Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Best Wife Ever = Me!

I love, love, love giving presents! More than that, I love giving presents earlier than anticipated and for a lot less than one would normally spend on them. I especially love giving presents to Mr. ShellHawk, who is my very favorite person-at least 98% of the time. (The other 2%, I find myself debating alternate uses of my cast iron frying pans, but this post isn't about that.)

Mr. ShellHawk has been wanting a  Kindle Touch for awhile. Now I'm a big Amazon shopper, if you haven't figured it out by the new widget on my sidebar. I generally hate shopping in stores. I hate hearing frustrated moms screaming at their kids, I hate salesmen who try to hard sell me things in which I have no interest, and I hate my own compulsion to tidy things up as I roam the aisles. 

Online shopping eliminates all of this to my satisfaction. Because Amazon has such a wide array of stuff and a wish list option, Amazon is usually the first place I go. Since I shop there so much, I got the Amazon credit card and bought a Prime membership, which gives me free two-day shipping on most of the stuff I buy. When I use the credit card, I get points.

No this isn't a commercial for Amazon. I'm getting to the good part of why I'm such an awesome wife.

I got a notice from Amazon last week that I had a bazillion points, which added up to about $170 worth of product. So, Mr. ShellHawk's gift was suddenly a no-brainer. I bought the Kindle Touch plus a lighted cover, a power adapter, and the two-year extended warranty and only paid $20 out of pocket! Yay for me! 

A trip to Hallmark provided a cute bag and I already had tissue paper lying around, so wrapping was easy. When Mr. ShellHawk got up to go to the gym yesterday morning at 5:15, I got up and started to get his breakfast together. When he got home, the bag was at his place on the kitchen table, and a mushroom and spinach omelet and a cup of coffee were minutes away from being ready. He was so surprised and happy to get his Kindle, which he thought he was getting for his birthday in a couple of weeks.

Off he went to work, and off I went to the store to pick up a few items I was missing for the evening's dessert. I incidentally have received a starter for Amish Friendship Bread and was running low on the things I needed to add to it yesterday, so a trip to the store was not an option.

I brought out my "good dishes," which actually represent a small fraction of the various sets of dishes which have come to me over the years. My mom gave these to me; they're a setting for eight of the old Franciscan "Sea Sculptures" design. I have to say, they really are my favorites, and one of these fine years, I'll get four more settings.

Now, contrary to popular belief, I do not have a staff of servants working for me, though I really, really should. Also contrary to what people may think, I actually do like baking and many "Susy Homemaker" type tasks. I just don't bake often because I'm no longer able to burn it off like I did when I was twenty! But here's proof that I do bake:
Yes, those are heart-shaped cakes. I borrowed the pans from my neighbor. I did cheat and use a box mix, though.

I do have to admit my frustration with baking cakes, though. No matter how I brush off crumbs, some still end up in the frosting! Oh, well. It tastes the same, right? And as a haunter with the "it'll look fine in the dark" mentality, it doesn't have to be perfect. It turned out fine, anyway. 
Mr. ShellHawk is a vanilla frosting fan, so that's what I used.
I had picked up some imported prosciutto (which is basically an Italian smoked ham, sliced thin) and sliced it, then wrapped the pieces around chunks of sliced pears.
Just as Mr. ShellHawk came home from work, I added some water crackers and a small jar of caviar (an extravagance and total impulse buy from Trader Joe's) to the plate. Mr. ShellHawk loves his caviar, so he was delighted to come home and find it, and prosciutto, and a lemon drop martini made fresh with lemons from our backyard, with raspberry sugar on the rim of the glass.
A happy Mr. ShellHawk with his new toy.
The sauce, bubbling away in its
yummy creamy goodness!
Next: dinner. Mr. ShellHawk had requested one of his favorite "treat" dishes. I say it's a treat because it's made with heavy cream and pasta, so the calorie count is best left to the imagination. It's Pappardelle in Lemon Cream Sauce with Asparagus and Smoked Salmon. Tip: when you're buying the asparagus, look for the thinnest you can find. Thin asparagus is more tender and has more flavor that the thicker kind, which can get tough and stringy. If you don't like salmon, leave it out. The dish tastes just fine without it.

Mr. ShellHawk, in the
throes of culinary ecstasy.
I had a bottle of champagne chilled and ready to go, and after dinner, I added a little extra something.

A friend of mine had turned me on to wild hibiscus flowers in syrup. They're edible! Did you know that?

Normally, I would add it to the cheaper champagne you can get in giant bottles at Costco, but after a glass or two of the champagne without it, I decided to cave in to decadence and add a flower and a little syrup to it. It gives a lightly sweet, almost raspberry flavor to the champagne (which is why you put it in the cheap stuff, so it covers some of the flavor!)

The other fun thing about adding hibiscus flowers to champagne is that we haunters get to spook up our bevvy a bit: the hibiscus flowers are nearly black, and they add this weird Cthulu-like element to the drink! Pretty cool, huh?
After dinner, we cleaned up and prepped for dessert, which was (of course) the yellow cake with Hagen Daas Vanilla Bean ice cream. Mr. ShellHawk presented me with my card and gift, which was a 90-minute massage! Woo-hoo!

We both agreed that this was the best Valentine's Day we'd had together.


  1. You are a much better wife than I am. But I will be making that pappardelle soon. Yum!

  2. Mr. ShellHawk deserves it. He puts up with my Hallowe'en obsession, this latest Hauntcast nonsense going on, my lack of a "real" job and my being unemployed for three years.

    It was the LEAST I could do for him!

  3. Sounds like a great day ! Very creative with the food & beverage choices!

  4. All I know is, after reading that...I'm hungry!!! ;-)


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