Thursday, January 28, 2010

Valentine's Day Brainstorming

In the 3 years that I have celebrated Valentine's Day with John (this year will be number 4 - holy cow) I have come to appreciate the Lover's Holiday for it's more practical uses.
Let me explain.
John does not like Valentine's Day. Not because he hates gushy-mushy relationship stuff, not because he had a bad experience once, and not because he's anti-holiday. He just resents the fact that once a year men are expected to step up their game and prove to their ladies how much they care about them. John believes that men should do this for their significant others eveyday.
All together now: awwwwwww.
I agree ... to a certain extent. I still like the idea of a day set aside specifically to provide an opportunity for those who may not always have the time to show and tell that special someone how much they care. Plus I enjoy getting gifts and chocolate and just generally being pampered.
But fear not for me friends. My dear mother takes care of all that! She is where my love-of-all-holidays comes from. She buys my family gifts for every holiday. Valentine's, Easter, I'm pretty sure we've gotten gifts fo Halloween before...She's toned it down and while we might have poked fun at her for it, her generosity and love never went unnoticed.
She's the best.
2 years ago John and I started what I like to call the "pratical approach" to celebrating valentine's day. Instead of buying jewelery (love), chocolate (love), or any other little gifts we decided we'd split the price and buy a gift for the both of us. 2 years ago we bought Guitar Hero. Last year, since V-day fell on a Saturday or Sunday (I forget), instead of gifts we each rented 2 movies and ordered pizza & wings & garlic bread. So good. I think we watched The Kingdom, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, The Usual Suspects, and The Big Lebowski.
This year's practical gift is one that we REALLY need.
We're going to get a new computer chair.
The one we have is okay but it's not very comfortable and it provides almost no support. Plus we have a $20 coupon from Ikea from purchasing our Christmas Tree there and we need to use it before Feb 28th.
I did some research on the Ikea website and have narrowed my choice down to two:

1. The Allak swivel chair ($99)

2. The Moses swivel chair ($69)

I think I prefer the Allak chair because of it's higher back. And (100 - 20) / 2 = $ 40 each. Not too shabby.

P.S. If you're wondering how I'm blogging today it's because at 5:30 this morning I got a text from my clinical instructor telling us that she was feeling under the weather so today's clinical was cancelled. I set my alarm for almost 4 hours later (9:30) then got up and went to the gym. Now I'm watching Rachael Ray and feeling like the weekend has come early. Yes I still have to work tonight and yes I still have clinical tomorrow but tomorrow is Friday and is one of my favourite days of the week.
For good measure, here is a Valentine's Day recipe for you, courtesy of
Mini Heart-Shaped Cakes

To make 6 4" cakes:
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup melted dark chocolate, for decorating

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees with rack in the center of the oven. Butter an 18-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet, line with parchment paper, butter parchment, and set aside.
    In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, food coloring, and 1/4 cup boiling water. Set aside to cool.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and shortening on high speed until smooth. Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
    Stir buttermilk and vanilla into cocoa mixture. Into another medium bowl, sift together flour and salt. With the mixer on low, add flour mixture alternating with cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat until incorporated.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together vinegar and baking soda until baking soda dissolves; mixture will fizz. Add to batter and mix until just combined.
  4. Pour batter into prepared baking sheet, smoothing the top. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 20 to 30 minutes, rotating pan after 10 minutes.
  5. Cook cake completely on a wire rack. Using a 4-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out 12 hearts.
  6. Place 4 strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy susan. Place 1 layer on the cake plate. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the cake; top with another heart, bottom side up. Cover entire cake with a thin layer of frosting and transfer to refrigerator for 10 minutes. Repeat process with remaining ingredients.
  7. Remove cakes from the refrigerator and cover each cake with a generous layer of frosting, smoothing as you go around to create a flat surface.
  8. Place chocolate in a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip; decorate as desired.

Back tomorrow :)

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