Valentine’s Day at Our Place : 2013


Clearly with a week filled with posts on the subject, I am on the ‘I like it’ side of the fence where Valentine’s Day is concerned. And unless he’s been faking it all these years, Nick likes it too.

It is one of the few holidays that we celebrate, more-so than most others. We have never been out for green beer on St. Patrick’s day together and Easter usually just entails a bit of nice chocolate for one another. I’ve only seen Nick dressed in a Halloween costume a couple of times and for Thanksgiving last year we skipped the big turkey dinner in favour of a little brunch out with a pal. (Although we have vowed that this year we will be hosting a Friendsgiving dinner a week before the actual holiday.)

But Valentine’s Day, we like to acknowledge. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that the week it falls upon is usually filled with many ‘Happy Valentine’s Week’ greetings to one another. We find it fun to celebrate but we keep it relatively low-key with dinner at home.

So here’s a wee peek into our evening on Thursday night.

For decoration I laid the table with our heart tablecloth and napkins. I bought this set the year we were married and it actually has gotten quite a lot of use over the years. We also use it for anniversaries and birthdays.

I made the runner by lining up two cotton tea towels I picked up this year. The white plates are pieces from my Corelle collection and the pink and black ones are vintage. And of course, the felt and cotton hearts were ones I made this year and discussed in this post.




Nick had bought a bottle of brut sparkling wine when he saw it a couple of weeks ago. It was the first time we had tried this kind and we found it lovely. It was a Crement de Loire produced by Chateau De Montgueret. I was interested to see that the Loire Valley of France is known for its creation of sparkling wines (as opposed to the Region of Champagne which is obviously known for the more well known bubbly beverage.)




For dinner I made a salad, salmon and baked barley casserole. We also had some desserts from an excellent local spot called Dufflet. I could have baked something myself, but they really make the most amazing cakes so we usually buy our special occasion treats there. And it’s nice to be able to just get as much as you need and therefore not be left with cake in the house to eat for days.












We had agreed that this year we weren’t going to exchange gifts, rather saving our money for a fancy dinner out sometime soon. But he’s a sneaky one and I’ve learned from previous occasions upon which we planned to not give presents, so I got him a little something anyway. And I was right to, because when I went to my computer after he had left to go to a client’s office for the day, I found a bag containing some very nice sweets and a beautiful card. Being the pen nut that I am, I gave him a red Parker pen.


I guess that’s all that needs saying about Valentine’s Day 2013 at our place. I know this is a long post and I could have divided it but I felt you probably got more than enough of me talking about this topic!

I am going to note the recipes for the salad and the barley at the bottom of this post, as much for my reference so I remember what I did, but also for you if you fancy giving them a go. They both turned out very nicely.



I hope you had a good Valentine’s Day if you celebrate it, and a fine Thursday if you don’t.

And since our furry friend Ed shows up twice in these pictures, I’ll take this moment to also wish you a happy Caturday.

xo loulou

Salad of Greens, Arugula, Red Pepper, Strawberries and Cheese


  • For the Salad:
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Arugula (aka Rocket)
  • Red Pepper
  • Strawberries
  • Cheese. I used low fat Mozzarella and since I made this salad for a Valentine Dinner, so I cut the cheese in the shape of hearts.

  • For the Dressing:
  • Spoonful of Sour Cream (I used 5% fat)
  • Spoonful of Mayonnaise (I used Hellman's Half Fat Olive Oil Mayonnaise)
  • About a tablespoon of vinegar. (I used Blueberry Vinegar but Balsamic or wine would also be good)
  • About 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • About 3 tablespoons milk
  • Salt to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • A bit of sugar (about 1/8 teaspoon)


To make dressing, whisk ingredients together. It too thick, add more milk.

Put lettuce on plates. Top with a good handful of Arugula. Slice and chop red pepper and put on top. Around the edge alternate a few strawberry quarters with a piece of cheese.

Serve dressing at the table.

Baked Barley

Yield: 4 servings


  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • 2 cups stock (I didn't add any additional salt to the dish because of the salt in the stock but if yours is not salted you can add about 1/8 teaspoon salt.)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or use 2 tablespoons olive oil and omit butter)
  • About 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • About 6 mushrooms, sliced
  • About 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Around 1/4 teaspoon dry Thyme
  • Around 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


I made this in the microwave oven.

In a covered casserole dish, heat stock up in microwave as you prepare the rest.

Heat frying pan and add butter and oil. Saute onion, mushrooms and garlic. Add barley and coat in oil. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring so it doesn't burn. Add green onion, parsley, Worcestershire sauce and thyme and cook about 1 more minute.

Add to stock and stir. Microwave on high for 10 minutes. Reduce power to 60% and cook an additional 25 minutes. If the water is not all absorbed, let the dish sit covered for a bit.

strawberry-red-pepper-green lettuce arugula and cheese heart salad

How to cut cheese hearts seen here.

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