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’… 😉

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Maple Spice Cake

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I make this a little different every time, according to the taste of those we’re serving so feel free to experiment!

Cake Batter:

3 cups Flour (we’ve done all White to all Whole Wheat, the more the whole wheat flour the more dry the cake when baked)

1 cup White Sugar

2 tsp. Baking Powder

½ tsp. Baking Soda

1 ½ tsp. fine grain Sea Salt

Mix all dry ingredients. Then add:

2/3 cup Vegetable Oil (usually use Canola, but it’s FABULOUS with Coconut oil, especially with Vanilla instead of Maple)

2 tsp. Maple Flavoring (opt., would recommend Vanilla if not putting in Maple)

2 Large Eggs

Enough water (I’ve used almond milk) to make a thick, barely pourable, batter.

Layering:

1-1 ½  cup Brown Sugar (depending on how sugary you like things)

1 Tbsp. Ground Cinnamon

1/8 tsp. Ground Nutmeg (opt., great with Pumpkin/Apple Pie Spice or Cloves)

Mix all Layering ingredients together.

Pour half of batter into greased baking pan. Sprinkle Layering in even layer over batter. Pour remaining batter on top of Layering. Sprinkle remaining Layering on top of batter. Bake in 350 degree F oven for about 30 minutes or til golden brown and done in middle.

Variation: You can pour a stick of melted butter on top when finished with layering to add extra decadency (and a lot more fat and calories which is why we don’t do that anymore;), but it is delicious that way!

Enjoy!