As alluded to in a prior rant, the McGlincheys are a non-traditional Valentine's Day people, and we certainly don't do the dinner-out thing - well, we may do it, but never on the actual day, because, really, what's the point of competing with all of the other couples who are trying to get a reservation? Let 'em have February 14th, and also New Year's Eve. We don't need an excuse to have a date night, and it's a heck of a lot less frustrating to schedule one when the rest of the world is at home. We're both on record that we love each other, 365/24/7 - no more or less on major holidays.
(To any men who are reading this: Yes, I am really that awesome. Sort of. I am high maintenance in other ways. Ask my husband, he'll tell you. And, no, I cannot train your wife if she is of a different orientation.)
This year, in particular, a couples-only Valentine's Day dinner was not an option, because: (1) we had both been sick for what seems like three years but really was less than three weeks, result being that neither one of us gave much thought to making plans; and (2) our go-to babysitters (my parents) are already fully employed with taking care of my grandmother, who recently experienced a health crisis. So, options were to eat out, but with the kids and somewhere off of the beaten path, or to stay home. We quickly settled on "stay home" (refer to "still somewhat sick, DANG IT," above). But what to serve that was kind of romantic but also kid-friendly?
Our solution: breakfast (well, more like brunch) for dinner. A concept that all participants can get behind. I made an egg casserole (quite easy to put together the night before, and I actually found one that didn't involve ripped-up pieces of white bread!) and, for the kids, cinnamon toast flapjacks. Which sounded kind of weird when I came across the recipe, but - yum. So I thought that I would share:
CINNAMON TOAST FLAPJACKS
2 cups complete pancake mix (the "just add water" kind)
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 T butter, divided
2 T vegetable oil, divided
8 cinnamon or raisin bread slices
2 bananas, sliced
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Fresh strawberries for garnish
Whisk together first 4 ingredient in large bowl just until dry ingredients are moistened. Melt 1/2 T butter with 1/2 T oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Dip 2 bread slices in batter; cook in skillet 2 minutes on each side until golden. Repeat procedure with remaining butter, oil, bread slices and batter. Serve with bananas, pecans, and maple syrup. Garnish, if desired. Yield: 4 servings.
I doubled the recipe, and I served the toppings a la carte so that people could customize. (Connor is a purist and only likes butter on his pancakes.) This ended up being the perfect menu for Valentine's Day: Mom and Dad spiked their orange juice with champagne, and Mom didn't have to slave in the kitchen, since the casserole was already oven-ready. (For whatever reason, I don't consider making pancakes a form of slavery - it's more like performance art.)