What a great day we all had on Valentine’s Day!

It seemed to be a day full of FOOD! Yes, I know a muffin doesn’t actually mean “I love you.” My diet has not completely gone to my head!

(By the way, I managed to make it through the day without gaining any weight!

I’m now down 12 pounds! Woo Hoo!)

I didn’t really plan to take pictures of breakfast. Since it was an after-thought, there are bites missing.

We started the day with a toad-in-the-hole. The hole was heart-shaped!

Valentine breakfast

For those of you who may not know what a toad-in-the-hole is, here is what you do:

Cut out a hole from the center of the slice of bread.

Throw a pat of butter into a hot skillet. Add the “holy” bread and the cut out part.

Crack an egg into the hole. Let it set up nicely.

Add more butter and flip to toast on the other side. Finish toasting the toast and cooking the egg.

You can toast then flip and add the egg for a sunny side up egg. My family likes it the other way. They really like the little cut out toasty part, especially with strawberry jam!

I passed out little donuts and tried to say “Do you not know I love you a whole bunch.” Inspiration came from this cute idea. It came out all garbled and strange. Everyone got a big kick out of that!

On to packing the kid’s lunches.

I have been going to do this for a long time. When I cleaned out the craft closet I came across my supplies and MADE myself remember to do it!

Pizza Box Valentine copy

These little boxes came with stoneware cookie molds in them from Pampered Chef, like these. I saved them all these years to make them into pizza boxes! I just used some double-stick tape to attach a piece of cellophane over the opening.

I made cheese pizza from good old Pillsbury Pizza Crust. We usually make homemade crust. This was not the day for that.

Don’t you like my corny little Valentine saying?

The girls LOVED their pizza surprise. They usually take PB&Js to school. Pizza is king in the teen/pre-teen world. Score!

Not only did they have cute pizza boxes in their lunches, but they also had cute cookies!

Dipped Valentine Cookies

I got the idea for these here  on Pinterest one day. Why have I never done this before?!

This is what I took to my hubby for his Valentine treat:

Stud Muffin Valentine

A cellophane bag filled with store-bought mini muffins. Yes, it was another Pinterest inspiration! There are a lot of creative people out there! I did make my own tag though!

Dinner was our traditional steak and potato meal.

Steak and Potato

The girls took charge of the table this year.

candles and sequins copy

White tablecloth, pink tea light candles, red sequins.

water glass

It just wouldn’t be our Valentine dinner without tomato roses. I usually use Roma tomatoes. Walmart was out of them when I went shopping. I think the slicers actually made a better rose!

Tomato Rose

I got some lovely REAL roses from my Valentine! They looked great on the table, too!

Valentine roses copy

Let me just say, the fancy dessert we had this year was to die for!

Dessert

Barefoot Contessa’s Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp.

Oh, my lands! I can not even begin to tell you how yummy this was!

I have seen Ina make this before on her program. I had never had rhubarb before this Valentine’s night. You can read all that Wikipedia has to say about rhubarb here.

I had no idea what I was going to make for our fancy dessert. I was at the health food store with some friends last week when I saw the rhubarb. I recalled seeing the recipe on tv. I bought 5 stalks. Just a hint: unless you are really into organic food, don’t buy rhubarb at the health food store. The tag was missing from the produce section. I only was buying 5 stalks, how expensive could it be? $6.27! I almost didn’t get it. I knew my time to track down more was scare, so I bought it anyway. I’m really glad I did though!

Strawberries and Rhubarb

Just look at that fruit! The smell was amazing! This is the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, orange zest, and orange juice mixed with corn starch.

crumble topping copy

There was so much crumble topping! Oats, sugar and butter=heaven!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp baked copy

There were lots of oohs and ahs when it came out of the oven.

Serving Dessert

I borrowed the fancy glasses from my Mom.

family photo

The “Critics” are off at school today. If I remember, I’ll add their comments later. They did fuss at me for once again putting a vegetable in dessert. Hey, the Beet Cake was good, too!

Sometimes it is the little things that mean the most.

About nine years ago, we were living in Indiana at the time, my hubby and I made plans to go out for Valentine’s Day. Well, on February 13th our sitter called to cancel. I had to punt. I went to the store and bought some steaks, baked potatoes, ingredients for a cheesecake, and salad fixin’s. I had these cute little springform pans I used to make the cheesecake. (I saw on the Wilton website that these are discontinued, sorry.)

I used the skins from the tomatoes to make fancy tomato roses.

When it was time for dinner, the family showed up in their jeans and sweats. I sent them all away. I told them they had to dress nice to come to Chéz Mommé! (Ok, any French-speaking people, please don’t criticize. I was shootin’ from the hip and wanted our Valentine dinner to sound all fancy. I don’t know ANY French, but Chef Mommy just didn’t cut it.)

We all quickly put on something fancy to come have dinner at the kitchen table. Fortunately, the girls’ Christmas dresses had been red with a little heart on the front.

As soon as we lit the candles and sat down to eat, the power went out! That was the year a huge blizzard hit the Indianapolis area. So, there we sat–in the candlelight–having our steak dinner. Memories!

Little did I know what an impact our “romantic” evening had on the kids.

The next year, as Valentine’s Day approached, they started asking about Chéz Mommé. We were back in the South by this time, so no fear of another blizzard anyway!

We put on our fancy duds and had Chéz Mommé once again. We had steak, potato, salad, and a different fancy dessert of some sort. I realize you can’t see the front of them, but I made place cards out of heart shaped doilies. Of course we had candles and tomato roses, too!

Chéz Mommé has become an annual tradition. We don’t always have it on February 14th now that schedules are what they are.

Some years, the kids have come to the table just out of the shower with wet hair, wet hair and a fancy dress.

We try to make it a little different each year. However, with the exception of dessert, the menu stays pretty much the same.

One year we had dancing. One year we had fancy music coming from a DirecTV channel. One year we had floating candles.

I try not to go overboard on the spending. I often will pick up clearance items when I find them. Once, I made heart confetti out of construction paper using a paper punch. We often use the same table cloth or placemats.

I think it was two years ago that we had chocolate fondue for our dessert. That required a plastic table cloth, for obvious reasons.

Last year I made meringue cups and filled them with raspberry sorbet and homemade hot fudge!

One day there when the kids are grown and gone, I’ll have plenty of Valentine dates, I’m sure.

As you can see by the photos, that day is coming sooner than I’d like!

I’ve already bought my steaks for Chéz Mommé this year, in the mark-down bin! I still have to figure out what we will have for dessert. One thing I do know, our dinner plate will have a tomato rose on it!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

How to make a tomato rose:

Or, if you are a more visual person, here is a link, only she makes hers with paper, not tomatoes.