life of faith

taking baby steps & leaps & everything in between


Valentine’s Day

I gotta say, I still don’t like Valentine’s Day very much. To me, the holiday is way too focused on the proving of love and comparing yourself with others, and the pressure increases exponentially when you’re in any kind of social environment that day.

…Or maybe I’m the only girl who compares herself and her relationship against other people and their relationships…

Anyhow, Valentine’s Day is a much better day for me when it falls on a weekend, when I can keep to myself and not be bombarded with other people’s forced expressions of love.

That being said, I did actually enjoy my first Valentine’s Day as a married woman. I did not like being at work that day (especially being the person who has to accept the flower deliveries), but I did like coming home to a card that made me tear up, some chocolate treats, and my husband. And I especially liked that he made us reservations to one of our favorite restaurants that night – Firecreek. I had that to look forward to all day! And what woman doesn’t appreciate a night when she doesn’t have to cook?!

We dressed up at Dayne’s request and headed out for dinner. Dayne didn’t know this, but they were doing a complimentary glass of champagne and a long-stemmed rose for the ladies that night, as well as a Prix Fixe 4-course dinner… ummm, awesome!

Firecreek is just beautiful. We’ve eaten there two other times (one of them being our 1-year anniversary), and the weather was nice each time so we got to sit outside on their patio overlooking Brandywine Creek. This time, we sat inside – and the inside is just as gorgeous! Very modern and cozy and intimate. Not only that, but they also had live jazz scheduled for 6:00 that night – right behind us!

You’ll probably remember from my post about loving Ruby Tuesday’s that I am quite geriatric, so I really appreciated that our reservation was at 5:30. We got to take our time and enjoy the food, wine, ambience, and jazz. The food was Dayne ordered wine pairings, so we shared those, and ate shrimp lejon as an appetizer (bacon-wrapped shrimp with some kind of awesome sauce), salads, veal (Dayne) and crab-stuffed lobster tail (me) for entreés, and bananas foster for dessert. I got to try succotash for the first time, and we both got to try port (our wine pairing for dessert). Yum in my tum.

We both kind of hobbled our way out of there after a lovely hour and a half of pure culinary, alcoholic, and musical bliss, and then came home and watched the movie Valentine’s Day – which I watched two years ago to the day when I was still single and alone, one week before Dayne and I started seeing each other. It was a wonderful way to wrap up the night.

So, my dear readers, Happy Valentine’s Day. Or Happy Tuesday. Or Happy 14th Day of the Month of February Day. Happy You Day. Happy Real Love Day. Happy Jesus Day. Happy Appreciation Day. Whatever you want to make it. 🙂

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The Dayne & Lisa Cooking Show.

I mentioned in a previous post that I got a new cookbook (EatingWell on a Budget) from my brother for Christmas, and I made my first meal from that when Molly & Doug came over for dinner (crispy chicken tostadas).  I also used a Christmas exchange or a gift card from Chad (it’s all a blur) to buy a Campbell’s Best-Loved Recipes cookbook recently.  So Dayne and I have been diving into new recipes together!  The funny part of it is that Dayne never really cooked before or showed an interest in cooking, but lately he’s been taking on more and more responsibility in the kitchen as we prepare the meals!  It’s been fun for us; it’s almost like taking a cooking class, but free and without a teacher 😛

Last weekend we made Stuffing-Topped Chicken from Eating Well on a Budget.  Turns out the “budget” part isn’t necessarily true unless you’re feeding a family of four or you’re really good at eating leftovers.  This was probably the most difficult recipe I’ve ever followed, and our least favorite part (which Dayne did most of) was trimming the fat off the chicken thighs.  I’d much rather use chicken breasts, but I’m not sure how that would turn out.  Here are a couple of pictures — it LOOKS disgusting, but it was delicious.  The best decision we made was omitting mushrooms and substituting extra onion; the celery and whole wheat bread really added to the taste.

p.s. This was also my first time using the broiler, and for a brief second my oven mitt burst into flames when I went in to get the chicken.  That was exciting.

Then this past Saturday night, we discovered a little gem in the Campbell’s cookbook: Sausage-Stuffed Green Peppers.  Yum!  Dayne has become designated Raw-Meat-Handler, so he got the job of removing the casings from the sausages.  Again, this wasn’t the cheapest dinner to make unless you’re feeding a family of four, and this is not a good “leftovers” meal (I’m still recovering from eating it for lunch today).  It was super-easy, though, and the presentation is pretty.  It’s basically sweet Italian sausage, oregano, mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, and, obviously, green pepper.  I liked this one a lot; however, Dayne was a bit disappointed with the taste & consistency of the green pepper after it baked in the oven for 40 minutes.

Unfortunately I don’t have any “after” pictures.  But hopefully I’ll have more to come as we try more new recipes!  It’s fun to develop a new hobby together 🙂  And I really should try making some of the more difficult recipes in the cookbooks I already have, so maybe those posts will come soon…

What’s your favorite recipe?