It’s almost Valentine’s Day! Which, when I was in my 20s, I really thought was just a “Hallmark holiday”, even though I was in a committed relatinoship at the time. I felt, like many people do, that every day should be a day – “the” day – you tell your loved ones what you feel about them, what you appreciate about them. While I still sort-of feel that way, meaning I put no pressure on my husband to show up with jewelry or take me to dinner, I must say that having kids changed my thoughts a little.
My son has my heart. Every day, all the time. One of the most enjoyable parts of having a little one is the holidays, or special treats when we’re able to give them to him. Probably the BEST thing is all of the “firsts” you get to be present for, and that includes paintings, writing valentines, and so forth. As a mom, this Valentine’s Day is a day I’ve looked forward to with great anticipation. We have been secretly making gifts for Daddy using Pinterest ideas and some of our own creativity. Little Dude has drawn love notes for people in our family and tomorrow we get to distribute them. It’s the sweetest thing! And, something I have learned, is that small children know how to love better than ANY of us. They get it. They get it like we never will. I’m so proud of my sweet boy, and his love and sensitivity for others, and of course I want to encourage and foster that in him.
So… still not a romantic holiday in my book, but I’m totally on board with loving it up on Valentine’s Day.
The way I show my love is through food. I enjoy cooking – particularly baking – for my loved ones. I created my own recipe for tomorrow’s Valentine’s breakfast. What follows here is a happy accident.
Valentine’s Apple Pie
Croissants Fluffy Tarts
Yeah, so, I had the brilliant idea to do something semi-homemade, like Sandra Lee. (Don’t you love her? I just love her.) One of my favorite, super easy, dessert or breakfast add-ons is skillet apples. Cut up an apple into chunks, cook in butter, add cinnamon and some sweetener, and VOILA! Basically pie filling you can eat with eggs or ice cream, whatever you like. So I thought I’d stuff some pre-made crescent rolls with the filling and my family would hail me as the loving genius that I am.
I’m not going to name names, but instead of getting the more expensive, name-brand crescents, I purchased the store brand. Twenty cents cheaper and “it’s the same thing”, I said to myself. Big no-no in cooking, in my opinion, is cheaping out. A lot of times those costly ingredients cost more for a reason. Yes, you can go generic sometimes but other times you’re paying less because the quality is less. This was one of those times.
I got home and assembled my ingredients:
Next, I heat a “pat” of butter – I just eyeball, it’s probably about a tablespoon – in the skillet:
Add the apples, sweetener, (sugar is best but I used Stevia this time), and as much cinnamon as you like. I like a lot. You know in movies, when Italian Mobsters say “Fuggedaboutit” (sp, obviously) ? Well, one of my favorites of all time is Donnie Brasco, I just so thoroughly enjoy Al Pacino’s Lefty Ruggiero character, it’s beyond explanation. His is the best accent, the best wardrobe, very best “fuggedaboutit” in the film. And friends, I have to tell you, if “fuggedaboutit” had a smell, it would smell like this. Moving on…
Everything’s going fine, I’m thinking I’m going to get this done in 15 minutes and have time to take a nap. Yay Super Mommy! And then, it happened. I peeled back the label on the crescent roll can, holding it as far away from me as possible becauseI am as jumpy as a chihuahua and I hate that “pop” sound. The label came right off, but no pop. I squeezed. Still no pop. Finally I got a large knife and tried to cut them open, but even that was a mess. After a few minutes of wrestling with it, I finally managed to pull the dough out. Unfortunately it was hot and not at all in any recognizable shape. Instead of croissants, I would have to make something else.
Light bulb! I pulled the dough apart and made six somewhat even balls. I sprayed my brand new muffin tin with Pam, and lined six muffin cups with the dough. Tarts! Pies? I don’t know, we’ll see. It’s better than wasting my fuggedaboutit apples, AmIRight?
I quickly – hurriedly, even – filled the dough ball wads with apple goodness and put them in to my preheated (350 degrees) oven for 10 minutes.
The outcome? Better than I could have hoped, all things considered. They are like quiche without egg, like tarts if tart makers allowed a “home-style crust” option. They taste wonderful, and I was still able to get that nap!
They’re buttery, crisp on the outside, soft in the middle and filled with warm apple cinnamon LOVE. Sweet and tangy and everything I want my Valentine’s breakfast to be. This is why cooking is so wonderful! It’s magical, a true adventure… and so are love and mommy-hood.