January 29, 2016 Food & Drink How to Create a Romantic Valentine’s Day At Home 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. WINE 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? MUSIC 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! CANDLES 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! FLOWERS 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. DINNER 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! DESSERT 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. [yumprint-recipe id=’14’] [yumprint-recipe id=’16’][yumprint-recipe id=’17’] 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!