Ever since sometime in college, I have hung an empty picture frame somewhere in my house. Usually, as now, it's in the dining room. How it started is a long story, but I'm not entirely sure why I keep doing it. The original empty frame is long gone, and I haven't yet found one as fabulous. Still, I like to think of it metaphorically. It reminds me of possibility. We can put anything we want to in it ... and we often do. At Christmas it's our advent calendar, on birthdays it's a paper birthday cake with the appropriate number of candles, and this week it's this:
Remember those paper hearts hung all over the kids' wreaths? I had extra. We also did this with their friends' names for valentines. It was a nice family project, and it was educational, too: we incorporated letter recognition, spelling, and math (how many letters are in so-and-so's name?).
By the way, are you cold? I am. I've been cold for the last few months. Don't get me wrong, I love the cold. I love it because there are so many glorious ways to get warm again when one is cold. Here's one of my favorites:
Black Bean Soup
1 can chopped tomatoes (or 1 lb. chopped plum tomatoes)
2 1/4 cups (or 2 cans) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 1/2 oz) vegetable broth (or 2 cups if you make your own)
1/2 cup cilantro
3 Tbsp lime juice
1 canned chipotle chile
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup diced red onion
In blender, puree tomatoes, half the beans, broth, cilantro, lime juice, chipotle, and cumin. Transfer to a cooking pot and add the rest of the beans, corn, and onion. Heat through. Serve with avocado and sour cream for garnish.
This recipe originally came to me as a cold soup, which you can totally do. Just make sure the corn is either fresh or thawed, and don't do the heating part. I've never done it that way, though, because some, as they say, like it hot!
Which brings me to my recommendation for a great Valentine's Day movie for people - like us - who like to stay in. Two musicians in an all-girl band (so they have to dress in drag, because they're Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon) witness the 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre and try to skip town before the Mob catches up with them. And because they're Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, hilarity ensues. Oh yeah, and Marilyn Monroe is in it, too. There's history! Romance! Comedy! Adventure! Grab this movie, your sweetie, a big cozy quilt, a big bowl of popcorn (which is just for me, because *he* doesn't like popcorn! :) and you've got yourself one hot date!