Food For Thought:

When I was a nineteen-year-old-two-months-married newlywed, I anticipated the approach of my first wedded Valentine’s Day with romantic fantasies of champagne, flowers, and food. We had married on a foggy New Year’s Eve in our Pennsylvania hometown. I’d moved New Year’s Day (a honeymoon would come eight years later) to be with my pro soccer-playing husband in Dallas and transferred to the University of Texas, Dallas. After living in a urine-scented-old-folks-home-turned-college-dorm in New York City, I felt like a queen in our brand new apartment complete with a fireplace and a laundry room.

My plan was to surprise my husband who would arrive home from a road trip on Valentine’s Day. I secretly cut out pink and red paper hearts, scattering them on the carpet, hung matching streamers on the wall to form our initials (H + T), bought flowers, and champagne. I may have even thrown rose pedals in the entryway.

So laden with luggage, he walked into the apartment after a long flight. I was dressed to the nines, expecting him to swoon, quickly shower and change, and then woo me with a fabulous meal in a trendy Dallas restaurant.


He was tired.

And the team had lost.

We ordered pizza.

Jonathan Carroll, author of Outside the Dog Museum, says “You have to walk carefully in the beginning of love; the running across fields into your lover’s arms can only come later when you’re sure they won’t laugh if you trip.”

My husband didn’t laugh at me. He’s too kind for that. Proof of point: early in our marriage before I became The Cook, the man now affectionately now known as The Vacuum Cleaner, ate and declared the Chicken Kiev I made with Frosted (not corn) Flakes delicious. But what I started to learn that first Valentine’s Day is that loving someone often means communicating your expectations and not making assumptions.

I guess that’s part of growing up, too.

On that note, Happy Valentine’s Day! Your expectation should be that you are about to experience a tasty Valentine’s Day meal.

Thoughtful Food:

Lovely Pot Roast w/ Hot Horseradish Sauce, Totally Awesome Salad, Lazy Garlic Potatoes

IMG_7578Lovely Pot Roast (This is so easy!)

4-6 lb

1 can of golden cream of mushroom

1 packet of dry onion soup mix

1.5 cups of red wine (the secret ingredient)

2 medium onions, sliced


In a large frying pan, brown the pot roast on all sides. Line the crockpot with the onions and set the roast on top of the onions. Mix the cream of mushroom soup together with the red wine and onion soup mix and pour over roast. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Serve with Horseradish Sauce.

Hot Horseradish Sauce:

1 ½ cup sour cream

½ cup plain non-fat yogurt

½ cup heavy cream

3/4-cup fresh horseradish (adjust depending on your family’s heat tolerance)

2 tablespoons sugar

salt and pepper to taste


Mix all ingredients together and refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Totally Awesome Salad—Made in 3 Stages (This is a huge crowd pleaser—people are always asking for the recipe)

Salad Ingredients, Stage 1:

½ onion, thinly sliced

Balsamic Vinegar


McCormick Perfect Pinch Salad Supreme Seas

Salad Instructions, Stage 1:

Place onions in salad bowl and cover with balsamic vinegar (do not be shy). Next, coat the onions and vinegar with sugar (again, do not be stingy). Then generously sprinkle the Salad Supreme Seasoning over the onions. This must marinate for at least one hour, but eight hours makes it even better!

Salad Ingredients, Stage 2 (the fun part!):

1 Avocado, peeled and chopped

handful of your favorite nut, chopped (I like almonds, pine nuts or even candied walnuts)

handful of dried cranberries

12 olives, chopped (or more, if you’d like)

You can add anything you’d like to this stage—I’ve tried strawberries, basil, and other veggies—have fun, but make sure you add at least one sweet ingredient liked the dried cranberries.

Salad Instructions, Stage 2:

Mix together and set atop onion marinate in salad bowl.

Salad Ingredients, Stage 3:

Field Greens (enough to fill your salad bowl)

Goat Cheese crumbles (amount depends on how cheesy you want your salad, but must have some)

Olive Oil

Salad Instructions, Stage 3:

SaladBlog3Place greens on top of onion mixture. DO NOT MIX YET. Drizzle greens with olive oil. NOW, WITHOUT TOUCHING THE ONION MIXTURE, toss the greens and olive oil until the greens are nicely coated, THEN mix from the bottom of the bowl to include the onion mixture. Lastly, add the goat cheese and mix again. Let me know if your gang loves it.

Lazy Garlic Potatoes Ingredients

5 lbs red potatoes, skin included

1 lb butter

2 tablespoons chopped garlic (you can go heavier on the garlic)

1 cup chopped fresh parsley

Lazy Garlic Potatoes Instructions:

Boil potatoes w/skins until tender. Meanwhile melt butter in a small saucepan with garlic (simmer on low heat while potatoes cook). Drain potatoes and mash with a fork or hand-masher (do not whip—remember these are lazy potatoes). Then—drum roll please—mix potatoes, butter/garlic, and fresh parsley together. Salt & pepper to taste.

Thought For The Week:

“I wanted to make it really special on Valentine’s Day, so I tied my boyfriend up. And for three solid hours, I watched whatever I wanted on TV.” – Tracy Smith

Have you ever had a Valentine’s Day that wasn’t quite what you expected?

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