1 family. friendly food. » Red Valentine’s Day


Let’s start with flowers…

daisies 31

Mimi of The Bloomin’ Blog sent me this photo of an Indian Paintbrush–a favorite summertime wildflower in Montana to brighten our February. I’ve never been to Montana. I think I should add it to my long places-to-visit list.


Many people buy flowers for Valentine’s Day, right?

And chocolate too.

How about wine?

Strawberries anyone?

I don’t mean to ruin the party which has just begun, but let’s face it, strawberries are not what they used to be. They look better than they taste, right?! Even though, I still find them hard to resist. I’m so tempted to buy them, although their season is spring, when they taste a lot better. When I was a kid, I used to look forward to spring (and spring break) and strawberries with anticipation. They were a special treat, cut and tossed with sugar, served with a dollop of sour cream, or on very rare occasions, whipped cream.

Well, to our current days’ strawberries, some sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract help a little.


Strawberries and berries are indeed eye-catching, irresistible, even sexy. They do make everything look better, peak season or not.


I love strawberries and whipped cream. Add sweet dough to it… I’m speechless. This makes strawberry shortcake one of my favorite desserts.

strawberry shortcake

Berries dotted pancakes aren’t bad either…

rasp pankcakes

But home grown tomatoes are a different story. We had big success last summer with tall and bountiful tomato plants. Beautiful, natural red jewelry shrubs. (‘Sweet 100’ cherry, Sungold, and Early Girl varieties.) We were eating while picking and had more than we could eat so we shared bags of tomatoes with friends and teachers. I loved that. It had a feeling of an old-days experience when you grow your own food and give to other people. Hopefully, more people in the future will do this and then we an swap our home grown crops.


I didn’t like the idea of cooking the tomatoes since eating them as is was so heavenly, sweet juice bursting at the slightest bite… I used them in wraps, pastas, salads, soups. Boy, I can’t wait for summer to arrive…

tomato wrap_8063

Look what I found. A photo from October 2008!, pre-DSL camera, pre-tripod, pre any knowledge about food photography (not that I know too much now). Not the best photo, not sexy food but very family friendly, no? And now at least I know what we’re gonna eat this week.


Of course there’s lots and lots of red food, so let’s move on to something else.

See this little cutie?


I bought it for a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day 10 years ago. Silly gift. But what do you buy for someone who doesn’t want anything? Well, besides expansive electronic, high-tech, computer-y gadgets and toys which I know nothing about?

The boyfriend turned into a husband who brings home flowers (like the ones at the top) whenever I send him to the grocery store. He vacuums too and throws the trash, but don’t get all excited, he is now behind bars. Forever. I don’t think he suffers though… He is mine.

behind bars

So is this lil’ bottom. Mine.

lil bottoms

And this lil’ baker. Mine.

making cupcakes

Searching in my photo archives, I found this photo I took about 10 years ago, on a trip with my then-boyfriend now husband (Yeah, if you’re good at math you probably got it right. We didn’t date for long before we got married. Funny, I now recall, that my father asked me why we were in such rush do get married? He asked if I was pregnant… Oh, fathers… I was furious about this question at the time. It was insulting in a way. I was an educated, independent, strong woman and I didn’t like that question. It seemed to me so old-fashioned. And nosy. My husband and I were in our late 20s, both with academic degrees, careers, and we were serious about each other, it didn’t make any sense not to get married. And besides, you know I love a good party!) So, anyway, we had a wonderful trip in sunny, warm, laid-back Cyprus, where life seemed to be more down to earth then it is here and the food tastes like food, good food, and the sea is blue, and the sun is shining in the winter. And you drive on the right side of the car (That’s scary). I love the Mediterranean.

I can’t wait until our children grow and we can start taking longer flights to remote parts of the globe and explore the world together…

Back to the present, let’s move on to cakes.

This is an amazing cake made by Amanda from i am baker blog. How gorgeous is that? Truly a labor of love, isn’t it? She wrote a tutorial on how to make it, if you want to give it a try.

Amanda's cake

I’m not so talented or have the patience to create such a masterpiece, so I use fruits (or candy for birthday cakes) instead, like in this Berries cheesecake.

cheesecake with berries

But for this Valentine’s Day I’ll be making my adult’s’ only Cognac-Soaked Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake (which can be turned into individual mini Cognac-soaked chocolate cakes). We’ll have friends over.

mini cognac cakes

Maybe I’ll prepare a platter of cheeses and serve wine.

… with all the booze, we might be able to kick their butts in Pictionary.

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? Going out or stay in? Spending quality time with yourself, friends, or a spouse/partner/boyfriend/girlfriend?

Whatever you do, have a good time.



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