As Valentine’s Day is here, many sweethearts turn to traditional thoughts and ideas about this big day: cards, flowers, chocolates and a fancy night out at a special restaurant. While filet Mignon, grilled asparagus and twice-baked potatoes perfectly prepared by a master chef sound like a dream evening to me, the hefty price tag, long wait and crowds do not.

Our family has turned our hearts toward home for this special occasion, and our evening fare mimics our favorite foods in the privacy of our own home. Candlelight, soft music and our best crystal are the goal, but since Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday this year, we may have to improvise, due to an evening of basketball games.  I’ve realized I can’t be a slave to my traditions, and with flexibility, and a “rain check,” there is freedom. 🙂

Even though Valentine’s Day is heralded as a special time for romance, I want our children to know it’s a time when they are reassured of our love for them. Even though we say it and show it in many ways each and every day, there’s something extra special about allowing this holiday to speak for itself.

Sometimes we make meaningful, family ideas more difficult than they should be, and settle for just sending a store-bought card. Now, don’t get me wrong, I certainly love receiving a thoughtful card, but this Valentine’s Day let’s get a bit more creative and share our love through food, and not just any food, but through “Love Muffins.

Encouraging and sharing words of affirmation to our friends and loved ones, especially through a hand-written note, truly can be a balm for the soul. Incorporating that into food is even better.

Use your favorite homemade muffin recipe, like my Strawberry-Banana Nut Muffin recipe or Banana Oatmeal (a yummy and healthy option). If time is a factor, a store box brand will work fine for this new tradition, since it’s all about the creative messaging.

On Valentine’s Day, or really any day that you’d like to add a little something special, write little notes of affection and encouragement on red and pink construction paper. While the muffins are baking, fold the love notes in half, and attach a ribbon to the top of each message. When the muffins are done baking, insert your special love notes into the tops of the muffins, leaving the ribbons exposed.

When the muffins have thoroughly cooled, wrap them up in a cute little basket or festive heart fabric and deliver them to your special someone. Since it’s a school day, it would be a fun surprise for the kids to find some of these hidden in their lunches. Not only will they cherish the notes, but they will savor the tasty treats as well.

Valentine’s Day will never be complete again without the sharing of these meaningful muffins. You can be assured that your family will anticipate this new food tradition year after year.

Do you have a special meal that you make for Valentine’s Day?

I can’t wait to be inspired with some of your Tasty Tuesday Valentine’s Day meal ideas.

Please share them in the comments, then head over to MSN’s Kitchen Cookoff  site and share your recipe in the “Share Your Story” section. You don’t need to be a blogger. You just sign in using your Facebook account. They’d love to have a variety of recipe ideas there, so feel free to copy and paste and spread the love a bit, while possibly getting new viewers to your site.