Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Sweets for my Sweets...

The fact that Valentine's Day fell on a Saturday this year allowed me a little more time than usual to prepare a special meal for my family.  It was nothing fancy and I pulled it all together in a couple of hours.  It was a beautiful spring-like day, and Gerald and the kids spent the afternoon outside.  This left me with all the time I needed to cook supper and decorate the table.  

They were really surprised to walk in and find the table set with a Valentine's Day theme.  

My everyday dishes (Nikko "White Satin") are white, so that's where I started.  (I have never regretted choosing this pattern.  It's a blank slate and I can always build on it no matter what the occasion.)  I used my trusty white linen tablecloth, then layered a smaller pink and white checkered table cloth I had made several years ago for a dinner I helped to host at Faulkner.  I searched through my napkin stash and found some red ones with a white stitch around the edges that I actually bought a few years ago to use at Christmas.  I collect stemware and I found these pink stems on eBay several years ago. The pattern is "Heritage" by Fostoria.

I had picked up a $10 bouquet of flowers that morning from Walmart.  I arranged them in a little glass vase with hearts that we got as a wedding present.  I added some greenery from a camellia bush and some rosemary that grows by my front porch.  I love to add rosemary to all my floral arrangements.  It makes it smell so good! A pair of modern crystal candlesticks and white tapers worked beautifully with my design.

I have quite a lot of these little clear glass stones.  In fact, I have them in several colors.  (Floral aisle at Dollar Tree!) I love to scatter them down the middle of the table.  It fills in the blank spaces and pulls the whole tablescape together.  To finish, I dug through my baking supplies and found a box of Valentine's Day-themed cookie cutters in pink, red and purple.  They were just what I needed to finish the table.

For dinner, we had grilled rib-eye steaks, sour cream potato casserole and pan roasted Brussels sprouts with a balsamic glaze.  

I have to let you in on a little secret.  Before Gerald and I had kids and I was working full-time, we had money.  You know, the disposable income kind.  We lived in Montgomery then and found a little neighborhood butcher shop that sold the best aged steaks. They seasoned them heavily with their house blend and the owner taught us how to cook a good steak.  (Bottom line - don't over cook it.) Those babies went for close to $20 a pound, so they needed to be treated with respect!   Fast forward to now and with two more carnivores at the table, dropping $50 or more on steaks is just not an option.  

A few years ago while I was watching MasterChef, I noticed they used these Premium gold-label steaks from Walmart.  Paid sponsor or not, I decided if Gordon Ramsey could cook and eat a Walmart steak, then I could too.  And you know what?  Seasoned well and cooked carefully, they are really good! I seasoned them heavily with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and McCormick's Montreal steak seasoning.  Two steaks are all we need (we share with the kids) and as you can see above, together, they were $16.  I know it sounds too good to be true, but they are delicious. Try it and see!

For dessert, we had a simple but decadent peanut butter pie.  As you can see, we now have a heart-shaped napkin, thanks to Jewell!  I wish I had involved her in setting the table for my first picture! This pie was so simple to make and a little goes a long way.  

Peanut Butter Pie

large graham cracker crust
1 block cream cheese, softened
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 (12 oz) container Cool Whip
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
finely chopped peanuts and Hershey's chocolate syrup for garnish

Mix vanilla, cream cheese and peanut butter with a hand mixer until combined.  Add in confectioners sugar and Cool Whip.  Mix until light and fluffy.  Pour into graham cracker crust and freeze at least 30 minutes or until ready to serve.  

There you have it!  Valentine's Day was a busy one for us.  Jewell and I had a Miss Manners party that morning (more on that later this week) and I was tired when I got home.  But a little extra effort was really appreciated by my family.  We had a wonderful meal and although I host a lot of parties, the kids love it when I do something special just for us.  It was definitely worth the effort!


I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!
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  1. Thanks for the tips on the steaks (was the place you bought the others at Peppertree?) at Walmart? The peanut butter pie sounds delicious!

    1. Got them at our new Super Walmart in Tallassee, believe it or not!