Monday, February 14, 2011

Lovely Memories & Chocolate Cream Pie: Happy Valentine's Day!

Chocolate Cream Pie: Successful Man-Present

Happy Valentine's Day!

I feel no shame in saying that I am one of the people in the world who celebrates Valentine's Day and expects my significant other to do the same (not that he dislikes it :)).  

I see nothing wrong with a day dedicated to love - preferably Romantic, but platonic, familial, and cosmic are all acceptable on this day too - and happiness.  I love going out for a deliciously romantic dinner, being given flowers, and maybe even chocolates too.  I love having a day to remember why I married my best friend, why I decided to actually promise I'd live the rest of my personal forever dedicated to one other human being, instead of running rampant in a self-centered and probably semi-drunk state.  

Unfortunately for men, I think girls generally tend to get the lion's share during Valentine's Day (blame it on tradition, blame it on the man - it is what it is) which is why I am always at a little bit of a loss as to what I should get / do for Matt.  Is it too weird for me to buy him a box of chocolates?  Last year I solved that problem by buying him a giant pile of Extra Large Cadbury Fruit & Nut Bars (his personal kryptonite, nightly snack, and the only food he never gets sick of eating, or so he claims) which I wrapped in red crepe paper.  I thought was a nice, more-masculine version of a somewhat female-stereotyped traditional V-day favorite.  This year I decided to go the homemade route: I will conquer Matt once more by seducing his taste buds with a home made *brief drum roll* Chocolate Cream Pie.  

This pie is usually a creature of the semi-homemade persuasion.  Whenever I've had it, it's been made with Jell-o chocolate pudding and from a store-bought crust.  Most people consider it a fast, easy cheat-sheet to above-average dessert.  Luckily, the real thing is not much harder to make fully from scratch than the somewhat forgettable semi-homemade one, but with quality ingredients and some preference-tweaks, it is significantly more delicious.

But now for my small-but-loving bone to pick: This top 5 list is going out to all the Valentine's Day Humbugs out there - the ones who call it a "corporate-created-holiday" and refuse to buy Hallmark cards or wear anything red on the 14th.  I think there is a small but definite little corner in my psyche's conception of Hell reserved for you, right there next to the freaks who think somewhere in an underground bunker / sky scraper there's 11 angry white men in suits sitting around a conference table ruling the world via Blackberry.  Weirdos.  Go get some happiness and leave the rest of us alone. :P

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Top 5 Lovely Memories This Year & Beyond
or, things that will make me smile this February 14th

5.The Answering Machine Message.
This is really random.  Matt and I have had the same answering machine message since the first month we moved to London in January 2007 - it even survived the move to Abu Dhabi.  And it's a special message that always makes me laugh and warms my heart each time I hear it, or each time someone laughs when they hear it and consequently leaves a message.  I would be lying if I didn't say I occasionally listen to it for no reason, and sometimes I enjoy not picking up the phone just to hear it.

It's funny and sweet because it involves me blasting "Don't Stop Me Now" - my favorite song by Queen - while I then record a brief message muffled with maniacal laughter as Matt screams "No!" in the background -also laughing, though incredulously - because he'd just specifically shot down the idea of me recording a Queen-themed answering machine message.  

But he obviously secretly loved it.  And we've never changed it since.

4. Beauty and the Beast
My sister and I grew up watching Disney movies like there was no tomorrow.  My sister's favorite was Beauty and the Beast, and so now that Ava, her daughter, is two, she is also obsessed with it.  When we were visiting them in TX during Christmas this part year Ava could sing the refrain to the theme song: "Tale as old as time, Song as old as rhyme, Beauty and the Beast."

One day, she and Roman were standing in the living room watching Beauty and the Beast for the nth time that day, when she suddenly grabbed Roman in a ball-dancing pose and started forcing him to dance while she sang the theme song, just like Belle and Beast on the tv screen.  Roman was a little taken aback, but after a while, he joined in.  Ava proclaimed herself Belle, leaving the beastly title to the little man who'd won it long before.

When we got home I discovered that my generally somewhat quiet beast child could also sing the theme song, and ask for his cousin "Aywa" with arms stretched out when he did it.  :)  That's love if ever I've seen it.

3. Happy Birthday To Me.
This past boxing day I turned *gasp* 30.  We were in Texas visiting my little sister and her husband and I wasn't quite sure what we'd do to celebrate, if anything much.  Little to my knowledge, Matt had orchestrated a night of debaucherous karaoke at a local dive called Marina's that will not soon be forgotten.  
Somewhere between Matt singing "Happy Birthday" Marilyn -Monroe-style as the opening number, someone slapping down the giant silver blimp balloon in the middle of the dance floor, pretending to spank a top-hatted townie with whom I decided to dance to a Michael Jackson song, taking free kamakazi shots with Marina's half-Mexican, half-Russian American Airlines employee son who also works for the Mexican mafia (he showed us the tat), and getting a free 2011 Waffle House calendar AND pins (which we all wore proudly) from our awkward waitress at 3am, I had one of the best and most unforgettable birthdays in memory.  And it was all kept under wraps by one very thoughtful and hilarious husb.
2. He said "I Love You."
This may seem silly because I generally assume Roman loves me, but it was a really big deal when he actually said "I love you" to me for the first time last week.  I've been saying it to him numerous times daily since his birth (usually accompanied by bone-crushing hugs and slobbery-Mama kisses), and even though I knew someday, somehow he'd be able to say it back, nothing could prepare me for the magical, pixy-dust-filled moment when he did say it and gave me a huge hug and kiss back.   Being a mom is the best.

1. Rome.
I know I've gone on somewhat endlessly about our trip to Rome in November of last year, but it really was an emotional big deal for me.  One of my favorite things Matt and I did (spontaneously) throughout the trip was walk back to all the places we used to go as boyfriend and girlfriend in 2002.  And at every single one of those places we'd remember silly little things like what he said to me, or what I was wearing (that white dress) or he was wearing (that Red Sox hat), or how some idiot screwed up a presentation by cursing and I missed it because my eye was swollen to the size of a tennis ball thanks to my insisting that Matt pet the urban-horse-and-carriage horse because he'd never petted a horse before in his life (freak) and I was on the number 44 bus headed back to the centro at the time. *deep breath* Ah, good times.   

But actually, those moments were precious, because they were the moments in which Matt and I first got to know and love each other, and it's always important to remember that. That in particular.  And for the rest of your life.

EXTRA SPECIAL BONUS REASON:  Two and a half months ago we found out that in late September we'll be parents for the second time!  Bring on little creature number two, be it a girly or a boyly one :)

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Chocolate Cream Pie

Serves 6-8

I made this pie by adapting this recipe on Epicurious.  The recipe only needed a few tweaks in my opinion: I doubled the amount of whipped cream I put on top (and whipped it until it held stiff peaks instead of soft ones), and I used half bittersweet chocolate and half dark chocolate, and found it rich but delicious.  I also used Oreo cookies (icing removed) for the crust and thought it was more flavorful than just using chocolate Nilla wafers would be.  Matt liked it so much, I'm making it again this week!  Winner.

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1 comment:

  1. Sweet, I secretly love this Hallmark day too, but you will not see me confessing that fact much farther than here.

    BIG BIG BIG congratulations on the upcoming bundle of joy. How cool is that and what an absolute adventure I hope to follow you on with Roman and TBD. You have to tell us what the nickname is, as Roman had such an awesome one before he was born.