February 1, 2011


Day 1

Posted by Lori and Ethne~

To kick off our first theme week, we thought the first post should involve food – and love stories.  Fortunately, we and our guys like food, so there are ‘Food = Love’ stories to tell.


Lori and Steve--SO IN LOVE!

To premise this tale, it is important to know that Lori doesn’t just love ranch dressing, she L.O.V.E.-LOVES ranch dressing; homemade ranch dressing being the ultimate.  Lori judges the quality of a restaurant thusly:  if it has good ranch dressing and fresh-brewed iced tea it gets her stamp of approval.  I like to equate Lori’s love of ranch dressing into terms of if Lori got to pick her last meal on Earth, it would certainly involve copious amounts of ranch dressing.  Her husband, Steve, knows this….

Before they were officially dating in grad school, Lori was playing very hard to get with Steve.  She literally put him through the ringer.  I am not kidding when I say that Steve has loved Lori since the moment he met her, but he had to work overtime to prove it to Lori.  During Lori’s hard-to-get phase, Steve went over the top in courtship on numerous occasions – ranch dressing being one of the tricks up his sleeve.

What did Steve do?  Having observed Lori’s love of ranch dressing first-hand, he made it his business to learn how to make homemade ranch dressing.  On several occasions, Lori would get a knock on her apartment door, and when she opened it, no one was there, excepting a tub of fresh ranch dressing from Steve.

Dramatic Reeanactment of Steve's Ranch Dressing for Lori

The hard work paid off:  Lori and Steve have been happily married for over five years.

THRIFTY TIP – delicious homemade ranch dressing costs about $3.00 to make and you get much more quantity than a bottle of store-bought dressing.  See recipe below.


This short story is another courtship tale.  Lori was once sick and complained to Steve over the phone that she was miserable and didn’t even have orange juice in the house.  Soon after the phone call, a florist delivered flowers, and a jug of orange juice, to Lori’s front door.  Steve paid extra for the delivery person to stop and pick up orange juice for Lori before delivering the flowers.


Couldn't find an engagement photo:
Target Field will substitute!

Shaun and I love to cook, so we've had many wonderful and tasty meals together.  We particularly love a steak on the grill.  By far the very best steak we've ever had together was on the day we got engaged.  It was my birthday - I was suspicious that a proposal was coming soon because I had already picked out a ring sketch from a selection my goldsmith Uncle Peter had drawn.  What I didn't know was what the finished product would look like, and when I'd see the real thing....

Shaun took me out to one of the nicest restaurants in downtown Minneapolis, JD Hoyt, for my birthday.  About halfway through our meal, he got up to use the restroom.  When he came back, the waitress came over to ask how our meal was, and she was quite chatty - a diversion.  Just then, from behind my back came several other restaurant staff, carrying a slice of chocolate cake.  As they put it down in front of me, I saw a blue rhinestone ring in the center.

[Now, I recognized the rhinestone because it was the ring my Aunt Pam had given to Shaun a few months earlier because she wanted him to propose at my cousin, Nicole's, wedding.  He didn't.]  

Chocolate cake still in the prongs today!

As they put the cake down, I said, "What's that?"  I looked up and Shaun said, "Well, if that won't do, how about this one?" and he offered up my gorgeous ring and proposed.

As we left the restaurant, I gently chided Shaun that he hadn't proposed on his knee.  In the parking lot behind the restaurant, he got down on his knee and proposed again. The funniest part about that is that the warehouse district of downtown Minneapolis where we were is really goofy.  JD Hoyt happens to share a parking lot with a strip club.  So we can say, in all honesty, that Shaun proposed in a strip club parking lot.  My Prince Charming.

THRIFTY TIP:  You don't need to buy an expensive cut of steak for it to be DELICIOUS, nor do you need to season it to death for flavor.  One of our favorite cuts of steak is flank steak.  It's one of the cheaper cuts of beef - you can get a large flank steak (enough to feed 2-4 people) for around $6.00 or even less if you watch your grocery store's ads.  Season the steak with salt and pepper, then grill or broil only a few minutes on each side until it is medium-rare to medium.  Juicy and delicious.


Steph and future hubby, Circa 2001

“I’m one of the rare chicks out there who considers Valentine’s Day my favorite holiday.  When I was a kid, I loved creating a Valentine’s Day box to bring to school for students to place Valentine’s addressed to me.  I loved receiving flowers and candy from old boyfriends.  I still like picking out a card for my husband and one for my son that represents how much I love them.  Valentine’s Day is the day I load them up with candy and treats, too.
My husband and I don’t exchange gifts for Valentine’s Day anymore, but when we did, he could be very clever.  One year stands out as my favorite Valentine’s Day.
We were about a year and half into dating and we lived about 4 hours apart, so weekends spent together were special.  I was working on my graduate degree in Grand Forks and he was already back home in Bismarck holding a full time job.  He had come for a visit that weekend and brought with him two pepperoni pizzas.  Doesn’t seem like a big deal, right?   Actually he had called the owner of my favorite pizza joint in Bismarck and explained that he’d like to take a couple of ‘zas to Grand Forks with him that weekend.  I should note that this wasn’t a take and bake pizza place.  The owner made up the fresh pizzas, froze them and my sweet boyfriend, now husband, drow them to Grand Forks and baked them for a delicious Valentine’s Day dinner.  His gift to me was by no means anything fancy, but it sure warmed my heart.”

Steph and R have been married for 4 years!

THRIFTY RANCH RECIPE:  Found on the back of the Hidden Valley Ranch packet—follow it to a tea!  IT IS DELICIOUS!

Milk, mayo and ranch packet - simpler is better!

Ingredients:  See Step One.

Step One:  Mix 1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch powdered dressing mix with 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of mayonnaise.

Seeking: One Metal Whisk

Step Two:  Stir.

Bowlful of Heaven.

Step Three:  Enjoy!

An American Classic

The homemade ranch dressing will keep in the refrigerator for about 4 weeks.

To our Blog Friends: lots of 'Food = Love' stories are wished for you by these WOM-MOMs.

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