Sunday, October 7, 2012

Chowder Time In Tennessee

Yep, when the air starts getting colder, we all think about steaming bowls of chili or big pots of vegetable beef soup.  I had my beef soup craving satisfied last week with the ole, reliable Cabbage Beef soup that we've chowed on for years.  It's a recipe straight out of the Tennessean newspaper from about 20 years ago where someone had written in requesting the recipe for Shoney's Cabbage and Beef Soup.  I've hung on to the scrap of paper, now squirreled away in my "Mom's Favorite Recipes- Grab This Book In Case Of Fire" Cookbook.  One of these days, I'm gonna get all those bits of paper and clippings organized.  At least they are all in the same general area of the house.  And having this blog has been a really big help in getting some of the family favorites down for prosperity. That's almost funny.

I didn't do a brothy  (is brothy a word?) soup today.  I was online for awhile this afternoon and after looking at all the "purty pictures" of food on Pinterest and all the cooking sites, I wanted a stand up soup.  Something really substantial and creamy.  So, I started making potato soup and then that does, like it usually does, well, it evolves into something with cheese, more vegetables and bacon.  So, another chowder is born.  And since I had a poblano and a hankering for a little kick, I added some diced poblano at the last minute and a Southwest Chowder ended up in the pot.  And you know what?  It's  really good.  I'm gonna share the recipe with you.  Dress it up anyway you want.  I'm betting cheese makes it on top and some sour cream is sitting close by.  Enjoy fall, it's a great time to dig out those old newspaper recipes you have shoved into a drawer somewhere and make that dish you always wanted to make.  Steam up your windows and make a memory!

Southwestern Corn, Chili and Queso Chowder
½ large sweet Onion- diced
2 ribs celery with leaves on-diced
3 large cloves garlic-minced
1 TBS Margarine or Butter
1 Tbs Olive Oil
1 TBS Bacon drippings
2 Large Russet Baking potatoes (equal to 3 Cups cubed)
2 Cups Frozen Whole Kernel Corn (or fresh, if available)
2 Cups frozen Hash Browns
1/3 Large Poblano Pepper, cut into small dice-no seeds or stems
¾ Cup Real Bacon bits (or real Bacon, cooked and fat rendered & reserved)
 1 1/2 Cups Half and Half 
1 Cup Milk
White Queso- Mexican melting cheese -Diced, about ½ Cup (more if you want it really cheesy, but you can do too much)
2 TBS Chicken Base*  
1 1/2 Cup Water
Fresh Thyme- 4 sprigs
Salt and Pepper
Bring potatoes to boil and cook till medium tender, not falling apart. Drain. Meanwhile, heat oil and butter (or margarine) in dutch oven over medium heat. Add diced onions and celery, saute on gentle heat till just tender. Add a dash of salt and pepper, will season with a bit more later on in recipe. Cook 2 min. Add 1 TBS of Chicken Base and stir to coat vegetables. Add water and stir. Pot should be bubbly and thickening. Add Bacon, drain potatoes and add to vegetable mix, stirring in gently. Add corn, stir, add Half and Half. Stir. Cook 3 minutes on medium low heat, then add hash browns, dash more salt and pepper, stirring all together then add the rest of chicken base. Stirring in completely. Add fresh thyme and let it all thicken for just a minute. Then add the milk, queso and diced Poblano. Cook on low heat, stirring gently to keep from scorching. Cook on low for 15-20 minutes and can serve immediately. Top with green onions, sour cream, more queso, jack cheese or cheddar cheese.

* I use McCormick or Tone’s Brand Chicken Base. Available at Sam’s Club. It is a paste, not boullion. Adds a deep richness for recipes that call for chicken stock.  It is a real bargain compared to supermarket prices and I use the Beef and Chicken bases all year round.  A must have staple for me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Little Black Magic In The Kitchen

In previous posts, I have mentioned (often and emphatically) that I am a cook, not a baker.  Anyone who cooks knows there is a very real difference between the two and the bakers of the world who can bake and cook, will list "Baker" before Cook on their resume, making it very clear that baking may require a bit more acknowledgement, citing the patience, commitment and something I struggle with, the ability to follow directions while using exact measurements and ingredients, while keeping on task.  B-O-R-I-N-G!
I say it's boring rather than admitting I'm impatient, scattered and I believe that having some "wiggle room" in a recipe "is my friend."
I am quite pleased with myself when a bunch of chocolate cupcakes come out of my oven and they're all (pretty much) the same height and there isn't that familiar aroma of slightly scorched cocoa in the room.  With my collection of recipes, I have gotten pretty darn good with some really delicious frostings. Frostings, that I consider cooking 'cause you can pour in the vanilla, shake in the confectioners sugar and judge how much cream cheese or butter you need considering how stiff you want  it. I know you gotta be close to the 3 or 4 cups or tablespoons, whatever, but you can "fudge" a little bit.  NOT SO with the cake part. And because I realize my strengths and weaknesses, I head right for the Duncan Hines aisle when I'm in the mood for, or have an occasion that calls for cake.
With all the great food blogs out there, not too mention my various food magazines subscriptions that temp me on a monthly basis with  mouthwatering pictures and recipes of these gorgeous cakes, cookies, pies and desserts; it's pretty damn obvious that Duncan Hines ain't got no box mix for every delicious dessert.  They have to be "made".  Someone is gonna have to bake these babies.  Apparently, I'm gonna have to learn to restrain myself, reel in the freehand  and "read the directions, Mommy."  
This is the predicament I found myself in last week while blog-hopping.  I came across a scrumptious picture of chocolate perfection beneath the title: Black Magic Cake. Uh, oh. Now, before I could look away, I was in it's spell.  Bewitched, bothered and bewildered by the name, then there was the byline stating it was the best easy chocolate cake their test kitchen had ever made.  It had been given 8 (!) Blue Ribbons.  Blue Ribbons that had been awarded by novice bakers, such as myself.  There it was.  My baking challenge. The gauntlet had been thrown.......I was gonna BAKE this cake. 
Briefly looking through the ingredients (Briefly? Really? See, I'm hopeless!), I saw that I had everything I needed, thanks to my food hoarding and generous husband (XO, Geraldo!).  I turned the oven to 350 and got started.  I only have one 9x9 cake pan, (how did that happen?)  so I opted for the 9x13 one layer version.  With flour pretty much everywhere, all my mixing bowls on the counter and a sinkful of measuring cups, I made my Black Magic Cake. . . with Chocolate Buttercream frosting, an extra added attraction.  It was delicious!  And it really was easy.   I was very pleased with myself and inspired to not be so afraid of the exactness of the measuring and the precision of the recipe.  It certainly helps that I have a new oven that I can depend on to hold the right temperature (again, XO, Geraldo!) and that there was no one else in the house that day.  It was not a pretty site, albeit a tasty one.  And it did get the kitchen swept and the floor cleaned.  Another bonus.
Here's the Recipe.  I hope you'll try it.  DO make sure you add the coffee.  I added a bit of instant coffee to some leftover breakfast coffee.  It really kicks up the chocolate taste.  

Black Magic Cake


•2 cups sugar
•1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
•3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
•2 teaspoons baking soda
•1 teaspoon baking powder
•1 teaspoon salt
•2 eggs
•1 cup buttermilk (or sour milk*)
•1 cup strong black coffee OR 2 teaspoons powdered instant coffee plus 1 cup boiling water
•1/2 cup vegetable oil
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans or one 13×9x2-inch baking pan.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (batter will be thin). Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost as desired. Yields 10 to 12 servings.

* To sour milk: Use 1 tablespoon white vinegar plus milk to equal 1 cup.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


6 tablespoons butter, softened
2 2/3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla


1  Place butter in a bowl and beat until creamy.

2  Add sugar and cocoa, mixing well.

3  Stir in milk in portions, stirring each time.

4  Add vanilla.

5  Spread on cooled cake or cupcakes
Comfort and Joy!!


Monday, July 16, 2012


Reading some of the previous posts, I have to wonder why in the world I waited so long to come back to this playground and share all my toys?  I have always had so much fun writing this blog.  It would always tickle me to death when I would get a comment or see where someone had been online and came to my website to read what I had written.  Not necessarily to feed my ego, it was more of the sharing and knowing that someone was playing with me and getting to go there, too.  So with some encouragement from my biggest fan, Geraldo (XO!)  and with an "out of the blue" special request for a recipe this morning for a dear friend, I've decided to step back onto the page and let the fun begin.
There's not gonna be a long explanation with boring sidebars.  First things first, I'm trying to figure out how to set this blog up again and what button does what; what moves this where and how did that picture get there  and where did that text I just typed go?  Oh,man.   Geez, I've already lost a fried turkey, some enchiladas, a plateful of beautiful barbecue shrimp and a corn puddin'.  And,  I haven't even tried to post a picture yet.  So, jumping in head first, trusting any readers to give a gal a break....  I'm very hopeful that one or two of you will have a good laugh along the way, sharing some recipes about some good ole comfort food, with a little rockstar thrown in from time to time.
Let's start with something I love and know a lot about.  DELICIOUS CHEESE goodies!  Here's a great, easy-peasy recipe for some delicious, (really they are delicious) marinated mozzarella cheese bites that is perfect for the surplus of herbs I have in my garden and a great go to when the temperature has been a record breaking, "Hose me down, Daddy!" summer.
It's more of a method than a recipe, but all you need to know and have available is right there.  You can tweak it with more garlic, more herbs, (I do put a few sprigs of thyme in mine 'cause I love thyme) and I make sure the lemon rind pretty side shows to the side of the jar, giving it an ala, Ina Garten/ Barefoot Contessa, food "shoppe" look.
Keep it refrigerated, setting out to warm to room temp before serving with toasted bread, or drizzle over pasta, or you can make a simple salad with some olives, grape tomatoes and basil.  Hang onto the olive oil that's left, if there is any.  This is great to use for a vinagrette or cooking next time you need a great Italian punch to a dish.  Makes a great hostess gift.  Wrap a colorful ribbon or some raffia around the top and maybe a pretty Gerbera Daisy or sprig of basil from your garden tucked into the bow. 
It's nice to be back....See ya when I see ya!

Marinated Mozzarella


Bocconcini mozzarella (the little balls of fresh mozzarella, you can use the big ones, just cut them into bite size pieces) I buy the double pkg of mozz @ Sam's Club and just cut them into cubes.  Much cheaper and its still delicious mozzarella.

lemon peel



garlic cloves

basil leaves

red pepper flakes

A VERY good quality extra virgin Olive Oil ( I use Colavita)

I am not giving exact measurements because the quantity is going to depend on various factors. How much cheese do you have? What size jar? You can play with the flavors. Want a more garlicky cheese? Add more garlic. You love lemon, add more lemon.  (I do.) I use a half pint or pint size jar, depending on how much I want to make and how much olive oil I have on hand.  In your jar, add about one third of the cheese. Layer in the basil leaves, peppercorns, red pepper flakes, and garlic cloves, and thyme or parsley if you have it. I've put in kalamata olives, ripe olives and big green, unstuffed olives, too. You can really play with this and make different versions for different tastes. I used about 5-6 cloves of garlic each time and I just cut them in half. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Keep layering the ingredients until your jar is full.

Pour a good quality olive oil over the top until the jar is full. Put the lid on the jar and shake it up. Put the jar in the fridge for at least two hours before you are going to serve it. You can keep this in there for about a week I would say. Give it a shake every now and again. Take the jar out about 30 minutes before you are going to serve this. The olive oil will solidify a bit and will return to normal again when it gets back to room temperature.

Pour the cheese and oil into a pretty bowl and serve with some toasted bread.  If you have a food friend or someone with alot of herbs they need to harvest, give them a copy of this recipe.  Maybe they'll invite  you over when they make it!  Goes great with wine, red or white, a cool cocktail or an ice cold beer.
Comfortcook is
I welcome your comments or if you wanna just say "Hi!"

Friday, June 24, 2011


In an earlier post, I had talked about looking for a good recipe for a Black-Eyed Pea Salad. I came across many that were different in their own unique ways and so with a little tweaking on a "Texas Caviar" recipe, this Tennesse girl came up with a version that makes any southerner stand up and take notice. This recipe is SO good. Rumor has it that the Black -Eyed Pea Salad did originate in the East Texas town of Athens. Athens is now known as the "Black-Eyed Pea Capital of the World." They still throw a Black-eyed Pea Jamboree each year. Midsummer is peak harvest season for the "Athens Cowpeas", so it's appropriate that this salad be a part of our Independence Day celebration this year. I'm going to pack some up and head to Southern Illinois for the weekend of the 4th. Big Mom's family reunion is that Saturday @ Karel Park. The following recipe makes about 8-10 servings and can be refrigerated up to a week. Feel free to put your own spin on it. A couple of days after we first tried it, I mixed it with some fresh Pico de Gallo to switch it up a little bit and it was great. Throw in some diced avacados, cilantro, and some sour cream on the side for a great garnish for any Mexican/TexMex dish. Enjoy!!


4 Cups black eyed peas, (I used canned, drained and rinsed, but cook your own if you want, just be sure to let them cool way down before mixing anything with them.)
1 Cup celery
4 Oz chopped Green Chiles
1/4 Cup red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 Cup purple onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 1/2 Cups Italian Dressing, enough to cover peas
Garnish with cilantro and green onions, both the whites and tops. It all looks great on a bed of Red cabbage leaves.
In a large glass bowl combine all ingredients, except the garnish, stirring well. You may need to add more dressing to cover peas. Marinate, covered and refrigerated for 24 hours, preferably, but at least for 4 hours. Drain any excess dressing and spoon onto shallow serving bowl lined with the red cabbage leaves. Sprinkle cilantro and green onions on top.
TIP: Mix with home made Pico De Gallo (Fresh is Best!!) or a small can of Rotel (mild or hot) for another variation.

At Home On The Range Catering
Nashville, TN 615-525-8336

Friday, April 29, 2011

Flavors Of Cinco De Mayo

As I was stuck in traffic this morning in front of my favorite little neighborhood grocery, Comptons (mentioned in past posts for their superb meat department) I noticed that along with a great sale on split chicken breasts, always buy them on the bone, Thank You!, they have pork butts on sale for 98 cents a pound. This is not the cheapest I've seen them, but a very decent price and I'm always ready to go "Pork." So, I am putting the pork butt on my shopping list for the weekend and plan on making some Pork Adobada sometime soon. I have spoke about this recipe before , but it is definitely worth another mention. It is so easy and soooo GOOD! Great leftovers and if you need to, it freezes well, also. I love the taste of authentic Mexican food and this dish has all those deep, rich flavors that are so satisfying and just tastes like nothing else. "Nothing else" in my neighborhood, that is! (Ok, maybe those folks on the corner of Town Valley Court and Tea Garden may have a similar recipe, but I know I've got this convered on Pekoe Circle.)
So read the recipe below. Go find a good deal on a Pork Butt and try this dish. If you love Pork, you'll put this one in the recipe box and go back to it again and again. If you love complex, interesting, deep flavors, you'll love this. If you have a crock pot and want to razzle dazzle some company with something totally different and impressive and have time to sit and spend time with them instead of fretting over a stove...this dish is the one for you. Damn! Just try this dish! Don't be intimidated by roasting the peppers. It's good to learn a little trick every now and then, plus you'll feel like a million bucks and proud of yourself after you do it and wonder why you avoided any recipes that called for roasted peppers before. It is a whole new method to adding a lot of flavor to your cooking. It may not be the most complex of Mexican dishes, but it sure as heck isn't Taco Bell! After this you'll be ready to try the Chili Rellenos with Picadillo recipe. That one has some really interesting flavors going on...raisins, cinnamon, clove...I know the combination sounds strange to us gringos, but is delicious. For sure Chili Rellenos its a lot more more hands on than this, but they are both great ethic additiosn to your recipe box.

Nashville, TN 615-525-8336


6 New Mexico Anaheim dried red chilies
4 dried Ancho peppers (These are the dark red dried peppers. Dried Poblanos, actually)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 medium onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1-2 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 lbs lean pork, cut into bite-sized pieces (I use Pork Butt , but you could use a loin.)
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: Tear chili pods into pieces, removing steam and reserving seeds. Place chili on baking sheet, preheat oven to 350 degrees. When oven is hot roast the chili for 10 minutes. Place the chili in blender container. Bring the chicken stock to a boil, add cider vinegar and pour over chili. Allow to sit for about 10 to 15 minutes to soften chili. Add orange juice concentrate, tomato paste, brown sugar and cumin. Blend into a smooth paste, add 1 tablespoon of the chili seeds and blend until smooth. Warm olive oil in skillet, add onions and garlic. Saute until onions begin to brown lightly then pour onions into crock pot. Toss the pork with 1 tablespoon of flour. In same skillet add pork cubes and brown stirring frequently. May need to brown the meat in batches to ensure even browning,. As meat is browned, transfer to crock pot. When all the meat has been browned, pour 1/2 cup water into skillet, bring to a boil and scrape up browned bits. Pour into crock pot along with chili sauce, stirring well. Cover and cook on low 4 to 5 or until pork cubes are tender. Serve with some great garnishes such as Cilantro, grated cheese or Queso Fresco, diced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, lime wedges, Sour Cream and flour and corn tortillas. Let everyone build their own combination. Have lots of Frosty, Cold, Barley Pops (BEER!!) on hand!! El- Schlurpo!

BIG TIP: The Pork Butt is a moister cut of pork than a loin and pork tenderloin would just disintegrate in a crock pot after that amount of time. Pork Loin would work but would be drier. Also, ANYTIME you are using your crock pot, add a layer of foil to the top before putting the crock pot lid on. And NEVER!!! take the lid off during the cooking time. I know it sounds like an exaggeration, but you lose 20 - 30 minutes cooking time each time you "peek" in your crock pot. Have Faith!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fry, Baby, Fry!!

I love deep fried anything. I mean really- pickles, wings, fish, potatoes, chicken, mushrooms, I even have a great recipe for a terrific fried Milky Way bar! My Euro-Pro deep fryer is a prized appliance in my kitchen that gets a steady workout. A lady was on a local TV show here in Nashville the other day and she had just won the Blue Ribbon at the Tennessee State Fair with her Deep Fried Cheese Grits (on a stick) with a tangy hot and sour sauce. You gotta appreciate that about us southerners. Not only do we have the grits , we have the grits to fry 'em, too.

One of my favorite childhood treats was when my Mom would make her Onion Rings. When my brother Allan came home from boot camp, that was one his requests.....some of Mom's onion rings. Hers are not like the thick, beer battered pub grub many of us are familiar with. They are actually thin and crispy, kinda like the Tony Roma ones they make into their famous onion loaf. Mom's was the recipe I had used for years and still love. I just happened to see a great picture of some onion rings in a magazine and they looked delicious. Not all batter-y, you know the kind where you take a bite and the whole onion comes slithering out of the crust. I hate that! Nine times out of ten, they're piping hot and when you take that first bite, you end up looking very unsophisticated trying to keep it off your tongue and trying to not burn the roof of your mouth that the cheese on the pizza always gets. Yes, I have lots of experience eating onion rings, so even tho I love the old family favorite, I came up with what I have to say is quite possibly the best onion ring I have ever eaten. Consensus at The Schmidt House (and yes I know how that sounds) confirm my opinion and what really put this recipe over the top, is that when Sam came by for lunch, he heated some up in the microwave and they were just as crisp as they'd been the night before. A great revelation for a snacker like me. Listen folks, these are really good and I hope you'll try 'em. This is a great batter for all kinds of vegetables, chicken tenders, even seasoned fries. starch is I can't wait to do deep fried pickles next. Go Fry does a body good!!

Schlurp (!) Big and Crispy Onion Rings

2 Cups Buttermilk
3 Tsps Creole Seasoning-Tony's
2 Cups all Purpose flour
2 tsps sugar
4Tsps baking Powder
2 TABLESPOONS of cornstarch
2 tsps blk pepper
1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
1 Large or 2 small Vidalia ( or sweet yellow) onions (
Peanut oil for frying

Preheat oven to 250, heat oil to 360

In a mixing bowl put 2 cups buttermilk
In another bowl, combine, the flour, baking powder,cornstarch, blk and cayenne peppers, sugar and creole seasoning.
Peel the onions and slice crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Carefully separate into rings.
(You can prepare the onions a half hour ahead and hold the rings in ice water, at this point)
Positions a wire rack over a baking sheet. Dip the rings, one at a time, in the buttermilk and shake off any excess. Dredge the slices into the seasoned flour and shake off any excess flour. Dip the battered ring into the buttermilk again and back into the flour. Shake off any excess and transfer to the wire rack. Repeat with remaning rings.
Position a 2nd wire rack over a baking sheet and place in a warmed oven. Fill a large heavy dutch oven with 2 inches of oil, or use a deep fryer, heating both to 360. Temeperature is key!
Fry the rings in batches, adding only a few at a time to keep separate, until golden brown or when they float to the surface. About 2-3 minutes. Remove from oil and place rings onto warmed wire rack and salt them immediately. Keep warm in the oven while frying the remaining rings. Be sure to bring your oil up to temperature between batches. Salt each batch immediately when you bring it out of the oil.
Serve hot and listen to the Crunching and Mmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!
At Home On The Range Catering

Friday, February 11, 2011


Super Bowl is over and the next February food frenzy is Valentine's Day. Whether it's dinner at a romantic restaurant, chocolates or a bottle of bubbly and fondue at home, romantics everywhere know this is the time of year when there are no excuses if you forget February 14th. Now just because Valentine's Day falls on a Monday this year, you've got the entire weekend to get your romance on. You see, like it or not and try as some may, there are still certain rules that apply to this particular date. Valentine's Day is your chance to make up for any and all errs of the heart you made the previous year. Make her feel special all over again. Tell her and show her that she is indeed the most beautiful and desirable woman in all the world and you simply can't live without her. WHEW!!! That's a tall order, huh? Collect yourself and read on.....
One of the most important rules of romance is that if you are going to get flowers for your beloved, remember it is the coup de grace if you send them to her place of work so she can have that moment of girlish glory among her peers, proving that she does indeed have someone who loves her enough to send her overpriced flowers. Think of it like's kind of like why guys drive those big ole trucks with those ridiculously huge tires. You know they do it for their buddies to appreciate. And maybe to make up for what they may lack in other areas. It can't be easy jumping up into that big ole thing and those knobby tires have got to be tough on the tush. It's all about the know... it's human nature wanting to show off a little. Now, you could get by with bringing some flowers and a box of candy home on that day...but there's nothing like that big swell of emotion that every girl gets when she sees the top of a big bouquet passing thru the office. Us girls would be lying if we didn't admit that we all get a certain feeling in our stomach and that we hope those flowers land in front of us. It makes you, the thoughtful, romantic boyfriend, husband or lover (or as in Geraldo's- case, all 3!) the most desirable man on the planet . And just so you gals know it, it's perfectly alright to take your flowers home and share them with that marvelous man who thought enough of you to take the time to make a call or two to make sure your day was special. You can leave them on your desk at work, certainly, but it is nice that the man who footed the bill gets a chance to see how his dollars stacked up. Take a few out and put them in a bud vase for your desk. That way you can be reminded each day (hopefully for at least a week) at home and at work, that you are indeed....adored. You may get lucky and get held up at a stop light and the folks in the car next to you will spot your flowers or balloons and know that you are very special to someone and that their better-half had better have something valentine-y for them when they get home. And yes, balloons work, too. Just make sure you get an embarrassing amount that will make a statement.
There's not a thing wrong dropping by the corner market for your sweetie's flowers. Just try not to get stuck buying the cellophane wrapped spring bouquet that has already "sprung." Pick out something that's fresh 'cause a bunch of wilted flowers says, deadbeat and you didn't care enough to send the very best. Crappy flowers are all that's left? Well then you're better off with helium balloons, a very mushy card and a big, BIG heart-shaped box of some fine chocolates. Having said that.... let me add that there are some great floral options available if you decide to pick up something on your own to bring home to the missus. Many of the large grocery chains have a great selection of many different flowers that you can pick and choose from to make your own clever creation. With the right touch, any proper suitor can pull this off. First of all, buy the kind of flowers your sweetie likes. Don't buy roses just because they're everywhere this time of year. I used to not be such a big fan of roses...seemed overpriced and didn't last very a long if you asked me, but since I've been growing them in my home garden for a few years I have truly learned to appreciate just how beautiful and special they are. Just make sure you put some thought into it. Any flowers you give her are going to say more to her than any words you could ever come up with. NOT getting her flowers will also say more to her than you could ever apologize for!! If your girl likes sunflowers, then make it sunflowers. If it's carnations or daisies well, you get the picture. You can't go wrong with a beautiful spring bouquet. This time of year we are all looking for some signs of spring. Especially with this freaky winter with all the cold and snow. The love potion here is the thought you put into it. If you purchase them yourself, put the flowers in a pretty vase (not one from home this is the time to spring for a new one and they will be located right there in the floral department) and tie a little bow or some pretty raffia around it to spruce it up a little. (Ok, look up raffia in your online dictionary...I'll wait.) You could also wrap the flowers in floral paper and give them that "Florist Bought" look. There's really nothing wrong with taking flowers to your special valentine, but really if your valentine works with other valentines...the delivery at the ole place of work still garners the biggest smiles. Along with some chocolate a nice romantic card and maybe a cutsie teddy bear for those girls who still like their "toys." Teddy bears aren't really my my "Toys" are geared more for the big girls...if you know what I mean. Those are fun to get, too!!
Have fun! After all, this is the time we all get the chance to be silly in love and say and do goofy things. Most of all, turn on the romantic in you and let the love of your life know how very much she (or he) is loved.


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