Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day Awesomeness!

In the spirit of saving time, hassle, and money, I asked the kids if they would like to be hubby's and my restaurant for Valentine's Day this year. They responded with an enthusiastic "YES!!!"

Here's what we did:

I bought wild-caught lobster tails for me and natural steak for hubby. Our 9-year-old drew up a super adorable menu, calling the lobster and steak "Surfin' and Turfin' " (see picture below).
He also planned side, beverage, and dessert choices. We determined that he would be the chef and would do most of the cooking (with a little help from me), Zoe (6) would be the server/waitress, Devon (4) would be the busboy, and Carrie (2) would be the hostess.

As the time for hubby to arrive home drew near, we began preparations. The kids helped set the table, Chef Troy prepped the salad and side veggies, and I got the lobster ready and seared the steak, so Troy would just have to pop it in the oven while we were eating our salads.
While he did most of the prepping, I dipped washed and thoroughly-dried (Remember my post from yesterday? Chocolate and water do not get along!) strawberries in 1/2 cup dark chocolate, melted with 2 tsp. palm shortening and set them up on a sheet of waxed paper to dry.

Here's what the table looked like:

The flowers were added by hubby when he got home - roses for me and tulips for each of the girls!

The dinner was great! Hubby and I walked out to his car to pretend we were walking into a restaurant. Carrie greeted us at the door and led us to our seats, giving us our menu. Troy pushed our seats in for us, and Zoe was quick to introduce herself, saying, "My name's Zoe, and I'll be taking care of you tonight." Cute! Devon wasn't really into helping much, but he did do a little dance for us.

Troy poured us some wine, and we "ordered" our salads. Zoe brought them out and the Chef put the lobster and steak in the oven.

The steak and lobster were a bit over-done when we ate them, and the baby squash was as well, but, overall, it was a wonderful dinner, mainly because we know it was made with love by our great kids!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Well, I Did It Again...

... this time, however, I did have pretty good reason (for awhile). My old, crappy computer finally died completely. Which actually kinda sucks, since I had a bunch of stuff on there that I do want that I had just done right before it died.

So, while we waited FOREVER for the new computer to arrive, I couldn't blog from my old, crappy phone.

I did get a new phone in the time that I had to wait for the new computer, but it has a touch keyboard instead of a slide-out, and I don't really like texting on it, let alone blogging.

The new computer finally arrived, I took it out, got it set up, and anxiously pressed the power button... to NOTHING. So, we returned it after the tech support guy said, "Well, it's pretty much a dud. Just return it."

We reordered it and had to wait FOREVER, again, for it to arrive. It came, I got it hooked up, turned it on, and voila! It works!

Then, however, came the madness of Christmas, with family coming from out of town, then my youngest daughter's birthday (which is also New Year's Eve), and getting the kids started back at school.

So, here we are on Valentine's Day, and I am finally posting again! Now that I've given you my excuses, here's my apology and a yummy Valentine's Day recipe to make up for the time we've missed.

Coconut Butter Dark Chocolate Candies
I came up with this all on my own! =)
Chocolate Coating:
1/2 cup dark chocolate (I used Enjoy Life chocolate chips - no soy, no dairy.)
2 tsp. palm shortening (Spectrum brand)
1/4 cup coconut butter (I used Maranatha.)
1 Tbsp. raw honey
In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and palm shortening together, being extra careful not to get water in the chocolate. (Chocolate and water have a long-standing animosity - water always wins, making chocolate seize up and turn yucky.)
Use a small spatula, paintbrush, or popcicle stick to put a layer of melted chocolate into the bottom and up the sides of a candy mold of your choosing (I used little hearts for Valentine's Day, of course.). Put the mold on a cookie sheet into your freezer for 15 to 20 minutes to harden.
In the meantime, soften the coconut butter in a hot water bath. You can use the water still in the pan from the double boiler, but, again, be careful not to get water into the coconut butter. (Evidently, no one really likes water in this recipe!) Mix the honey into the warm coconut butter. Set aside.
Take the candy mold out of the freezer and put a small amount of the coconut butter mixture into the now-frozen chocolate in the candy molds. Spread the filling to the edges, but keep it just below the top of the mold. Put the whole thing back into the freezer for about 15 minutes. Rewarm the chocolate/palm shortening mixture for the last part.
After the filling has sufficiently cooled in the freezer, take it out, and top the filling with more of the chocolate mixture, being careful to cover it all the way to the edges so the filling doesn't ooze out. Freeze again for 10 to 15 minutes. Invert and twist the mold gently to release the candies.
Yummy time! 
You can see in the pictures that my hearts are not "perfect," and the chocolate extends beyond the edges of the heart. That doesn't bother me too much - more chocolate to enjoy! - but if it bothers you, you can spread your top layer of chocolate more carefully or use a knife to cut the excess off.
Enough for today! Enjoy, and Happy Valentine's Day!