Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tantalizing Thursday

Now that Groundhog Day is behind us, I'm getting into full Valentine's Day mode. To be honest, my home has been in full Valentine's Day mode for weeks, but now I'm catching up. Between now and V Day time goes inordinately quickly, so it is time to make a game plan (throwing in a little Super Bowl terminology to be timely) for the big day.
I like to show the people I love how much I love them through acts of love! Did I really just type "love" 3 times in one sentence?! My motto is go all out on Valentine's Day - decorations, foods, cards, and gifts, as well as romantic movies and love songs galore! My husband might even say I live in my own private Valentine's World, but that's our issue. Instead of one recipe today, I thought I'd concentrate more on simple tips to beef up your Valentine's Day so you can go all-out in the love/romance department.
First, if you haven't already, it's time to decorate, yes, decorate for Valentine's Day. This sets a tone and keeps a romantic/loving feel in the home more than just "one day". To me, Valentine's is a season. Decorations need not be elaborate nor expensive, just a few hearts, store-bought or handmade, scattered around a couple of rooms, say the dining room and the family room. Add some crepe paper or balloons, a Valentine's sign or banner, and the job is nearly complete. To go all out, add some fresh cut flowers from the florist or grocery store and replace them as they die. I'm not talking roses, but any fresh, colorful flowers will add a terrific dimension and lift everyone's spirits in the house. Carnations or daisies are perfect and usually quite reasonable. Put the flowers all around - bud vases, large vases, milk container, pitcher, etc. The point is to have something fresh, pretty, and, hopefully, that smells delightful.
Second, go out now and buy your Valentines for your loved ones. The selections are best now. Fill the card out and seal the envelope. Then, put it in a special place for your loved one(s) to see so they can start anticipating. Remember, one of the fun part of school celebrations was seeing your shoebox 'mailbox' fill up with Valentine's from your classmate. Don't underestimate the power of anticipation. And, spring for more than one card! Do a funny one, a sweet one, and a sexy one! Just have them all there for your Valentine to see and wonder about. This can be done, of course, with handmade cards, too. Just make sure they can't be peaked at before February 14th. Feel compelled to get a gift? I'm a jewelry girl, but budgets are tight for most still. For a truly couple-pleasing gift, I say go for lingerie! Let's not lose sight of the fun reasons we celebrate Valentine's Day!
Next, plan a Valentine's menu. Going out on this day is not nearly as romantic or as fun as it sounds. Restaurants usually go price fixed with a narrow menu and the food and service and usually not as good. Dine in, save money, experiment, and, for those of you in relationships, dessert can be served elsewhere! Starting with breakfast, bring on the hearts! French toast, pancakes, and waffles can all be made in heart-shapes without much trouble. Use a cookie cutter for French toast or pancakes and, if you are inclined, buy a heart-shaped waffle iron! The morning toast can also be cut into heart-shapes! Serve with strawberry preserves and the red is taken care of, too! Don't forget a little chocolate in the morning - hot chocolate, chocolate chips in the pancakes, or a quick bread dotted with chocolate chips. If presenting your lover with breakfast in bed, add a single flower in a bud vase.
For lunch, use that heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut the sandwich bread, to cut a tortilla, or to make jellied cranberry slices into hearts! Buy or use red plates, disposable or your own, and plates with hearts, to serve everything. Use red juice or strawberry milk for the beverage. Anything pink, red and/or chocolate are the color schemes for Valentine's Day. It's once a year, stop counting calories; dive in and enjoy!
Dinner is the perfect time to put a couple of extra dollars into a special meal; you're still saving a ton by not going out, so splurge a bit. Buy a beautiful steak or some amazing seafood. Whatever you and your lover/family enjoy. Pick a couple of easy-to-make but sinful side dishes, and take help from the grocery store if you don't have the time, energy, or desire to cook. From mashed potatoes to prepared salads, the grocery store has it all and even though it is more expensive than making it yourself, it's still cheaper than going out! Pick an amazing dessert (or a few for a 'sampler') to make or buy and you are finished. If you drink, get some wine that goes with dinner and some sparkling wine for before and after the meal! If you don't drink, create a signature 'mocktail' for the day. Fruit juice and club soda is always a fun spritzer!
Set the table with the best dishes, fine stemware, and pretty napkins. Get out the candlesticks and holders and set the tone of the evening. Kids at home? Feed them first and put them to bed early - it is a school night! Older kids? Enjoy the family portion of the evening; remember, you wanted those kids, so try to enjoy them. Like Thanksgiving when you go around the table to say what you are thankful for, on Valentine's go around the table and tell why you love everyone individually, there is no greater gift.
Finally, say good night to the kids, clean up from dinner, and spend the remaining time with your partner. Really enjoy one another and rekindle the reasons you chose to be together. This is a night for romance, appreciation, and declarations of love. I hope you plan for and spend this year's Valentine's Day well. Imagine the good well credits you'll be storing up! A little effort can go a long way. Valentine's Day need not be expensive nor annoying. You can celebrate in an uplifting way keeping in mind the true point of the day, telling your loved ones how much you love them!


  1. I just put away the Christmas decorations now you want me to put them all up again ?

  2. The rose petals all over the floor are a little much, Chief. Did you really cut all those into heart shapes, or did they grow that way?

    Seriously, Happy V.D.

    I'll be here all week...

  3. Be sure to tip your waitress. Nice, Racer!

    Art, different decorations my dear. I guess I'll have to tutor you...

  4. Cheif187 you must be snowed in, but it all sounds really fun and romantic, so with that in mind Im breaking out the crystal and will try to go all out for my love love love. 3 times in one sentance. you are great, Ryan is a very lucky man indeed. I will post Pictures of the glorious event. Have an awesome day.


  5. This is the era you belong in if you have the time to do all of this. Hope you have fun.