Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: a couple of new-ish recipes for you

14 Feb

Dinner is cooking!

Happy Wednesday and Happy Valentine’s Day!

As I mentioned recently in one of my posts, the past few weeks have been challenging and therefore, a little bit of a blur for me. If you asked me what was for dinner yesterday, there’s a good chance I can’t remember and if you ask me what’s for dinner tomorrow, I’m pretty sure I don’t know yet. We have shopped, we have a list of meals, but we’ve been a little less planned out than we normally are and I’m trying to keep a lot of balls in the air at the moment. Everyone has hectic weeks and months though, so I’m sure you can all relate.

That said, we’ve had a couple of surprisingly delicious meals in the past couple of weeks and I did want to share them with you. They’re kind of new, but not really. New-ish, I guess. One I have posted about before, and one I never have, but we’ve eaten it before.

First, I will share with you the recipe we’ve had before but not for so long that I have never posted about it on my blog before. It is the one shown here to the left, and to the right and it might make a perfect Valentine’s Day meal for you!

It was so good to have this meal again. I hope we don’t wait another two decades to make it again in the future!

Many years ago when we lived out of state and in apartments, we used to make a pasta dish that we loved. It had a pink tomato cream sauce and pasta, along with chicken or shrimp and sun-dried tomatoes. For some reason we fell out of the habit of making it, for about 20 years. A recent new meal that we tried out sparked a memory of that recipe, and we put it on the list of meal requests for the following weeks’ menu. We didn’t have a specific recipe for it, and my husband put it together as he went, but this recipe from Allrecipes.com is a similar one. Some use vodka in their sauce, making it a true Pink Vodka sauce, but  we did not and we enjoyed it just as much.

Next, I will share with you another rediscovered recipe, but this one was made a little bit more recently, but not by much!

This meal was so delicious and even better the second day as the flavors settled in.

Last week my daughter was asking me how chicken could be made with brown sugar. It was something she had seen (I think on television), but the two ingredients didn’t seem to go together in her mind. I told her that they did in fact, go well together and that I was pretty sure I’d made at least one brown sugar and chicken recipe in the past. I was pretty sure I would find it on my blog, and sure enough….I had two! When I looked them up this week, they both looked so delicious that I decided to scrap any meals that I might’ve pulled from our Two Weeks of Meals choices, and make one of them instead. One of my other daughters was home at the time and I let her choose the one she wanted. She ended up choosing this Brown Sugar and Lemon Chicken recipe that I’d last made in 2012. I had everything for it except a real lemon. Instead I had a bottle of lemon juice that I felt would suffice. It would mean no lemon zest on top, but I felt that we would still enjoy the meal either way. I was right. This chicken was so incredibly most and delicious, it melted in my mouth. I could not believe I hadn’t remembered this recipe sooner, although I was glad that I’d remembered it sooner than the tomato cream pasta recipe above.

I could not wait to eat this for lunch again the next day!

I served this meal with rice and a veggie saute that our oldest daughter loves, just a simple mix of zucchini and squash cooked in the cast iron skillet. It was a hit with everyone except the daughter who originally asked about chicken and brown sugar, who really only likes chicken on a wing or in a nugget, but I’m still glad our conversation sparked this memory for me.

In case you’re wondering, here is the other brown sugar and chicken recipe, it’s also from 2012. It’s one I’m hoping to try again in the near future and it also calls for garlic, which is another favorite of ours.

I hope that these blast-from-the-past meal memories have provided you with some meal memories of your own and that you find an old recipe you’d forgotten all about. If not, feel free to give our recipes a try! I can promise you won’t be disappointed.

Have a wonderful rest of your week!


Happy Birthday Bella!

15 Feb
Happy Birthday Bella!

Happy Birthday Bella!

Today is Bella’s third birthday!

If you’ve been a reader since waaayyyyy back when, you may remember my first post about Bella. When I started my blog, we had just recently gotten her.

Bella was 18 months old when we got her, and today she is three.

Last year for her birthday we got her some new toys. However, being the punky kind of dog she is, she’s often rough on her toys, pulling off the eyes, ripping out the stuffing.

This year, rather than spending money on toys that end up in the trash soon after, we decided to give her a different kind of gift.

We decided to bake her some homemade dog biscuits.

My friend from my Stampin’ Up! days, Lucia Kaiser, has a blog called Lucia in the Kitchen, and I often see her posts on Facebook. Recently she posted a recipe for homemade dog biscuits. I sent it to myself for future reference. I knew one day it’d come in handy.

Today is that day. Valentine’s Day and the day before Bella’s birthday.

Lucia’s recipe was quick and easy, just like I like my people food recipes to be. I had everything for it and it was easy to set each of the girls up with their own pile of dough and let them go to town with cookie cutters, making Bella her very own cookies.

Here is Lucia’s recipe from her blog. If you have a dog and you’d like to make him or her some special treats, I recommend this recipe!

All healthy ingredients for Bella's birthday gifts!

All healthy ingredients for Bella’s birthday gifts!

Homemade Dog Biscuits

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
2 tablespoons canola oil
One scoop of dough for each daughter to make her own biscuits for Bella.

One scoop of dough for each daughter to make her own biscuits for Bella.


In a large bowl, combine the flour, wheat germ and cinnamon. Stir in the water, peanut butter, egg and oil. On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a 3-in. bone-shaped cookie cutter.

Place 2-in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned (tops may crack). Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: 31 dog biscuits.

Editor’s Note: Reduced-fat peanut butter is not recommended for this recipe.
Nutritional Facts 1 dog biscuit equals 61 calories, 3 g fat (trace saturated fat), 7 mg cholesterol, 12 mg sodium, 8 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein.
Lots of different cookie cutters to choose from.

Lots of different cookie cutters to choose from.

We filled at least three or four trays with dog biscuits!

We filled at least three or four trays with dog biscuits!

Happy Birthday Bella!

Happy Birthday Bella!

Valentine’s Day: Oh the pressure!

15 Feb

Gifts lined up and ready to go for our Valentine's morning

Valentine’s Day can be a lot of pressure, especially for someone who is crafty, loves to cook, bake and eat, and then write about what she crafted, cooked, baked and ate. Like Christmas, people wait (or at least they tell me they’re waiting) to see what I’ve produced for cards, for cookies, for meals. It’s a lot of pressure and I set the bar high for myself.

Valentine’s Day also comes right on the heels of Christmas. It’s not supposed to be a huge gift-giving event, but there’s pressure to make it that way. I do try very hard to make our gifts small token gifts, a treat they want. I try not to do any candy since we get a truckload, or rather, a school busload of it at 3:30 on Valentine’s Day afternoon. Being on a budget, I struggle with what to give, what to buy, what not to buy. What I want to buy is often not what is in the budget. I’d love to say, “Instead of giving gifts this year, we’re going overnight to an indoor water park for the weekend!!” But, giving token gifts is cheaper. The indoor water park is not in the budget. Maybe next year. Since having kids, Don and I haven’t exchanged gifts on holidays. We focus only on the kids, and we figure we’re showing our love for each other in little ways all year long instead. We know our time will come around again when we’ve got an empty nest and we’ll wonder then where this time went.

No matter what, they always love their gifts.

I try to make my budget as equal as I can per child without spending too much more on one than another, but so they each have the same amount of items to open in the morning. And no matter what, they always love their gifts, hopefully because I spent so much time thinking about them and choosing them.

I actually don’t make their Valentine’s Cards anymore. We’re huge Snoopy fans, we had a Snoopy nursery, Snoopy birth announcements and parties when they were babies, so I have tried the past few years to get them each a Snoopy card for Valentine’s Day, to provide balance between giving them handmade items and giving them the “popular” items they also love.

This year we celebrated Valentine’s Day as a family at 7:00 am since Don had a 7:30 am meeting. He also had an after school meeting and a night time meeting, so we thought we wouldn’t be seeing him at all. But, later that day, we were thrilled to find out his after school meeting was rescheduled and it meant he’d get to come home for dinner after all, and then go back for the night time meeting. So we were blessed. His 14 hour day was now only 12 hours and we’d get to spend dinner time together after all.

Each year I try to think of the perfect meals and snacks to make the day special. I love hearts so I have always had tons of heart shaped items from dishes to platters to bakeware.

For breakfast, I toyed with the idea of cinnamon buns with pink icing, pink pancakes or pink waffles. I looked on Pinterest and pinned a ton of things that looked great but just weren’t it. I just wasn’t feeling it, no matter what I saw.

In the end, I chose to get up early and make muffins, something I used to do for them all the time when they were younger and less of them were in school. It’s a nice treat on a school day to have a hot muffin right out of the oven. I even thought of making them last night but I don’t like them when they’re cold. A little pink food coloring in them and we were good to go. I even put pink food coloring in their milk and gave them red apples for their fresh fruit.

By 7:15 am Don was gone, the gifts were opened, and by 7:25 am one kid had already lost her bedtime by getting in trouble. I won’t say who or why, to protect her privacy. But that’s the way things go sometimes, Valentine’s Day or not.

After School Snack: Valentine's Monkey Munch!

By 8:40 am they were on the bus, I’d taken Motrin for my headache and I had the rest of the day to type my stories for this week’s papers, and to plan out my after school Valentine’s Day snack and our Valentine’s Day dinner, both of which are new recipes I’ve been wanting to try out. (Remember my Monkey Munch recipe? The snack was a  Valentine’s version of that!)

Despite all of the pressure, I try to remind myself that it’s the little things that matter and the little things they’ll remember. I remind myself that the more I make the holiday out to be, the more of a precedent I’m setting for myself for the future.

Hopefully when they think back on their Valentine’s Days growing up, they’ll think that they were absolutely perfect.

Pink muffins and pink milk for my little Valentines.

Everyone got a treat they'd really been wanting.

Valentine's earrings on, off to school!