Greek Valentine’s Date in Review

You may recall my blog about my Greek Valentine’s Day expectations. I shot a little high considering my super lazy attitude from last week. However, we still ate very well and had a lot of fun.
I tried to get pictures of everything, but had been running flat out since 6:30A and was a determined just to get supper done at a reasonable time.

hummuspeppersI made the mistake of laying around on the couch on my day off which left us with having to make the pita bread the evening of our date. We threw everything together in the bread machine to save time and while that was mixing and rising I got to work on the other parts of the meal. Kit had gotten the steak marinating early so we didn’t have to worry about that at least.

Pictured above is the garlic and lime hummus that I made. It looks like boatloads of hummus but we killed it after supper and some for lunch the next day. I cut up two big bell peppers for dipping. Notice the three tiny crackers….I forgot to buy crackers as an alternative dipper. Oh well!
After grinding up the chick peas and spices in the super teenie tiny food processor, Kit washed it and I prepped the next thing to blend up.

The tzatziki was easy to make, there were just several semi-tedious steps. I bought plain yogurt and set it up over a bowl in a sieve with a little bit of cheese cloth. It probably would have been find in the sieve alone, but I didn’t want to lose any deliciousness. After the yogurt was set to draining, I peeled, scraped out the watery seedy center of the cucumbers and cut them in pieces. I placed those pieces in a colander, salted them and left them alone to drain.

pita

Once the bread machine finished the pita dough we got them prepped for the oven. I doubt I will follow the bread machine recipe again. Out of the eight pita circles we baked we only got three that came out of the oven puffed up and perfect for making pocket sandwiches. We had plenty for supper and don’t you worry, we are eating our very flat pita bread with our meals. They act as lovely food shovels with scrambled eggs, just so you know.

veggiestation

 

Sadly, I couldn’t find the dill weed in our cabinets and had to substitute thyme into the tzatziki, but I thought it was delish anyway. After I blended up the tzatziki and put it in the fridge to chill I set about to chopping veggies and Kit cooked the steak on the Foreman Grill. I found feta cheese on sale–yessss–, chopped up some more cucumbers, tomatoes, black olives and opened up the bag salad I bought at the store.

sweet tater fries

We were hungry mungries at this point but since the hummus had distracted our appetites we decided to go ahead and make the sweet potato fries. They turned out quite yummy, but as always there will be changes to the recipe next time we try it. gyro closeLike I said, because I had been running wide open all day I decided against making the lemon brownies and the suddenly salad that night. Although I still can’t wait to try those recipes, we were super duper stuffed like ticks after we finished our steak gyros.

gyro2

 

Of course during our food coma we enjoyed My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I hadn’t seen it in a while and had forgotten how much I loved the movie. There are some hysterical points in that romantic comedy. All in all, a successful evening.

Did you Valentine’s Day live up to your plans and expectations?

 

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Valentine’s Day Greek Date-Night

We came up with a themed date night for our Valentine’s Day by a sort of happy accident. We started off by saying how much we wanted to make this or that. Then we realized that all those things went together in a way.
All of the photos belong to the original bloggers. Please click the hyper-linked text to find their amazing recipes they shared with the world.

The important stuff—What are we eating!?

We have had gyros before and my Sister in Law (SiL) swears that if I can make naan then I can make my own pita bread. I’m not going to use the more traditional lamb because of the cost. Instead we are going to use some beef steaks I found on sale.

Our appetizer will be relatively simple. I’m planning on doing hummus and sweet bell peppers for dipping. Maybe some carrots if we have them on hand too, but I don’t want to overeat before we get to the main event. There will be plenty of food. If you’ve never made hummus before then don’t worry. It is much like guacamole. There are some essentials and after you get them dumped in the bowl you fix it to your taste. A can of chick peas, lemon juice, salt, garlic and pepper. You’re pretty much in business if you have those things.

To alleviate crunch time stress I am going to make the pita bread the pita day before. Allow them to cool, cut them into halves to create the pockets and put them in zipper bags until our supper the next night.
Here is the recipe for pita bread that I will be following. Looks simple, right?

I will also likely make the tzatziki sauce the day before. As with most

tzatziki infographic

sauces, I feel like it will be more tasty after sitting over night anyway. Tzatziki sauce is basically cucumbers pureed, yogurt and some herbs/spices. It is awesome! Of course if you hate yogurt and cucumber then stay away. Here is the recipe I will be following for Tzatziki sauce. I will however point out that I will not be allowing the yogurt to drain for 2 hours. 30 minutes will suffice.  Check out this cute little infographic on how-to make tzatziki or click the link above for word directions.

gyro

The gyro recipe will more or less follow the one found on Tide and Thyme (again). I figure as long as I add some lemon and thyme and other Greek-ish spices that the meat will be just fine. For veggie stuffing in my gyros I am planning: Olives, spinach, tomatoes, and feta cheese.

Sidedishes: The sides will be relatively simple since they are not the main and delectable main stage player that the gyros will be. We are going to make up a box of Suddenly Salad. Yeah, I realize that is silly with all the homemade things surrounding it, but I really enjoy those pasta salads and the lack of work they entail. The second side dish is going to be homemade sweet potato fries. I haven’t completely nailed down a favorite recipe but I’ve been scrounging on Pinterest for one that speaks to me. I kinda want to do an olive oil, salt and rosemary topping for them and I definitely want to cut this fairly thin so I get a good crispy fry. Oh, I should clarify that by “fries” I mean that I bake them on a cookie sheet.

The final thing on our menu for the evening is less Greek, but much more realistic and easy. I decided the most important thing was the gyros

lemon brownies

and I don’t want to spend hours slaving over the dessert too. I have been wanting to make these Lemon Brownies for ages! I love lemon desserts, chocolate desserts or chocolate and fruit desserts. Yeah…I kinda have a sweet tooth. This recipe is of the mix and dump persuasion so I think it will fit our evening the best.

My mom suggested this last part and I figured, why not dive in?!
Mom owns a copy of My Big Fat Greek Wedding  so we’re going to greekweddingwatch that as we eat our gyros, salad and fries. I hope that we’ll be full as ticks by the end of the evening. Seeing as the hubbster doesn’t drink wine or champagne I’m not sure what specialty drinks we might have. He will probably stick with his sweet tea or diet coke. I might get a small bottle of something special just for me. And you know that once you remove the cork is spoils if you don’t finish it in one night. 

Questions for my Readers:

Is a themed Valentine’s date too cheesy for you?
I’ve got a lot riding on if all these recipes turn out right. Would you try a new recipe on a special night?
Are you
, like us, trying to avoid going out on the 14th at all costs? I gave up trying to battle the crowds years ago. Staying in are where it is at!

Supper: Pot Pie & Eggnog Cookies

stove recipe  boxSeveral years ago, my mother in law gave to me and my husband a cute box of recipes belonging to Kit’s Aunt.
I have browsed through it but never took the time to pull out a recipe and collect up the ingredients. There are some from magazines and some from memories long ago. Getting into the season of epic cooking, I took another look through the recipe box and have decided to try and pull one or two recipes out a month and give them a whirl. I would love to do one each week, but knowing me, I will fail at it if I make promises.

open recipe boxIsn’t that recipe box just darling?

So, what have I chosen for my first tester recipe? Eggnog cookies. I never knew such a thing existed, but I’m excited to try it. The chicken pot pie is a recipe that I found online. Apparently, I never wrote down the recipe that I used for last year’s pies. I have a stellar crust recipe and I know the veggies and chicken are just keep throwing it in until you run out of room. However, broths and gravies always make me a little nervous. Seasoning and consistency mostly. The recipe I chose to follow is one I found through Pinterest and the source is Instructables. I love that website and had no idea they had Instructable recipes. I can’t vouch for the recipe as a whole, but if you use recipes as a guideline then it will be perfect for you too. Here is the link to the chicken pot pie Instructable recipe.
I plan on adding broccoli, carrots, onions, garlic, mushrooms, squash and whatever other veggie I can find to the pot pie. I plan on serving the pot pie with fresh spinach salad. A nice crunch to go with all that chickeny goodness.eggnog cookies recipe card

Apparently Eggnog Cookies are just a Google search away. How have I never heard of them before? I’m kinda pumped because from the recipe it looks as like an amped up, more flavorful version of sugar cookies.
I can tell ya right now, that I will be increasing the amount of cinnamon. Much like garlic, they don’t list enough on recipes.

Hubbster and I had the great debate trying to decide if we wanted to try Eggnog cookies or Oatmeal cake. Oatmeal cake looks dead easy so it will be on the menu sometime soon. This aunt loved her cakes and pies, that is most of the contents of the recipe box. There are some savory recipes, some sides and several pickle recipes that we will have to try next summer too.

Have you ever made eggnog cookies before?
Do you have a go-to recipe for pot pie or do you mix up the veggies each time?

Embroidery Project: Chef’s Apron

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My newest embroidery project will be rather involved and with have several steps.

For Xmas, my hubbster got me a plain white apron and I have been holding off because I haven’t had time to decorate as I wished. I am trying to make time now.

Step one:
Embroider Chef Clark on the left breast of the apron. It is a satin stitch which takes forever…or at least it feels that way.

Step two:
Tie dye the whole apron. I haven’t fully decided what colors. My current thoughts are to dye one apron string yellow and the other red. The body of the apron will be red and yellow with some splashes together to make some orange spots.
I kinda want to do the tiny star burst pattern. To create this effect I will need to put a rubber band around the cloth with a small stone on the underside of the cloth.

Step three:
Once the tie dyeing is done I will make the final decision about whether or not I want more things embroidered on my apron.

At this point in time, I want to add some vegetables and at least a whisk. Perhaps on the pockets. I am doing this as a last step because I may be so excited to wear my apron in the kitchen that I save further embellishments for later.

Stay-In Valentine’s Day Plans for Playful Couples

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I designed this stay-in date night for my sister-in-law and have decided the plans are too good to keep to myself.
This is a Valentine’s Day date designed for the broke-college students, kids at heart, vegetarians and those wishing to break the stiff candle-lit dinner traditions.
If this is you, read on.

Keep in mind these are plans for adults and they often do adult things together. If you are offended by couples with healthy/happy relationships both physical and emotional then this is your warning to get outta Dodge.

Set the TableMake a blanket fort

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I know it may have been years since you last made one. Just get started and your inner child will fill in the blanks. If you’re timid to try, here is a link to help get you started: School of How To.

Fill your fort with blankets and pillows to lounge on. Then put a string of Xmas lights or a small night light inside instead of a candle–a touch light or battery flameless battery operated candle.
Eat dinner then push the dishes out of the fort and get to snuggling.

Make Dinner

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All Recipes has a fantastic recipe for Black Bean Stuffed Bell Peppers. This is a vegetarian recipe but you can easily modify it. Fry up some bacon til crispy. Cool and crumble it into your mix. Also, this is a special dinner so if you have fresh onions then dice and saute half an onion (at least).

Cook dinner together. If you don’t think cooking as a couple is romantic then try this: Turn off the phones, turn on music you both love, lock the doors, draw the blinds and get naked. If you’re a little weird about cooking in the buff, then keep on your underwear and apron.

Dessert for Chocolate Lovers

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Fun desserts are messy. I’m working the mathematical correlation now. I recommend fondue or a s’mores lab.
Contrary to popular belief you DO NOT need a fancy fondue pot nor double boiler to make fondue. Just be careful to melt slowly and stir often. Crock pots come in handy if you have one.

This is the same Groovy Fondue recipe I used for my birthday party. It was a HUGE hit. Pro-tip: You can make truffles out of the chilled leftovers. You’ll thank me later.

The tasty alternate dessert is to create a s’mores experimentation lab. Grab plates, ingredients and get ready to create a franken-S’more. A Lot On Your Plate blog has Ten S’mores Recipes that should inspire you to get creative. Marshmallows in the microwave are just hysterical anyway.

Games/Activities

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The first two activities are more passive, but as you will soon find that they are awesome to add to the list.

The Couples Q&A. There are literally tons of these questionnaires on the interwebz and a quick Google search will turn up plenty of results. This list is just to get you started. Keep in mind–Some lists are designed for deep emotional probing that is probably inappropriate on a fun night.

The second activity is for dreamers. Kit and I love making lists like these. Here is an example of a Couple’s Bucket List to get your creative juices flowing. Grab a notebook and dream big!

Minute to Win it Games.These are fun and can be adapted for two instead of a group party. Most of the materials are super cheap–to save even more money, do these games the day after V-Day and buy the sale candies.

The games from that blog that I chose are: Heart-a-stack, Marshmallow Toss, Love Spot (use paper cut outs instead of expensive craft pom poms), and Heart Pick Up. I have seen the Face Cookie on every M2W party blog and am exhausted with its overuse.

How to Get Your Spouse to Play Along
If your partner isn’t the playful sort then I don’t have much hope for you. However, if you’re gamer sweetheart is just a little shy then this is a great date.

Kit doesn’t do well with surprises so I typically spill ALL my surprises. Some guys or gals are like that. They need to be mentally prepared for fun so they can be excited instead of reluctant. Give them really obvious hints. Tell your partner that you will be playing some mini-games similar to Mario Party and that you’ll be making supper together. If you want to keep it a guessing game, tell them some of the ingredients to dinner or dessert.

If you use any of my date night ideas please let me know how your night went!
(You don’t have to share the gritty details).