It is 10:00 pm on Valentine’s Day and all I can think is: full. I am not just talking about being a wee bit stuffed on good eats, sweets, and treats (tho’ there was plenty of that). I am full to overflowing with lovin’ good feelings, thanks to this day that some say was created by Hallmark. If it was, then kudos to them. Any day of the year that is set aside specifically for people to share the love is alright by me! It was everywhere, this crazy little thing called love – it was flowing on Facebook, on the playground, in the kids’ classrooms, and, of course, here at home.
Valentine’s Day is a somewhat big deal here, especially this year, because it happens to be the anniversary of my first date with Mark– 25 years ago! Back in 1987, our big night on the town consisted of Pizza Hut and the latest Michael J. Fox movie, “Light of Day” with Joan Jett. We actually re-created that date on our 15th Valentine’s Day and discovered with some chagrin that the movie wasn’t any better the second time. While we don’t go hog-wild celebrating (it’s just not our style) we sure acknowledge this milestone each year in little ways. You can say a lot on just a little Post-it note
Now, married with three DNA projects running around the house, it seems this tradition is genetic. Today we were showered with hugs and kisses, homemade Valentine’s cards, heart-shaped objects, and in grand fashion, a scavenger hunt complete with clues and a hidden message, leading to a gigantic card hidden under a bed. It was truly awesome to see our kids freely expressing their love with joy and honesty. They may not be all that clean, quiet, or tactful– but surely we are doing something right!
What did I contribute to this love-fest? Normally I get the kids little tokens, like a card and some candy. Last year, I wrote them each a love letter (which, if I recall, thrilled one, embarrassed one, and made the other just smile sweetly). This year, Mark and I happened to hit a huge Clearance sale at a sporting goods store and so snagged them each a fleece jacket at a great price. Yes, this is much more of a gift than we would normally give them, but the thought of hanging onto these until Christmas seemed virtually impossible. I was either going to lose them or forget about them, and either would have aggravated me to no end. Besides, I had gotten myself one as well (a kids’ XL) and certainly wasn’t waiting 10 months to wear mine! So here is me with my little Valentine’s, all in our new jackets
The rest of my V.D. plans involved putting together a nice dinner of haddock, fancified with candles, real napkins, and some sort of festive dessert.
The table turned out nice…
The dessert (just a simple vanilla pudding parfait with some red food coloring) turned out, well, you decide…
The haddock turned out great. I can’t believe I never tried corn flakes as a coating before! So crunchy and delicious, it was the perfect addition for this mild-tasting fish. A little homemade tartar sauce on the side was all it needed. A side of broccoli, sweet potato fries (Alexia foods), and some crusty French bread, and we had ourselves a feast.
While some may not realize this, haddock, cod, tilapia, and similar white fish cook up quickly in the oven – about 20 minutes at 425 degrees. So, if you would like to add more fish to your diet, go for it! It is so much easier than you might think.
Healthy Oven-Fried Haddock
1.5 pounds haddock fillets
3 cups corn flakes, crushed
1/2 cup flour
2 egg whites, whisked together with 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Divide haddock fillets into 5 or 6 similar sized portions. Put cereal, egg whites/water, and flour in three separate shallow pans (I use pie tins or round cake pans). Prepare baking sheet by placing a cookie rack inside of it.
First, dredge the fish fillet in flour; shake off excess. Next, dip the fillet in the egg white until all sides are covered. Then, press the fillet into the corn flakes, making sure to cover the entire fillet. Put each fillet on the cookie rack/baking sheet.
Drizzle one teaspoon of melted butter over each fillet. Bake in 425 degree oven for 18-22 minutes, until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve immediately.