Valentine’s Weekend Recipes- Sunday

This is a continuation of our Valentine’s Day Weekend Recipes.  On to our last day- Sunday.

Sunday- 

Breakfast- Since many married Christians have church on Sunday mornings, I chose something super simple to make.

‘ I Love You’ Waffles (recipe from ‘A Little Tipsy”)

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Ingredients

Bisquick Pancake Mix (plus whatever ingredients are typically needed, as stated on the box)
Duncan Hines Red Velvet Cake Mix (plus whatever ingredients are typically needed, as stated on the box)
Whipped Cream

Directions

1. Mix up Bisquick and Cake mix separately according to package directions.
2. Mix together 1 part prepared cake batter to 4 parts Bisquick batter. (Ex- 1 cup Bisquick to 1/4 cup cake mix)
3. Pour in Waffle Maker and cook as usual.
4. Top waffle with a whipped cream heart and enjoy

Lunch

Spaghetti with Sautéed Chicken and Grape Tomatoes (recipe from skinnytaste.com)

spaghetti-with-chicken-and-grape-tomatoes

Ingredients-

2 skinless chicken breast halves, diced in 1 inch cubes
cooking spray
1/2 tsp each of dried oregano and dries basil
kosher salt and fresh pepper
8 oz spaghetti (high fiber or low carb) I used Ronzoni Smart Taste
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
6 cloves garlic, smashed and coarsely chopped
4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp chopped fresh basil 

Directions-

1.  Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
2.  Season chicken generously with salt, pepper, oregano and basil. Heat a large skillet on high heat. When hot, spray with oil and add chicken. Cook about 3-4 minutes, until no longer pink. Remove chicken and set aside.
3.  Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Reserve about 1/2 cup pasta water before draining.
4.  While pasta cooks, add olive oil to skillet on high heat. Add garlic and sauté until golden brown (do not burn). Add tomatoes, salt and pepper and reduce heat to medium-low. Sauté about 4-5 minutes. When pasta is drained, add pasta to tomatoes and toss well. If pasta seems too dry, add some of the reserved pasta water. Add fresh basil and chicken and toss well.
5.  Serve and top with good grated cheese.

Dinner- Beef Filets with Portobello Sauce (recipe from TasteofHome)

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Ingredients

beef tenderloin steaks (4 ounces each)                            
1/2 cup dry red wine or reduced-sodium beef broth                            
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour                            
1/2 cup reduced-sodium beef broth                            
1 teaspoon each steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup                            
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard                            
4 ounces fresh baby portobello mushrooms, sliced                           
1/4 teaspoon pepper                            
1/8 teaspoon salt                            
1 tablespoon minced chives, optional

Directions-

1.  In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, brown steaks on both sides over medium-high heat. Remove and keep warm.                             
2.  Reduce heat to medium. Add wine or broth to pan, stirring to loosen browned bits; cook for 2-3 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Combine flour and broth until smooth; whisk into the pan juices. Add steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and mustard. Bring to a boil.                          
3.  Return steaks to the skillet; add mushrooms. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side or until meat reaches desired doneness (for medium-rare, a meat thermometer should read 145°; medium, 160°; well-done, 170°).
4.  Sprinkle with pepper, salt and chives if desired

Dessert- Strawberry Mousse Cream Puffs (recipe from feedingmygiant)download (2)

Ingredients- (For the Puffs)

2 3/4 cups flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups water
1 stick plus 2 tbsp butter
4 large eggs

Directions- (for the puffs)

1.  Preheat oven to 425.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Sift the flour, salt, and baking soda together and set aside.
2.  In a heavy saucepan, heat the water.  Add the butter.  When melted, remove the pan from the stove and add the flour mixture all at once.  Beat with a wooden spoon, then return the pan to medium-high heat, beating the mixture until it comes away from the sides of the pan.  Continue to stir until mixture forms into a ball with glossy coating (3-5 minutes).
3.  Remove the ball of dough and place into a mixing bowl. 
4.  Add the eggs one at a time to the dough beating with a wooden spoon or hand mixer in-between additions to mix well (I prefer the hand mixer method).
5.  Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch tip with the cream puff batter.  Squeeze out 3-inch puffs, about 1/2 inch apart on a cookie sheet. 
6.  Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.  When done, carefully slit the side of each cream puff with a knife or poke the tops with a toothpick to allow steam to escape and to prevent the puffs from becoming soggy inside.    Transfer to cooling racks and let cool.

Ingredients- (for the strawberry mousse)

2 tablespoons water
1 (1/4-ounce) packet unflavored gelatin
8 ounces strawberries, washed, hulled, and cut into large dice
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¾ cup heavy cream 

Directions- (for the mousse)

1.  Place the water in a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the surface, and stir to combine; set aside.
2.  Combine the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and stir to coat the berries in the sugar. Mash the berries with a potato masher to release their juices, then bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the berries are falling apart and the juices have thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, set a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl.
3.  Pour the strawberry mixture into the strainer. Using a rubber spatula, push on the solids and scrape the underside of the strainer until all of the liquid is extracted; discard the contents of the strainer. Immediately whisk the gelatin mixture into the strawberry liquid until it’s dissolved and smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, place the clean bowl of the stand mixer and the whisk attachment in the freezer.
4.  Place the cream in the chilled stand-mixer bowl and whisk on high speed until medium peaks form, about 1 minute.\
5.  Give the strawberry mixture a quick whisk to smooth it out, add the whipped cream a quarter cup at a time, folding gently into mixture in between each addition.  Fold just until no white from the cream is visible. 
6.  Transfer the mixture to a large resealable bag or piping bag.

Assembly directions-
1.  Cut the cooled puffs horizontally.  Fill the bottom half of the puffs with strawberry mousse.
2.  Replace the tops and dust with powdered sugar, or top with favorite chocolate topping.
3.  Serve immediately

 

Valentine’s Weekend Recipes- Saturday

This post is a continuation of the Valentine’s Weekend Recipe Series 🙂  Let’s face it, the only thing that makes a Valentine’s Day dish festive is it either being pink, red or heart shaped.  So, use your imagination if these recipes don’t work for you.

Saturday-

Breakfast- Maybe something light for breakfast, fresh fruit, yogurt, granola.  Add something special with this twist on ‘guy kibbee eggs’. (Recipe from ChefRecip.es)

‘I Love You Guy Kibbee Eggs’

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What you need-

Eggs
Bread
Cheese (optional)
Veggies (your choice, optional)

Directions-

1.  Assemble your sandwich, then butter one side of the bread. Separate the egg white and yolk into two bowls. Place the sandwich, buttered-side-down, in a pan over medium heat and grill until golden brown, then remove.

2.  Butter the uncooked side of the sandwich. Using a cookie cutter or a sharp knife, cut out the center. Lower the heat slightly, then return both pieces of the sandwich to the pan, uncooked-side-down. Add just enough egg white to fill the bottom of the empty sandwich center, then carefully slip the egg yolk into the center.

3.  Cover the pan (this will help the egg cook quicker and melt the cheese) and let everything cook for a couple minutes, checking regularly after one minute to make sure nothing is burning. Once the egg appears to be cooked, immediately remove the sandwich and serve!

Lunch- Jon has been begging me to make pizza with him.  I thought that V-Day weekend would be a good time to do so.  It is super easy to make everything into a heart.

Heart Pizza

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Here’s what you need-

Mozzerella (Here in NYC, we have access to the best fresh mozzarella in America, but you can definitely go to the grocery store and settle for some Sargento brand in the cheese section.)
Sauce (Recipe for good marinara sauce- http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/danny-boome/nonas-marinara-sauce-recipe.html, but no one would cry if you got the canned stuff from the grocery store.)
Pizza Dough (Recipe for good pizza dough- http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/pizza-dough-recipe.html, but again, you can go for the packaged stuff in the grocery store)
Pepperoni (feel free to go the extra mile and cut them into hearts <3)
Any other desired toppings (peppers, olives, onion, etc)
Corn Meal

Directions-

1.   Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2.   If using a pizza stone or cast iron pizza pan, sprinkle with cornmeal. If using a cookie sheet or metal pizza pan, grease with olive oil, then sprinkle with cornmeal.
3.   Remove bread dough from refrigerator and stretch or roll out to a thickness of 1/2-inch. Shape into a heart. Prick several places with a fork.
4.   Bake in preheated oven 10 minutes.
5.   Remove from oven and top with pizza sauce, leaving a 1-inch border all the way around.
6.   Sprinkle cheese over sauce.
7.   Place pepperoni all over pizza.
8.   Bake another 10-20 minutes until pizza is golden and bubbly.

Dinner- I am going to give a main dish and side dish recipe.  I also suggest a salad.  Maybe cut cucumbers into hearts using a cookie cutter, add craisins for some sweetness, and try to make a beautiful presentation.

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Easy Romantic Filet Mignon

Here’s what you need-

2 (8 ounce) beef tenderloin steaks, cut 1 inch thick (about 1 pound total)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons minced shallot
2 slices bacon

Directions-

  1. Place oven rack in it’s highest position. Set oven to Broil.
  2. Rub steaks all over with olive oil. Sprinkle with onion powder, then with salt and pepper. Wrap one slice of bacon around each steak, and secure with a toothpick.
  3. Place steaks onto a broiler pan, and broil for 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the steaks over, and sprinkle the tops with shallots. Broil for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, or until the steaks are cooked to your liking.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes (Courtesy of Paula Deen)

Ingredients-
3 medium baking potatoes peeled and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon (or more) whole milk, at room temperature or warmed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1.  In a medium saucepan, cook the potatoes in salted water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the saucepan.
2.  Add the butter, sour cream and garlic. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or the back of a fork until the ingredients are blended.
3.  Add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the potatoes are the desired consistency.
4.  Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.

Dessert

Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee (Courtesy of Anne Thornton)  Trust me, this recipe is easier than it looks.

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Ingredients
Custard:
2 1/3 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar, plus more if needed
1 vanilla bean
6 eggs
Brulee:
4 to 8 teaspoons sugar, divided
Berries:
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Special equipment:
4 (6-ounce) ramekins
a baker’s torch

Directions-

1.  For the custard: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place 4 (6-ounce) ramekins in a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan. Fill a tea kettle or small saucepan with a spout with water and heat.
2.  Add the heavy cream and sugar to a medium saucepan and whisk to combine. Using a sharp paringf knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean using the back of the knife to prevent the pod from breaking. Add the seeds and bean to the saucepan. (If any of the vanilla seeds get stuck to your fingers, grab some of your extra sugar and rub the sugar between your fingers over the saucepan to remove every last bit of vanilla seeds and let fall into the cream.) Whisk over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, the vanilla seeds break up and the mixture comes to a simmer. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain into a large measuring cup or bowl with a spout and either discard the vanilla bean or reserve, dry out and add to your sugar bowl!
3.  Place a medium bowl over some wet paper towels, or form a dish towel into a circle or wreath shape and nestle the bowl in the center. This will help act as your third hand or as a base to hold the bowl in place when you start tempering in your hot liquid. Separate the eggs, add the yolks to the bowl and whisk to combine. (Reserve the egg whites for another use, or make meringues and store in an air-tight container for a sweet treat anytime!) Gradually whisk in the hot cream mixture, making sure to scrape any remaining vanilla beans into the mixture as well. Return the custard to the measuring cup. Pour the custard into the ramekins, or use either a 4 or 6-ounce ladle to help evenly distribute. Pour enough hot water from your tea kettle into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Carefully transfer the baking dish into the oven. Alternatively, to make sure none of the water from the pan ends up in the filled ramekins, you can place the pan with the ramekins in the oven, and then add the water to come halfway up the sides.
4.  Bake the custards until the center is set but still jiggles a bit when you gently shake the pan, 30 to 35 minutes. Carefully remove the ramekins from the water bath and set aside to cool to room temperature. Once at room temperature, place into the refrigerator to cool completely.
5.  For the brulee: Sprinkle 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar evenly over the tops of each custard, picking up the ramekin if needed. Position the flame of a baker’s torch 1 to 2 inches above the surface of the custard and move the torch around in an even circle to melt and brown the sugar, moving from ramekin to ramekin. Do not allow the sugar to burn. You can even pick up and tilt the ramekin to help even out the caramelized sugar. If you don’t have a baker’s torch, place all the ramekins on a baking sheet and pop under the broiler. Watch the whole time, and rotate the baking sheet as needed until the sugar melts and browns evenly.
6.  For the berries: Combine the raspberries, sugar and lemon zest in a bowl. Let stand at room temperature at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour. When ready to serve, spoon the berry mixture atop the custards.

Please, ‘follow’ along, Sunday’s recipe will be coming soon!

~Sarah

Valentine’s Weekend Recipes- Friday Night

Today, I am taking a small break from the Love Language series because it is only about two weeks before Valentine’s Day.  Time to plan for some fun stuff for that!

I know that Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday, so I actually chose to make a weekend specialty list of recipes.  If you aren’t going away, don’t have a ton of money to spend on gifts or dates, but you do want to make the weekend special, here is a good list of recipes to get you started!

Friday-

Dinner- This is Valentine’s Day!  How about making your husband’s favorite recipe?  Something special that you aren’t able to often make.  Maybe even something you have never been able to make?  So, in the hopes that you can get creative here, I will refrain from giving a recipe.  But, here is an idea… maybe choose to cook it in an outfit that he will love, something new, tiny and special.  🙂

Dessert- Again, since it is V-Day, maybe stick to tradition and make some good old fashioned chocolate covered strawberries.  Here is a recipe, for those who have never made them

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You will need-

2c milk chocolate chips
2tbsp shortening
1lb fresh strawberries, leaves on.

Directions-

  1. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally until smooth. Holding them by the toothpicks, dip the strawberries into the chocolate mixture.
  2. Insert toothpicks into the tops of the strawberries.
  3. Turn the strawberries upside down and insert the toothpick into styrofoam and place in the refrigerator for the chocolate to cool.

If you want to add a twist to the norm, try hulling the berries and filling them all with cheesecake filling before dipping in chocolate.

Enjoy!!!  I will post ‘Saturday’ later on.  Please ‘follow’ along 🙂

5 Love Languages- Physical Touch

Phsyical Touch
‘A man should fulfill his duty as a husband, and a woman should fulfill her duty as a wife, and each should satisfy the other’s needs’~1 Corinthians 7:3
(This post is a continuation in the series on Gary Chapman’s ‘The Five Love Languages’.  For the intro post please follow this link. – http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/)
If your husband is someone who has a primary or secondary love language rating of physical touch, he feels emotional connection through being touched.  This love language is not just with the intention of sexual intimacy.  This means anything from a hug to a pat on the arm, these things bring him emotional fulfillment. Here is a blurb on physical touch from the five love languages website…

This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face – they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive. Physical touch fosters a sense of security and belonging in any relationship.’

I used to have a good friend who is an orthodox jew.  We worked together in a school setting and were a little bit excluded from our coworkers because of many of our convictions, especially about sex.  One day, we went out for lunch and she shared something very powerful with me.  She shared with me that Jewish people are taught about how powerful touch can be, which is why she is so careful about it.  She gave the example of a waiter or waitress, explaining ‘when you have a waitress who is taking your order and walks away, you feel no connection to them.  They are your waitress.  That is it.  If they take your order, and then touch your shoulder or pat your arm while beginning to walk away, suddenly they become personal to you.  It is a natural reaction.’  That really effected the way I viewed touch from then on.

I was a member of a homeless ministry with my church’s youth group where we would go and visit the homeless people at the local ferry terminal, bring them food and care packages, and spend time with them.  About a year after that talk with my friend, I felt great compassion for a woman I was speaking to and rubbed her shoulder.  She broke down crying to me, saying that it was not uncommon for people from different hospitality ministries to come and feed them and speak to them, but no one would ever touch her.  She said that for the first time in years, she felt like a human.  This is the power of touch.

Scientifically, touch in a relationship is proven to relieve stress and reduce phyiscal pain.  Within a marriage, touch is a bonding agent, producing intimacy and connection.  It causes the feeling of safety, unity, security and more.

To crave touch and not receive it can be hurtful.  If a man initiates touch, and it is met with hesitance, this can cause rejection, which can breed a plethora of other issues.  He could even potentially feel like a freak or a pervert.  This is not ever how we should cause our husbands to feel.

It may not be your love language, and you may even feel mildly uncomfortable about being touchy-feely,  One of my best friends does not like touch, but since most of her friends have high ratings for physical touch in their relationships, she constantly makes an effort to embrace us physically, going out of her comfort zone.  She cares so much about her relationship with her friends and is willing to put her preferences aside to bond with us, and we appreciate that so much.  How much more should we sacrifice for our husbands?

Challenge-

For this next week, try to go beyond yourself and give your husband the touch he desires.  Initiate it.  Try for a week and come back and report how it effected your relationship.  Here are some things to try out-

Hug him spontaneously
When passing him, touch him
Cuddle him
Hold his hand
When sitting next to him, allow your elbows or knees to touch
Play footsies with him
Do “do’s” (gently running your fingertips over his arm, or behind his neck)

Extra points for-
Laying hands on him while you pray over him
Give him a full body massage
Initiating sexual intimacy

I am praying that this produces good things in your marriage.  Please come back and let me know how it impacted your relationship.

~Sarah

Five Love Languages- Words of Affirmation

Words of Affirmation

“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad’ ~ Proverbs 12:25

(This post is a continuation in the series on Gary Chapman’s ‘The Five Love Languages’.  For the intro post please follow this link.  https://wifeafterchrist.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/five-love-languages/)

So, your husband’s primary love language is Words of Affirmation?  Here is a little blurb on that taken from the Five Love Language website…

‘Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important – hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten. Kind, encouraging, and positive words are truly life-giving.’

I think most people would agree that hearing a word of encouragement can lift their spirit.  People with words of affirmation as a primary or secondary love language, however need more of this than usual.  We thrive off of it, and sometimes lose confidence without it.

I do not envy the calling to be a husband.  God has called them to be the leader of the household, and has given them the natural instinct to protect and provide for their family.  This is a heavy burden to bear.  As a wife, our job is to aid them in their journey, and to encourage them.  God’s word says that the power of life and death are in the tongue and to someone who thrives on words of affirmation, this could not ring truer.

I have done some thinking, researching and praying about this.

Challenge-

Here is a good challenge for you, as a wife to try out… Over the next week try to say as many words of encouragement to your husband as possible.  Make a conscious effort to stop nagging, and appreciate what he does, and let him know that you appreciate him.  Come and report back the difference you can see.  Here are some examples to get you started…

  • I love being around you
  • You are so attractive to me
  • Thank you so much for doing that
  • I love you
  • I feel so safe with you
  • I am so glad you’re home
  • You handled that so well
  • I love that I can trust you
  • I miss you
  • You have grown so much since _____
  • You are so gifted in _____
  • You’re right
  • I am so proud of the man you are

Also, bonus points for those who…

  • Leave little notes with encouragement around the house
  • Call him to tell him you appreciate him (that’s it)
  • Text him encouragement
  • Pray over him

I am excited to hear how this impacts your marriage.  Please, come back and report on how it went!

~Sarah

Five Love Languages- Introduction

You may have heard of Gary Chapman’s book ‘The Five Love Languages‘.  It is an analysis of your emotional communication preferences.  There is a survey you can take which will help you determine how you prefer to receive love.  People give and receive love in many different ways.  Usually, people give the love that they want to receive.  This can often lead to frustration and strain within a relationship, because partners will often have differing emotional communication preferences, and not always be aware of how to meet their significant other’s needs. It is even possible that at one time, you were fulfilling each other’s needs, but no longer are.  Over time, your primary love language may change.

For example, in only two years, my primary love language shifted from the highest possible score for Physical Touch (12) which is now my 3rd love language (8), after Words of Affirmation (11) and Quality Time (9).  I was blessed with an observant husband plus the freedom within my relationship with him to communicate my needs, so the shift was met with ease on both parts.  I was still so happy to actually see myself changing, instead of just feeling different about physical touch, I was able to see my preferences and sort them out.

There are five main love languages.  They are:

Words of Affirmation

Physical Touch

Acts of Service

Quality Time

Receiving Gifts

Date-Night-In Idea…

I would recommend taking this test, and having your spouse take it as well.  Read and talk about what their needs are, and how you can fulfill their needs better. Don’t be afraid to express your needs, allow yourself to be vulnerable to your spouse, even if they are surprised by the results.  Communicate with them, and allow this test to be the ice breaker.  I recommend taking the test alone and then coming together to discuss the results. Pray with your spouse that God gives you the ability to communicate love for your husband the way he needs to receive it.  Here is the test link, it is free and only takes a few minutes.

  http://www.5lovelanguages.com/

My next few posts will be addressing these love languages, along with giving ideas as to how to meet the needs of your spouse in these areas.  Please, follow along.  Be blessed.

~Sarah