Being though that I want to celebrate Valentine's Day without spending a lot on dining out, expensive candies, or other items that can quickly empty my pockets (though I do love these things), I usually make some nice creations for my Valentine along with sending loving messages to his e-mail throughout the day. This way, he can anticipate an evening of coming home to an extra clean house with the fire going, candles lit, and a few items like these:
Easy Cheesecake Brownies (My Valentine's Favorite)
1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/4 Tsp. Baking Powder
Pinch of salt
6 Tbsp. Cocoa
1/3 Cup Oil
1 Tsp. Vanilla
3/4 Cup Sugar
2 Fresh Eggs
1 Tbsp. Strong Coffee (optional)
1 Package Cream Cheese (softened)
4 Tbsp. Confectioner's Sugar
1/2 Tsp. Vanilla
(whip sugar & cheese, then add egg & vanilla-whip till smooth)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees & butter a glass baking dish.
Make cream cheese topping as instructed above and set aside.
In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cocoa, and salt thoroughly. In another bowl, mix the oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and coffee till smooth. Slowly add the dry mix to the wet mix in a gentle fashion. Pour into prepared glass pan (mine is 8 in. by 8 in.) or any pan that you know won't burn cake/brownies. Whack it against the surface to release any air. Pour your cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie mixture, and use a fork to mix and make designs if you like. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-28 minutes. Enjoy the praises that only cream cheese brownies can bring!
Or instead of eating out----:
A night at home by the fire with homemade tomato soup & grilled cheese! What? It's red and everyone loves it! I drew the heart on with Photoshop if your'e wondering.
Tomato Soup for 2:
1 15 oz. Can Organic, Diced Tomatoes
2 small carrots-peeled & diced
2 cloves garlic-minced
1 Tbsp butter or earth balance
1 bay leaf
pinch of dry rosemary sprigs
1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth (low sodium)
salt and black pepper to taste
Whip Cream (optional but good)
In a soup pot, bring the butter to medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and garlic and allow to sweat for about 4-5 min. Add the can of tomatoes, broth, rosemary, bay and about 1/8 tsp of black pepper with a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer, stir, cover and lower the heat to a low simmer. Allow to cook for about 10-12 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool a bit. Use an immersion blender to puree or leave chunky. Salt & Pepper to taste.
Make your favorite style of grilled cheese. We are making jalapeno jack on whole grain pita this year....
*And I leave you with a cute valentine for your blog or to send out in e-mails to friends. I love this one. It is one of Old Dame Penniwig's works. You can find more of her stuff here: http://penniwigs.blogspot.com/
Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!