Happy Valentine’s Day

This year, for our 12th Valentine’s Day together, my husband asked me the standard question. “Should we go out somewhere?” This stems from a long ago Valentine’s Day when I was pregnant with Son #1. On that day, I made a gift, baked a cake and waited for my husband to return home from work. Unfortunately, he didn’t know I was expecting a gift and dinner reservations. Even more unfortunate for him, my pregnancy hormones got the best of me and I spent the whole night crying. I clearly remember tears streaming down my face as the server took my order and saying “I’m sorry. I’m pregnant.” I can only imagine what that poor server was thinking. If anyone watched SNL recently, Zooey Deschanel sang a song which I joked was about us http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGle3Q3Bnn8&feature=related

One year later, my wonderful husband, still traumatized from my crying, planned the best Valentine’s night ever. He made hotel reservations, had dinner ready in our room, brought candles, wine, dessert and gave me a running jacket that I still wear. Flash forward ten years and three more boys, and Valentine’s Day is a completely different story. Our new tradition is to make dinner together after the boys are in bed. I think my husband asks me about going out just as a precaution. While family dinner is a priority, this is the one dinner a year where we set aside time to eat together without the boys. The peace and quiet is heavenly. Have you ever eaten with four boys, ages 9, 6, 2, and 6 months? Earplugs are strongly advised.

I was feeling a bit guilty about the $0.89 box of mac and cheese I was feeding the boys for dinner and decided they deserved something fancy. I cut their cucumbers and strawberries into heart shapes in honor of Valentine’s Day. I rarely make boxed mac and cheese, so they were thrilled. We went on to eat salad with goat cheese, stuffed pork tenderloin, asparagus, twice baked potatoes and dessert. We cook from a book called Dinner Dates by Martha Cotton, which gives directions for Chef One and Chef Two. I don’t think it is published anymore, but if you can get your hands on a copy, I highly recommend it.

Valentine's dinner for the boys.

On the local food front, I made Beans and Sausage one night when my husband was working late. I don’t think he ever got to try the recipe. I ate all the leftovers before he had the chance. I found the recipe hearty and comforting, and could have eaten it all week. Still on the cooked carrot aversion, the boys ate the beans pretty well and Son #3 kept asking for “more hot dogs”. I’d definitely make the recipe again. I only had to substitute onions for shallots, and left out the parsley. The white vegetables in the photo are daikon radishes. We got them in our CSA box and thought it would be a great way to use them. I think they were a nice addition.

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