I think it started with my parents. Every Valentine's Day morning I would wake up to a breakfast of heart shaped pancakes or french toast or the like, a box of chocolates, a rose, and a card telling me how proud they were of me, and how much they loved me. The same was done on my birthday as well, but who cares if it is more than once a year? It doesn't make it any less special!
I got into a discussion with my coworkers yesterday about Valentine's Day. The two men I work with have decided that Valentine's Day is a corporate holiday, and that it is ridiculous. They agreed that every day should be Valentine's Day, and that men should woo and court their wives or girlfriends all year round. While I agree, and we women have our part in that as well, I find nothing wrong with my wanting to be sent flowers at my workplace in the middle of the day, or wanting to blow up pink and red balloons and decorate the house with hearts for Hubby's homecoming. I understand that Hubby and I are newlyweds and possibly every single Valentine's Day may not be as fabulous as the one we had last night, but I don't think that the spirit of it should be lost. I have seen my dad treat my mom like a princess every February the 14th, and while he never ceases to do that on a daily basis, there was always something a little extra on this day.
As for Hubby's and my first married Valentine's Day... it was perfect! We decided that we wanted to stay home and enjoy each other's company, so I had a little something planned. In the morning I made a delicious Jarlsburg cheese fondue which we ate with French bread, mushrooms, and apples; and for dessert a creamy chocolate fondue served with angel food cake, strawberries, bananas, and marshmallows! I was able to refrigerate these and have them heated up after I came home from work and we were ready to eat. I decided to get Hubby the Disney-Pixar movie "Up" as a present and I blew up balloons and had them strewn all around the dining table. When I went to work in the afternoon, there was a vase of roses waiting for me! When I came home, Hubby was waiting for me. We lit candles, ate fondue, watched silly cartoons, and exchanged presents. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect Valentine's Day!
As for the food, I got the recipes from my Taste of Home cookbook, and they were delicious!
Swiss Cheese Fondue
- 1 garlic clove, halved
- 2 cups white wine, chicken broth or unsweetened apple juice, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 7 cups (28 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese (I used Jarlsburg from the Cheese Importers)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Cubed French bread
- Rub garlic clove over the bottom and sides of a fondue pot; discard garlic and set fondue pot aside. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, bring 1-3/4 cups wine and nutmeg to a simmer. Gradually add cheese, stirring after each addition until cheese is melted (cheese will separate from wine).
- Combine cornstarch and remaining wine until smooth; gradually stir into cheese mixture. Cook and stir until thickened and mixture is blended and smooth. Transfer to prepared fondue pot and keep warm. Serve with bread cubes. Yield: about 4 cups.
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 1-1/4 cups water
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup baking cocoa
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 5 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- Strawberries, banana chunks, apple slices or angel food cake cubes
- In a small saucepan, bring the sugar, water and corn syrup to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
- In a small bowl, combine the cocoa, cream and half of the syrup mixture until smooth; return to the pan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Stir in chopped chocolate until melted. Serve warm with fruit or cake for dipping. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 2-1/2 cups.