For the first time in five years, Dave and I made Valentine’s Day plans. We generally don’t celebrate (he did make me a pan of brownies one year which he decorated with icing to say ‘I Love Chel’…that was pretty cool), but the chef at the restaurant where I work part-time does two special dinners a year, one on New Year’s Eve and one on Valentine’s Day. It’s a four course meal starting with an appetizer, followed by soup or salad, then one of five amazing entrees, and ending with some chocolatey delight or creme brulee, wine or champagne included. I signed us up.
As I may have mentioned, Dave works at a place where he doesn’t find out if he works the next day and/or how long the day is expected to be until 4:30pm the night before. On Wednesday night, things weren’t looking good. He was scheduled for a long route, and his company didn’t expect him to be back to Appleton until past four. When it started snowing Thursday morning, I pretty much lost all hope. Since he travels all day, inclement weather always makes his days longer. I called to cancel our reservations at lunch time.
I decided to at least return the V-day favor and make a pan of brownies for Dave. Since we have very few groceries left in the house (definitely need to go shopping again), I also stopped to pick up a few things for dinner and a bottle of wine for myself.
After exercising to an episode of 30 Rock, I set to work on the brownies. These are one of the few boxed foods Dave says tastes better than homemade, and I’d have to agree. They are just so much chewier than any homemade ones I’ve made. (Although I did really like the no-pudge brownies I made from scratch with Greek yogurt).
Dave doesn’t like when I “healthify” brownies by using applesauce instead of oil, because they make the brownies more cake-like than fudge-like. I compromised and used half oil, half applesauce, and substituted one of the eggs for three egg whites. I have to make it a little healthier! 😉
Halfway through the baking time, I realized I forgot to add water to the mix. How does one screw up boxed brownies?! Definitely not my day. I pulled the brownies at about 18 minutes and hoped for the best.
I think I may be on to something here! I don’t know if it was the substitutions I made, the fact that I forgot to add water, that I underbaked them, or that I was seriously craving chocolate, but these were really good. Super soft and chewy. After eating a piece, I wrapped them up so I wouldn’t be tempted to ruin my dinner.
Since I didn’t want to pull out all the stops for dinner alone, I roasted some brussels sprouts with garlic and baked some Archer Farms crab cakes I’d been meaning to try. I generally have very good luck with Target brand food–my favorite chips are their blue corn with flax tortilla chips and their gelato is out of this world.
The Archer Farms appetizers were buy one, get one 50% off, so I got lobster bites too.
Unfortunately, I was not impressed with the crab cakes or lobster bites. They were kind of bland and just tasted…processed. I guess only brownies from a box are best. At least my sprouts were delicious.
I wanted to watch some sort of happy love movie to suit the day and improve my food, but after a frustrating encounter with my computer, I gave up. I got really depressed about how we are rarely ever able to make plans because of Dave’s job. Not only Valentine’s Day, but my deepest hopes to plan our honeymoon to Ireland this year were shot by the fact that his company just won’t give him the time off. Throw in a lackluster dinner, my inability to watch a movie, and the seasonal depression that is hitting me hard this week…there was only one thing to do.
Or drink, rather. I cried into my glass of Robert Mondavi Malbec briefly before pulling myself together. Just as I was contemplating bed, Dave came home with a treat for me.
There’s only one reason to eat a doughnut: when you’ve given up.
Here’s to a better Friday!