Posts Tagged ‘Valentine’s Day’

Bought By Blood T-Shirt

In exactly six days, the dreaded “V” day will be upon us. People will scramble dreadfully to remember to get cards, and chocolates, and flowers. The level of commitment in relationships will be measured out in gifts and tokens, and those that forget this day will have some rough times ahead.

It is rather glaringly hard, to miss the fact that Valentine’s Day is coming. Stores are chock full of red, white, and pink stuffed animals, and piled with boxes shaped like hearts holding chocolate bonbons. But, who or what is Valentine?

(Other than a rather well-developed character of mine with his own fan base who hates his own name)

The name Valentine means  “Strong, vigorous, healthy” according to Behind the Name

A little bit of research on St. Valentine will bring you into a swirling, whirling vortex of controversies. Some people will claim that he married lovers in secret, in Rome in the third century when marriage was being outlawed. Others will tell you that he was a tutor to a wealthy Roman patron’s daughter and dared to share his Christian faith with her as well as teaching her to read. He was summarily executed but left her a note farewell signing it “Your own Valentine”.

While there is precious little evidence for any of these stories, I like the last one, best. However, there is proof that Valentine or Valentine’s existed according to the Catholic Church record of martyrs.  You’ll find a synopsis here, of what I think is closest to the truth.  Chaucer is mentioned in this history of Valentine and also in the Wikipedia entry on him.

While people will probably never agree on the origin of the day, or why it came to mean expressing romantic love, one to another, I have been doing some thinking of my own over the idea of Valentine’s Day. I’ve never had a sweetheart to run madly around, trying to find the perfect gift for on this day, and it really has never bothered me. In fact, it’s been a bit of a relief to not have the pressure I see others struggling under on February the 14th, but it’s also a bit of a pain to tell to those who ask on the 14th “No, I don’t have a Valentine” and then smile tiredly through their assurances that “One Day You’ll Have One, Dear.”

Last year, I bought a  t-shirt from a new t-shirt company called Bought By Blood, and I love it. In fact, I’m planning to wear mine ON  Valentines day this year. It features the image at the top of this post. Those words got me thinking which is always dangerous. The thought ran along these lines.  Since Jesus is my True Love, and He has given me all of Himself as a life-long Valentine, what can I give Him as a Valentine?

Immediately, the words What good are you if you only love those who will love you in return, even the heathen do that? I yelped, and grabbed for my Bible.

The whole passage runs like this in the ESV: Luke 6:32-35

If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those that love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend expecting nothing in return and your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful even as your Father is merciful.

And then of course I had to go looking at the cross-reference which is even MORE specific.

Matthew 5:43-48

You have heard that it was said  ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy’ But I say to you  Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those that love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Talk about asking for a specific thing. I shut my Bible and said “There is just no way I can give this to you for Valentine’s Day. You’re asking for the impossible here. And I know You, You want this gift for more than just a day.”  I could almost feel Jesus smiling. Waiting. Oh, there are days I know His eyes twinkle when we talk.

So, here is the resolution I have come to: From now until Valentine’s Day (six days) I am going to live and on purpose love those who don’t love me. I’ve selected several I know would like to see me vanish completely from their lives (like you don’t have those people in your life) and not only am I going to pray for them, react in love when they attack me, but I’m going to actively seek their best. For six days. Only six.

I’ve also roped my True Love into helping me with this project. His idea, He gets to help me pull it off. That’s how it works with He and I.

If want to join me on this insane journey which will, I’m certain, make Valentine’s Day very memorable, leave me a comment below. Loving enemies has got to be the hardest thing to do, for me. I’d appreciate prayers. On Valentine’s Day, I’ll repost this, with an update. Also, if you’ve got any interesting ideas about Valentine’s Day I’d love to hear those too. Stick them in the comments.

Coriam Deo

Gathering

With Valentine’s Day being now 10 days away, I thought I’d share a really tasty treat Mom came upon and we tried out this week. While the prep and baking time isn’t short, and there’s a good amount of work involved these are delicious little morsels, they are amazing! They’re only 119 calories a piece too, which mean you can feel decadent without being decadent.

First let me give credit where credit is due,  Mom found this recipe on Taste of Home and I’m so glad she did. The full directions and nutrition count are listed there, as are other people’s comments and ideas about this yummy dessert.

Fear not, all you readers who think this is going to be a boring point-by-point how to bake post. Where would the fun in that be?  Cue dramatic music! (please play whatever music YOU think is most fitting here, its your cue)

Dramatis Personae

1 Cup all-purpose flour

1/3 Cup sugar

1/4 Cup baking cocoa

1/2 Cup cold butter

2 Tablespoons cold water

(this is the crust)

~`~

2 Packages (three ounces each) cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup of sugar

2 Tablespoons of milk

1 Teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Egg, lightly beaten

(this is the filling)

~`~

1 Can of cherry or strawberry pie filling

(this is the topping)

~`~

100_2620
The awesomeness which is 1 Cup of flour I scooped into the cup, and then plopped into the bowl.  Tiny want-to-taste hobgoblins danced around the counter (oh I know that most of you would say it was currents from the vents on the floor coming up but I say it was hobgoblins)  making the measurement difficult  enough that I went to get stabilizing scissors. Not really but then how do I explain the scissors there?

Beginning
To the awesome flour, I added the 1/4th baking cocoa of power. You can see here  the two having their molecular battle for dominance straight away. Adding the 1/3 cup of sugar did nothing except make the cocoa more rowdy.   It was getting out of hand, and also, out of the bowl. The pushing the shoving, the calling of names, it all happened right there on the counter then  Mom suddenly added in the 1/2 cup of cold butter. That was just like throwing oil on a bonfire. This is immediately ensued:

100_2624

Do you see those lumps in there? Oh my. They were my enemies. Sworn enemies. The butter was refrigerator cold, and the flour and cocoa were dry. Four large squares of unyielding fat had to be battered into tiny pieces by my hand whisk. And by battered into pieces, I mean smashed, snarled at, despised, wept over, and given several Al Capone like threats that they had BETTER COMBINE or life would not be pleasant for their families. The result?

Crust done

Something that looked like I’d pooper-scooped it from the neighbor’s yard. But while I was battling MY cooking goblins,  and the ingredients were battling each other, Mom was tripping through the her part of the recipe which was the filling part. Sadly, you don’t get to witness her finesse with the ingredients, only my hacking and slashing through the ranks of the tiny cheese cake sprites.  I did snap this neat picture of her ingredients working together in sweet harmony in the mixer.

whirr best

Then came the time to combine my rebellions crust concoction (that looked like something that should be left in the yard) with her supremely fluffy and good enough to eat on its own filling.   Go on, take a peek.

Dark and Light

The reason mine doesn’t look so sickening in this shot is because I haven’t added the water to the mix yet. Still, see all those lumps? All those rebellous clots of fat that REFUSED point blank to be smashed into elegant crumbles like the pictures on the site? And because of their refusal, when I went to put them into the tiny cups, it looked even worse. I would advise you to go ahead and scroll quickly down past this one and concentrate instead on the creamy filling shots.

crust in cup
I know what you’re thinking. And you’re right, it’s rather disgusting looking. The crust is both sticky, and dense. Mom and I finally resorted to using the back of a floured mellon-baller to get the shape of the  cheese cake crusts correct. It was important that they come up the entire side of the cup, otherwise the filling might have  run all over and possibly attempted world domination. It needed to be contained.

filled pan

However, it smelled very lightly of cocoa and that made it bearable.  Then, this happened.

filling the pan
Creamy goodness, that dropped lightly off her spoon and into my malformed custard cups with the greatest of ease, made the filling of these crusts the easiest thing either of us did all the morning long. By the time  we had filled them all up, I was ready for a nap. It took much longer than the “twenty five minutes” to get to this stage so if you undertake this for the first time, don’t feel bad if getting to this point takes forty minutes like it did for us.  In the end, Mom and I prevailed, that’s what counts. That and the fact that these were delicious.

Best tray
We put them into  the oven for 15-18 minutes  at 325 degrees, or until they stopped jiggling when the tray was gently shaken.

Best Rack
Then they had to sit on the rack for another 30 minutes to truly “set”
But I didn’t wait that long. After five minutes, I did this.

Cherry Rack

And also, this:

Bitten

Delicious!

Directions:

MY PART
In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar, and cocoa; cut in butter until crumbly. Gradually add in water, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball (this was the struggle, right here) Shape into 24 balls. Place in a greased miniature muffin cups; press dough into the bottom and up the sides of each cup

MOMS PART
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in milk and vanilla. Add egg; beat on low until just combined. Spoon about 1 tablespoon full into each cup (true, it takes a lot to fill the cups)

Bake at 325 for 15-18 minutes or until set (no jiggles) Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Carefully remove from pans to cool completely. Top with pie filling. Store in the refrigerator. Yield 2 dozen.

So, there’s my sweet treat show and tell for Valentine’s Day.  What do YOU have planned? Remember, Valentine’s Day is not just for couples. Take a moment to tell everyone in your life, just how much you love them.  And you don’t need to buy them lavish gifts though they might tell you to make them several dozen of these after you allow them to eat one.  But do tell them how much they mean to you, life is short and love never lessens, it only grows when its shared.  So, SHARE. Especially on Valentine’s Day.