Tag Archive | valentines day

Valentine’s day shake

Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends! I hope you have all had a special day today. I know some people don’t like this holiday, but I do…any excuse for an entire day to say ‘I love you’ to your loved ones is a great day in my book!  Although I am missing my valentine this year, I’ve been able to ‘celebrate’ V-Day with him two days in a row because of the time difference…can’t beat that!  Plus, I’m spending the weekend with my sister and Mom, so that is helping to fill the void for me. We just popped some bubbly and cooked a dinner of roasted veggies and fresh haddock. Yum. Yum. Yum.

I always find it fun on holidays to look back at the previous year and reminisce , so today I did just that in my camera.  On Valentine’s Day last year, Brandon made me my very own edible arrangement and cooked a wonderful coconut shrimp dinner. I much prefer eating in and celebrating together just the two of us on this holiday, so it was perfect.  I’ll never forget it! Love you, B.

And just for fun, this was our first  official Valentine’s Day together:
You know how college is…eating carbs before you drink your weight in booze….whoops, guilty! ; )

Anyway, since I’ve had a very busy last two weeks between three exams, applying for grad school, and maid of honor duties, I just haven’t had the opportunity to blog. I’m planning on doing  a catch-up post this week for sure, but with a spare few minutes tonight, I wanted to share this delicious Valentine’s Day protein shake I made this morning for my Mom and me as pre-workout fuel. It’s choc-full of strawberry and chocolate, gluten-free deliciousness, and I enjoyed every sip. I hope you do too!

Valentine’s Day Shake
(Serves 2 as a snack)
-2 scoops Arbonne chocolate protein powder (or any chocolate protein powder would do)
-1/4 cup-1/2 cup almond milk (plain or vanilla)-I used Almond Breeze vanilla, and started with 1/4 cup. Then I added a little more at the end of blending.
-1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
-1 scoop Arbonne fiber boost (optional) 
-8-10 frozen strawberries
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-handful of spinach
-1 tbsp flax (optional)
Crushed ice (to thicken if needed)

1) Put all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. Add more almond milk or ice water as needed. (I tend to like my shakes thick, so I always add less liquid. To me, a shake is best eaten with a spoon!) However, if you prefer a more liquefied shake, just add more water or almond milk. If you’d like it thicker, just use less.
2) Optional: Garnish with a strawberry to make more festive and enjoy!

What are you up to this weekend?
Did you have a fun valentine’s inspired meal today?

We are cheer’sing our girls weekend tonight, and tomorrow we are off to go veil shopping. Yay! Oh, and we are snuggling with the puppies : –) I will also be indulging in some Valentine’s Day caramels tonight…can’t wait!



Mission’s Accomplished

Hey there! How’s your weekend? Mine is almost over, but it’s been a great and mostly-relaxing one. On Friday, I finished my first class of the semester, and on Saturday, completed my first group project of the semester, too…Mission’s accomplished! 2 weeks of class 9-5 everyday including Saturdays was not my definition of fun,  but it’s worth it.  Now I just have to finish 2 more projects and take my exam, and 3 credits are coming my way. Works for me!

Anyway, this week it was Valentines Day, and I have to say, it felt quite different celebrating in Australia. Normally I feel bombarded by the masses of candy, stuffed animals, and decorations in stores, but it’s just not as big over here (at least in our area).  I couldn’t even find Valentine’s m&m’s…the horror! I had to search high-and-low for the baking necessities to make a “valentine-themed” dessert for Brandon, but luckily I found what I needed eventually: pink marshmallows, red icing, and pink sprinkles for valentine Rice-Krispy treats : – )


I actually whipped these up on Wednesday night so they’d be ready for Brandon’s arrival. He’d been gone all week on business, so these were waiting for him in the fridge, and I’m happy to say he loved them. Then, on the night of Valentines Day, he surprised me with my very own homemade edible arrangement. Look at this beauty:

He spent HOURS on it, and I was so touched.  Isn’t he talented? In addition to this, he cooked  a delicious coconut-shrimp dinner with roasted veggies and rocket/parmesan salad, AND he bought cupcakes.

He’s pretty much the best!

This weekend, after working on my project all night on Friday,  heading to an early bootcamp Saturday, and working on my project for 7 hours (!) the rest of the day, I was ready for a relaxing night filled with wine, pizza, and my favorite guy. My go-to dinner on the weekend is homemade pizza, and this Saturday was no exception. I must say, it was a good one!


Sunday morning we had a delicious brunch on the water. Muesli with berry coulis was the order for me.  Muesli has become my go-to brunch in Australia. I am obsessed.


Sunday has concluded with homework, take-out, and a quick facetime session with my favorites back in CT:

I love those little boys.

How was your weekend? What’s your “go-to” weekend meal?

Valentine Oreo Truffles

Baking is easily my favorite part of any holiday…but the worst part about a holiday happening in the middle of the workweek is that I really don’t have much, if any, spare time to bake. So for my valentine, I made a quick, easy, festive, DELICIOUS treat…Oreo truffles! For the basics, you only need two ingredients: Oreos and 1 block of cream cheese, that’s it! To decorate, you’ll need chocolate chips and any decorations of your choice for the truffles.

It may be hard for you to believe that such simple ingredients create a decadent treat. But if you don’t believe me…taste the batter. You’ll be sold! I’ve made these for the last 2 years at Christmas, and now they are a frequently requested dessert in the Rowden household. I really like customizing them for birthdays, holidays, or really any day of the year. Try it, they’re a guaranteed hit!

Oreo Truffles
1 package Oreos (I used reduced fat)
1-8oz block of reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1 package milk chocolate chips (or chocolate of your choice)
Valentine sprinkles 

1)In a food processor(or blender), mix Oreos until they become crumbs. Add cream cheese in small pieces, and blend until you have a dough form.
2) Roll dough into balls and place them on a baking sheet. (I lined mine with parchment paper). Set them in the freezer or refrigerator to harden for approximately 1 hour.
3) Once the dough is set, dip in melted chocolate – milk, dark, or white chocolate will do. Add any decoration on top. Store in the freezer and serve cold.

Oreo Truffles in pink :)

<3 trufflessweets for my sweetie :)

Sugar Cookie Central

It feels like Christmas (it’s as cold, if not colder than December), looks like Christmas (due to the piles upon piles of snow), and smells like Christmas (a result of the aroma of cookies baking!) But it’s not Christmas…it’s Valentines Day! The perfect excuse to make tasty treats if you ask me. When I found out I was responsible for the dessert component of tonight’s dinner, I was
PUMPED! I knew I wanted to make something that I could incorporate pink( my favorite color), red, and white into…so frosting came to mind. My favorite thing to frost is sugar cookies! Plus, my Mom has one of the easiest, tastiest, and somewhat healthiest sugar cookie dough recipes that I’ve ever seen. I say healthiest because this recipe only calls for one stick of butter. Most sugar cookie recipes call for two. If you don’t believe me, look online!

I firmly believe a recipe is a good recipe if you reuse it over and over again. This recipe descended from Grammie Rowden’s cookbook and we still have her original recipe card. It’s that good! Although I’m fully aware sugar cookies can be a tedious task, I was prepared. I made the dough yesterday afternoon, let it chill overnight, and baked the cookies after work today.

chillin' dough

 I made the frosting as they cooled, and split it up into 3 separate batches for 3 different colors.

frosting assembly line

Grammie Rowden’s Sugar Cookies 
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 T milk (I used skim)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cream of tarter
1/2 tsp. salt
2 ½ cups flour ( I used white)


1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place butter and sugar in the bowl, and beat until combined. Add the eggs, vanilla, and milk and beat to combine.


2) Sift together flour, baking powder, cream of tarter and salt, and add to liquids. Mix all together.

all together

3) Wrap dough in wax paper and chill for approximately 2 hours (or length desired).

chillin' dough

4) Sprinkle a work surface ( I put wax paper down) and rolling pin with flour and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move dough frequently to prevent it from sticking and add more flour to the work surface and rolling pin as needed. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, (or a paper cookie cutter like me!),cut hearts, re-rolling dough as needed. Place at least 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets, and bake until cookies are set but not brown, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool on the pan slightly before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

ohhh my cookie cutter

into the oven

2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 – 2 lbs powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk ( I used low-fat)

Mix butter and powdered sugar together, adding sugar gradually to the mix. Add vanilla. Mix in milk, adding more if needed. Continue to add milk and sugar until it reaches the desired consistency. Add food coloring if desired!

pretty, huh?

love themed!

the whole batch

I’m off to lick the spatulas! Don’t be jealous!

What did you make for Valentine’s Day?