The Dabble

-food with a side of life-

My Sentiments About Valentine’s Day and Andes Mint Brownies

In the past I’ve written posts about the upcoming holiday and suggestions for gifts or meals or both. I know that many people are abuzz over Valentine’s Day this Sunday. I am no longer a proponent of the dog and pony show. I don’t even like to consider it a holiday. I side with those that think it was created by card/candy/jewelry industries…I know it’s an actual declared Saint’s day but it’s out of hand.

If you love someone, you should tell them (not by buying them things)…a handwritten letter or heartfelt words told directly to your loved one is the way to go in my opinion. You should celebrate the love of your life in small, intimate, only-you-and-that-person-would-understand ways every day. What says special like the majority of the people on the planet celebrating a romantic holiday meant for only 2 people to enjoy together, doing much of the same cliché things around other couples celebrating the same private event? Really, what is special about that?!

You know when that day was fun? Me neither. Well, I take that back. In elementary school, when parties were still allowed, when treats and valentine cards were handed out to everyone, that was a good time. It was when people changed the game and started sending only a few people a valentine when it turned ugly.

Who can forget the events that high schools would allow, back in my day (the late ‘90’s to ’01), where teens could have secret admirers and receive roses during class from someone that purchased the flower over one of their breaks…which often ended up going to only a handful of girls, considered the most attractive or the ones who told their boyfriends that they better get a flower, from boyfriends or other guys that they didn’t even know existed. All of this while the other girls watched their guy friends embarrass themselves – when they could’ve realized the special lady next to them was the real deal. Yeah, that hit a little too close to home.

They would bring the roses into the class, from a delivery person, and the hearts of every girl would flutter with excitement thinking that someone liked them enough to have this rose delivered in front of the entire class and oh maybe it’s from…and then all of the roses went to the cheerleader or athlete from her football/sports playing boyfriend or the “nerdy kid” that thought this token of his love would amount to something.

I was part of the female movement to buy and receive a rose for/from their best friends so I received a few from my girls. It’s the least we could. I think one or two of my guy friends bought me a rose, in what I always understood, as a strictly platonic act. I’m sorry if I missed something.

Even when I did have a special someone in my life, that day sucked. Many of my friends were competitive when it came to how sweet their boyfriends were and would compare gifts…I didn’t partake in this but I had the boyfriend that forgot what day it was and left the gas station gift, that he bought that morning (some ugly stuffed animal…I’m not big on stuffed animals), in his car for the day (where he couldn’t get to until after school), while the other girls would receive flowers, balloons and I’ve even seen a singing telegram while at practice. There’s no use arguing how stupid that was because they always seemed to think it was out of jealousy….which was only a small percentage compared to the ridiculosity factor. I was impressed when an original thought put into action came about for V Day.

The day got really competitive when there was practice and required staying after school -which was where I could be found most days, resisting the urge to toss someone’s vase full of roses took a lot of self-restraint. I was also the girl that helped plan and execute the ideal Valentine’s Day for my guy friends, keeping my own thoughts out of what was supposed to be their special time. If the female was stereotypical, I helped plan a stereotypical gift, if she seemed more original, I’d go that route…I don’t think any of the girls were disappointed and some may not even know that I was behind it but oh well. However, I don’t think any of those couples are together to this day so it must not have been that good.

College was better because people that brought their valentines to class were often considered vapid, needy and shallow (I think I only witnessed sorority girls showing their goods to other sorority girls). Plus, I was secure enough in my relationship with Greg to know that I had the real thing sitting across campus, learning about forest products or working in the wood lab. A thought like that meant more to me than flowers, candy and jewelry. It still does-even though we are states away, wiser and years past that time. Plus, I’m not much for pink.

I am not at all against making a nice something or other in the food world to share with the one I love (which happens most days). I like it even better when the item is prepared together and enjoyed by candlelight. That might seem cliché but I use candlelight whenever I get the chance, it’s a soul-soothing atmosphere…until your candle gets out of control and flames start shooting underneath the smoke alarm but for some reason it’s not going off, so you’re trying to blow it out but it’s not helping and your husband grabs a towel, the towel that is for looks and not to be used, to tame the fire beast which leaves you standing there thinking about your ruined towel, telling yourself that the smoke alarm works when there’s steam, so you begin to worry that if a fire did happen, would you ever know and then you have to calm down in a room that smells and tastes like burning (but at least it doesn’t smell like burnt popcorn, that’s awful)….I’ll chance that if I get to have a candlelit moment.

For those pre-candlelit times, I know that Greg likes mint brownies-Andes mint brownies to be exact. You can purchase the box and smash them to bits or you could buy the chips in the baking section of your grocery store-I believe most places carry these. I know, some people are against a cocoa-based brownie but I am not one and these are damn good. I found this at and I thank her. I left the melted mints out as the topping but you could melt a package and drizzle it over for even more mint-goodness.

Andes Mint Brownies
Andes Mint Brownies

Andes Mint Brownies
Makes 8 to 12

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup cocoa
½ tsp salt
¼ cup chopped Andes mint chips or pieces (more or less)

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 9×13 pan. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Remove from the heat once melted and add the sugar, vanilla and eggs. Mix together. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cocoa and salt together and add to the other ingredients. Stir in chopped mints and pour into pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. When a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, they are finished. Allow them to cool, then cut and serve.

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