Valentine’s Day recap

I am generally not a fan of commercialized holidays; my husband knows better than to buy me anything for Sweetest Day, for example.

But I actually love Valentine’s Day.  I celebrate it in a rather Japanese fashion: in Japan, women give chocolates not only to their boyfriends/husbands/boys they like, but also to their girlfriends and coworkers (the ones given to coworkers are hilariously called “obligation chocolates“–it’s very Japanese).

I love to do things like bring in cookies to work, or hand out silly kids’ Valentines, and make my husband something tasty.  And for his part, B never gets me candy on Valentine’s Day, because it tastes exactly the same several days later, when it is 3x cheaper.

This year I made him a frozen peanut butter pie.  This is one of the famous desserts at Ray’s Place in Kent.  My husband went to Kent State, and still meets some of his college buddies at Ray’s frequently.

I used this recipe, but substituted a pre-made Oreo crust with a layer of chocolate sauce between the crust and filling.  This is a pretty quick and easy pie; it’s no-bake!  Unfortunately, I put in in the freezer on Valentine’s Day when we started to make dinner, and then we forgot about it until Monday.  Too much champagne, I guess.

The last time I made this for B, I presented him with a slice, and he informed me that at Ray’s Place, they put chocolate sauce and peanuts on top.  Well, then.

Did I get it right this time, dear?
Did I get it right this time, dear?

To continue our unique Valentine’s Day, we also went to see Kingsman: The Secret Service over the weekend and really enjoyed it.  If you’ve ever wanted to see graphic violence be described as “beautiful,” this movie is for you. I did give a bit of an eyeroll at the end, where I think they took a joke a bit too far.  But otherwise it was quite good, and I’d highly recommend it.

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Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving!  Two years after hosting our first family Thanksgiving, B and I were back to it again.  Yesterday I was kinda freaking out about it and never ever wanted to host again.  But it was a great day, of course, because we were with family, and really put our hearts into preparing food for their enjoyment.  And the smoke detector only went off once.

Only minor issue of the day was that I had bought Fleischmann’s Original, which has dairy, instead of Unsalted, which is Kosher pareve.  A quick internet search informed us that butter-flavored Crisco is also pareve, so that went in the stuffing.  I don’t eat stuffing, but no one else complained.

As for my desserts, I tried out Bananabelle’s Apple Crisp (great for vegan, gluten-free, or Kosher guests).  My attempt had too much crumble for the amount of apples, but it was still pretty tasty.  I also reprised the Pumpkin Cheesecake, because I prefer that to pie.  It didn’t sink in the middle this time, but still cracked.

Today I am thankful for my cat who is keeping my legs warm, my two hands that can make food, my mom who helped me cook the turkey at 8am, my husband who learned how to use the KitchenAid mixer to make mashed potatoes and then dried all the dishes, snow that looks beautiful and doesn’t stick to the road, holidays off from work, and leftovers.  I am truly blessed.

Rare Cheesecake Pocky

WP_000570One of my coworkers visited an Asian import store on a weekend trip and was kind enough to bring me back a treat: a new flavor of pocky!

Pocky, well-known to anime fans, is a Japanese sweet consisting of a biscuit stick with a sweet coating, classically chocolate.  I have a huge sweet tooth so of course I love it.

I was at first confused by this box.  “Rare” cheesecake?  Is this some kind of legendary cheesecake? And why are there lemons? WHAT DOES IT MEAN???

Apparently, rare cheesecake (“rare” meaning “unbaked”) is common in Japan; this may explain the lemon, which would be a common ingredient in no-bake cheesecakes.  I love cheesecake, so I was excited to see what the taste was like.

The little blue bubble at the top says “hiyashite mo oishii” which basically means “also delicious cold.”  So we put the box in the fridge before we tried it, which turned out well.

The pocky actually had a kind of pungent smell, like cheese, but the flavor was totally different. It was kind of a light, sweet flavor with a hint of lemon.  The aftertaste had a little bite.  So, kinda like what I would expect from “cheesecake” but also kinda not.

All in all, this flavor was ok, but I think I like plain chocolate or strawberry better.  I’m pretty plain in my tastes!