Happy Valentine's Day & Happy Birthday, Kitty!

Growing up my mom always made a big deal over holidays. There were always sugar cookies decorated for the occasion and gifts and cards and home decorations; all the things I love and are super comforting to me. I know that some of the holidays might seem forced (or a conspiracy created by Hallmark) but I think it's sort of nice to have a regular day that is dedicated to telling the most important people in your life that you love them.

So, Valentine's planning started about 2 weeks ago, within a couple of days of being back from the honeymoon. My massage therapist, Sara Baltes, teamed up with a fellow massage therapist, to offer couples massage. Their Facebook page is 4 Hands and Couples Massage, and I would highly recommend them! I was scheduled for my own massage for tomorrow but when I saw her page I immediately snagged a spot for Tyler and me instead. I had really wanted to do a couples massage in the Dominican but they were unbelievably expensive! So this was must have been fate! The massages were so relaxing and it was fun to get them done together at the same time. 

In addition to our couples massage that we got this morning, I got up and made Tyler breakfast. 
 Broccoli, mushroom, and tomato egg white omelet, sourdough toast with avocado smashed on top. Unfortunately his omelet was HUGE so it broke. He ate half and the birthday girl got a second breakfast!
I had to add a little heart to make it special. Besides, the Mr. loves Sriracha!

Tyler is the cook in the family but I am trying to enhance my cooking skills. He makes breakfast for me all of the time so I thought I would treat him to breakfast AND doing the dishes. See how sweet I am?

I also made us some smoothies. Since we got back from our honeymoon we have been having a green smoothie a day, minimum. Sometimes we will have one in the evening too before dinner to curtail our appetite so we are not ravenous. I decided with it being Valentine's day I would skip the greens and shoot for a more appropriate color, pinky red!

HeartBEET smoothie:
Ingredients:
*1 medium beet
*1/2 cup frozen raspberries
*a few strawberries ( I used four)
*1/2 cup water
*1/2 cup plant-based milk
*1 banana

Directions:
Chop beets into smaller pieces to make it easier for the blender. Mix beet with water until blended. Add in the rest of the ingredients and blend until the mixture is creamy and there are no more chunks (usually 1-2 minutes to be sure). Add a straw and enjoy!

Tyler ended up finding the smoothie to be slightly bitter (I loved it, which is huge as I am not a huge fan of beets) so he added about a 1/2 cup of orange juice and sucked it down. 

For me, I made Buckwheat pancakes with some strawberries:

Fortunately buckwheat and brown rice are allowed on the elimination diet I am on so I can still do pancakes and have brown rice with lunch or dinner. I will be posting an update on the diet tomorrow (hint: things are going well!).

After the massage, Tyler and I went to lunch at Sockeye where I had some yummy salmon. From there we ran some errands, I took a nap (weekends are the BEST for that), and then took Kitty for a walk.

 The birthday girl!
One of our errands was to the library. I am looking forward to digging into these!

After the walk with Kitty, I went to make a green smoothie, as my energy was fading, and I broke the magic bullet!!! Cue the violins! It was super depressing. But we use that thing A LOT! And at $50, we knew it went last forever. So we went to Macy's and fell in love with the Ninja Ultima, which we wanted to purchase, but they didn't have any in stock. We would have to order it and it would take 7-10 DAYS to get to us! Since we don't have a blender either and the food processor does not work (I tried) we decided to check out ol' trusty Amazon. And what do you know? We found one for $40 cheaper than the one at Macy's and we will get it Wednesday with prime. I love you, Amazon.

Anyway, in addition to spoiling Tyler, he spoiled me too! He got me a bottle of red wine, which was the wine he brought over on our very first date! I remembered it was a cab but he remembered the brand. He's the best! He also got me two types of loose leaf, organic tea from World Market, as well as a bar of 99% dark chocolate. Love me some antioxidants! That is after I am done with the elimination diet. He did good.

Remember when I mentioned my niece and I made Valentine's presents for her parents and grandparents? Well here it is:

I found a recipe for salt dough online and I made the dough, rolled it out, and used my heart cookie cutter to make these. I put a hole through the top so I could put the ribbon through and then I baked them for about 15 minutes. After they cooled I painted them white. Then I took out the water colors and finger paints, put an apron on Bella, and she went to town. She is only 2 and 1/2 so she spent a lot of time putting the brush in the water and then mixing all of the colors, hence the rather brown-colored heart. I discovered she does NOT like to get dirty so she was not interested in the finger paints unless she used her brush. Then I made a card and she signed the inside with her paint brush. It kept her busy for about an hour and it is a fun little keepsake. 

Then, yesterday I decided to make chocolate-covered strawberries for my parents. I stopped at Rosaur's to get some organic dark chocolate (I love the Endangered Species brand as their chocolate is DELICIOUS and some of the proceeds go to saving the rain forest-super cool!) and strawberries. I looked at the organic strawberries and they were $10! So I went for the non-organic and decided to rinse them in vinegar water to help wash away some of the pesticides.
 I just filled up my sink with water and put 2 tablespoons of white vinegar it and let it sit for 10 minutes. 
 I put a pot half full of water on the burner with a large pyrex bowl over it with the chocolate inside, essentially creating my own double boiler. It works super well to melt the chocolate.
Then I covered the strawberries in the chocolate and put it on parchment paper to dry. I had a box decorated in flowers so I put some parchment paper in there and placed the strawberries in once the chocolate was mostly dry.

I headed to my parents to deliver the gifts. My mom thought they were super tasty and my niece, Bella, and cousin, Addison, loved them too! I was glad they were fans of the 72% dark chocolate.

So that was how we spent Valentine's Day plus Kitty's birthday. Tonight we are headed out with one of Tyler's friends to celebrate his birthday. 

How was your Valentine's? Did you do anything special? 

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