From the Heart…

What does it mean to love somebody? Do you love them because of what they think and how they act? Or do you love someone because of what they have? Traditional fairy princess stories have girls growing up to marry handsome princes, while more modern times have labeled such women as gold diggers, painting them as heartless, empty shells of people who love things more than love itself. So with these two models, it is easy to understand why I often struggled to understand whether loving a man means being with someone who can provide for you, or being with someone who provides attention, support and passion, or rather, just loves you.

So when I met a man who had no job, I struggled. But the romantic independent woman won out, and he stayed. On our first Valentine’s Day, I didn’t expect a gift. I already felt that his gift was that he would listen and be supportive for hours. He would transport kiddos and cook meals, sort socks, delicately wash my lady things, hold doors, carry groceries, fight to defend my honor, and sit through chick flicks by the hour.  And he loved me with passion. But he had no money.

So, on the Annual Day of Love I did not prepare a card or a gift for my love, and intended to settle in for a quiet non-eventful evening at home.

When I walked in the door, the kitchen was busy. Every countertop, table top and non-movable surface was being used for chopping, mixing, marinating, and sautéing. My fella and his son were cooking. Rich, garlicky smells filled the air.

That night we feast. No prince’s ball could possibly cause me to feel more decadent than I did from the savory food and exquisite atmosphere. Candles burning everywhere bathed our meal in a soft light as my love slid in close and secretly took hold of my hand under the table and smiled.

After dinner he presented me with a shimmering deep red heart shaped candy box. Inside were a collection of dark milk chocolates with raspberry filling. Popping one in my mouth felt like an explosion of oral ecstasy.

And, there was a card. It was a heartfelt sentiment demonstrating true warmth and affection.

We lived in a tiny little two bedroom apartment, with a kitchen the size of a cracker box, and the dining area about half that size. As diminutive and cramped as it was, it felt like a five star restaurant. The meal and gift were an extravagance; purchased at the local grocery store with food stamps.

Even though my love had no money and could not take me out to wine and dine me, I did not feel deprived. It was a date befitting the first Valentine’s Day.

chocolate chip pumpkin bread

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

After the holidays, the Food Bank gives away cans of pumpkin puree that didn’t sell during Thanksgiving and Christmas. My absolutely most favorite way to enjoy chocolate is when the chips are mixed in a pumpkin bread, and you slice into the loaf while it’s still warm. 🙂

Check out these recipes on All



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