It's almost Valentine's Day!
The world may be in the middle of a pandemic with restaurant seating-capacity restrictions and mask mandates, but that shouldn't stop you from declaring your love for your family, friends and/or a significant other this coming Sunday, February 14.
Fight the urge to be a love scrooge and look for little ways to say that you care on Valentine's Day. It doesn't have to be with a dozen long-stem roses or a tomahawk steak and lobster. Any simple gesture that illustrates that you went out of your way for someone else can mean more than you know.
Oftentimes, I'll write my husband a poem, he'll make me hand-dipped chocolates, or one year he even carved me an adorable whale out of driftwood. Handmade gifts are some of the most cherished and memorable you can ever give or receive.
With that in mind, let's look at some other ideas sent in to Eat Like a Writer that can help you celebrate at home, memorably, this Valentine's Day.
If you're flying solo this year, Presently suggests inviting your girlfriends to join you online to virtually celebrate the day together through baking, applying face masks, having a happy hour, or watching a movie.
More with Less Today suggests throwing your own wine and cheese party; planting something together, such as a favorite flower or herbs; or signing up for an online enrichment class that you can both enjoy together.
How about a Valentine's Day afternoon tea party? I love tea parties, and they are so much fun to put together and enjoy! Destination Tea suggests recruiting the entire family to make the sandwiches, bake the cookies, and set the table. Extended family and friends can join the tea party via Zoom.
Practice a bit of self-love this Sunday by booking a virtual meeting with a stylist or makeup artist over at StyldLife. You can learn how to do a smokey eye or ways to dress for that big interview. Group sessions are available for those wanting to share the experience with friends or family, too.
Looking for a family-friendly Valentine's Day? DQ Family Travel's Margie DQ says that her family will be having a simple dessert party this Valentine's Day. Each person in the family will be in charge of one item to make. Her son (13) will be making chocolate covered strawberries. Her daughter (11) will bake heart-shaped sugar cookies. Margie will bake oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, while her husband is in charge of making cocktails for the grown-ups and mocktails for the kiddos.
Wedding and event planner Boca Entertainment suggests having everyone in the family start by wearing red on Valentine's Day. Make photo props by attaching cut-out hearts with love quotes to popsicle sticks, and use heart-shaped baking dishes to make entrees throughout the day.
Relationship expert Sonya Schwartz says the best at-home Valentine's day idea is to set up a romantic table in the house. It's even better if you have a backyard, where you can have an outdoor candlelit dinner (weather permitting). She says that nothing beats a surprise celebration that you made yourself.
Bring the outdoors in with an indoor picnic or a spa day, says Sam Whittaker from Mantelligence. You can also throw a theme night and stick with the theme, from the clothes you wear to the food you eat and the way you talk!
Need a delicious recipe that works for the entire family on Valentine's Day? Amanda Scarlati from Saporito Kitchen shares family-friendly recipes for Cast Iron Pan Pizza, Italian-style Meatloaf, and Dijon Panko-Crusted Salmon.
Relationship expert Michelle Devani says you can show your love at home by simply cooking your mate's favorite meal and making your table set up fit for the occasion. You can also give your significant other a massage so they feel relaxed, or do the household chores while they enjoy their favorite movie. Staying at home and enjoying each other’s company is the best way to spend not just occasions but every moment of our lives.
Maryanne Parker from Manor of Manners says to dress to impress on Valentine's Day, like you would have on your first date. Don't experiment with recipes, but rather, prepare a favorite meal that you know your mate will enjoy. Don't forget a small but meaningful gift that shows your gratitude for the relationship.
Andrea Javor says to order in from your favorite local restaurant, take a stroll around the neighborhood and stop for hot chocolate along the way, or book an online cooking class.
Matchmaker Rori Sassoon suggests creating a casino night for Valentine's Day, complete with martinis, games, and dressing up like you're going out on the town. For a more tame night, host your own two-person wine and cheese tasting, marshmallow toasting, or spa night.
Attend a free 90-minute enneagram class on Valentine's night, if you're interested in seeing how you and your significant other's personalities may play into your relationship with one another.
Over at Ella's Blended Family, blogger Cecile Leger says that her family will be spending Valentine's Day wearing comfy clothes, eating their favorite candies, and playing board games all night.
Speaking of mixology, here's a fun cocktail recipe sent from Cayo Espanto, a luxury private-island resort located off the coast of Belize. It's called a Valentini!
1 oz. Vodka
1 oz. Peach Schnapps
2 oz. Orange Juice
Splash of Grenadine
A Muddled Strawberry
Mix all in a shaker and shake well with just a bit of crushed ice. Pour into a martini glass and garnish with a strawberry.
And for those wanting an easy make-ahead Valentine's Day breakfast idea, Alpha Baking Co. has provided the below recipe for overnight French toast.
Overnight Raspberry and Chocolate Chip French Toast
Makes 4-6 servings
12 slices S. Rosen’s Farmers Market Craft White Bread (or bread you have on hand)
1 ½ cups whole milk (or your preference)
1 tsp vanilla
3 tsp sugar
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 package fresh raspberries
Optional Powdered Sugar Icing;
1 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. whole milk
1. Dice slices of bread into pieces (about 9 pieces from each slice). Once all bread is diced, collect
into large bowl. In a separate bowl beat together 5 eggs until smooth, then add milk, vanilla, and sugar. Whisk until blended well. Pour mixture over bread pieces and gently stir until pieces seem to have absorbed some mixture. Grease an 8” by 12” baking dish with butter and put about half of the bread mixture into dish and spread to form an even layer. Distribute half of the chocolate chips and raspberries over the layer, and then top with the rest of the bread mixture. Top that layer with the remaining raspberries and chocolate. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, preheat oven to 350°F and take casserole out of fridge while the oven is
heating. Once the oven is heated, put casserole in with aluminum foil covering still on. Remove
foil after 15 min and cook until you start to see some golden brown edges, about another 15
Optional step: For a powdered sugar icing topping, combine 1 cup powdered sugar with 3 Tbsp.
milk, and stir until it becomes a smooth liquid. Add more milk if needed until you reach the
desired consistency. Drizzle over casserole.