In my almost 28 years of life, there are only 4 Valentine’s Days that I vividly remember.
The first, in 8th grade, involved my very first boyfriend, an embarrassingly huge balloon and a great big stuffed teddy bear that I got to carry around all day at school.
You know, in the 8th grade, Valentine’s Day is such a big deal. You’re past the tiny cartoon cards and it’s all about “showing your love”. Because in the 8th grade, you’re grown. And you know everything and you’re so mature and romantic. Or so you think. Even looking back now and seeing how ridiculous my friends and I were in the 8th grade, it was a fun Valentine’s Day because it was my first time to ever get gifts like that from a boy.
The second one I remember has nothing to do with romance at all. In fact, it has to do with my parents. When my sisters and I were growing up, my parents would always have little gifts for us for Valentine’s Day – candy, earrings, stickers, little toys, things like that. But one year they totally surprised my older sister and me by getting us our very own phone line.
Can you imagine? Our OWN phone line! We could call whoever we wanted, at any time, and not have to share the phone. I could talk to my friends all day long. Or call boys. Or have boys call me. On my own, personal, phone line.
And our phone was incredible. It was a clear phone with neon wires that lit up when it was ringing, like this one.
Pretty sweet, right? I bet Kelly Kapowski had one like this in her room. I’m not exactly sure why this Valentine’s Day has stuck with me, but it’s a fun, yet totally random, memory.
The third Valentine’s Day I remember isn’t exactly romantic, either, but it’s one of many memories I hope I never lose. While this Valentine’s Day celebration began with heart-printed silk boxers as prank gifts for some of our guy friends from church, it ended with a dinner and the first roses I was ever given. All through high school, I participated in District Chorus, and that year, our concert happened to fall on Valentine’s Day. From 8 am until 3 pm that day, I was in rehearsals and was given just enough time to get home, get changed, and get back to the school for the concert at 7 pm that evening.
Since our day was filled, my family ended up going to dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s after the concert was over and we were joined by some very important guys in my life, ones that shaped my world back then and who, while they may not know it, showed me what friendship and love could be and what they should be.
My sister and I made heart shaped brownies to give to the guys, but they topped us that night. They showed up with red roses and baby’s breath for each of us girls: my mom, my sister, me, and my Mammaw. With each flower, they gave us a hug and kiss on the cheek and it was one of the sweetest nights in my high school years.
And finally, the fourth, and most important, Valentine’s Day.
My first real date with Nick.
Nick and I met through mutual friends – he was roommates and best buddies with my guy friends in college from back home, so we knew each other for over a year before we started dating.
Nick wouldn’t ask me out because I had a bad perm (I did) – or so he says ; )
So a few months later, after hanging out as friends, I got rid of the perm and we started hanging out more. And one night, we were at a basketball game with a group of friends and he was telling me how cute he thought my roommate was. Well, I was against that. I wasn’t sure at that point if I thought we would date, but I certainly didn’t want him dating her – if he was going to date anyone, it was going to be me!
When I went back to my room that night, I told her that Nick thought she was cute but that she shouldn’t date him. Turns out, she had just started dating someone else anyways, so it didn’t matter.
But as soon as I thought he liked her, I wanted to date him instead.
So his trick worked. We started hanging out more often and, finally, our first date just happened to land on Valentine’s Day.
He cooked me dinner. Chicken and homemade biscuits.
And that was that. I was a goner.
He could cook! He was funny and sweet and incredibly handsome and he was friends with my friends and he did cool things like rock climbing and skateboarding and I fell head over heels for him in, what felt like, a matter of seconds.
So, yes, I guess you could say good biscuit baking runs in his family. As does tricking girls into going on dates with you and being too cute for their own good.
And while I’m not making chicken and biscuits for our Valentine’s Day breakfast, I did want to do something bigger if for no other reason that it’s Monday morning. But it is also the 9th anniversary of our first date, and that calls for something special.
Besides, when you marry into a family that thrives on breakfast foods, you have to learn fast to hold your own.
I think I’m getting there.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pancakes
- 1 cup oats
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- pinch salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 Tbsp light oil or melted butter
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- Mix the oats and buttermilk in a bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes, or, ideally, overnight.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Add the beaten egg and oil/butter to the oat and buttermilk mixture and stir together.
- Add the oat mixture to the flour mixture, and stir to blend.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and brush or spray with oil. *Tip: To make sure it’s hot enough, wet your fingers under the faucet and sprinkle a few droplets of water onto the pan. If they sizzle, it’s ready.
- Scoop the batter, 1/4 – 1/3 cup at a time onto the pan. *This is where I added the chocolate chips – just drop a few onto the top side of the pancake while the batter is still wet. You could also add berries, nuts, bananas, or any other mix-in you’d like at this point.
- When the bottoms are browned and the top is set around the edges, flip the pancakes. Cook until the second side has browned.
- Re-spray/grease the skillet if needed, and repeat with the remaining batter. If the pancakes begin to brown too quickly, lower the heat just a bit.
- Serve hot, with
maple syrup and raspberry sauce.
- 5 oz. frozen raspberries
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 1 Tbsp water
- Combine ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
- Let cook until raspberries have thawed and broken down and the sauce has thickened slightly.
- Serve warm over pancakes, crepes, or ice cream.