It is against the law to use your phone in a school zone in Dallas. I decided on my drive to work that any fine was totally worth the picture I was going to take of these babies hauling loot for their Valentine's into school. I think everyone has an elementary school sob-story re: and unrequited Valentine, but I hope all of these kiddos got the affections they were looking for.
Markus and I have a standing lunch date at Pei Wei about once a week. When our schedules were both free for lunch yesterday I decided to dress it up a little. Conversation hearts make a cameo in our Valentine's celebrations each year (Anecdote Alert: The first year we were together we were long-distance and Markus mailed me a random 8lb. box. When I opened it conversation hearts poured out with little notes tucked in like needles in a haystack. My roomates and I were still eating them in May!). I decorated our lunch table with some hearts and Markus' card. People were not shy about coming up to me before Markus got there and letting me know that they liked my tablescape. By the end I kind of just wanted it to be over but Markus had fun!
|Sweet and Sour Gluten-Free Shrimp aka Cupid's Kryptonite|
I was supposed to have an hour and a half, so I figured I could make dinner and then do a workout DVD all before he came home. AHHHahahahahaha! I was running around for the complete 75 minutes he was gone and even had to run to the store for a missing ingredient. I climbed on counters, opened cabinets too fast and had pantry items drop on my head and stress-ate half a bag of chips. I don't think I acutally needed more time but I felt that ticking clock staring me down and it got to my head! When Top Chef calls I'm going to have to say thanks but no thanks.
Apps: "Cheesy" Vegan Black Bean Dip
I took the bean dip recipe from The Daily Garnish.
As I was prepping the pizzas I started thinking about how it might be awesome to add some corn, so I did.
I only had cans of corn so I added the whole thing, but I think fresh husked corn would be even better!
|All the ingredients (minus the corn) blending into the perfect dip!|
Tray Trays: Make Your Own Heart-Shaped Pizza
Udi's Gluten-Free Pizza Crusts (2 in a pack)
Then all your favorite toppings!
Daiya Vegan Cheese
Sliced Black Olives
Organic Fresh Cut Green Pepper
Locally Made Pesto
Quartered Artichoke Hearts
Quorn Chicken Tenders* (sauteed beforehand)
*The chicken tenders for Quorn are their only product that does not contain wheat on their ingredients list. However, they are processed in the same facility and they do not promise the product to be gluten-free. If you read my blog to know about gluten-free products, I have never reacted to this product like I have others but I would be nervous serving it to my sister and mom who are more severe celiacs. Every gut is different!
I let the pizza crusts thaw and then cut them into heart shapes for maximum cutesyness. Then simply placed all of the topping ingredients out on the counter so Markus could build his pie any way he wanted it when he got home!
The leftover crust pieces were put to the side and then popped into the oven on a baking sheet with the pies to become pita chips for our dip!
|L-R: Finished Black Bean Dip, Quorn, Vegan Pepperjack, Artichokes, Sauce and Mozarrella|
|My finished pie!|
Zerts: Chocolate Covered Potato Chips
Two of my favorite epicurial retailers, Dylan's Candy Bar and Neiman Marcus, sell chocolate covered potato chips. I always thought it would be fun to surprise Markus with an order of some for a special occassion. Then that little Type A achiever that sits on my shoulder every few years told me to go for it myself. It was an easy project and Markus loved them!
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips - Leftover from another project. I get mine from the bulk section at Sprout's.
Potato Chips - Kettle held up really well against the thick chocolate. Markus has a...curious pallette so I tried original and a few more unique flavors.
Pastry Brush - This was recommended but I didn't have time to get one. Definitely would have been easier!
First step is melt the choclate in a microwave or double broiler.
Then, apply the chocolate with a pastry brush. Or wooden spoon if you are a more unorganized breed of homemaker such as myself.
Finally, lay the choco-ed chips on parchment paper to harden for an hour. I read that the chips can go into the frezer or refrigerator to move this process along, but to be wary of putting them in for too long because the chips can sweat and then become soggy.
|Jalapeno on the lefy, krinkle cut on the right!|
Markus' shock and awe made me so happy. He is always the sneaky Pete so I can't believe I was able to throw him back a little love this year! I can see why he finds being a romantic so fun. When I walked into work this morning a coworker was sharing about the white wine risotto with fancy shamcy coco-puffs or whatever that she made her husband for dinner. I immediately felt a little less fancy but no less proud of our heart-shaped pizza party. It was a low culture love affair!
Did you have any great meals yesterday? What is your favorite part about Valentine's Day: your own celebrations or seeing how others spend the day?