It isn't easy to plan a surprise away from home for my husband with a house full of children and no grandparents nearby to babysit on short notice. This was the first year since we've been married that I had the opportunity to plan something special for our wedding anniversary away from the house but not at a restaurant, and it was so much fun.
I started by placing a London Broil flank steak in the crockpot with a can of creamy tomato soup, a can of cream of mushroom soup, and a package of dry onion soup mix sprinkled over the top. I let this cook on low heat for about 9 hours.
Next, I partially thawed a 1.5 quart container of French vanilla ice cream and a can of frozen pink lemonade concentrate. Then I mixed the two together in a big bowl and poured into 2 prepared graham cracker pie crusts, so there would be one pie for us and another for the children. As it turns out, the kids found it too tart for their taste, but I think it's great for a summer dessert. These went into the freezer to re-freeze.
In the afternoon, I sent my older son into the garden to pick fresh kale, beets, onions, and radishes for a tossed salad. I also added some sliced mushrooms. I cheated and used a bottle of raspberry walnut vinaigrette instead of making my own salad dressing, but I love this in the summer. Into the refrigerator it went.
As it neared the time for my husband to return home from work, I left a note on our front screen door to meet me up at our cabin. I had helpers carry items up, including some linen spray to mask the closed-up cabin smell, old tapered candles (the only ones I could find other than from our Advent wreath) and inexpensive candlestick holders, hand-painted wine glasses since there are none at the cabin (must change that,) and a bottle of red wine from a local winery.
The final dish I prepared at the cabin since it needed to be cooked at the last minute. I made a pot of Jasmati brown rice and added some sauteed peas from our gardens and sliced mushrooms, and then sprinkled in some cumin.
As I've mentioned before, this cabin was just recently purchased and had been a hunting camp for decades, so it is rather rustic and needs some work. However, it was fully equipped with everything I needed to make a dinner for two (except for the wine glasses and matching water glasses.) Best of all, my husband was quite surprised, and we had a leisurely, quiet, uninterrupted anniversary dinner without having to go out to do so. We were less than a quarter of a mile away from our farmhouse and the children, yet it felt like we were on a vacation retreat in the mountains. We even got in a game of air hockey, but I won't say who won.
This is me feeling a bit proud of myself---at successfully pulling off a surprise dinner, or about the air hockey game---I'll let you decide.