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Month: April 2018

Chili Pie and Ice Cream Salad

A Valentine’s Day dinner menu that will not require you to slave in the kitchen for hours. Whip up a delicious and no fuss dinner for two making use of your partner’s favorite chili.


Chili Pie

1 piecrust for a 2 crust pie
2 cans chili or make your own
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cup shredded cheese
Jalapenos and Spices, optional

Dump canned chili (or make your own, but don’t have too much liquid in it) into pie crust. Add 1/4 cup chopped onion. Add Jalapenos and spices to your taste if desired. Add 1-3/4 cup shredded cheese. Reserve 1/4 cup. Top with remaining pie crust. Cut vents in pie crust. Bake at 375 degrees until pie crust is nicely browned. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Top piecrust top with remaining shredded cheese.

Ice Cream Salad

Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 package of strawberry jello. Add 1 pint of strawberry ice cream, 1 small can of crushed pineapple, and 1/4 cup of chopped nuts. Pour in a pan to gel.

Serves 6. You won’t mind leftovers of this yummy dessert in the refrigerators for a couple of days.

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Wine & Cheese Fondue for Two

Turn your Valentine’s Day dinner into a gastronomical Swiss experience as you cozy up on the chilly winter night with a pot of simmering fondue with your partner.


  1. Gruyere Cheese – 600 gms

  2. Dry white wine – 300 ml

  3. Garlic – 3-4 cloves

  4. Kirsch – 1 small Glass

  5. Cornstarch – 1 tsp

  6. Baking soda – 1 pinch

  7. Nutmeg – 1 pinch, grated

  8. Pepper or paprika


1. Chop the cheese into 1 inch cubes.

2. Pour the wine into a ceramic fondue pot. Add cheese and garlic and mix well.

3. Heat over a medium flame, stirring constantly until the mixture melts and mixes.

4. Mix the cornstarch and the grated nutmeg to the kirsch and add to the wine and cheese mixture.

5. Let cook 2 or 3 more minutes and then add the baking soda.

6. Carry the pot to the table where you plan to serve your fondue and then complete the seasoning with pepper or paprika.

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Acapulco Sunset

After a romantic dinner for two, indulge your valentine’s sweet tooth with a delicious, non-alcoholic drink from “The Mocktail Bar Guide”.


1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
½ cup papaya, chopped and seeded
1 ounce lime juice
10 ounces Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider
Crushed ice
2 whole strawberries


Blend first 4 ingredients in blender at high speed until smooth and thoroughly mixed. Pour over crushed ice in 2 collins glasses. Garnish each rim with whole strawberry. Serve with straws.

Yield: 2 servings

The Mocktail Bar Guide : 200 Recipes for Safe and Sober Partiescontains recipes for 200 alcohol-free drinks for nondrinkers, designated drivers, expectant mothers and anyone who enjoys great tasting drinks. Portions of the proceeds from this book go to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

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Pink Passion Frappé

Tempt your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day with this seductive treat from the book “The Mocktail Bar Guide”. Alone or paired with a favorite dessert, this decadent non-alcoholic drink will set the mood for romance.


2 ounces Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider
2 ounces pineapple juice
2 ounces cranberry juice
Whipped cream
Lime slice
Maraschino cherry


Blend first 3 ingredients with ice in mixing glass. Strain into champagne flute. Top with whipped cream. Garnish with lime slice and maraschino cherry.

The Mocktail Bar Guide : 200 Recipes for Safe and Sober Partiescontains recipes for 200 alcohol-free drinks for nondrinkers, designated drivers, expectant mothers and anyone who enjoys great tasting drinks. Portions of the proceeds from this book go to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

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Hot Blueberry Muffins


2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/3 cup butter — melted
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups blueberries
melted butter


In a mixing bowl, combine flour sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat eggs. Blend in milk, butter, nutmeg, and vanilla; pour into dry ingredients and mix just until moistened. Fold in blueberries. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

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Blueberry Pancakes with Maple Syrup


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg — beaten lightly
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 tablespoons oil — plus additional for brushing griddle
1 cup blueberries — rinsed and pricked over
maple syrup


1. In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk in egg, buttermilk, vanilla, and 2-1/2 tablespoons oil, whisking until smooth. Fold in blueberries gently.

2. Heat a griddle over moderately high heat until hot enough to make drops of water scatter over its surface and brush with additional oil. Working in batches, drop batter by 1/4-cup measures onto griddle and cook pancakes 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side, or until golden. Transfer pancakes as cooked to warm platter.

3. Serve pancakes with maple syrup drizzled over.

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Strawberry Soufflé Omelet

Preparation Time: 20 min.
Total Cooking Time: 5min.
Serves: 1


1 cup strawberry jam
1/4 cup Cointreau
1 pint strawberries, washed and sliced
2 eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon caster sugar
15g butter
icing sugar


STEP 1: Place jam and Cointreau into a medium pan, stir to combine, bring slowly to the boil and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the strawberries and cook on a medium heat for 1 minute. Remove and set aside.

STEP 2: Separate the eggs. Place the yolks, water and sugar in a large bowl and whisk with a fork to combine. Place egg whites into a large, clean, glass bowl and whisk with a balloon whisk until soft peaks form. Using a large metal spoon, fold the egg whites gently into the egg-yolk mixture.

STEP 3: Preheat grill on high. Heat a small pan on a medium heat. Add butter and swirl the butter evenly over the base of the pan. Pour in the egg mixture and cook over a high heat for about 30 seconds or until the base of the omelet begins to brown.

STEP 4: Place the omelet under a preheated grill and cook for about 30 seconds or until the top is set. Slide the omelet onto a warm plate and fill with some of the prepared strawberry sauce. Fold the omelet in half, dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.

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Cinnamon French Toast with Maple Syrup served with Berries


1 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
1 cup half-and-half
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 1″ slices cinnamon bread
Raspberries and Blue berries


1. Combine maple syrup (leave 3 tbsp. for later use), 1 tablespoon butter, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a heavy medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 2 minutes.

2. Combine eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, 3 tablespoons maple syrup mixture, and remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl and whisk. Place cinnamon bread slices in a large baking dish. Pour egg mixture over the slices and turn to coat the slices with the syrup mixture evenly. Pierce the bread slices in several places with a fork. Let stand for 5 minutes.

3. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bread and cook until brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to skillet. Turn over the bread slices and cook until brown, about 3 minutes.

4. Transfer to serving plates. Pour remaining syrup. Garnish with berries.

A glass of fresh juice and some fresh berries will complete your perfect romantic breakfast.

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Of Valentine’s and Valentines – History of Old Valentine Cards

Interestingly, how Valentine’s Day actually became associated with love and romance isn’t known. Some people believe that the holiday is actually the feast of St. Valentine. According to popular legends, Valentine was a priest who helped young soldiers who were then forbidden to get married. There are also those who think that the feast of St. Valentine was originally a pagan fertility festival in Rome. Curiously, it was only when Geoffrey Chaucer used this feast in a poem celebrating the engagement of Richard II and Anne of Bohemia that Valentine’s Day became associated with love and romance the way we know it today.

Regardless of where Valentine’s Day really originated, one thing have stayed the same through the years – the holiday is recognized by the exchange of cards between lovers. Valentine cards have always been popular since time immemorial. The first valentines ever written were created by Charles, Duke of Orleans for his wife. Most of these notes can still be viewed in the British Museum up to this day.

Exchanging valentines is a common practice since the 16th century and until today valentine cards haven’t lost their touch yet. In fact, Valentine’s Day sees the most number of cards sent within the year, second only to Christmas. Throughout history, these cards have served their purpose of expressing love to men and women joined by their affection for each other.

The only difference is in how they are made. In the 17th century, cards were personally created by those who send them. These cards were elaborately designed with lace, flowers and other trimmings to make them unique. It was only in the 1800’s that mass-produced valentines were introduced in the market. By the 19th century, cards gained more popularity with the advent of the penny post which made sending notes a lot more affordable.

Penny postcards became widely popular towards the end of the nineteenth century. At that time, it was considered a fad to display one’s collection of cards for guests to marvel. Postcards and valentines were then preserved for the pleasure of both the recipients and his or her guests.

Because of the increasing regard for valentine cards, manufacturers sought to find new and exciting ways to make their products more attractive. Thus came the photographic postcards. Valentines with actual photos on them started making their way into stationery shops.

The designs from old valentine cards make these vintage items attractive. You must have a couple of old cards yourself. People keep them for their sentimental value. Instead of letting them gather dust in your shelves you can make a poster out of them and hang them on your living room wall. That would start an interesting family conversation. You can even put them on display by putting them in those picture-holders suspended by wires that are so in fashion these days. There’s just a lot that you can do with old memories with just a bit of imagination and creativity.

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Valentine’s Day Symbols

When you start floating in love and when the time has come to express the deep rooted emotions to your lover then you will start visualizing the symbols related with valentine.

What are the common symbols of Valentine’s Day?

Angels, flowers, hearts, doves and candy are the first things which will come to your mind when you think of Valentine’s Day. It is commonly associated with Valentine’s Day. There are numerous symbols related with Valentine’s Day and these symbols are often marked in gifts and other tokens of love which are delivered on Valentine’s Day. When the Valentine’s Day celebration starts then you can find out fat, cute looking cupids and other symbols in Archie’s Gallery and other stores.

What do the Roses symbolize?

Roses symbolize love, friendship, compassion and peace. It’s an interesting fact that if the letters of the word “rose” is rearranged; you will get “Eros” the God of love. Not only red roses but also roses of other colors are also given on Valentine’s Day to express different messages. The red color is related with powerful feelings. It is a color of love and it’s the favorite flower of the Roman goddess Venus who is known as the goddess of love.

Why do you consider the Heart as the symbol of love?

The heart represents love in its purest form, so it becomes the hottest symbol of Valentine’s Day. Giving your heart to someone means you are giving the most precious and vital thing from you. The heart symbolizes life. Love is related with heart so heart becomes the most important symbol of Valentines Day. Love doesn’t know age, religion, country etc and you may just fall in love with anyone.

How do Birds become the symbol of love?

“Lovebirds” is the word frequently used to denote deep loving couples. It is strongly believed that birds find their companion on Valentine’s Day. Pigeons and doves are the symbols of loyalty. We all have heard the word “lovebirds”, but many of us don’t know which bird is really called as lovebird. Lovebirds are in fact colorful parrots mostly found in Africa and the reason why they are called as lovebirds is that they used to sit in pairs. Doves are the symbols of purity, virtue and humility. The bird dove is really the pinnacle of love and loyalty, because they do not separate from their partners or companions throughout their lives.

How do Lace and Ribbons become the symbols of love?

Women used to put down her lace hankie as a signal if she likes a man and if the man takes it, then their feelings were considered as mutual. Love knot is considered as a well-known valentine symbol. Love knot denotes the love without beginning and end. Ribbons and ornaments are also used as symbols of Valentine’s Day from the knighthood days. It is said that the girls use to give the ribbons and ornaments to their beloved ones before they went to war. While fighting, these men used to keep these ribbons and ornaments with them.

Who is Cupid?

Cupid is the god of love and beauty and son of the Roman goddess Venus. It is strongly believed that when Cupid struck any people with his arrow, then they will fall in love. So the Cupid has been related with Valentine’s Day and became the most popular symbol of Valentine’s Day.

There are lots of valentine day symbols like laces, ribbons, roses, Cupids, decorated hearts etc. So celebrate your Valentine’s Day with all the beautiful symbols and have a good time.

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Chinese Valentine’s Day

The seventh day of the seventh lunar month is the only Chinese festival devoted to the love in the lunar calendar. Unlike Valentine’s Day in Western countries, there is no much emphasis on giving flowers, chocolates and kisses. Instead of that, the Chinese girls pray to Zhi Nu, the weaving maiden by preparing sweets, melons, fruits and perfumes as offerings. They pray her to acquire high skills in needlecraft, as well as for finding their husbands. People sit outside to observe the stars in the evening.

What are the common beliefs of Chinese people regarding Chinese Valentine’s Day?

The Chinese Valentine’s Day is also known as Daughter’s Festival. The Chinese girls always wanted to have good handcrafting skills like the Weaving Maid. This skill is essential for their future family. During the night of Chinese Valentine’s Day, spinsters can pray to the Weaving Maid star to make them smarter. When the star Vega is high in the sky, the girls do a test, which involves placing a needle on the water surface. If the needle does not sink in the water, the girl is already smart enough and she is perfectly eligible for a married life. Girls may request for any wish to the Weaving Maid, but only once in a year.

How is Valentine’s Day celebrated in China?

In some regions of China, people believe that the decoration of flowers on the Horn of Ox during the Chinese Valentine’s Day can prevent them from catastrophe. Women wash their hair to make it more attractive and shiny on the night of Valentine’s Day. Girls throw five-color ropes, made by the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival, on top of the roof for magpies. It is believed that Magpies will use the ropes to build the bridge.

When is Chinese Valentine’s Day celebrated?

Chinese Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month in the Chinese calendar. The legend behind this celebration was the love between the 7th daughter of the Emperor of Heaven and an orphan cowherd. The Emperor of the Heaven forced the 7th daughter to move to the star Vega and the cowherd boy to the star Altair. They are allowed to meet only once in a year, on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month.

What is the story behind Chinese Valentine’s Day?

The story says that there was a good-looking poor orphan boy living with his older brother and sister. After the death of his parents, his brother occupied the house and land. The boy owned an old ox. He had to work on the farm with the ox every day. Thus, he was called a cowherd.

The ox was actually from Heaven. He had done mistakes in the Heaven and was punished as an ox to Earth. One day, ox suddenly told the boy that the cowherd boy is a beautiful person and if he wants to marry, he should go to the river and his wish will be fulfilled. The cowherd went to the river and saw all 7 beautiful girls of the Emperor of Heaven descended from the heaven and took a bath in his country. Attracted by the youngest and the most beautiful girls, he took away the clothes of the fairy secretly. The other six fairies disappeared after the bath. The youngest could not fly without her fairy clothing. Then the cowherd boy came and told her that he would not return her clothes unless if she promise to marry him. After a little hesitation and shyness, she accepted the proposal of the handsome boy. So, they married and had two children.

The Emperor felt that the sky is not as beautiful as before without his 7th daughter as she weaves beautiful clouds and rainbows. He wanted his mother in law to find the missing girl and bring her back. When the grandmother took the 7th princess to heaven, the cowboy chased after his wife in the sky by wearing the ox hide and taking his children in two bamboo baskets with the old fairy clothes of his wife. The grandmother made a Milky Way in the sky with her hairpin to separate them. The 7th princess was moved to the star Vega in the constellation Lyra. And the cowherd with his two children stayed at the star Altair in the constellation Aquila. The star of Vega is also known as the Weaving Maid Star. The star Altair is known as Cowherd Star in China.

Magpies were moved by their true love and many of them joined together to form a bridge for the couple to meet on the evening of the 7th day of the 7th lunar month which is the day the Emperor allowed them to meet a every year.

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History of Valentine’s Day

Who is Valentine?

The world celebrates Feb. 14 as Valentine’s Day. It is also celebrated as lover’s day by exchanging candies, flowers and gifts between couples in love. It was originated in the 5th century in Rome as a tribute to St. Valentine, a Catholic bishop. The history of Valentine’s Day remains fuzzy and there are different stories about who actually Valentine was.

A group of historians suggest that Valentine was a priest in Rome serving under the reign of Emperor Claudius II during the third century, approximately 270 AD. During this period, the Emperor Claudius II prohibited marriage for young men, saying that the unmarried soldiers are more capable. But Valentine secretly continued to perform marriage ceremonies, but was finally apprehended by the Claude and he ordered to put him to death. So as a regard for him, February 14 is celebrated as Valentine’s Day.

What did the Church curb the celebration of Lupercalia festival?

However, some believe that the Valentine’s Day celebration was an effort made by the Church to prevent the celebration of pagan Lupercalia festival which was held on February 15. The celebration featured a lottery in which every young man will pick out a girl’s name from the jar in random and they would become partners until the festival gets over. Sometimes this pairing lasted for an entire year, and often, they fall in love and marry later.

In order to prevent this erotic festivity, the pastors of the early Christian Church in Rome encouraged the participants to substitute the names of saints. Then, for the next twelve months, the participants were to follow the principles represented by the saint whom they had chosen. Pope Gelasius announced Feb. 14 as Valentine’s Day in the year around 498 AD. The festival of Lupercalia was considered illegal and non-Christian. As a result many of the young Roman men were not too pleased with this new rule.

Thus the early Christians priests tried to modulate the sexual nature of Lupercalia by turning the “festival into a ceremony of love. Instead of the pagan god Lupercus, the Church looked for a saint of love as a substitute. They considered Valentine as an appropriate choice who had been beheaded by Emperor Claudius, in the year 270.

Do you know the story behind the Saint Valentine?

During the reign of Emperor Claudius II, Rome was involved in many bloody and unnecessary battles. At that time Claudius found difficulty in getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He felt that Roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result he banned marriage from his empire. But Valentine secretly continued to perform marriage to young men and women who came to him. When Claudius found out Valentine’s activity, he was imprisoned and sentenced to death for secretly conducting several marriages.

During his days of imprisonment Valentine fell in love with the blind daughter of his jailer. His great love miraculously cured her blindness before his death. Before he was taken to his death, he signed a farewell message to her, “From your Valentine”. The phrase has been used on his day ever since.

Thus the Church has chosen the single Valentine against the pagan goddess Juno. As Valentine was martyred on February 14, the Church could also prevent the celebration of Lupercalia on February 15. Valentine was a pure man in the art of love. To make the Holy saint more attractive for fans, the Church may have overstated his life. The records no longer exist since it happened long ago.

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A Romantic Valentine’s Day Picnic Idea

Valentine’s Day is a day to describe your love and feelings for the one who you love and appreciate the most. Lovers may go to any lengths to buy gifts, candies and cards to profess their love or even propose to their love. Arranging a surprise Valentine Day’s picnic for your Valentine or spouse can be one of the nicest treats. In case you planned an outdoor picnic and the weather plays truant, you may switch plans and have an indoor picnic instead. Your Valentine will certainly love it.

Different Activities Related to Picnic

You may accentuate the occasion with scented candles, thereby enhancing the mood. Be sure that you conceal the entire plan from your sweetheart. After all, it has to be a surprise. Get a picnic basket or a large container, colored paper plates, napkins and the necessary dishes. Add to the mood with ones that have Valentine prints, which are easily available at any dollar shop.

To start with, greet your spouse with a nice long stemmed rose, and then to her surprise produce a lovely bouquet of roses along with a Valentine’s Day card. She is certainly not going to believe her eyes when you take out your picnic basket. If she loves fun outdoors, then apologize to her on behalf of the weather. Next, you may read out a poem in appreciation of her beauty. Capture the moment in your camera when she is completely taken by surprise. Don’t you think that she will exclaim with surprise, “Am I dreaming? “

To generate the outdoor effect, you may use a CD featuring the chirping of birds. Adorn your indoor picnic place with artificial trees, ficus trees, ferns and palm plants for those special effects.  In case you do not have time on hand to provide the décor, then you may treat her in your garden or backyard. She will love that too. Set a round table with a tablecloth over it. Place a nice vase with roses on the table. Get started with your plan. Tie a bandage over your sweetheart’s eyes, lead her up on the way to the garden and surprise her with your efforts.

Preparing the Menu

After setting up your picnic venue, you may next focus on preparing the menu. The heart symbolizes love and affection for the one you care for the most.  Why not have heart-shaped dishes? This way all the preparations will become emissaries of your love.  The menu may have smoked salmon salad, sub sandwiches cut out in heart shape on delicious sourdough bread. Be sure to add favorite dishes of your beloved too. What about some sandwiches with vinegared cucumber, and red onion? Any menu without a dessert does not sound perfect. You may add strawberry ice cream or the blueberry variety. Introducing chocolate dipped strawberries to provide the finish will also be great.

Finally, yet importantly, take out a bottle of wine and raise a toast to your beloved. You may add a love-quote on the bottle.

Don’t you think that you are forgetting something? Yes, its time to present the special gift that you have bought for her. After the enjoyable moments that you spent together, give her another surprise by presenting the gift to your valentine. Say that you want to share a long-concealed secret with her. After making her wait for a few seconds, show her the hard-managed tickets of a romantic movie that you intend watching with her that evening. If you are ready to undergo the trouble of treating your spouse like a queen, you may get the sobriquet of being the ‘best husband’ around.

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