Valentine’s Day 2013, or The Best Valentine’s Day of My Life, Including When I Was in Elementary School and Got Cards with Candy Attached

So, since Andreas and I celebrated Valentine’s Day a day late, and therefore, the blog about it would be two days late, I went ahead and figured that it was okay if it was six days late, too.

Like I said last time, I wanted to make Valentine’s Day a big deal this year!  Not for any particular reason other than I like to make things a big deal sometimes.  As for all that stuff everyone says about Valentine’s Day being just a highly commercialized day to celebrate and do things we should be doing every day: if that is your opinion about Valentine’s Day, keep in mind that Thanksgiving Day is not even a smidgen of a bit different, so don’t be so grumpy!

Our day turned our perfectly.  Seriously, I can’t remember having just a nicer evening together (except for maybe our wedding…but this time, it was just us which made it even better).  The one thing that was not perfect, were the pictures I took, so I’m not even going to try to edit them into something pretty, but I’ll show them anyway!

I did some planning a couple of days beforehand, and went out to buy red candles (and keep them hidden away!).  I also planned to make cream puffs, which I made for a knitting group several months ago and Andreas was crazy about, and Valentine-themed cookies.  I also made red punch, and decided that since I was going to be busy baking all day, that we would order pizzas for dinner, from the pizzeria around the corner.

Andreas came home a bit earlier than I expected, so I shut him out of the kitchen while I hurried to finish my special treats!  It actually turned out really well, since he likes to watch the news, and check his emails and Reddit in the evening, so he got to do that while I worked.  Then, when he went out to pick up the pizzas, I set up in the living room 🙂  He also came home with a bunch of tulips, which was exactly what we needed to make everything perfect!

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After dinner, I got him to dance with me to the love-themed oldies playlist we had on in the background.  Now, dancing with Andreas means me holding his hands while I dance, or basically just hugging, but it’s one of my favorite things.  Then we managed to catch an action-y movie that was on TV, cuddle, and eat our treats.  It was a really simple evening, but the anticipation, the special decorations, and just knowing we made that evening special for each other was really, really wonderful, and I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

There! I know that was probably more mushy and less interesting than what everyone hoped to read, but I was thrilled with how the day went, and I wanted to share!  More non-valentiney posts to come, soon!

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My Spoiled Knitting Group

Like I mentioned in my last post, it had been quite a while since I’d felt “up to” going to my knitting group.  But I’ve hit a streak of optimistic days, and I knew it was time to host again!  Besides, I’ve been wanting to make a really big cake, and if I get other people to eat half of it, I only get a bit fat after eating…you know…the other half.  And since the cake I wanted to make used many more egg whites than yolks, I obviously had to make cream puffs to use up the yolks…obviously.

 

And, luckily for you guys, I remembered to take pictures!

The first cake I made is the same cake as this cake that had my father-in-law raving, but I decided to add lime curd to the middle!

The cakes ended up slightly deflated in the middle, so although they weren’t as fluffy as the first time I made them, they were still light, moist, and delicious.  The craters also helped a lot to hold the lime curd in the middle without it leaking out the sides, I just inverted the top cake and voila: secret lime curd containment unit!

This picture may not do it justice, but this frosting is just the silkiest, whippiest, marshmallowiest frosting I’ve ever had.

At this point in the cake-making, I was in awe of how smooth and glossy the frosting was, and was going to flatten it all nice and smooth and perfect, but I realized that the coconut was going to go on top.  However, I do wish that I had smoothed it down some, because the coconut here is in smaller bits, and the uneveness in the frosting-job showed through.  A lot.  Luckily, it was delicious enough that I don’t think anyone noticed.

I should also probably add that this was the second batch of coconut I toasted.  The first ended up in the trash, too brown and burny.  Consequently, I ended up having to sheepishly buy some more, and when Andreas asked if we hadn’t already bought coconut, and I told him I burned it, he plopped an extra bag of coconut into the basket “just in case.”  Guess I can’t blame him, but fortunately I didn’t burn the second batch, and now have a bag and a half of coconut to use…any ideas?

Before I started the cream puffs, it was definitely time for a cup of coffee.  Now, I just use instant stuff that my sister-in-law looks at with disdain, but I’m having fun mixing up coffee drinks, and I’m definitely getting better…

The cream puffs were actually much, much easier than I expected.  I’ve made eclairs before, and although the choux pastry behaved, I had a lot of trouble getting the filling the right texture, and filling the eclairs.  I have to say that the cream puffs were a dream!  The shape makes them so much easier to fill (they were all completely full, no big ol’ air bubbles or flat bits of pastry), and using a pastry cream recipe with just egg yolks made the filling much less tempermental and liquidy.

Andreas wasn’t crazy about the cake (even though that was the star of the show for everyone else) but he loved the cream puffs.  Unfortunately, he’s now suffering the wrath of his allergies (sugar and dairy) but he claims it was worth it.  They were really delicious, and even though I ran out of pastry cream, I filled the rest with a bit of sweetened whipped cream, and they were also lovely!
The treats were delicious, and I’m glad everything turned out.  The rest of the night was great, too.  We might be renting one of my knitting-friends’ apartment starting in December-ish, and we’d probably lease for 6 months which sounds like an unbelievably (and wonderfully) long time to stay in one apartment, and it would be great to have something lined up so early, and not have to worry.  I also re-caught the knitting bug and have knitting fever!  The fact that I recently received my KnitPro set in the mail doesn’t hurt…Today I finished up a project that’s been on my needles for a long time, and I have a couple more that I’m setting out to either buy yarn for, or just jump into!

I’m really grateful to the wonderful people in my knitting group.  I may be introverted and shy, but I’m starting to get quite comfortable with them all, and was really looking forward to seeing them.  It got me thinking about how grateful I am to my previous knitting group as well, and above all, my dear friend who started it all, and taught me to knit one sunny day in Wisconsin.