Romance is in the air! Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and by now most of us moms and grandmothers are winding down our Valentine crafting. Classroom and teacher gifts are done or nearly done, as are gifts for friends and families. By now many of us have had our fill of cutting out hearts and cupids and are ready to move on. But we may have neglected one of the most important people in our lives, our significant other!
Let’s be honest, Valentine’s Day is a female holiday. We expect our husbands and boyfriends to take the initiative and come up with fabulous Valentine gift. We expect flowers, chocolates, jewelry, dinners, etc.
I admit I love the pampering, and most of the gifts my husband has given me. Okay, the weed trimmer wasn’t a big hit, but it was certainly memorable. Over all I think he’s gotten this Valentine thing down pat, even though at times he goes overboard with humongous boxes of chocolates or a truck load of blooms.
I must confess that most years I tend to neglect doing something special for him. By the time I get around to getting him a gift it’s usually the day before Valentine’s Day and I end up buying a shirt or a bottle of cologne. Occasionally inspiration strikes and I do something special. One year I remembered early enough to reserve an ocean view table at our favorite gourmet restaurant, another year I checked us in to an oceanfront suite for the night.
This year I tried booking a table at a restaurant during the last week of January. I tried all our favorites, they were sold out unless I want to have dinner at 10 o’clock. So I searched the web for inspiration. I found many great ideas and will be incorporating a couple in my Valentine’s Day plans. I’ve decided that a moonlight picnic on the beach is just what we need. We live in Hawaii so the weather should be cooperative, if not then on to plan B, a picnic at home.
Here’s a round-up of DIY Valentine gift idea for men. Perhaps they will inspire your Valentine planning. Whatever you decide have a wonderfully romantic Valentine’s Day!
If you’re still feeling crafty then this cool chocolate guitar may be just what you need. Specially if your Valentine is a music and chocolate lover!
Edible Crafts online has a great tutorial to show you how you can make this guitar for your lover boy!
Click here for the tutorial![spacer height=”-20px”]
Picnics are always romantic.
If the weather is bad you can still have a romantic picnic in your livingroom. Set the scene with candles and “picnic” on a blanket on your floor. Serve food you would serve if you were actually going on an outdoor picnic, but keep it simple; pasta salad, cold chicken, cheese, crusty bread, fruit, chocolate dipped strawberries, etc. And wine, Don’t forget the wine! (sparkling cider makes a nice non-alcoholic alternative, specially if you have to drive home) Pack everything in a picnic basket if you have one.
After dinner snuggle up in your romantic bedroom.
I’d add a candle or two , a couple of wine glasses, a bottle of wine, and a small box of truffles to this design by Everyday Art. [spacer height=”-20px”]
I love this heart box by Theresa of Crafting the Web!
Fill it with his favorite treat!
Click here to learn how to make it![spacer height=”-20px”]
Bacon is supposed to be “manly”, treat your man to Chocolate dipped roses by Everyday Dishes![spacer height=”-20px”]
Here are more Bacon Valentines from PrettyOrganized you’ll find recipes and free printable tags on their site.[spacer height=”-20px”]
Give him a gift that lasts the whole year. This Pre-planned date night book by Thinking Closet let’s you celebrate Valentine’s Day once a month doing something you both enjoy.[spacer height=”-20px”]
This Sensual Valentine by What’s On My Porch will stimulate all his senses.
Decorate cardboard boxes and fill each one with a corresponding item. His favorite candy, a massage bug, his preferred cologne, a CD, and some sexy lingerie he’ll love seeing you in. Tailor the items to your man.[spacer height=”-20px”]
Christmas is getting closer and closer, I love it! Dana and I are here to help you with new recipe ideas for the holiday season. Now on Christmas Day we have the usual turkey, ham and all the trimmings but for Christmas Eve we decided to change it up a bit and have lasagna. It feeds a lot of people and really who doesn’t love lasagna? So it is a real crowd pleaser. Since you can assemble it even the night before it makes the hectic Christmas Eve go a lot more smoothly.
This is my go to lasagna recipe, very simple, very classic, we jazz it up a little bit by adding in some Italian sausage. To make it more festive I put a Christmas Tree pattern on it made from bell peppers. I made the tree limbs out of green bell pepper slices, and decorated with chopped red and yellow pepper, the tree trunk is bit of red pepper and a (poorly shaped lol) star out of the yellow bell pepper.
I use no boil noodles and get this put together in no time. I pop it in the fridge and it is ready to go the next day for Christmas Eve dinner. A basket of garlic bread and a huge salad and Christmas Eve dinner is done!
So take it straightforward this holiday and create this amazing Christmas Lasagna! Don’t forget to go away some for Santa!! 😉
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Try this Christmas Lasagna recipe.
1 pound sausage
1 pound hamburger
2 jars spaghetti sauce
4-5 cups mozzarella cheese
32 oz ricottanoodles
1 package no boil noodles
1. Brown and drain the sausage and hamburger together.
2. Add sausage and hamburger to large bowl and pour in the two jars of sauce.
3. In separate bowl mix the ricotta, 2 eggs and 1 cup of cheese.
4. Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 dish.
5. Place noodles on top of sauce.
6. Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture on the noodles.
7. Sprinkle with a little more shredded mozzarella.
8. Top with more sauce.
9. Do another layer of noodles.
11. Shredded cheese
14. Cheese mixture.
16. Shredded Cheese.
17. Arrange peppers into Christmas Tree shape.
18.Cover with foil and bake 30-40 minutes at 350 till bubbly
This is such a delicious and decadent tasting food formula for christmas. you’ll simply use chicken instead. Besides the turkey, it’s loaded with veggies, potatoes and butternut squash. every skinny serving has 266 calories, six grams of fat and seven Weight Watchers race SmartPoints Your family can love, love, love this fabulous Turkey Pot Pie.It freezes nice too!
Try this Guilt-free Turkey Pot Pie recipe.
3½ cups Swanson’s reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
2 cups butternut squash or sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (½ inch cubes)
1½ cups potatoes, peeled and cubed (½ inch cubes)
1½ cups onions, chopped
1½ cup carrots, peeled and chopped
1½ cups celery, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
3 cups turkey breast or chicken, cooked and diced, see shopping tips
¾ cup frozen peas (un-defrosted)
½ cup reduced-fat milk
⅓ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 pkg. Pillsbury Golden Layer Flaky Biscuits (100 calories for each biscuit), see shopping tips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 13 x 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large pan, add 2¾ cups chicken broth, butternut squash, potatoes, onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 8 minutes, until soft. Add diced turkey and frozen peas, breaking them up. Bring back to a boil, turn heat to simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Place a colander into a large bowl. Pour turkey, vegetables and broth into the colander. Add the strained broth back to the pan. Set aside the bowl of turkey and vegetables.
3. In separate small bowl, add flour. Gradually add milk to flour, stirring with a whisk, until well blended.
4. Increase heat to the pan of broth to medium and stir in remaining broth. Using a whisk or fork, stir in milk and flour mixture. Cook for 5 minutes or until thicken. Stir often.
5. Add back the turkey and vegetables. Mix in thyme, sage and black pepper. Mix well. Pour turkey stew into the 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and remove foil.
6. Open the package of biscuits, separate them and place on top of turkey stew. Line them evenly over the top.
7. Place the pot pie back in the oven and bake, uncovered, for 14-16 more minutes until the biscuits are golden brown.
8. To serve, spoon about 1 cup into each bowl and top with 1 biscuit. You’ll have 2 extra biscuits!
Serves 8 (each serving ⅛ of recipe, 1 biscuit and about 1 cup turkey stew)
Guilt-free Turkey Pot Pie
Boneless turkey breast pounded skinny and filled with breadcrumbs, mushrooms, dried cranberries and sage, rolled and tied and cooked. My father jogged my memory the opposite day tfhat Thanksgiving turkey ought not to be a full bird. If your gathering is just few individuals, and you don’t wish to own many weeks of turkey leftovers, there’s no have to be compelled to roast a fifteen avoirdupois unit gobbler. You could roast simply some turkey legs if you wish meat or if you favor white, stuff and roll a turkey breast.
The following formula is for simply that, a turkey breast, pounded skinny, unfolds with a stuffing of breadcrumbs, bacon, porcini, shallots and dried cranberries, and rolled up into a roulade and cooked.
Now, the sole issue I see with preparation simply the turkey breast is that you just find yourself with scant drippings for gravy. If you wish gravy the maximum amount as I do, I like to recommend adding a fatty wing to the cooking pan, and victimization those drippings for your gravy.
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Click here for Turkey Breast with Bacon recipe.
Even if you end up not eating the skin, it’s important to wrap it around the turkey roll for roasting. It will bathe the turkey in flavor and will keep the breast from drying out.
1 boneless turkey breast (about 2 lbs)
Butter, olive oil, OR bacon fat
1/4 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 thick slice of bacon*
1/4 cup minced shallot
2 Tbsp chopped dried cranberries
1 teaspoon minced sage
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 Tbsp turkey or chicken stock (can sub water)
1 turkey wing (optional)
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup turkey or chicken stock
Salt and pepper
*If you don’t eat bacon, you can skip, just use a generous tablespoon of butter instead, to sauté the shallots.
1 Rehydrate and chop the dried porcini mushrooms: Place dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl. Cover with hot water and let sit for 15 minutes or so while the bacon in the next step is cooking. Once rehydrated, then chop.
2 Cook then chop the bacon: Slowly cook the bacon in a medium frying pan on medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate. Once cool enough to touch, chop. You should have at least a tablespoon of fat in the pan. (If not, add butter or olive oil to make up the difference.)
3 Make the stuffing: Heat the same pan on medium (do not drain the fat rendered out of the bacon), add the minced shallots and cook until the shallots begin to brown. Add the chopped dried cranberries, minced sage and chopped mushrooms. Stir well and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the breadcrumbs, the parsley, chopped bacon, and the turkey or chicken stock and stir well. You want a rough paste, something that will stick to itself. Remove from the heat and allow the stuffing to cool.
4 Remove the skin, then pound turkey breast to even thickness: To make the stuffed turkey breast, remove the skin from the turkey in one piece and reserve.
Put the turkey breast between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap and gently pound with a mallet until it is about 1/4 inch thick. (It may be easier to butterfly the breast first, depending on how big the breast is.)
5 Spread stuffing over turkey breast, then roll up: Trim the pounded breast until it is roughly a rectangle. Spread a thin layer of the stuffing over the breast, leaving about 3/4 inch border around all sides.
Starting with one of the shorter ends of the turkey rectangle, roll up the turkey breast.
Lay the skin over the top of the rolled breast and tuck any under the edges.
6 Tie up the turkey breast: Tie the rolled turkey breast tightly with kitchen string (cotton, not nylon!) and set it on a roasting pan. Paint it with olive oil, or smear butter or bacon fat over it and sprinkle with salt. If you want more drippings for gravy, place pieces of a turkey wing on the roasting pan as well.
7 Roast: Roast at 400°F for 20 minutes, then drop the heat to 325° and roast for another 10-15 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the breast reads about 155° on a meat thermometer.
8 Rest: Once the turkey reaches that temperature remove it from the roasting pan and tent it loosely with foil. Let it rest at least 10 minutes, and up to 25 minutes.
9 Make gravy with pan drippings: While the turkey breast is resting, if you want, you may be able to make a little gravy with the drippings. If you are only cooking the breast, and not the optional turkey wing as well, you may not have much to work with. But even a little bit of drippings can flavor a gravy. (If you really don’t have much fat to work with, you can melt two tablespoons of butter into the roasting pan.)
Take the roasting pan with drippings and place over two burners on the stove-top on medium (if using turkey wing, remove first). Sprinkle with flour and stir until the flour is incorporated into the drippings.
Slowly add stock, whisking constantly, until smooth. Season with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning or ground sage or thyme. Let simmer on the stove until thickened to your preference.
Stuffed Turkey Breast with Bacon, Cranberry, Breadcrumb Stuffing
Stuffed Turkey Breast with Bacon, Cranberry, Breadcrumb Stuffing
Since Christmas season is well under way and this particular holiday brings about such tasty dishes, Traditional honey-glazed gammon is one in every of our incomparable favorite meals of the year. Completely excellent for Christmas, or the other special dinner you would like to share with loved ones. They say that the honey-glazed ham is at its perfection once it melts in your mouth. The key to a delicious and tender honey-glazed gammon is in guaranteeing the meat is recent. The longer it’s marinated; This menu can have everybody licking their plates.
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Click here for Traditional honey-glazed gammon recipe
For cooking the gammon
2kg/4lb 8oz unsmoked boneless gammon joint, tied
2 onions, halved
2 carrots, unpeeled, cut into 5cm/2in pieces
2 celery stalks, cut into 5cm/2in pieces
4 bay leaves
12 black peppercorns
small handful cloves
For the glaze
4 tbsp runny honey
4 tbsp English mustard
1. Place the gammon joint into a large lidded saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil over a high heat. Drain the water from the saucepan, add fresh cold water, the onions, carrots, celery, bay and peppercorns and bring to the boil once more. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer the gammon and vegetables gently for 20 minutes per 500g/1lb 2oz. (If your pan is not quite large enough to cover the joint completely, turn the gammon over halfway through the cooking time.)
2. Remove the gammon from the water and set aside to cool for 15 minutes. (The cooking liquid can be strained and reserved for making soup for another time.)
3. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6 and line a large roasting tin with kitchen foil.
4. Use a small knife to remove the rind from the gammon joint, leaving as much of the fat intact as possible. Score the fat in a diamond pattern, and push a clove into the centre of each ‘X’.
5. Place the gammon into the foil-lined roasting tray, ensuring that the sides of the foil come halfway up the joint to contain any roasting juices.
6. For the glaze, mix the honey and mustard together and brush half of it evenly over the gammon, including one side of the joint. Roast in the centre of the oven for 10 minutes, then take the joint out and brush the top and remaining side with the rest of the glaze. Return the gammon to the oven for a further 10– 15 minutes, rotating the tin so that the opposite side of the gammon faces the back of the oven.
Traditional honey-glazed gammon
Traditional honey-glazed gammon
On Christmas Morning my children and grandchildren arrive at my house to open presents and have brunch, it’s another family tradition started when the kids were young.
Our usual routine is orange juice and cocoa or coffee in the kitchen before we head over to the formal living room to distribute and unwrap gifts. This ritual takes at least 2 hours and I usually pop in to the kitchen to toss the egg dish in the oven during the last hour or so.
When the kids were younger we served a plated breakfast at the table, these days with in-laws and grandkids there’s just too many of us for a proper sit down breakfast, not to mention the unwrapping ritual takes us longer, so we set up a brunch buffet instead. Although times have changed the menu has not. I like to keep it simple and easy to prepare so I look for things I can prepare the night before and throw in the oven before brunch.
Our traditional menu includes:
Chile Relleno Torta – a delicious baked egg dish, I got the recipe years ago from Diane Mott Davidson’s book “Dying for Chocolate”. For recipe click here!
I serve this with fresh warm tortillas, salsa, and sour cream on the side.
French Toast – I try different types every year. This year I will try this Overnight Creme Brulee French Toast recipe from Carl’s Bad Cravings. For recipe click here
Fried and Scrambled Eggs
Hash Brown Potatoes
Coffee, Cocoa, and juice
Here a a few ideas I found around the web you may want to try this year.