But, given recent stresses and realizing that after 10 years together you still need to work at it, I thought it might be worth it to get in the spirit and do a wee bit of loving on this much resented/celebrated holiday.
Now, of course this lovely day where you're encouraged to spend lots of money on completely unnecessary and unsustainable trinkets falls right before payday. Cute.
So my idea was to prepare a nice dinner, open a bottle of wine, and play some games.
My venture started on Sunday when I started making our dinner ahead of time. First up, Cream Cheese Brownies, courtesy of a Better Homes and Garden recipe. Turned out just fine, relatively easy, took a little more time than was necessary because I cut the recipe in half, but no troubles.
Then I started in on the vegetarian lasagna, keeping up with Meatless Mondays. It's your basic noodles + ricotta/cottage cheese base, but you throw in onions, mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, and carrots. You make a roux out of milk, flour, and garlic and drench the whole thing in it. Easy.
|This is seriously what came out of our oven. You can tell when Mike takes the pictures though.|
So I don't like onions and mushrooms, so they were nixed. We didn't have any of the ingredients on hand so we went to the store. Turns out this lasagna is a tad bit expensive when you have to buy stuff outright. $2 bux for ricotta, $3 for cottage cheese, $2 for noodles, $4 for parmesean (we were completely out), and $2 for spinach (on sale). Not my idea of cheap.
But I persevered. It's worth it to eat so many veggies, right? And you can make this ahead up to 48 hours and then throw it in the oven. Great for a Monday night dinner.
So I'm chopping up spinach. I'm a good cook. I've been working with knives for years. I worked in my college's dinning center for 4 years. Back of house/prep was my favorite station.
I panic. I'll spare the details, but I cut the dickens out of my thumb. Took off a chunk plus some of my nail. Ruined a full cutting board of spinach. Mike was kind enough to use his buddy care training to bandage me up.
What ensues is epic fail. Now one handed and thoroughly put out, combined with a husband who's had a back ache all day and is also put out, we attempt to be one with this lasagna.
I set to mixing up the cheese while Mike takes a crack at the roux. It rallies against him, producing a paste reminiscent of that flour-glue stuff you covered a balloon with in elementary school. Pans go clanging into the sink and I dismiss (the justifiably cheesed off) Mike to go to bed. I yell at the cookbook, "lasagna shouldn't be so complicated!!!!!"
Eventually, the thing gets completed, but without the following: garlic (which is a major foul in our book), any sort of roux or sauce, carrots, or broccoli.
This is the finished product, which literally claimed my blood and tears. It looks pretty, but it is fairly bland. Eatable, but underwhelming. On a plus side, the spinach tastes more like basil or parsley when added to the pasta. So I at least know I can tolerate spinach with pasta. That's a bright note.
Paired with our lasagna of doom was one of those Dole salad kits. Purchased on sale for $2. Of course, when produce is on sale, you should check the expiration date. It expired yesterday, so I spend five minutes picking out wilted and browned lettuce pieces. Otherwise, it was fine.
Our bottle of wine, review forthcoming, met with mixed reviews. I enjoyed it's awesome blush-y-ness, but Mike wrote it off as "a girl wine."
Mike had already snacked on brownies earlier today, so I was left to eat a more than inappropriately sized piece with my second glass of wine. I watched Sex and the City while he watched Beastie Boy videos on YouTube and fiddled with pictures.
Our kitchen is an utter mess. Either a small bomb went off or we're working ourselves up to be a training kitchen for the Merry Maids.
Lesson learned -- sometimes a $5 frozen pizza is more romantic ;)