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Monday, February 6, 2012

Reason to Celebrate

My husband and I have never celebrated Valentines Day, not even when we were first dating.  We both agreed (almost 7 years ago) Valentine's Day to us was a commercialized day of guilt, stressful for couples and singles alike.  If you are coupled up on Valentines Day, there is pressure to buy something, send something, go to dinner or make some grand gesture of your love.  Blah.  Alternatively, if you are single on this dreaded day, you will spend all day watching flowers, gifts, and candy arrive at co-workers desks....all the while feeling sad and sorry for yourself that you will not be receiving anything (after promising yourself last year you would NOT be single next year on Valentines Day).  Of course there were always the flowers my Dad would send; he never forgot and I always appreciated the gesture.

We have never celebrated Valentines Day and I thought we never would.....UNTIL LAST YEAR.

I was five and a half months pregnant on Valentines Day and as per usual, didn't plan anything special for my husband and certainly wasn't expecting flowers to show up at the office. My husband was traveling on Valentines Day last year, I remember because when he came home, he came through the door with a giant teddy bear holding a heart shaped balloon and a huge smile (much bigger than I see on most days).

Surprised I smiled too and asked him what this was all about (assuming these things were for me, of course).  He handed me the bear and told me to read the card, which said:

"Happy Valentines Day to my baby girl....I love you, Daddy."   

And then I knew; right then and there, everything had changed.  I was looking at a Daddy whose baby girl would not be forgotten on Valentines Day. For the rest of her life, her sweet Daddy would make sure she was never without a Valentine.  I realized then my Dad had not (for all of those years) been sending me flowers out of pity that I didn't have a Valentine of my own to spoil me.  No, as with my daughter and husband, my Dad was celebrating the bond only a father and a daughter can know.  Seeing this through my husbands eyes gave me a whole new appreciation for what my Dad was expressing every time he told me he loved me, every time he called to check-in or say hi, every time I did something that made him proud. Every time he sent me flowers on Valentines Day.

We now celebrate Valentines Day, this tiny little family of three.  Not for each other, but for our daughter.  She is love personified, she is our little love bug, our one and only.

Commercialized holiday?  Maybe.  But now, somehow....celebrating Valentines Day no longer feels contrived and expected...it feels amazing.


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This weeks recipe, Goat Cheese and Thyme Stuffed Sweet Peppers, are delicious, bite-sized bursts of flavor in your mouth.  Topped with bacon crumbles, this appetizer is great to serve to guests or even as a fun replacement for your usual dinner salad.  Full of color and flavor, you will love these sweet and savory peppers!

Goat Cheese and Thyme Stuffed Sweet Peppers

Ingredients
20 Small Organic Sweet Red Peppers (I can always find these at Whole Foods near the fresh olive bar, they are approximately 1-2 inches tall and 1 inch wide - tiny little things!)

6 Ounces Organic Goat Cheese
1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme
1/2 Pound Organic Bacon

Directions
Preheat oven to 350
  • Lay bacon strips flat approximately 1/2 inch apart on a large broiler pan
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until  brown and crispy
  • Remove from oven and drain excess grease from bacon by placing strips on a paper towel and patting dry
  • Crumble bacon, set aside
  • Remove liquid and any inner seeds from peppers (they should already come hollowed out but sometimes remnants remain). Pat dry with a paper towel, set aside
  • Combine goat cheese and thyme,  use a hand mixer to combine
  • Spoon cheese mixture into a large zip lock bag, pushing cheese to one of the bottom corners.  Seal bag and snip the end of the bottom corner off to allow mixture to be piped through

  • Pipe cheese mixture to fill each pepper, just above the top edges
  • Arrange in a small serving plate with sides (to keep peppers upright) and sprinkle evenly with crumbled bacon
  • Serve immediately or cover and chill for up to 72 hours
  • Enjoy!



I am excited to be linking up with YeahWrite.Me again this week!

29 comments:

  1. Kids make us do the craziest things... don't they? (Happy Valentines day a little early!) ;)

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  2. Oh, so sweet. What a wonderful reason to celebrate Valentine's Day.
    We've always bought into all the commercialized crap and expensive cards and flowers and chocolate, and we do even more so now with our kids. Another excuse to celebrate and eat sweets, right? ;)
    Great post.

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  3. Kate - they sure do! Jen, thank you- I love that you indulge in the holiday, yeah chocolate!

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  4. Oh my goodness, those stuffed tomatoes look like candy.

    We're not Vday fans around here either, although I imagine if we had a daughter her father would love to be her Valentine. This is an incredibly sweet story.

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  5. My hubs and I do not celebrate Valentine's Day either. It does change with the kids. It becomes special. I think we are reminded of the original reason it was created (the love each other part and not the commercial part). Kids make celebrating it beautiful don't they! -LV

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  6. This sweet story brought tears to my eyes! Love you all!! Xoxo

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  7. Okay. You got me choked up there! How sweet, adorable and thoughtful of your Dad and your husband...there is no other bond like father and daughter. And that recipe looks DIVINE!

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  8. Thanks MamaMash! They are sweet peppers although I bet it would be equally as good with tomatoes! BLT bites-yum!
    I am glad to see I am not the only V-day scrooge @Kindred Adventures....
    Thank you Casey & January - I love being so in love with our little cupid :)

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  9. Parenting changes everything...especially all those things we said we'd "always" or "never" do. So sweet that now it's all about your love for each other through your little girl. And those recipes don't look half bad, either : ) YUM!

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  10. This is so sweet and struck such a chord with me. My husband and I have two daughters: 13 and 11. They are daddy's girls and he is feeling the pangs of them growing up. Last week, the 13 y/o was lamenting about a boy not giving her the attention she wanted. My husband quite bluntly stated, "Boys don't get to choose you, you choose them. You're better than that." And with that, she felt better. You can't beat a daddy's love. -Ellen

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  11. Mary, so true! I am constantly catching myself doing things I said I "would never" since the arrival of our daughter....most things I am glad not to have missed out on any longer!
    Ellen - thank you, what a sweet story about your daughter, sounds like your husband is taking great care of his little Valentines!

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  12. I'm a sucker for all holidays but having kids makes celebrating them far more fun and special. Your husband sounds so sweet, it's great to see how dad's soften right up about these things as well! Thank you for sharing this sweet Valentines Day story.

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  13. Thanks Kim, he is a keeper for sure :) Anna, yes indeed - she has definitely melted her Daddy's heart and her Mommy's too!

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  14. Such a beautiful story! I was already "Awwing" when I read about your dad bringing you flowers, but then I read about your husband and his daughter! So sweet.

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  15. That is the sweetest darn story EVER. I am jealous. Your dad sent you flowers? Awesome! I'm jealous...

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  16. Ah, that is so sweet! We outlawed Valentine's day, too, until the kids came along. Now I give Valentines to the boys, and my husband gives Valentines to our daughter. Your husband sounds like a sweetheart :)

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  17. awww what a sweet valentine's day story!

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  18. I was always one of those hard cases who said that stuff about Valentine's Day, and how wasteful it was to spend all that money on flowers.

    Now I'll tell you a secret. I LOVE flowers. LOVE THEM. They are beautiful and smell nice and make me feel special when I get them. Curse you Valentine's Day!

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  19. BEST blog post yet!!!! You are a talented writer Meg O'Keefe!!! Happy Valentines Day to the 3 of you!

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  20. Thanks Sarah!!! I am pretty sure you will enjoy your first married Valenties Day since you will be on your way to Morrea, FABULOUS!

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  21. Oh that is sweet sweet sweet! I love it when men, Daddies in particular "get it." A good reminder that we picked the right one! What a lucky little girl!

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  22. Aww this made me a little teary. Beautiful story, Happy Valentine's Day to you all :)

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  23. Jamie: YES, very lucky he indeed "gets it"!
    Jenn & Casey: Thank you, right back at ya!

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  24. Okay, so I totally just teared up when I read this! So sweet! We had fun with y'all today! Can't wait for next time!

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  25. Happy tears!?!?! We had fun too, def looking forward to doing it agsin soon!

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