Valentine’s Day Breakfast: Feeling the Love

Hello sweethearts! I hope everyone had a nice Valentine’s Day. I’ve had an ever changing affection for Valentine’s Day every since I can remember. In high school, when I was single and when Valentines was like, the biggest deal ever, I hated it!! Then I got a boyfriend and it was cute and fun and exciting. Then I got a husband and it was still cute and fun but nothing to go crazy over. We’re way too mature for that you know. Cue Facebook on Feb 14, 2011 and it was a montage of people’s pictures of flowers, gifts, chocolates, balloons, surprises, etc, etc, etc.  While my husband and I always do a nice dinner at home or bring out some bubbly or bake some heart shaped cookies or something different than a regular night, I wouldn’t exactly say we go crazy and celebrate. I can’t remember the last time we went to a restaurant for the holiday. It’s just too hectic. But after the Facebook montage last year, I remember telling my hubby that next year I wanted the oversized stuffed animal, chocolates (which I likely won’t eat because I’m not into sweets), jewelry I don’t need, expensive flowers delivered to my work, a card with a beautiful hand written message and so forth! I think my exact words were “Some of that first-year-together, still-trying-to-impress-me type of crap”.

I was, of course, kidding (mostly kidding) and whether it stuck unconsciously in his head this year I don’t know because while I (thankfully) didn’t get the stuffed animal or the chocolates, I did get a quite incredible and memorable Valentine’s Day. This year, apparently, we celebrated for real.

But before we get to his celebration, I did a little SusyHomemaking of myself on Sunday morning. I of course got the inspiration from the only place I get inspiration from these days, Pinterest! Ah, my beloved Pinterest. I decided to make a recipe for Heart Shaped French Toast. Don’t they look pretty?!

Well of course mine don’t look exactly like those but close enough! These were actually pretty easy to make though I will admit, my hubby did help in order to speed up the process. I had never made french toast before so I was excited to take on the challenge!

Here’s the recipe.

I started with slicing the Italian bread.

 

Using a heart shaped cookie cutter, we cut the bread into heart slices. I almost ran into a problem when we realized the cookie cutter was bigger than the length of the bread but we made do.

 

 

I whipped together the Half and Half,  eggs, and vanilla extract. Then we were ready to dip the bread into the mixture.

 

 

The recipe also calls for strawberry butter which is basically butter and strawberry preserves blended with sugar. This was a nice twist to plain butter. I used Brummel and Brown nonfat yogurt “butter” as my butter. If you haven’t tried this stuff, its awesome. Tastes great but much better for you than real butter. The strawberry preserves were Smuckers, my fav! The Half & Half was Land O Lakes, since they were the originators of the recipe, thought I owed it to them buy at least one product!

 

Of course, while one is cooking any sort of long meal (read: anything more than pouring cereal) one should have a tasty beverage to keep them entertained. Bring out the mimosas! Ever since my half marathon, I’d had a bottle of champagne chilling in the fridge that I never got around to so we popped it open and made some mimosas. I’m a huge fan of orange juice (Tropicana is a favorite) and a big fan of champagne so you can imagine my love for mimosas.

Back to the food!

After letting them little heart shaped breads soak in the mixture, we “buttered” up the pan and cooked them on each side for a few minutes. I topped them with some raspberries (was out of strawberries), spread some of the strawberry butter on them and voila, breakfast!

I’m personally not the biggest french toast fan because just like pancakes, I find them a little bit repugnant after a while. So while my hubby had like 5 of them ( he doesn’t share my repugnancy problem), I had one….AND some bacon I decided to make on the side!

This was also a recipe I got off Pinterest but its from Martha Stewart. It’s called Less-Mess Bacon and here is the recipe. Makes sweet, easy, delicious bacon. Vegetarians, look away…now!

Yes it was as delicious as it looks! Way I see it, I had protein (bacon) and vitamin D (OJ) with my breakfast while my husband had most of the carbs. Who says dieting isn’t easy?!

Valentines breakfast was a hit and I recommend the french toast, heart shape optional, to anyone wanting to spice up a weekend breakfast.

As far as my Valentines night, my husband basically turned our backyard into a romantic little bistro complete with table settings, champagne, sushi, music, and candlelight. We had an al fresco dinner under a beautiful sky and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I don’t know what I did to deserve such a beautiful night and wonderful partner but I’m in awe of him and this life every day and eternally grateful for both.

I wish I could go back to 15 year old, high school me and let myself know how much better my valentine would eventually become! Even if its not a significant other, we all have someone to love. While some say its a silly holiday and they may be right, it’s almost like Thanksgiving in the sense of…you are supposed to be thankful everyday and not just the 4th Thursday in November. Well, you’re supposed to show the people you love that you love them everyday, not just the 14th of February. But sometimes a little invented holiday gives us the excuse we need to show a little more love. And there ain’t nothing wrong with that.

Advertisements

Super Food Bowl

Happy National Drag your Butt to Work day everyone! I believe that is the unofficial title of the Monday after the Superbowl. I mean really, I understand Football is traditionally played on Sundays but can’t they make an exception for this final game and play it on a Saturday? Well, I guess traditions are traditions for a reason.

One major Super Bowl tradition is that of the Super Bowl party and the food that comes with it! It seems like chips and dips (and beer, duh) are as essential to SuperBowl Sunday as Turkey is to Thanksgiving. I kept this in mind while preparing the menu for the Super Bowl party I hosted at my house this weekend with family. Though I had lots of hands helping in the kitchen, my biggest helper was Pinterest! You all know what Pinterest is and if you don’t, climb out from under that little rock and go check it out! It’s basically a virtual pinboard where you pin all sorts of ideas, recipes, designs, styles, etc, etc, ETC.!!!

The game plan was to make a some football themed appetizers per some Pinterest inspiration. I kicked it off with a football pizza. How cute does that look?

Well mine looked pretty similar and tasted great!! This really can’t be any easier to make and everyone loves pizza so you can’t go wrong. Final score: Winner! You can get the recipe here from Pillsbury.

Pre Cooked

Cooked!

 Next I decided to tackle some Football Field Guacamole ( I just made that name up). I also got this idea from Pinterest but the original source is a blog named A Little Tipsy. Hers is more of a seven layer dip but I just took the concept and made regular guacamole and spread it out evenly. Then, per my bright 14-year-old niece’s suggestion, put some sour cream in a Ziploc bag, cut a small hole at the end and made an impromptu cake decorating pen to make the yard lines. Put two toothpicks at each end of the field and scored a game winning field goal with this guac!

 

I also decided to tackle some Saucy Asian Meatballs from Gimme Some Oven. They were very easy to make and a whole new twist to meatballs. I hate to admit that while I often make my own batch of delicious meatballs, I usually go the easy route and use frozen meatballs. This time, I used lean ground beef and really got my hands dirty! Aren’t they pretty?!

{Source: Gimme Some Oven}

Full disclosure…I personally wasn’t crazy about them BUT…everyone else seemed to be a big fan! Even my pickiest eaters loved it after they tried it!! I guess I was still expecting a marinara type taste when eating a meatball and the asian sauce kept throwing me off. But that’s just me! My sister actually called me this morning asking me to email her the recipe because her boyfriend loved them so much! Touchdown!

I didn’t want to fumble up the appetizers since that’s the best part so my husband made his can’t-go-wrong, world famous “tomatico” commonly known as Pico de Gallo. It’s equal parts tomato, onion and cilantro. It’s a huge hit, no one can pass it up! I didn’t take a picture of it but it looks a little something like this!

 

Yummo!

Besides the food, the best part of the Super Bowl is the commercials of course! I’m a huge fan of all the funny and creative spots that air during this game. My favorites this year included the Doritos commercial with the dog, the VW commercial with the dog, the Clint Eastwood Chrysler commercial (seriously makes me want to buy American), and of course the Ferris Bueller’s Day Off inspired Honda CRV commercial! I also loved the sandman commercial for Kia and the vampires commercial for Audi.

The food and the commercials are really the best part of the super bowl for me. Even cuties like Eli Manning and Tom Brady aren’t enough to get me excited for a football game all on their own. Someone call me when the Dolphins make it to the Super Bowl and then maybe I’ll watch the game more than my expanding waistline!

What Superbowl food was your favorite? What commercials did you like best? And most importantly, did you catch all my football lingo within the post?

Be a good sport and leave me a comment! (Ok, I’m done)

 

Top 10 Places to Wander

 

Image

Love that saying.

Sometimes it’s the smallest things in our homes that reveal the biggest expressions of who we truly are. I am a traveler. Not in reality so much as in my heart…but that’s only a small detail. I believe what I have is referred to as wanderlust- a great desire to travel and rove about. Love Webster’s definition

As with the rest of us, this “hobby” is more of a luxury than an actuality most times but that doesn’t mean a girl can’t daydream. My personal methods for achieving my vacation dreams, whether big or small, include planning for it as much as possible. I plan by researching, saving money throughout the year, building up miles/points on my credit cards, drilling it in my husbands head for days, months, even years, following travel blogs, signing up for travel deal emails (Travelzoo is my favorite) and etc. so that when the opportunity arises, I’m ready!

 

Image

 

A little insignificant piece of decor in my home holds a big piece of my wanderlust spirit. It’s nothing more than a small dry erase board that I believe my brother picked up for me at Big Lots one day after we first moved into our townhouse. One day about 3+ years ago, I decided to make a list on it. Like most of us, I make lists all the time. Things  To Do list, Groceries list, Blog Post Ideas list, New Year Resolutions list, Books to read list, Wish list, Christmas Shopping list, etc.

On this little dry erase board I decided to write my Top 10 Places to go in the Next 3 Years list. Without further ado…here is the list:

 

Image

My only mistake was not writing the exact date on it when I first made the list but I know it was around 3 years go. I was actually able to cross off TWO locations on that list. The biggest and most exciting (and also the most significant one on the list as illustrated by the star next to it) was Paris. After months of planning, harassing my husband, saving, racking up miles and etc…we went to Paris this past November for our 5 year wedding anniversary. It was something I had also wanted to do for my 30th birthday which was in August. I feel so very blessed that we were able to take that amazing, memorable trip.  That little list served as a constant reminder of a goal we had set and a dream we (I) had and it felt damn good to be able to actually reach it.

 

Image

 

Since its a new year and the 3 year anniversary of that list has come and gone, I’ve decided to make a new list. Without further ado, once again, here is the new Top 10 Places to go in the Next 3 years list:

 

Image

 

I’m hoping we can make 1 or more of those places happen but who knows what life has in store for the next couple of years. It doesn’t really matter though because the list will do its job as I look at it from time to time and remind myself that there are still many places left to wander.

 

Image

What location would be a must on your travel list?