Ever since Rob and I started dating, we’ve always spent our Valentine’s Day at home. Seven years later, things haven’t changed. Why you might ask? Well, personally I think Valentine’s Day can be a bit of a rip off. The set-price menus, over-booked restaurants and unrealistic expectations for what the day is about is all just a little too exhausting for us.
So, we boycott the over-priced dinners and wine and instead splurge a little bit at home with a some prosecco (scotch for Rob), yummy dinner, a nice bottle of wine and a decadent dessert. Yes, we even get dressed up for the occasion and turn on a nice jazz playlist to set the mood.
To me, it’s perfect.
We get to focus our attention 100% on others without the distraction of other patrons and we can linger over our dessert and wine as long as we want because there’s not another seating coming in after us.
Since we’ve done this for six years already, I pretty much have it down to a science, so I’ve worked up a little ‘recipe’ for the perfect at home Valentine’s Day.
Barrel + Ink makes gorgeous bottles that can double as a Valentine’s gift. The wine is all made in Sonoma and the labels, well, let’s just say you’re not going to want to throw these away! You can order Barrel + Ink wines here. The design on the bottle of white wine might just be perfect for Valentine’s Day, what do you think?
I always put Rob in charge of this! Creating a romantic playlist for Valentine’s Day is pretty easy — when in doubt just turn on the jazz station on Pandora!
The key to getting that romantic, restaurant-like setting? Low light and candles! Make sure you get unscented though! Candlesticks or a simple candleholders will dress up your tablescape. These brass crane candlesticks are some of my favorites!
Let’s be real. This is really the guy’s job. We don’t exchange gifts at Valentine’s Day, just cards and flowers and that’s all we need. Guys, listen up! If you’re in Chicago, head over to Flowers for Dreams and order one of their bouquets! They are absolutely stunning — much better than something you can order at one of those big-box online flower shops. Plus, every bouquet benefits a local charity! Oh, and did I mention delivery is FREE for most parts of the city!
With those flowers, make sure to add a hand-written card! This is always the most special thing to me and I’ve kept almost all of the cards (a few got lost when I moved to Chicago) that Rob has written to me over the years. It’s fun to look back and see how far we’ve come since 22.
Something easy, quick, but super delicious. The real key is to get everything totally prepped earlier in the day, so you can just enjoy spending time with your person. This year my menu includes this simple baked chicken, quick-cook parmesan and garlic grits and broccoli rabe — you can find all the recipes below!
Usually I’m not a big dessert fan, but on Valentine’s Day, I typically whip something up.One of my favorites were these chocolate souffles that I made last year.
- 2 chicken breasts, skin on bone in
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp rosemary, chopped
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- In a small bowl combine the butter and rosemary. If you need to, you can heat the butter in the microwave for a few seconds until it's soft.
- Use your finger to loosen the skin from the chicken breast and spoon equal amounts of the rosemary butter under the skin on each chicken.
- Place in baking dish and drizzle the olive oil on top and season liberally with salt and pepper.
- Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
- Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup quick cook grits
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
- In a small pot, bring water and salt to a boil.
- Whisk in grits and garlic powder until evenly combined.
- Lower heat, cover and cook for 5 minutes or according to directions.
- Remove from heat, and whisk to fluff. Stir in parmesan.
- Serve immediately.
- 1/2 lb. broccoli rabe
- 1 tsp olive oil
- lemon wedge
- Trim the ends of the broccoli rabe.
- Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
- Saute broccoli rabe for a few minutes and then add 1 Tbsp water and cover to steam for about 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and season with salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon.
How do you like to spend Valentine’s Day with your significant other? If you’re single, what are your plans for GALentine’s Day?!
P.S. Stop by next Tuesday for a simple Valentine’s look and DIY!