Saturday, February 18, 2012

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I know you've all been waiting.  I know you have no other thoughts on your minds but what is happening in our lives and patiently await the next post just like I cannot wait to watch the next episode of Top Gear. And having watched our life for awhile you know that the time of year always brings posts on certain events. What we did for Christmas around December 25th, Easter pictures in the spring, vacation pictures in the summer and fall, etc. Being the producer of this particular show of our life which you love to read, I know dear readers, that your favorite post always comes in February and is all about our Valentine's Day Dinner.

Wait no more, it is here. Grab your coffee or tea, sit back and marvel at another wonderful year of Valentine's Dining in our home. Knowing that new readers trickle in, I present first the links to the previous year's posts so this year's is better appreciated.

Year one - in which they cook by themselves for the first time

Year two - in which I apparently didn't blog about their delicious Italian meal

Year three - in which they prepare a German meal

Year four - in which they prepare a French meal

Now that your appetite is great, anticipation is high, I give you wait no longer.

Valentine's Day, February 14th, is a day highly anticipated in our home. David and I love the restaurant we've been dining at the past several years. The children love coming up with a surprise menu and cooking a scrumptious meal for us. But this year February 14th was highly anticipated in our home for another reason. Hannah returned home to us after a lovely three week trip to England.

In planning this England trip with Hannah, David and I were sorry that we would miss our annual reservations at Sous La Maison, but decided the opportunity for our daughter was more important. We were, therefore, quite grateful when the restaurant staff informed us one day that they had overbooked for Valentine's Day and would like to move our reservations till Friday evening, the 17th of February. After a bit of incredulousness that this restaurant where we have dined for the past several years would bump us, their very loyal customers who tout their restaurant far and near, we accepted their apologies and the new reservations.

On Thursday, February 16th, I took the staff along with me to the grocery store. They had placed certain ingredients on my list for me to purchase, soy sauce, Romano cheese, and spinach. That was easy enough, but then they told me they had to buy something that I shouldn't see, so off the three girls trotted ahead of me in Aldi. They made their purchase, hid it in the van, and returned to help me with the remaining grocery list. Of course my curiosity was piqued, and it was even more so that evening when they told me I couldn't be in the kitchen after 8am on Friday morning.

The anticipated day arrived. David and I arose earlier than normal on Friday morning in order to enjoy our breakfast and for me to strain the yogurt and take out a couple of chicken breasts prior to our 8:00 deadline.   While Hannah and Ellie set to work in the kitchen, David did Latin with Nathan and Abby and I made plans for the rest of the day. I asked if it would be helpful for me not to be around in the afternoon and after hearing their positive response, I told them I needed to be around in the morning, but would leave after lunch.

It wasn't too difficult to stay out of the kitchen that morning. I worked with the three youngest on some of their school work, took a couple of them to a speech lesson, and one to a music lesson. Since I couldn't be in the kitchen, I couldn't make lunch for the family. Anticipating eating a substantial meal in the evening, I told the girls to fix us a salad topped with grilled chicken breasts. After lunch, I left with David who had visits to make in the town with the library. He dropped me off and I sat for the next two hours with my Mac Book and Gulliver's Travels catching up on blog posts, article reading, and what Gulliver was doing. Having spoken with the children who suggested we not come home until our reservations at 6pm, when David was finished with his visits and came to pick me up, he suggested we do a little clothes shopping at the outlet mall not far away.

We arrived at the appointed time and the staff at Sous la Maison were ready and waiting. As soon as we sat down at our normal table, which was decorated as always with the red table cloth and a lace covering, the staff came and began the classical music cd, lit the candle-abra, filled our glasses with a Gnarley Head Cabernet, and delivered the Salad.  Note: all descriptions are from the menu.
This salad contains lettuces, and a variation of vegetables and cheeses.  It is served with Creamy Italian dressing.

It was a delicious start to our meal which was quickly followed by Shrimp Francesca.
Shrimp Francesca is a mouth-savoring combination of shrimp, cheese, and our perfect selection of spices.
This was a very tasty dish which we loved. The butter was complimented with a tangy lemon which added to the taste of the cheese and spices. The salad and soup were enough to fill our very hungry stomachs but as in years past, the staff at Sous la Maison were not finished with our meal quite yet. After refilling our wine glasses and setting a water pitcher on the table, our first course dishes were removed and not too long after our plat principal was served.

Our marinated London Broil boasts a medium-rare ribeye steak, topped with select spices and a dry red wine.  It is served with broccoli, sautéed mushrooms, and a Cabernet wine.
Oh my goodness. This picture and the meager description does not give credit to the lovely taste that overwhelmed the taste buds. The steak was done to perfection.  Just look:

This is the way I like my steak - oh so delicious!
It was a mouth-watering, palate-pleasing, gastronomical-delightful main dish.  It was simply amazing.  Our once hungry stomachs were now busting with all the goodness.  Neither of us could finish our entire meal and the helpful staff graciously packaged it for us to enjoy again the next day.

Now the  pièce de résistance:

The sweet taste of our Strawberry Cheesecake is sure to steal your heart, and your stomach.  This cheesecake is the signature dish of Rachel M., who sends her highest regards.  It is served with strawberries.

This dessert was why I couldn't be in the kitchen after 8am, and it was so worth that sacrifice. I have never tasted a more delicious, melt-in-your mouth cheesecake. It was light, fluffy, and very easily stole our hearts and stomachs. While in England, Hannah shared with Jonathan and Rachel what they were planning to fix for us and mentioned looking for a strawberry cheesecake recipe. Rachel said she had one that was very good, and Jonathan concurred. We are quite thankful she was willing to share the recipe. I don't think I'll make a different type of cheesecake ever again, this one is better than any I have ever made. I can't believe how delicious it was and how perfect it turned out for them, especially considering this was the first time Hannah or Ellie had ever attempted this type of dessert. It truly was the perfect end to a perfect meal.

We once again sing the praise of the staff of Sous La Maison. They are a delightful, thoughtful, talented group of young people with whom we are so blessed.

Hannah, Ellie, Nathan, Abby, and Samuel


Susan said...

You know what? I really DO like reading this annual post as much as you indicated at the beginning.

(Ought I to be embarrassed, 'cause I sorta am....?)

Cheryl said...

Bravo. Your children are simply amazing.

Rebekah said...

This post is so famous I actually thought on Valentine's Day, I wonder what those lucky Mummes are getting tonight!


Hi, I just found your blog while searching for Kings and Queens of England. I found your K & Q lapbook and it is great! I had used these printables for a lapbook for my son a few years ago. Next year I want to do something like this for my daughters. May I use your idea? Thank you!

Glenda said...

Susan - no embarrasment needed!

Cheryl and Rebekah - :-)

Margarete - Hi and welcome! Yes feel free to use the Kings and Queens Lapbook. And I'll let you in on a little secret. We didn't finish every king and queen last year, so we're continuing it this year. As I read chapters in Our Island Story, we add the king to the timeline and sometimes add information about that king we would like to remember (like the 6 wives of Henry VIII). It has been fun and we are slowly learning the poem to help us remember the order of Kings and Queens.


Thank you. Also, if you haven't seen these, here is a link to Henry VIII paperdolls and his wives. :) We will be using these next year. (I used these with my son.):)


Oops! I forgot the link for Henry VIII :)