Valentine’s Day and Lent arrive at the same time

This past weekend was great. My daughters declared it as being “Yoakum Time” and got together at my home for the weekend. (I think “Yoakum Time”, is going to become the catch name for when they need R&R, time with one another and Mom, two of them had a rough week at work). The first one got to the house after lunch on Friday as she just works a half-day and came straight from her office in Austin, we just sat around, relaxed and caught up on things that have been happening since we saw one another at Christmas. We had been told not to hold supper, so we went to the local Diary Queen and ate. Shortly after we got back to the house, she came in and had decided not to stop and eat. Since she had been eating fruit in the car, we fixed her a plate of shrimp that I had boiled earlier and she was happy. Saturday morning dawned with cloudy skies, but the other daughter didn’t let that slow her down very much, as she was here before 10:00 a.m. and after a short time visiting, we piled into a car and headed out for a day of shopping in Victoria. It was great and I think we all found what we were looking for, between shopping at Ross and strolling the mall. The daughter from Galveston swears that she can never find anything to wear at her local Ross, but comes here and finds at least two or three things, or like this trip about six or seven things! Two of them found clothes they needed and that fit and I think three of us bought shoes or boots. It was truly a fun and relaxing weekend for all of us.
Super Bowl Sunday and the attendant hoopla are over and now we get to go on to a day that is fun for many of us!
The next day that requires our attention is Valentine’s Day. Don’t forget to get a little something for your favorite Valentine! It doesn’t have to be much, just get a pretty card that tells her/him how much you care! Of course, if you want to do some baking or cooking, I’m sure that will be appreciated also. With Valentine’s Day being the day you get your paper, you won’t have much time for baking!
Here’s a little history of Valentine’s Day for you. Even though it seems to be so, Valentine’s Day is not a day designated by card makers to make money. It had its origins in history. Valentine’s Day began as a Roman harvest festival, which was called “Lupercalia”, and it was celebrated on February 15. On the evening preceding this celebration, young women would put their names in a jar for the men to choose one. The paper he drew would name his partner for the festival’s duration, sometimes for the entire year.
A Roman priest named Valentine was arrested and beheaded on the eve of Lupercalia for disobeying the Emperor’s edict and marrying off the Emperor’s soldiers. At this time, soldiers were forbidden to wed. Valentine was beheaded on February 14, so in honor of his dedication to helping young lovers, he was declared the patron saint of lovers.
Today, we still exchange valentines with our spouses, parents, children and friends in honor of this saint. The valentines may be something with hearts, flowers and lace, or it may be comic; whichever it is, hopefully it will be appreciated.
It has also become traditional to send flowers, candy or both to the love of our choice. In fact, many stores and flower shops have specials on roses on that day, as the red rose has become the symbol of true love! Chocolates and Valentine’s Day are practically synonymous. Lacy valentines and fancily decorated, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate candies are made for one another. If your love is a more practical person and would prefer (or your budget would prefer), you can make heart shaped cookies from scratch or buy a roll of dough, slice it and shape the pieces of dough into hearts.
And, another day of importance…
Today (yesterday?) is/was Ash Wednesday, the end of the Mardi Gras season and the beginning of the Lenten Season. Many of us will be looking for meals, which are meatless. For meat/potato/gravy people, this is a real sacrifice, but for others, they really enjoy tuna, salmon or other types of fish dishes, it’s not. When my generation was growing up as Catholics, every Friday of the year was a meatless day, and during Lent, Wednesdays were as well. Mothers had to be creative, especially when daddy didn’t really care for meatless dishes. We had lots of deviled eggs, pimento cheese or tuna salad for sandwiches and macaroni and cheese or salmon patties or tuna casserole for a hot dish. One of my favorite meatless meals then and now is cheese toast and tomato soup!
A jellyroll, using red raspberry or strawberry jam or jelly for the filling is a beautiful dessert to make for Valentine’s Day, as is a Red Velvet Cake baked in a heart shaped pan or any type of chocolate cake you may desire. You can add some red food coloring to make any chocolate cake have a reddish cast and then frost with cream cheese frosting or frost with whipped topping. The chocolate Angel Food Cake below is delicious and the addition of the cocoa helps cut the sweetness of the cake, it really needs no frosting but is delicious with the cherries.
Strawberry Jelly Roll
(Grease and flour a 15½-inch x 10½-inch jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with sides), or line the pan with waxed paper cut to size. This is much the easier way.
3 large eggs (2/3 cup)
1 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 pint strawberries, cleaned, hulled and sliced*
1 carton (8-oz) whipped topping, thawed
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Beat eggs until thick, gradually adding sugar, beating well after each addition. Beat in all at once the water and vanilla. Beat in all at once the sifted dry ingredients, beating just until smooth with no lumps remaining. Pour int prepared pan. Bake at 375ºF just until cake tests done. (About 12 to 15 minutes).
While cake is baking, lay a clean cotton cup-towel (if all your towels are terry cloth, use a piece of an old sheet) on the table or counter and lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar. Remove cake from oven. Loosen edges and turn out onto sugar coated cup towel. Peel off the paper, and immediately roll the cake up in the towel, leaving until cool. (Begin with a short side, rather than the long one). When cool, unroll and spread with the strawberries that you have stirred into the whipped topping, then, re-roll without the towel. *You can also use the more fruit type of strawberry or any red jam and simply spread on the cake and roll it back up. If you do this, serve each slice with a dollop of whipped topping, if desired
Chocolate Angel Cake
1 package (16-oz) angel food cake mix
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
1½ cups plus 2 tablespoons hot fudge topping, divided
2 cups whipped topping or sweetened whipped cream, divided
1 can (20 or 21-oz) cherry pie filling, divided
Mix dry cake mix ingredients with cocoa. Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Bake in a 10-inch tube pan in a preheated 350ºF oven as directed on package. Let cool as package directs.
When cake has cooled completely, carefully remove from pan. Cut horizontally in half. Place bottom half; cut side up on serving plate. Spread with ¾ cup fudge topping. (Do not heat fudge topping.) Cover with 1 cup whipped topping, then half of the cherry pie filling.
Place top half of cake over cherries, cut side down. Spread with ¾ cup fudge topping. Cover with remaining 1 cup whipped topping and cherry pie filling. If you have extra pie filing, put it in the center of the cake. Refrigerate 1 hour. Just before serving, warm remaining 2 tablespoons fudge topping and drizzle over top of cake. Makes 12 servings.
I have mad this cake without the cherries and chocolate and taken it just plain to a couple of bake sales and it was one of the first to sell.
Shrimp Pasta Primavera
½ cup chopped green onion
½ cup green or red bell pepper cut into strips
½ cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
½ cup margarine
1 package (8-oz) cream cheese, cut into cubes, and at room temperature
¾ cup milk
2 cups, small to medium, peeled, de-veined shrimp (tails also removed)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 package spiral macaroni (7-oz or 8-oz), cooked according to package directions and drained well
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
Sauté onions and bell pepper in ½ cup margarine, add cream cheese cubes to pan, along with milk; cook and stir until cream cheese is melted. Stir in shrimp and Parmesan cheese and cook until shrimp are pink and done. Cook and drain macaroni, toss with 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, add to cream cheese/shrimp mixture and stir together. Serve hot, along with salad and hot rolls or bread.