Saturday, January 7, 2017

First Date: Meet Me Under the Stars

It was 2001, I was 15, a freshman in high school, and Mike was a sophomore. I wasn’t allowed to date by myself until I turned 16 so we planned for a group date. As typical teenagers we didn’t have much to plan. We all did the same thing, either hung out at someone’s house or went to the movies. Our theatre of choice was one of the largest in the city at the time and the ‘cool’ place to go. In the main lobby there was a night sky in the ceiling with computerized shooting stars. Mike has always been a hopeless romantic and since he wasn’t allowed to pick me up at my house, he asked me to meet him under the stars at the theatre.

I can still remember the ridiculous outfit I chose after changing four times and although I thought it was cool and the hot thing to wear, today I laugh with embarrassment. My top was a tank that tied up the sides with red embellished lips on the front, my first purchase from Wet Seal, and a black light weight zip up sweater. I paired it with my Tommy Hilfinger jeans and cross body purse from Gap that held my Heaven scented perfume.

Mike ended up being late so our group of friends had to split up. Mike and I found a couple empty seats at the top of the theatre. We laugh about the awkwardness between us. Do we hold hands? Does he want to hold my hand, should I reach for his hand? The date ended with us sharing our first kiss and walking to a nearby diner for french fries and milkshakes. Which brings me to our first date of 2017.

I’ve been struggling with planning our first resolution date. I felt so pressured to make it grand, but after too much thinking I decided to start from the very beginning and felt inspired by our first date together. I wrote a little love letter to Mike in our traveling journal we share, asking him to meet me under the stars later that night. We started up the fire pit and made dinner for two. Since we dined on french fries and milkshakes back as teenagers, it was only fitting to recreate it similarly by making burgers and oven baked garlic fries. It was chilly outside so we skipped the milkshakes and popped open a couple Cold Snaps instead.  

 We had no idea how much we’ve been missing out on while running around, raising three babes. It may seem like a simple and small gesture, dating, but it was so fulfilling to just sit, talk, and enjoy each other’s company without having three little people yelling mama + daddy; constantly needing something. I found a list of fun questions we read back and forth to each other. Even though a few were very basic such as what’s your favorite food, I found myself not knowing all of Mike’s answers. It’s terrible. In the almost eight years we’ve been married we’ve changed and forgot to continue to study each other. I’m so glad we are choosing to make our relationship a priority because it’s so easy to let everyday life cloud what’s really important. I can’t wait to see what Mike has in store for date night next week!

Burgers for Two
1/2 lb Ground Beef
1/8 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Cold Water
1 Egg
1/2 teaspoon Nebraska Steak Salt Seasoning

Mix ground beef, bread crumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, water and egg together in a bowl. Once mixed, form two burger patties and set aside. Once ready to cook, sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon Steak Salt on each side of the burger patties. Cook until liked doneness. 
Toast bun by lightly buttering and place on grill or skillet until golden. 
Top each burger with preferred condiments. A few of our favorites are sliced avocado, roasted bell pepper, pickles, sharp cheddar cheese + apple cider vinegar mustard.

 Garlic Parmesan Fries
4 Medium Russet Potatoes, washed + sliced into 1/4 inch strips.
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Season Salt (We use Lawry's or Gates BBQ)
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/4 cup Fresh Parsley, chopped

Spicy Aioli
1/3 cup Mayonnaise
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degree F. 
In a gallon size plastic zip bag, place potatoes, oil, garlic, garlic powder and season salt. Seal the bag and shake until potatoes are well coated. Place potato strips on a lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. 
Remove potatoes from oven and place back into plastic zip bag, along with parmesan cheese and parsley. Toss gently, then pour back onto the baking sheet and continue to bake an additional 10 minutes. 
Serve with Spicy Aioli and enjoy!


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