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Fast & Frugal Valentine’s Day Lunch

Looking for a fast and frugal Valentine’s Lunch idea? Here’s a simple twist on peanut butter and jelly — and you probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry or fridge!

Okay, so let me just make it clear: I am not the quintessential Pinterest Mom.

I love moms who find all these adorable ideas on Pinterest and follow through with them and actually, you know, make them. As for me, I don’t search on Pinterest all that often. But when I do, I rarely see an idea and go, “Oh yes! I MUST do that stat.”

Nope. Truth be told, I’m the one who sees a really adorable idea and goes, “That would take way too much time!”

I’m practical. I’m efficient. And I’m all about getting life done.

Which can be a good thing and a bad thing.

It’s a good thing when it means that our home stays pretty organized all the time. I’m pretty good at following through with commitments. I don’t usually forget stuff. And I can get a lot done in a day by most people’s standards.

But on the flip side, it means that I run from things that look like they are overly-detail-oriented, require meticulous attention, would take an incredible amount of time, or just look overly complicated.

And by overly complicated, I mean any recipe or project that requires more than 15 minutes of my time. Yes, I may have a really low “complication” threshold! 😉

So this idea for a Valentine’s Lunch is one that is will not win any Most Pinterest Mom Ever awards, but it’s a way that even super simple non-Pinterest moms like me can do something fun for their kids for Valentine’s day!

And I wanted to share it with those of you who are like me and are looking for easy, cheap, and no-frills ideas that will still get your kids excited and will demonstrate to them how much you love them!

I picked up a heart-shaped cookie cutter at Target for $0.99 and then used bread, peanut butter, jelly, cucumbers, and cheese we already had on hand.

All of the ingredients can be purchased really inexpensively at ALDI — or you might already have them on hand!

I made the Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches and then cut them into heart shapes. You could make these ahead of time and freeze them if you wanted to pack them in your child’s lunch on Valentine’s Day.

(See my Freezer-Friendly Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich recipe for more details on how to freeze PB&J. Yes, some of you might laugh that I posted a recipe for that. But so many people begged for it, so I did! 😉

It’s exactly like what you would expect for PB&J sandwiches — with the exception of remembering to spread peanut butter on both slices of bread and then put the jelly on top of the peanut butter. Otherwise, if the jelly touches the bread, when you freeze and then defrost it, it can seep through the bread and make it soggy.)

I then cut some cheese into slices and cut those slices into hearts. If you had a little heart cookie cutter, this would be even quicker and the finished result would look prettier.

But alas, I don’t have a tiny heart cookie cutter, so I just made do with a knife. Silas came over to see what I was working on and got SO excited, “You made the cheese into hearts!! Hearts, mama!”

He thought it was SO cool! Let’s just hope he doesn’t discover these Bento Box lunches on Pinterest. Otherwise, my hand-shaped cheese hearts aren’t going to seem quite as thrilling or original! 😉

Then, I cut the cucumbers into slices and shaped them into hearts, too. This was a little more work than the cheese and the end result wasn’t very artistic. But once again, Silas was excited about cucumber hearts.

I had some cute twine that I picked up at the Target Dollar Spot that I used to wrap the sandwich and tie it into a bow. Which made it look a lot fancier than just a typical PB&J.

And there you have it! A super simple, cheap Valentine’s lunch idea — that totally fit my 15-minutes-or-less project criteria!

Best of all, Silas asked if he could please, please, please eat one plate right away for a snack (yes, a sandwich, and cheese, and cucumbers is a snack. And he’s 7! There may be a reason we raised our grocery budget!) and then he begged to take the second plate to school for lunch the next day.

He thought he was so cool bringing his early Valentine’s Day lunch — made with love by mom! And it made my heart happy to know that a little bit of effort could make his day in such a big way!

What are your favorite simple and cheap ideas for Valentine’s Day foods? Any special traditions you have at your house? I’d love to hear!

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