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Gift ideas, Holidays, Recipes

Is it February already?!

Wow, how did January go by so quickly? Last time I checked, it was inching by ever so slowly. I have a burning need to vent today, because a whole month of the new year has already passed me by and I somehow didn’t notice. My mom once told me that in life, particularly when something (e.g. work) is keeping you very busy and you are putting in long hours at the office, the days and weeks move very slowly, but the months and years fly by. It’s quite a depressing thought… When did we stop working to live and start living to work? Yes, of course work is important, but at what point did it become the focal point of ALL of my waking hours during the week, and sometimes even on weekends? My job is usually very interesting, but during crunch periods (like this month) when I’m busy and stressed and cranky from lack of sleep, I forget to enjoy my life. I truly FORGET. I become so focused on getting stuff done so that I can stop feeling stressed, but in the process I often forget to have lunch, I forget to take care of my skin, I forget to even look outside the window at the light of day. Not to even mention that I never have time to venture into the kitchen. I slump into survival-mode: wake up, work, (eat..sometimes), shower and (sleep..sometimes). Wash, rinse, and repeat. Hmm.. not the most inspiring routine. And the thing is, it doesn’t usually take much to break this routine..it’s always little things that make all the difference to my happiness and my mood. A vase of fresh flowers on my bedside table to look at in the morning, a pretty new blouse to wear to work, a nice glass of red wine with a friend or my boyfriend to help me wind down from my day, a yummy meal to look forward to, a realllyyy juicy bitching/gossiping session, or even just a really, really funny joke in the office to counter all the seriousness and numbers. Yes, working 16-hour days will probably still suck, but if I can do, see or eat something wonderful each day, it will definitely suck a little less. So there you go, I just found my new year’s resolution: to spruce up every single day of this year with one of these “little things” that makes me smile. A month late, but hey, we’re not counting January anyway.

Ok, rant over. Back to the fact that it’s already February, which can only mean that Valentine’s day is just around the corner. I find it a bit of a silly “holiday,” but I also think it’s weird to ignore it completely, so it’s always nice to give something small but meaningful. So if you are a frazzle-brain like me, it’s probably high-time to start thinking about gifts. I doubt I’m going to buy my boyfriend anything this year, first off because he has EVERYTHING and I want to save the precious few gift ideas I have for more important occasions (lol), but also because my affinity for home-made things is now stronger than ever. I eat at restaurants all the time because I’m always away for work and therefore don’t have access to a kitchen most of the week, so I have almost grown averse to eating out during my time off. Funny problem to have, I know, but more than ever, I now truly appreciate the value of a lovingly home-cooked meal. So, in that same spirit, I think a lovingly home-made gift for your Valentine is the perfect way to say “I love you.” And this applies to non-romantic Valentines..a parent, a grandparent, a sibling, a best friend. Here are a few ideas about how I plan to show all the amazing people in my life just how much I love them this Valentine’s day.

Heart shaped-pancakes

What a great way to start anyone’s day! Serve with a side of colorful red and pink berries to build on the v-day theme.

Find Martha Stewart’s recipe here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate-dipped strawberry bouquet

I blogged about my craving for chocolate-dipped strawberries yesterday (see post here), but why not turn this classic into edible roses for your Valentine? After the chocolate sets on the dipped berries, poke a long skewer into the stem-end of each strawberry, and arrange in a small pot using a piece of styrofoam to hold the “roses” in place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate truffles

I have made no secret of the fact that I LOVE chocolate, including when I blogged about chocolate truffles a while back (check it out here). I think they make a great v-day gift because they’re so luxurious yet so easy to make. Wrap them up pretty in pink or red tissue paper to create that Valentine-y feeling.

 

 

 

 

 

Frosted sugar cookies

This is probably the simplest of all cookies, but who can resist a good sugar cookie? Make heart-shaped ones using a cookie cutter and frost them with red sugar icing and sprinkle with sugar, then pile them into little goodie bags, tie them up with a pretty ribbon, and give them out to loved ones.

Get Food Network’s recipe for the cookies here, and customize the basic sugar icing recipe by adding a few drops of red food coloring.

 

 

 

 

Creamy fudge hearts

Uh….yuuumm! Aren’t these just gorgeous? Make your own using Martha Stewart’s recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In good health,

F

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