Labors of Love

When my mom asked me when I was going to write again, I had absolutely no intention of doing this tonight.  But she put the bug in me, so this one's for you, mom. 

Aaaahhhh.  February - the month of love.  XOXOXOXO.  Showing people that you care takes many different forms.  Some people say it best with words.  Others say it with flowers or gifts.  All of those things can be beautiful expressions of feeling.  Hey - I am a girl...  I have no problems with a bouquet or a pretty bauble.  And of course, like everyone else I need to hear the words once in a while. 

I believe that the means of expression has to fit the nature of the person giving it.  There are two things about myself that I hold to be true: 1) I am a practical person at heart (I know this may surprise some, but at the base of almost every decision I make there is usually some practicality-based logic at the heart of it all); and 2) a person's time is their most valuable asset.  As a result, when I want to express my care or appreciation for someone, I find that I tend to lean toward things that reflect these two things. 

So this V-Day, instead of buying flowers or gifts, I said it with food.  In my world FOOD = LOVE.  Food nurtures and sustains the body; time and thought are required to prepare food.  If time is precious, then gift of something that requires time is like giving a piece of yourself.  I know it's a little goofy - but its "Cher logic".  (OOOHHH, I just made an "IF,THEN" statement and used the word logic in the same sentence, I feel smartical).
A couple of weeks ago, the KAF website was showcasing a killer recipe for Apple Walnut Bread.  Whenever I see an interesting recipe involving apples, I think of my momma & poppa.  Hmmm.  My parents make me think of apples...  Anyhoo, my V-Day Sunday baking started off with a few loaves of bread.  (And some pecan sticky rolls in the oven). 

MMMM.  When a dough looks like this, you know it's gonna be goooodddddd. 
And it was...  Crunchy on the outside.  Chewy on the inside.  And absolutely killer when dredged in some Cheese Fondue.  (Since I skipped lunch, I noshed on a loaf while making dinner). 

For V-Day dinner, I embarked on a true culinary adventure. I was brave.  I was bold.  I went French.  Boeuf Bourguignon was the order of the day.  So while my apple-walnut bread was rising, I took an early morning jaunt to the grocery store.  Now, anyone that knows me well knows that I don't like to approach people and ask for anything, but I was making "the Boeuf" for Pete's sake and it had to be just so.  Nothing less would do.  I was on a mission.  Onions, check.  Carrots, check.  Celery, check.  Parsley.  NOT CHECK.  That was some sad looking parsley and it was not worthy of my dinner.  Over by the bananas, I saw my victim the produce dude...  I "nicely" explained how his wilted herbs were not fit for consumption and asked him how he planned to remedy this horrendously tragic situation.  He mumbled something in response as he ran away.  And just as I thought that was the last I would ever see of him, he came back with a whole brand-new box of parsley and let me pick!  That was kind of fun.  Well played, Cher.  Well played. 

On to the meat counter for three pounds of boneless chuck.  Nothing even close.  "Excuse me, Mr. Butcher."  "Yes ma'am, what can I help you with?"  "I need some chuck and I don't see any out."  "What do you need?"  "Oh, three pounds...". "Give me a few minutes and I will cut that up for you."  Sure enough - meat cut to order.  And she was beautiful.  Lesson learned: it pays to be picky...  Mission accomplished, it was time to cook.  I didn't get any pictures, but it truly was a thing of beauty.  So, in closing, I have only two things to say 1) It was a lot of work.  2) It was goooooddddd.  I might even still have some stuck to my chin after sucking the bowl clean. 

A decadent dinner deserves a decadent dessert.  I had picked up a Chocolate Indulgence Cake mix up at the King Arthur Store and this seemed like the perfect end to an excellent dinner.  I was already "in for a pound" (or twenty) after the Boeuf Bourguignon, so why not go for it?  I wish I had a picture of the inside, because this was the creamiest, chocolatiest dessert I have ever had.  Topped it with homemade vanilla whipped cream & fresh raspberries.  #1 child said it was a hit...  Personally, I could have rolled in it. 

 As a side note, yesterday I remade Woody's Lemon Luxury Cake (from this post).  It was the only thing on my docket Sunday, so I even went whole-hog and made the frosting that was meant to go with it.  TA DA!  Can you say butter????  I think by the time I was through, I used a whole pound of butter.  The "buttercream" frosting used about 20 tablespoons of butter - I kid you not.  It was probably one of the best frostings I have ever made, but a little went a long way.  I made the cake for a co-workers birthday and I must say that I felt pretty accomplished bringing it in.

In other news of note, Union won both their home games this weekend - bringing their national ranking up to #15 (2nd in ECAC).  Two more games this coming weekend before play-offs.   

That's all she wrote for tonight!

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