Southern Valentine

Submitted by Christi
Still happy after all these years.

Still happy after all these years.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Personally, I’ve never really been a big fan. When I was a kid I enjoyed making the Valentine bags from white paper sacks and red and pink construction paper. I liked exchanging the little paper Valentines with all my school friends.

When I got older the expectations changed. If you were not in a relationship you always hated Valentine’s Day. If you were in a relationship, you hoped it would live up to your expectations and it caused a lot of pressure on you and your sweetie.

I’ve been happily married for a little over 11 years now and I actually enjoy Valentine’s Day a little more now. I don’t have a lot of expectations. We are usually too busy to do too much. Maybe a nice dinner with dessert. We rarely ever have dessert around here so that is a big deal. We usually even make our own Valentines and don’t bother with store bought and don’t even exchange gifts. This is fine with me. Now it is just kind of a day to reflect that we are happy with each other and still in love . . .

That is not just enough, that is a lot!

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!

Today’s Lagniappe: Christi’s Chocolate Chocolate Pudding Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Note: This is my easier version of Emeril Lagasse’s chocolate chocolate pudding cake with chocolate ganache. If you are more ambitious, you can make his original version.

  • 1 chocolate cake mix baked according to package directions
  • 3/4 cups Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur
  • 1 pkg. chocolate¬† pudding made according to directions
  • 2 cups heavy cream 1-1/2 lbs. semi-sweet chocolate squares, chopped

Bake the chocolate cake according to package directions. Make 2 layers. Using a serrated knife, cut each layer in half horizontally.

Brush 3 of the layers with 1/4 cup Grand Marnier each.

Make the chocolate pudding according to the package directions. You may use regular or instant.

Place one of the soaked layers on a round piece of cardboard on a wire rack. Cover with 1/3 of the pudding. Repeat with 2 other soaked layers and top with the 4th layer.

Trim cake if necessary to make it smooth on all sides. Chill the cake for 2 hours.

Combine the cream and chopped chocolate in a medium-size nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and stir to cool, lifting the mixture out of the pot several times with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until it cools slightly. It should be glossy and slightly thick. This is the tempering process.

Spoon the mixture onto the top of the chilled cake, allowing the overflow to drip down the sides. Cool slightly. Carefully remove the cake from the wire rack. Chill for at least 6 hours.

Garnish with chocolate curls.

Southern Help for Single Gals

Submitted by Christi
Me being happy with my husband.

Me being happy with my husband.

Okay, I’m finally going to do it. I have said for years that I needed to write a book for single women on dating. After a nasty breakup (back in my dating days), I was really in a funk. A male friend of mine laid it on the line for me and gave me a “system” to dating that gave me back my confidence and helped every relationship I had with men from then on. This friend had been a football player so he kind of put it in football terms but that was okay because I like football and it made sense to me. I’m going to write about this system and hope that it will help others women with their dating relationships.

Actually, my best friend, Jay Richey, and I had kind of started on this book back in 2005. She was battling breast cancer at the time but we worked on it when we could. She lost her battle with breast cancer on Christmas day of 2005. I put the book idea away for a long time after her death. Now, I’m ready to write it and remember her and her great ideas. We actually had thought we could write a comedic book about our dating experiences and laughed and laughed talking about them.

If you are single or have single friends, keep watching. I’ll keep you posted.

Today’s Lagniappe: Travis Avenue Goulash
(from Travis Avenue Baptist Church Cookbook)

Note from the cookbook: Back in 1938 it was customary for the different Sunday school classes to take turns serving lunch to the WMU ladies on Tuesday. One Tuesday morning only two frightened young brides reported for kitchen duty but Mable Estes saved the day by furnishing Dorothy Sanderson and Jackie Meeks with the following recipe and showed us how it was made.

1 pkg. macaroni cooked and drained
1 lb. ground beef, fried
1 can tomatoes
1 lg. onion , diced
1 lb. diced cheese

Cook and drain macaroni. Add 1 pound browned ground beef. Add 1 can tomatoes and 1 large onion diced. let simmer. just before serving, add 1 pound diced cheese. With a salad, drink and dessert, it makes a very good meal.