Valentine’s Day Dinner Was a Success!


We have a great Valentine’s Day tradition…one, we get to have dinner out at a nice restaurant (which should be Regas, but–and I know I’m kicking a dead horse–it’s closed!!!!) and enjoy the works. We order appetizers, eat bread (yummmm carbs) and the rich and delicious entrees, wine, desserts and dessert wines…so fun! THEN, two, I make dinner for Tanner…usually something that takes a little extra planning and thought and we sit down to enjoy it, via candlelight at our kitchen table. No TV, no pets, no phones…just us at the dinner table.

This year, as I’ve said, our dinner out was at the Brasserie. I’m certain there are some paparazzi pictures floating around because my Aunt Karen was celebrating her birthday there with some family and friends and a few of them came over to take our pictures. It was actually kind of fun!!! (I could get used to always looking fabulous and being followed around by people who want to take my picture–I say this as I’m sitting, with no make up on, in our living room in the same outfit I wore to GNI last night, that I’ve been wearing all day…so maybe I’ll rethink the papo part! :))

Tonight…dinner was amazing. I mean, I really did a good job (if I do say so myself). My fabulous fiance did our laundry today and helped me unpack all of our new dishes…that’s right, the dishes are unpacked. (So all of you who have sent our dinnerware so far, we are so grateful to be using it…we have a few more sets on the registry and can’t wait to get those as well, but it was super nice to be able to use them tonight.) Dinner was AMAZING and it was so fun to use all of the things we’ve been so excited to get.

Here’s the (basic) play-by-play…

I unpacked the dishes this morning. Saying goodbye to our old dishes…well not really, but moving them out of the cabinets…was kind of fun. We laughed about how much bigger our new dishes are than our old ones and tried to figure out WTH to do with the old dishes (a complete set of 8 plates, chargers, bowls and mugs). A couple of options have presented themselves (but if you’re looking for a set of dishes, let me know…or else they’re headed to the Junior League’s Bag A Bargain!)

Not a great picture, but still a really nice set of dishes that served us well. We have eight of everything.

After getting the new dishes loaded into the dishwasher we headed off to the grocery store to get the makings for dinner tonight.  As a reminder, I was marinating fish and serving it with rice and asparagus…with a much-anticipated delicious-looking blueberry peach cobbler. (It was every bit as good as it sounds, so hold onto your skivvies :)).

Blueberry Peach Cobbler just into the oven...

I started out with the blueberry peach cobbler (cooked directly into the cast iron skillet). It was made with whole-wheat flour, a canola oil/butter mix and sugar and salt substitutes. (Serving 10 people, this was only about 175 calories per serving, plus a 90 calorie serving of Edy’s Fat Free Vanilla Ice Cream)! I know with all the substitutions and the low-fat ice cream and whole-wheat flour you’re probably thinking, how in the world could that dessert taste good?! No one knows…and I must admit, I was skeptical, but it was DELICIOUS. Here is a picture of the finished product, fresh out of the oven (I know we’re doing things a little backwards here, but let’s face it…you’re all more interested in the dessert than the meal…but if you’re impressed by this…just wait!)

The warm and gooey finished product.

For dinner, we did the marinated fish with rice (from the rice cooker) and steamed asparagus (cooked in my ever dependable–really retro–Tupperware microwave steamer).

At first skeptical of the rice cooker, I am now a convert...and (gasp!) Tanner was right, this thing is amazing!

After the rice went on, it took about 30 minutes to prepare in this cooker.  I put in the rice (with a special measuring cup that came with the cooker) added some chicken stock and turned it on.  After about 30 minutes we had perfectly moist delicious rice. It was so cool.

While the rice was cooking I worked on the fish (the asparagus was easy…all I had to do was put that into my retro steamer in the microwave for about six minutes–I wanted it to be soft, so I cooked it a little longer). The fish marinated all day in a sauce made of orange juice, low-sodium soy sauce, ketchup, pepper, lemon juice and vegetable oil. Couldn’t really go wrong there.  The biggest challenge was that I had to toast some sesame seeds, but after googling that, I figured it out pretty quick (who knew…just put them into a skillet on the stove with no oil and let them brown a bit…they really made a huge difference in the meal…no joke, they did.)

When the fish was ready to cook we used our new Paula Deen roasting pan (from the Berkvist family). I took the marinated fish out of the bag, transferred the extra marinade into a sauce pan and let it boil and reduce to serve over the fish and rice at dinner.  While that was happening, I basted the fish and popped it into the oven (I moved the oven rack up to the top and kicked the oven over to broil) after about 7 minutes on the first side, I took it out and basted it, flipped it over, basted it again and popped it back into the oven for another 7 minutes.  When I took that out, we were ready for dinner since the cobbler had to rest we let that happen while we were eating dinner.

Here's our dinner in one of our new serving bowls (from Karen and Charles).

Here's Tanner's meal plated...so fancy!

As I’m looking at these pictures, I’m noticing that I should have gotten out our place mats from Marty and used our napkins and napkin rings that she gave us too…dang it (but we did use the drying mat she gave us tonight since the roasting pan isn’t dishwasher safe).  Also, we haven’t opened our silverware yet because we want to get a complete set (eight of them) before we do, so that’s our old silverware. Nice looking meal, huh?

Dessert was so good, too!

So, as you can see…our second, second (second for this year and second anniversary doing Valentine’s Day this way) was a huge success. Don’t you wish you were invited over for dinner?!

After dinner, we did the dishes together, packed up the leftovers (because I’m having Valentine’s Day dinner tomorrow with my good friend and sorority sister Lauren Sherry) for Tanner and then went to doing other wedding related things. We filled out our form for our marriage license online (and plan to go pick it up tomorrow during lunch–such a romantic way to spend the REAL Valentine’s Day) and then finished up a few thank you notes and did a little bit of wedding book keeping.

We were super excited to see that we’ve gotten some hits on our honeymoon registry (a breakfast and a dinner :))!!! If you want to check that out, you can find it here…it’s called a HoneyFund.  We basically picked out a few things we really want to do on our honeymoon put them on a list.  This website lets people gift money towards doing those things, like picking up a cab fare or helping us out with dinner…we kind of liked the idea (and I stole it from my good friend Keith who did it for his wedding) because it allows people to gift us experiences which we thought was kind of cool.

All-in-all, it’s been a very successful and fun weekend.

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Filed under Date Nights, Dinner Menu, Family, Friends

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