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'Will you be my Valentine?’

Valentine’s Day, the day of love! It’s a holiday that was created by greeting card companies, but the idea wasn’t a bad one. After all, a day each year meant to proclaim your love for that special someone in your life can only be a good thing! Remember the old saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”? Well, the saying doesn’t apply only to men, as food is a universal language of love. This Valentine’s Day, try these fun dinner ideas for you and your sweetie!

There are only two rules to follow: Don’t take yourselves too seriously, and have fun!

  1. Pizza surprise date night. This date night gets your hands dirty, tests how well you know each other, and ends in enjoying delicious homemade pizza - now that’s a winning combination! The idea is to make pizza dough from scratch, together. You know those romantic movies where a couple is cooking in the kitchen together, giggling while making a mess, and lovingly dusting flour off each other’s cheeks? That’s the feel we’re going for here! Find a dough recipe online (there are many quick, easy recipes), and then get your hands dirty. Kneading the dough feels great and tossing the dough up in the air only creates a more fun cooking atmosphere!
    This is where how well you know your partner comes in. What is your partner’s favorite pizza toppings: pepperoni and mushroom, ham and pineapple, veggie, margherita, meat lovers, BBQ chicken, bits of kiwi (yes, it’s a thing)? In secret, prepare each other’s favorite pizza (have all the ingredients you think you’ll both need on hand), then pop the pizzas in the oven at the same time (no peeking!). When done, reveal your lovingly made za to each other at the dinner table and enjoy some date night beverages, too. A fresh, made-with-love pizza can’t be beat!
  1. The good ol’ date night days. No one can deny that, for the most part, being a kid is less stressful than being an adult. For this fun Valentine’s date night, you are going to take your partner back to the good ol’ days! This is another surprise cooking challenge where you will be tasked to recreate your partner’s favorite childhood meal (hopefully you paid attention to those stories retold by your partner or most likely, retold by your partner’s parents!). Was your sweetie’s favorite meal as a kid KD with cut-up hot dogs, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or maybe it was one of those sugary cereals they were only allowed to eat on special occasions? (It is Valentine’s Day, so calories don’t count.)
    The idea here is to bring back fond memories of your youth, so don’t stop at the food. Enjoy your KD with hot dogs in front of the TV, watching your favorite childhood cartoons or favorite childhood movies or playing old video games together. Want to have a technology-free night? Play your favorite old games like Mouse Trap, Twister, Trouble, Monopoly, Jenga, or get creative and build LEGO. Depending on your situation, you may still have childhood toys or games stored away in the attic or check with your parents and in-laws. Make the call and see what they have on hand or if they can give you some insider info for classic games to play on date night! Forget for one night that you have adult responsibilities and just play - it will do wonders for your well-being, too!
  1. Past present future date night. This date night idea celebrates your relationship, and it also includes some surprises along the way (and again, tests your memory bank). Think back to your first date: Where did you go and what did you do? Did you enjoy a drink together at the local pub? Enjoy a nice walk in the park together with pups in tow? Well, we’ll see who remembers your first date correctly because you are both tasked with creating a first course/appetizer based on your first date. Again, this will be a surprise you present to each other, which may produce some hilarious results if you or your partner’s memory is off! If your first date was a walk in the park, make a salad with microgreens that look like grass. If your first date was enjoying a beer at the local pub, make beer battered mushrooms (or if you met in a pub in a cool place like San Francisco, make their famous sourdough bread as your starting course). Now, I know not everyone is a whiz in the kitchen so there is nothing wrong with purchasing any or all these items.
    For your main course, you are going to make (or purchase) your partner’s favorite meal. This is the meal that you know is their go-to, the meal that puts a smile on their face. Your partner must do the same for you so again, this is a test to see if they know what your favorite meal is.
    For dessert, think about the future and where you would like to travel together. (I don’t know about you, but my list of places I want to travel to is getting longer by the minute!) Consider this a visualization exercise; you are manifesting your next vacation through dessert! Visualizing a trip to Paris? Indulge in beautiful French pastries. Visualizing a trip to Mexico? Indulge in churros. Visualizing a trip to Hawaii? Indulge in a pineapple upside down cake. Or maybe you want to stay close to home and explore Vancouver Island? Indulge in Nanaimo bars. Pick your top place that you want to travel to be represented in your dessert or surprise each other - who knows, maybe you’ll both end up serving the exact same dessert. So fun! 

These ideas can easily be adapted to include the kiddos, but if you can take a night for yourselves to have fun, discover some new things about each other, and laugh together, it will be good for both your hearts, and isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is all about?

Tanya is the Head Curator at Menagerie Parties & Cakes, handcrafting boutique party experiences through custom décor, engaging activities, and show-stopping sweets. It’s a Party in a Box! For more information, visit menagerieyyc.ca. Feeling Social? Follow on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe on YouTube 

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