Janet McCormick/For The Herald-Dispatch A Citrus Heart Salad with Goat Cheese and Mint is just one way to show your love on Valentine's Day.

I love the way you smile — it was the first thing I noticed when our eyes met. It says your world is a place I want to be. Just admiring you melts my sorrows and sends my heart a love note that says, “I’m here!”

Simple words that can make anyone swoon!

You know what’s coming. It’s the holiday you either love or hate — or maybe you just dread it. I feel you. I’ve had a few times where I had to endure it rather than celebrate it. And nursing a heartache can be compounded when this day arrives.

A great friend of mine said once, “Yes, it will be different, but it doesn’t have to be miserable.” And here’s how. I’d tell you to just ignore the day, blink it away, bury yourself in a workout or find a closet to sit in, which is really what you’d have to do in order to ignore the elephant in the room.

Let’s face it, Valentine’s Day likes to spew its anthem everywhere with red, pink and chocolate darts flying. Being proactive during the mushy mess and embracing the sentiment might serve to be a better course of action, since it isn’t going to go away. There are plenty of loved ones, friends, mothers and even strangers you can shower with a little love.

Food is a wonderful love gift and can be easily personalized for dietary situations and needs. Love is universal and not meant to only be celebrated with a spouse, partner or significant other. I know two little boys, my sons (actually, men now) who will enjoy a huge take-out order of hot wings I’m ordering for them.

But for me and my house, we are restricting our intake of decadent chocolates and desserts. And if effort is a factor in determining the amount of love I feel for my sweetheart, this was a true, long labor of love. Fruit fashioned in the shape of hearts is a challenge but so adorable and delicious especially when it’s dotted and sprinkled with goat cheese and fresh mint. No matter how you choose to celebrate this day of love — even if you plan to ignore it — know that I’m thinking of you and believing in the silver lining of being alive and using the time to be a blessing when you may not feel like it.


2 blood oranges

2 oranges

1 grapefruit

Goat cheese

Fresh sprigs of mint

The oranges are easiest to fashion in the shape of hearts when you slice them in 1/2 inch segments with their rind/skin on. I learned that cutting the angles for the pointed bottom part of the heart was the best method of creating the heart shape. Then cutting the “V” shape at the top was easiest with the rind still in tact and then scoring the rind with the knife to round out the top shape of the heart. To finish off this salad, I sprinkled pinches of goat cheese and mint leaves. Eating a bite of all three together makes the love REAL.

Janet McCormick is the owner of Let’s Eat Cafe in downtown Huntington. More of her recipes can be found at

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