If you haven’t thought about it, it’s time you did. Valentine’s Day is February 14th, like it is every year, and that means it is coming quickly. Since it is indeed the same date every year, there are no real excuses for forgetting. People who forget anniversaries or birthdays are thoughtless, but the ones who forget Valentine’s Day have no excuses. They are mean. The great thing about this holiday is that it doesn’t revolve around how much you spend but rather around the fact that you thought of another person, be it your grandmother, your best friend, the guy who runs the toll booth, or your sweetheart. Treat your loved one to your creative genius by giving a handmade card with glitter and ribbons. Bake heart shaped cookies and frost them with pale pink icing – put them in a basket with a half pound of your favorite coffee blend. Give your spouse one heart shaped item for every year you have been married and it doesn’t have to be expensive – soaps, candles, notepads, earrings – can all be found in heart shapes, and placed in a tissue lined heart shaped box, they will be a treasure. Try to remember that there is nothing worse than not being thought of on the day Americans set aside for love, so remember them all. The best Valentine you will ever receive is the one you give yourself when you show that you care.
Shepherd’s Pie is a traditional dish from the British Isles, loved for its deep meaty flavor and hearty textures. It is easy to make and something tasty enough to serve to guests.
Brown 3 pounds of steak (your favorite cut), thinly sliced into bite sizes, one large chopped onion and two cloves of minced garlic in enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the skillet, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. When the onions are tender and the meat browned on all sides add one quarter cup Worcestershire sauce, 2 cups of Swanson’s Beef Broth (it is less salty than other brands) one bottle of your favorite dark ale, and three to four carrots sliced. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. After twenty minutes add one bag of petit frozen peas and continue to simmer.
While the beef mixture simmers, cut six large peeled red or gold potatoes into bite sized pieces and place in a pan of salted water on high heat. When the potatoes boil turn down, but let the water continue to boil for fifteen minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain the potatoes thoroughly in a colander so that they are dry. Return to pan, add six tablespoons of sliced butter, garlic salt and coarse ground pepper to taste, two teaspoons of ground sage and one third cup heated half and half. Mash potatoes until creamy and spices are incorporated.
When the beef has simmered for one half hour and the liquid has reduced by about a third, transfer to oblong glass pan. Sprinkle mixture with two tablespoons of flour, spread mashed potatoes over the top and sprinkle with one half cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Bake pie in a 350 degree oven for fifteen minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Serve immediately from oven with a green salad or sliced tomatoes. When you receive rave reviews, be humble and say it was just something you threw together.
The recently released film, War Horse, directed by Steven Spielberg and adapted from a children’s novel written in 1982 by Michael Morpurgo, tells the story of a horse loved and raised by a boy in England prior to and during World War I. There is always a fear in animal movies that the film will endear a creature to the audience then snatch it away in a poignant ending scene. There is a tendency in film makers and some writers to believe that children need to face the harshness of life by dealing with the death of a pet. This hopelessly shortsighted philosophy has ruined many a novel or movie over the years for those of us whose hearts are shredded most easily by the suffering of an animal. It is our pleasure however, to inform the hesitant movie going public, that though the story of the War Horse named Joey, does take the gallant creature through seemingly endless difficulties, facing the full onslaught of a devastating war, the audience is rewarded with a victorious ending, which makes it worth the price of admission. There is nothing more gratifying than beating the odds, and Joey’s story lets us beat them soundly.
Valentine’s Day is the time to celebrate how much you love the people around you. It is for love between sweethearts, best friends, families and even our favorite fur covered friends. It is the day for telling the people in your life that you are privileged to know them, that their affection for you makes every day better, that your love for them is bigger than the sky and twice as bright. Do something this Valentine’s Day that reminds your loved ones, and you too, that with all the busy days we live, and all the hours we work, and the many times we feel we might be in over our heads, it is the ones we love, the ones whose love we are blessed to share, who make each day worth the effort. Sharing the joy of our hearts with the people we love brings health and strength to our lives in ways that nothing else will. Loving someone is better nourishment than the finest fruit, and greater exercise than the longest run, because it gives our insides the chance to set our own cares aside and focus on the needs of another, and that is life lived best.
The right pair of jeans is similar in importance to the right hair cut. They have to fit properly, and comfort is a must, and it is best if they have that little something extra that says “now that’s a pair of jeans”. Pine Country Feed gets the whole “jeans are my life” way of thinking and they carry a fabulous selection of just right, soft as butter denim duds that will put you on the cover of “got it goin’ on” magazine. There are only a few things in life that can actually turn your attitude around in an instant but slipping into that perfect fit, with just the right amount of flair is one of them. Pair your jeans with a perfectly feminine, astoundingly stylish cowgirl designer top and you will be ready to bring in the herd or go out on the town, or both. Get out to Pine Country and see if you don’t fall in love, over and over again.