how was your weekend, Foodie Friends? What are favorite indulgent meals to make around Valentine’s Day? Sound out in the comments below to let us know your suggestions of places we should visit next or what dishes to make for our recipe roster. As always, feel free to like, comment, & share 🤗