February 14, 2012

8 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Parents Night In {Naptime Entertaining}


I’ll share the menu I am naptime cooking for tonight at a later date. I am experimenting with a few new techniques and I don’t want to write about anything until I know they work (!) In the mean time, since you are reading this on actual Valentine’s Day I thought I would post a few last-minute tips for wooing your sweetie tonight. Most parents I know, like us, will be spending the night in and celebrating with something more formal over the weekend must like Brooke and James told us about last week. If you are scrambling to pull together a romantic meal tonight here are a few naptime cooking tips for you:

1) Keep it Simple & Fun: Complicated dishes do not spell romance. In fact, they can sometimes kill the mood when nothing goes as planned and you’re dialing for take-out at nine o’clock. Try things like salmon-roasted pesto, tomato soup, or a simple busy day buccatini. If you have time to make things ahead today, do it. Then assemble for dinner and you are golden!

2) Splurge on the cocktails: I great cocktail can take a simple, classic meal over the top. Heck, why not serve margaritas with soup? I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I like the Filthy Fizz a lot, it is perfect for tonight!

3) Chocolate: I mean, really, even if you are serving take-out or some pre-made food go all out with the chocolate dessert. Seriously – a sensual rich chocolate cake is a universally romantic gesture. Have you ever heard anyone complain that their rich chocolate tart simply wasn’t romantic enough? I haven’t either. There is a reason why.

4) Cook Together: My husband is a terrific cook. Most nights he isn’t home early enough to cook with me, but tonight he is coming home a little early. I’ll give him a few things to do in the kitchen and he is in charge of his signature roast potatoes. We love cooking together and don’t get to do it together nearly often enough!

5) Turn up the tunes: I don’t talk about music a lot here, but we are big fans of tunes in the kitchen. I don’t have a TV in the kitchen because I am terrified of slicing my finger off because I am watching the screen instead of paying attention to what I am doing, but we do have speakers!

6) Bring on your inner stylist: I generally don’t style our food very formally. It is just not my thing. But, when I need something to look more formal or have a little extra pop I slide it into a ramekin and unmold it back onto the plate. Voila – gorgeous! Sometimes I even drizzle a little sauce on the side of our dessert plate or dust food with confectioners sugar. It instantly looks prettier and makes you look like an expert.

7) Put away the toys: We used to joke that a sippy cup at the table was an instant mood killer. When you are taking on Parents Night In just put away the toys. Seriously, stuff them in the sofa or anywhere out of site and forget about them for a little while.

8) Do the dishes tomorrow: I mean, is there any better kind of break then dumping everything in the sink and bidding it farewell until another time?! Not that I can think of!