Romantic Rendezvous

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Since Marvel and I won’t be able to celebrate on the actual Valentine’s Day, I wanted to “surprise” him with something special before he left. The limits were diet (we have a lot of food sensitivities at our house), time, budget, and no babysitter.

Well, I don’t think anything turns out the way I have it pictured in my mind but considering having to do our school responsibilities, restock our nearly empty fridge, teething baby that’s transition from 2 naps to one, and getting (threatening?) the kids to bed early (can someone tell me why kids NEVER go to bed early when you want them to?)….it turned out presentable and my hubby was happy so all’s well that ends well.

So here’s how it went.

First I made a simple invitation to leave on his computer screen while he was showering in the morning (sorry, didn’t get a picture of that one before it got destroyed).

Then we finished up with school and thankfully he took two of the girls to run errands with him, so I just took my son and baby to the grocery store.

Came home and Engineer helped me put groceries away and make the lemonade (which I added the raspberries to later) while I got the bread sticks going. Another set back was the bread didn’t rise???!! (Still no idea what I did differently) Which is why they became bread sticks and I have that corny bread heart 🙂

I cut up the filling for the Beef Milanesa Roll (I made this up  that day, you can get the recipe here), being sure I cut up enough to make something similar for the kids on the actual Valentine’s Day. When I  got to the mushroom cutting I just chopped them all and made a mushroom soup that could cook while I finished preparing the beef.

I rolled up the Milanesas and made the sauce, poured it on and popped in  the oven. Then I got the first pan of breadsticks ready, cleaned up a bit and then stuck them in  the oven.

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Next I made the layered Maple Spice Cake (get it the recipe here) that is one of the few desserts my Marvel will eat,  and put in in the oven as well ( just cut it into a heart BTW). By now the soup was cooked and I turned off the heat for it.

I got the potatoes peeled and cooking in the pressure cooker. Then I made the breadstick heart and put them in the oven as I took the first pan of breadsticks out.

Got the kids bathed and in bed, cleaned up my mess, mashed the potatoes and made the salads and finished the lemonade….then off to make myself look like I hadn’t been cooking for the last couple hours;)

While I got ready I “set-up” the room with candles and our wedding playlist of music and made everything pretty.

After I was presentable I made up the plates and set the table and called Marvel to the table.

He’s always so cute and makes a big deal when he knows I put a lot of effort into something for him. He’s such a keeper:)

So….it was really a nice evening.  We ate dinner with a real conversation, no interruptions! Watched a movie…well, I watched a movie. As usual, he fell asleep and I got one of the action movies he likes so I couldn’t turn it off ‘til I found out what happened….and then couldn’t sleep cause I thought I was being chased all night:/ …And…. Well…there may or may not have been more to the evening but I’m not tellin’… 😉

Pumpkin Rolls

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So, I know Halloween is over but wouldn’t it be cute to have one of these next to everyone’s place at your Thanksgiving dinner?

This is the one my 3 yr-old made and we had all of the neighborhood kids over to make them. Super fun and super easy.

Just use your favorite bread recipe. Set aside 1/4 of the batter (when you only have about 1/4 of the flour in so the dough is still rather runny). Dye this small portion green and add extra flour to make a stiffer dough to use as the stem.

Dye the larger portion of the dough orange. Make the rolls into large balls and roll them in cinnamon and sugar after you’ve put on the stem.

I wish I had taken a picture of the larger one I made. I made the ball and then stuck my thumb deep into the middle before sticking the stem in. It made it look more like a pumpkin, even after baking.

This was simple, fun, festive and the kids loved it!

Panpillas

ImageAnother one of my experiments in trying to stream-line my recipes. My family loves the East African flatbread called Chapati. I’ve messed with the original recipe a bit to make it a bit more healthy (ie: using whole wheat flour and not frying in oil) but the traditional hand-formed bread….sometimes I just don’t have the time, or two hands to work with! Now I’ve added another change which, although changing the original texture, my family still loved. We usually use these types of breads to accompany a legume-based main dish and lots of fresh veggies. So with dough like pancakes and a texture like a thick tortilla we’ve come up with the name “Panpillas”.

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4 cups flour ( I’ve used anywhere to 1/2 all purpose to all whole wheat)

1 ½ tsp salt

Blend together

Add:

4 Tbsp. oil (I use olive or canola)

Enough water to make a thick pancake-like batter

Mix well

Drop large spoonfuls into greased ( I use Pam canola oil spray) frying pan. Turn over when golden brown on under side and top is bubbly ( like pancakes).

Enjoy!