Friday, January 28, 2011

Fancy Dinners

Duck is on sale for $1.49/lbs this weekend at a local grocery store! I'm so excited!!! The last time I bought a duck it was significantly more expensive! I can only get two at that price though, so I'll get them and maybe save them until summer or easter time. Unfortunately, the thought of eating duck right now isn't very appealing to me, so I'll have to wait to cook it until my tummy is a bit more predictable (hello third trimester).
I really want to make a special dinner for Matt and while duck seems like it would fit the bill I prefer cooking duck when we're having company over. That being said, I don't know when would even be the best time for me to make a fancy dinner for Matt. Valentines Day is coming up, but I doubt we'd be able to find a sitter that day and I don't know if the menu I was thinking of would sit well with Gabe. Also, it's a bit less romantic to have a candle lit dinner at home with a toddler yelling "ALL DONE!" every 5 minutes. So I think I'll just do a nice dessert for Valentines Day: Chocolate Pots de Creme. I've got a fantastic recipe for them that Matt really loves so I think I'll stick with the back massage plan that I mentioned in a previous post and the Pots de Creme will serve as a nice chocolatey extra.
Matt's birthday is also in February so maybe that's when I'll make this fantabulous dinner for him. It's mid-week so I'm sure we could get his parents to take Gabe for dinner and I'd have plenty of time to prepare. I haven't finalized the menu, but I'm thinking stuffed manicotti, crab legs, a fresh loaf of bread with some goat cheese, a nice salad (Matt loves salad) and a fresh pie for dessert. I know it sounds a bit more homey than fancy but it's alot more work to make all that up than to do a more gourmet meal. Mainly because it will all be from scratch - from the tomato sauce in the manicotti to the salad dressing. Plus, it includes some of Matt's favorite things: baked pasta, fresh bread, good cheese and pie. And while he does appreciate the occassional meal of lamb chops in a red wine sauce, I can do pasta and crab a heck of a lot cheaper than I can do lamb right now.
We're still on a kick right now about saving money so all of fancy meal costs will have to fit in to our regular monthly grocery budget - whereas some meals I've made for Matt have cost 1/5th of the whole budget. I always keep bread ingredients stocked, I've got loads of leftover chocolate from Christmas baking for the Pots de Creme, Crab legs go on sale every couple weeks if you know where to look for them and everything else would be fairly regular purchases that will serve for more than just one meal.
In keeping with our low cost life style, our Valentines Day outing will actually be taking place a day after Valentines Day at which point we will be going to the movies. Now, while going to the movies doesn't sound like a particularly cheap thing to do, we have coupons! Two admissions and two popcorns and pops. Sounds nice, eh? Things like that have been some of our favorite gifts lately - date night coupons and gift cards, I mean. We were given some gift cards to Earl's for Christmas and have had a nice dinner out with the whole fam and have enough left over for a quick dessert stop for Matt and I on date night. I actually really like getting gift cards for Christmas because even if you're trying to save money, you can still treat yourselves occassionally and not feel guilty that you didn't spend your Starbucks gift card elsewhere. We even got some prepaid Mastercards for Christmas that are going towards our Babymoon in March. Any gift that helps my husband and I spend more time together, is a good gift. I'm also a coupon hound so while everyone else throws their flyers away without a second glance, I always give them a good look through. We regularly get coupons for free appetizers at restaurants, discounts on golf games, and hey, I wouldn't have known about the duck on sale if I did read the flyers!
I'm in a hosting mood lately and it seems ages since I did any baking. Perhaps I ought to do something about that, hey?

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

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