Thursday, February 9, 2012

# 198 - Humorous Romantic Dinner is the BEST

Last night we celebrated Deputy Dave's 47th birthday. He's quite the young man still, but I wanted to celebrate with him in a special way. First, I must mention that for the first time in our marriage, I am officially a full-fledged "Hausfrau."

What does this mean? It means...I'm a House-Wife and no longer the business woman that I'd enjoyed being for most of our marriage. Things have definitely changed around here over the past couple of years..So, instead of going out to a five-star restaurant in Houston, we do things differently for most celebrations...we often celebrate at home.

Since we're putting our house on the market this week so that we can be moved to the country, and actively "working" toward an early retirement, this goal requires significant cut backs right now. However, I have great news that comes with a challenge. Cutting back does not mean that your quality of life must suffer. To the contrary, with creativeness and a lot fewer dollars, you can have richer experiences.

I making sure to add the spice mixture all under the skin and
then I'm rubbing it all over the outer parts of the chicken for a good coating.
For this birthday celebration, I decided to do something from the heart, something surprising and nice.

What does Deputy Dave like most? I thought about it. And fishing came to mind. Fishing and kayaking, but that is besides the point. Truly, he's a well-rounded kind of guy and likes many things, but he always loves a good home-cooked meal. And, this sounds sweeter than I thought it would to my own ears, but he loves it when I do "wifey" things.

He's a modern, sophisticated man, yet has an old-fashioned Southern soft spot to him that perks up when I fold his laundry, cook his dinner or polish the furniture. He sees value in me doing these things, not only because it means HE doesn't have to do them, it's because those things also hold non-verbal significance that I enjoy my life with him, and that I actually love doing things for him. Even mundane things. After all, it truly is the small things in life that matter most.

I'm happy, content and glad to make a nice home with my man. A kind-hearted man with a tender side shown to his wife can surely make her feel like a fulfilled woman. I am excited to celebrate my husband's 47th birthday with him because we've both chilled out significantly through the years. We've learned to slow down and to appreciate the importance of being excessively kind to each other. Sweet love can't be beat.

As I prepare dinner, Deputy Dave is cleaning the
windows I don't dare touch.
To be honest, ten years ago, I would have cringed at the thought of being a Hausfrau, but it's no longer all drudgery, as I had imagined it to be. Dedicating my focus and time to my home, to my relationships, to domesticated purposes, I am finding that I am challenged in a new way. And I like a challenge, but not challenges like the one in the picture he's onto the outside working on the blasted sky-high windows at the foyer. Thank Goodness that I have a husband who handles these difficult tasks. I'd be able to climb the ladder, but then I'd be frozen and not be able to come back down. Yes, it's happened.

For me, a main challenge has always been cooking. Don't get me wrong, I can definitely cook several show-stopping meals, but it's sometimes hit and miss. I'm not one of those people who can just throw a delicious meal together. I do have to put in a lot of work toward understanding what I will be tackling before I get going. So, for this birthday dinner, I skimmed part of my menu from watching an early morning news show with an interesting cooking segment. The Chef was cooking a whole chicken, after it had been split and cooked face down in a large iron skillet after being rubbed generously with herbs. I thought...I CAN DO THAT!

Two foil wrapped bricks set down on top of the chicken pressed the chicken fully into the pan so that the most of the surface of the chicken could be cooking and roasting for that crispy, caramelized chicken skin that is so delectable. Yes, I'll try a variation of that cooking method, but with half a chicken, and I won't use the bricks; I used a sheet of foil and placed another heavy iron skillet on top of the chicken while it cooked on the stovetop.

The chicken sizzled in the iron skillet that had a light brushing of olive oil with spices covering the chicken thoroughly. Adding slices of carrots and quarter cuts of onion into the skillet with the chicken brought the kitchen smells to delightful heights.

After cooking the chicken on the cooktop for about 20 minutes, I then finished it off in the oven at about 375 degrees for another 17-20 minutes with a foil cover while making green beans, then pasta shells in white cheddar with home-made garlic toast. 

We had a feast.

Skillet/Oven roasted herb chicken with caramelized onions and carrots.
Well worth the was delicious.
 For dessert, I made Chocolate Molten Lava Cake...sinful.

Earlier in the day, as Deputy Dave worked in Houston I decided to go the extra mile and set the cozy kitchen table for two for a romantic dinner. I left the two chairs at either end and removed the other two chairs out of sight. I took quite a bit of time selecting a proper tablecloth, no, not a curtain, but an authentic tablecloth, and I settled upon one in my collection that is known for standing the test of time.

This antique lace tablecloth had belonged to my great-grandmother, my grandmother and my mother; it has a few blemishes and tears, which only add to its allure. Many tables have been graced with this particular tablecloth and I felt it a high honor for it to lay across my humble table. 

Then, I began to set out the China to only change my mind and go for a different "daily" China set. Authentic sterling silverware added to the simple elegance of our table setting, along with the use of  antique napkins trimmed in lace.

Upon his return home from work Deputy Dave walked through the door and once he saw the decked-out table with the lace, the China, the sterling silverware and the candles, he made no secret about how pleased he felt about it, the shock showed on his face as he said, "This is probably the nicest thing I've had anyone do for me on my birthday."


Yes, I've done similar things such as this in the past, but now, it's just the two of us...things grow finer with time. It's the wonderful part of maturity and growing older...we finally slow down enough to appreciate life on a new level. Our senses seem to be sharpened.

Then, he looked at me to see that I was actually wearing a dress! Of course, with flip flops! Regardless, I was wearing a dress. Not my regular house dress used for cleaning, but a nicer dress. He could see that I was going through loving efforts to show him how much he means to me, especially on his birthday.
I must say, the candelabra added a touch of softness and romance to the table after we lit each candle. We bought this thing for our youngest after she fell in love with Phantom of the Opera. It came in handy for this special night.

It's a birthday dinner, no candles in a cake, but these will work!
As I finished up the last of dinner and we were nearing serving time, Deputy Dave had run to take a shower and he came out dressed up, sort of, and my heart was touched like it's never been touched before.

At this moment, I'm ready to live out one of my romance
novel scenes and just let the dang dinner get cold!! Hubba Hubba.
Here we were, just the two of us, our kids our grown and gone...we could be sitting on our joint love-seat recliner for another night of watching some television, but this was very special. We turned the television off and the music on.

I looked at him and found him to be more handsome than ever, at 47 years of age. And, I've known him since he was 14 years old. But, in that dress shirt, overalls and tie, he knocked me off my feet.

It was the sweetest gesture he could've made to show me that the dinner did mean something special to him and we were indeed having more fun than our kids could imagine. Yes, the little things do matter.
I love this guy. He makes me laugh.

Don't worry, the tea still smells like...tea.
He gave me two beautiful daughters. He brings excitement to our world about the tedious process of getting moved to our acreage. Even with all the unknowns, he exudes confidence and great ideas about living on our land. I get scared and worried, then he comforts and assures me that everything will work out, because we are determined, because we have each other and we're not afraid of new beginnings.

And even though I don't think life could hardly get any better than this evening together, we look forward to many more sit-downs in the country, just like this, on the front porch of our cabin in the woods.

Living on a tight budget and working with what you've got can indeed be a thrill. Yes, I'm thrilled.


Dreaming said...

What a sweet guy! I cracked up at the picture of your Honey all dressed up for dinner! What a fun guy!

Charade said...

Lana, This is indeed a wonderful warm story. I just love the tie tucked into the chest pocket of those overalls. 47 never looked better!

Michelle said...

What a sweet story. I like that he cleans window.ha,ha, It is so true it's the little thing that matter.

LindaG said...

Thanks for the chicken recipe! May have to give it a try. :)

A belated Happy Birthday to Deputy Dave!

You did a fantastic job, Lana!

DFW said...

Love this post. I too, am afraid to come down the ladder, or reach too far off as well. If I happen to get on the roof, it takes me at least 30 minutes to wrap myself around the upper portion and position myself to climb down.

Your dinner looked delicious and lovely. Congrats on all your time together.

Deputy Dave and my husband sound a lot alike. Mine makes me laugh daily, which if you don't laugh, life isn't fun right?

Happy Birthday Deputy Dave!

Texan said...

Good for you guys!! We are so enjoying this time in our lives as well!

Mike said...

Okay, I laughed at the overalls. Not that there's anything wrong with overalls, mind you. It was the tie. I immediately thought of Mr. Haney.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Sounds like the perfect birthday. It also sounds like you two don't take each other for granted. Awesome. May you celebrate many more special occasions together.