Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine's Day 2011 Recap

I hope everyone had a nice Valentine's Day! It's always nice spending this special day with loved ones (or talking on the phone), whether it's a significant other, family, or friends! Of course we always celebrate year-round, being surrounded by our loved ones, but I like to make this day extra special with David (all though, come to think of it, we have quite a few extra special days)!

So David woke up the morning of Valentine's Day with post-it notes EVERYWHERE! In the pockets of his work pants, the pocket of his work shirt, in his shoes, on the bathroom mirrors, on his car, in his lunch bag, on his coffee mug... I mean EVERYWHERE! Ha! I had wrote little love notes on about 20 post-its and put them in random places for David to find. What can I say? I love the guy, and I wanted to do something cute and cheezy!

David had tulips sent to the house... my favorite :) One day, I want to be able to grow my own tulips - they are so beautiful, but I feel I don't have the space to grow my own garden right now.

We decided to spend our Valentine's Day with a special homemade dinner. David had requested pasta with a meaty marinara sauce and garlic bread. The day before Valentine's Day I decided to take on a challenge and make my own French bread to make the garlic bread. I found a great recipe on Allrecipes! Turns out, French bread is for everyone! Vegans and non-vegans! It is very simple to make too! The only non-vegan step involved in making this bread is an egg-wash that is brushed on the dough before baking it - this is to just give the bread a nice, crusty, dark color though, which can also be done with milk! Since I wanted to try this French bread too, my "egg-wash" substitute was almond milk - perfect!

  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • Cornmeal
  • 1-2 tbsp almond milk
  1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, allowing the yeast to activate.
  2. Add the sugar, oil, salt and 2 cups flour. Stir the mixture until well-blended. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough.
  3. Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.
  4. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning it on all sides so the dough will not stick to the bowl. Cover, with a piece of plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour (I usually place my dough in the oven. I warm up the oven a little, but not too much, before setting the dough in there).
  5. Punch the dough down. Allow the dough to rest for about 10 minutes, then cover the bowl and let rise again for 30 minutes.
  6. Punch the dough down again. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Shape it into a loaf (16 in. long x 2-1/2 in. wide) with tapered ends.
  7. Sprinkle a greased baking sheet with cornmeal and place the loaf on the baking sheet. Cover the dough and let it rise until doubled, about 25 minutes.
  8. Brush almond milk over the dough. With a sharp knife, make diagonal slashes 2 in. apart across top of loaf.
  9. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.

Unfortunately, my bread didn't rise as much as I would have wanted it to, so I didn't take a picture (to spare my embarrassment LOL). I don't know if my yeast wasn't activated enough (water may have been too warm, potentially killing the yeast) or if I had accidently formed the dough into something too long and wide. Who knows, I will do better next time!
The day of Valentine's Day I sliced up the bread and layed the slices on a baking sheet. I minced fresh garlic and put it in a small pan with vegan butter, allowing the garlic to saute a little in the melted butter. I then brushed the butter-garlic mixture on the tops of the sliced bread and sprinkled veggie parmesan cheese on top. All vegan and you would never even know it! I turned the broiler on and put the garlic bread in the oven for about 2 minutes - Perfect! David loved it!
For dessert, I made David's favorite... Gingerbread Cookies! I made one big cookie for him with lots of little heart-shaped cookies on the side. Since this was all for David, I did not "veganize" the recipe... they are perfect the way they are :)
I love Valentine's Day because it gives me a chance to get all creative and gives me a GREAT excuse to be beyond CHEEZY! LOL. I love it!



  1. Yay! Love it!

    Your giant cookie is BEAUTIFUL!! It's better looking than cookie cakes in those cookie shops at the mall. You did a fantastic job!

    I love your post it notes. When Chris and I were dating with a 2 hour drive, I would visit him on weekends. When I would leave, I would write a note and leave it for him somewhere random. :) I never did that many though. Maybe I'll do that for our anniversary. :)

  2. So beautiful!! I felt the love just looking at the pictures!