Joe and I were never much for Valentine’s Day. True, he did buy me flowers for our first few VD’s together but I eventually told him to stop – a nice bouquet is pretty but is too expensive for what it is and a cheaper-but-jacked-up-price-because-it’s-VD bouquet from Publix or the guy on the street lasted only a day before they’d start to wilt. Save the flowers for when I’ve sung in concerts, TYVM. I’ve never been one for jewelry. Chocolate was nice for a while but then I developed pre-diabetes (gee ,thanks a lot, heredity and being low birth weight!) and a box of caramels and buttercreams, although appreciated, wasn’t doing me any good, either. So we started going out for dinner for VD. Not on the actual day, of course – if we wanted to go anywhere that was nicer than McDonald’s, we’d have to deal with mondo crowds. But a day or two before or after would suffice.

This year we haven’t even do that. Oh, we’ve talked about it but with our wedding anniversary just 9 days after Valentine’s Day, it’d be like 2 “nice” dinners almost in a row. Plus we just went to Bern’s with Dar and John, “just because,” not long ago. AND my birthday is in a month so there would be yet another nice dinner. Plus there’s the whole “trying to eat healthier” thing, which, unless we go to Seasons 52, is not so easy to do when we’re out  (although I’m seriously considering Pizzeria Uno for my birthday…screw the carbs and calories, I want a LOT of pizza and their wonderful peanut butter cup dessert!). So at this point I think going out for VD dinner is on the back burner for now.

Joe was working 9a-5p on Valentine’s Day and since it was a Sunday, I had an excuse to make something “special” (I try to save Sunday dinners for new or special stuff…if he’s working, it’s only until a decent hour and I just have more time to plan and cook and we’re not in a hurry to enjoy it) and followed through with linguini and clam sauce (I LOVE Dreamfields pasta!), with baked zucchini with parmesan on the side. It looked good and tasted even better!

Linguini & Clam Sauce

Linguini & Clam Sauce

Dessert however, was another story. I wanted to keep to both the “Valentine’s Day” and “healthy eating” gendres, which led to pretty slim pickings to begin with. But I had some sugar free Jello and some containers of NF/SF yogurt so I figured I would be creative and do something with that.

I really should know better. I can follow any menu with ease but Littlebit + Cullinary Creativity = Bad Move.

I had some 3″ heart-shaped silicon molds that my in-laws had given me so I put some of the liquified Jello in there. I also had picked up some never-previously-used 1″ heart-shaped candy molds so I filled those too. Plus I had some Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse ice trays (again, silicon) so I filled them up too. Put all of those in the fridge to jell. So far, so good.

Meanwhile I took 2 containers of sugar-free, non-fat yogurt (one strawberry and one vanilla) and “blobbed” them onto a maroon-colored plate, followed by using a knife to “swirl” the 2 together. It looked OK but the strawberry yogurt was a relatively light pink so the swirling effect wasn’t very noticeable…especially after I put the whole shebang in the freezer to harden and it came out with ice crystals all over it so it all looked kind of whitish-pink. But I figured even if that part didn’t come out as I expected, it’d be OK because I still had all of the pretty Jello hearts to add to it.

Um, yeahright.

So first I had the three 3″ silicon hearts. Why didn’t I remember that I detested silicon for cooking, baking or anywhere in the kitchen? Because as carefully as I tried to push the Jello out by turning the silicon inside out, the fragile gelatin hearts started ripping . Torn hearts, how Valentiney! I figured I would be smart for the candy mold Jello hearts and dunk them in some warm water first, so they would loosen and it’d be easier to pop them out. And so, of course, I wound up either dunking them for too long or maybe the water was too hot but I now had re-liquified 1″ hearts. Well, shit. All that was left was the Mickey & Minnie heads and for those I just let them come out however the hell they wanted and in as many tiny pieces as they wanted because, let’s face it, I was totally defeated by then. So I had 3 broken hearts and a dozen mouse head pieces on top of the not-really-noticably-swirled yogurt, with another 15 melted 1″ Jello hearts down the sink. Nice.

I figured I had to salvage this somehow, so I grabbed a can of Reddi-Wip and squirted around the yogurt so it had a white border (more color contrast and to hide the uneven edges of the yogurt blobs). It helped. So I took a picture and then we had our special dinner…which rocked, BTW. The linguini and clam sauce was a hit and Joe had also managed to chill and hide a bottle of Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial (my favorite!), which helped bring the dinner that one step closer to perfection.

And then we had dessert.

Creative Dessert

Creative Valentine's Day Dessert

It really didn’t look that bad, although it was not what was originally in my mind’s eye (contrasting colors of swirled yogurt, intact hearts, a Mickey or Minnie here and there for whimsy). But then we ate it. And discovered that the Jello pieces, from being on top of the frozen yogurt, had frozen…so we had crunchy, broken Jello. And the ReddiWip, after being squirted 45 minutes previously, had essentially melted (I’m sorry…I grew up in a Cool-Whip family and am not familiar with the Rules of ReddiWip). And neither of us really appreciated “regular ol’ yogurt” being frozen. So although it wasn’t BAD, it certainly wasn’t something I plan to make again in the near future. Or the distant future. Or even, I daresay, ever.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Joe. Next time I’ll make a package of instant, sugar free chocolate pudding in custard cups instead. Because I love you that much.

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