With Valentine’s Day around the corner, many of us have already begun to brainstorm how to create a special evening for our significant other. It should go without saying, but hopefully, you already make an effort on a regular basis.
But of course Valentine’s Day still carries with it the expectation of something a little more or special. Plus, if you’ll be staying home and sticking to a budget, creating a special evening can feel extra challenging.
Well fret not and don’t resign yourself to the couch with some ice cream, promising to leave him or her the other half of the carton! You can still create a romantic, appreciative atmosphere in ways that are both simple and economic.
We’ll teach you to create a magical night with your partner for a fraction of the cost. It’ll only cost you time, which is the true currency in relationships.
Valentine’s Day isn’t just a day to celebrate love. It’s also an opportunity to revitalize feelings and emotions towards your partner. Of course, you want to make this evening unusual and surprising for him or her, regardless of your budget.
You might find it hugely helpful to start the Valentine’s Day preparation a few days or even a week before. Planning cuts down on last minutes disasters and stress … and can save you money since you’re able to search for more options. You’ll need to plan:
- Creation of a great tables cape for Valentine’s Day dinner
- A simple & delicious dinner including appetizer, salad, main course and dessert.
This easy plan is definitely simple, so romantic and of course economic! You and your partner will absolutely be enjoying the art of living with these tips and ideas.
CREATING A ROMANTIC TABLESCAPE
Creating an appealing tables cape that’s simple or traditional might actually be a good thing. Nowadays, people have shifted to much fancier set-ups most likely inspired by Pinterest. But you can still enjoy returning to a more traditional setup and it might make your efforts stand out.
If you’re already into decorating your home, setting a nice tables cape is probably a cup of tea for you. However, here are some fresh ideas just in case you need them:
Candles are the most important items on your Valentine’s Day dinner table. You can put votive candles into empty glass jars. And we all have glass mason jars lying around somewhere right? Those work beautifully as well. This should cost you around $3 per candle, and these are quite long lasting. You can use as many jars and candles as you want and arrange them on the table to create a soft, warm light which makes an area look instantly fancier and more romantic.
Use flower arrangements, but keep it simple. Using just one kind of flower, probably of your partner’s choice, to make arrangement, is a great way to go! This brings life to the table and a sweet fragrance to the air. This costs you around $10-$20. Don’t want to go out and purchase flowers? Get out there with some clippers and go on a lush hiking trail or trim a little off that Bougainvillea bush down the street when nobody’s looking. I mean, you only need a little bit to make the table look nice.
Use nicely designed and delicate dishware to set the table. Use cocktail glasses and arrange the plates with folk and knife. Don’t forget to place neat and clean napkins too. If you don’t happen to already have nice dishware, you can go get inexpensive, great-looking from stores like Target or Crate and Barrel. They’ll cost you anywhere between $25 and $50. There’s also no shame in some cheap champagne. The great thing about champagne is that even the cheaper ones still seem to taste pretty nice. And if it doesn’t taste that great to you, add orange juice and you’ve got yourself a nice mimosa.
- A Gift
You can also place your gift nicely on the table on one side. Make the wrapping yourself! It’ll mean a lot to your partner and will be easy on the wallet. Use beautiful craft wrappings and ribbons to pack your gift. The supplies for gift wrapping will cost $5-$10. Sometimes home-made gifts can be affordable as well as thoughtful. You can serenade them, draw them a portrait (if you’re good at it), make them a painting, or get them some bath salts to soak in while you pamper them with a massage.
A FULL COURSE MEAL THAT’LL MAKE THEIR MOUTH WATER
We’re giving you some of our favorite recipes that look sophisticated, taste delicious and that won’t overwhelm the cook: Heart Shaped Thai Chicken Dumplings, Caesar Salad and your choice of Lobster Macaroni and Cheese or Crusted Herb Lamb Chops, plus Cherries Jubilee for desert!
HEART SHAPED THAI CHICKEN APPETIZER
The first 4 steps can be done ahead of time!
- Ground chicken breast: ½ lb
- Chopped purple cabbage: ¾ cup
- Chopped green onions: 2
- Chopped red bell pepper: ½
- Minced garlic cloves:2
- Fresh ginger: ¼ tsp
- Soy sauce: 1/8 cup
- Salt & pepper: to taste
- Sesame oil: 1 tbsp
- Wonton wrappers: 8
- Heart shaped cookie cutter
- Take a bowl and mix first 8 ingredients.
- Cut heart shaped pieces from won ton wrappers.
- Put some filling in center of heart shaped pieces.
- Now cover these with other pieces. And seal the edges with water.
- Take a saucepan and heat sesame oil on medium heat. Cook prepared heart shaped pots in it for 2 minutes each side.
- Serve with Thai chili sauce or soy sauce.
We’re going to do an easy Caesar salad. If you need a time saver…purchasing a salad kit at your local supermarket and it’s done! If you’re up for the extra work…let’s show you how simple this is! Again, everything but the final step can be done before hand.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 bag of croutons
- 1 tbs lemon juice
- 1 tbs red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/4 teas mustard
- 1/8 teas salt
- 3 anchovy fillets (canned) (optional. If you don’t like the smelly things)
- 1 large yolks
- 1 bag of chopped romaine lettuce (10 oz)
Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in garlic. Remove pan from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Remove garlic from oil with a slotted spoon; discard garlic. Add juice and next 6 ingredients (through egg yolk) to oil in pan. Cook over medium heat 30 seconds or until mixture thickens and begins to bubble around edges, stirring constantly. Pour mixture into a small bowl; cool to room temperature.
Place lettuce in a large bowl. Add egg mixture, cheese, and pepper; toss gently to coat. Add croutons; toss gently to combine. Serve immediately.
Now that you have 2 courses under your belt, let’s talk main course. I’m giving you two super ideas that our kitchen loves. Now, choosing which main course is right for you comes down your comfort zone and your Valentine’s taste.
Below are original links from Comfort Food For Families (This will keep you from having to keep scrolling up and down when you cook).
LOBSTER MACARONI AND CHEESE
This is a romantic winner! Bake in the oven and done! A complete entree when served with a sparkling wine. A meal to remember!
CRUSTED HERB LAMB CHOPS
Clean, fresh flavored, amazing dish. This will present and taste amazing. Side it with some rice or a vegetable and it’s better than a restaurant!
Even after all this food, what’s the night without dessert? If you are pressed for time, buy mini pastries and place on small plates. If you’re still in your creative zone and have the time, end the meal with this classic dessert.
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 pound fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted, or frozen pitted cherries, thawed, undrained
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 2 tablespoon bourbon or brandy
- 100% cranberry juice
- 100% cherry juice
- Arrow root
- Vanilla ice cream
- Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat.
- Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
- Add cherries and salt; stir to coat.
- Cook cherries, stirring occasionally, until juices are released and begin to reduce slightly, about 10 minutes.
- Take cranberry juice and cherry juice and mix with arrow root in a separate cup, to yield your preferred volume of sauce, until it is thick.
- Add it into your simmering cherries.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in bourbon.
- Return pan to heat and simmer until juices thicken, about 5 minutes.
- Season to taste with lemon juice. Let cool slightly.
- Spoon warm cherry mixture over ice cream.
So for those of you who need a fool-proof plan, there you have it! If you have other ideas on enjoying your Valentine’s Day, leave a comment! We love to hear everyone’s “art of living” ideas and plans for Valentine’s Day.