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How to Make Valentine’s Day Extra Special this Year

I've never really loved this holiday......

There, I’ve said it, but, honestly, it needs to be said.  

I’ve had mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day since I was a kid.  When I was in elementary school it was all fun and games, exchanging Valentine’s with everyone, gorging on every heart shaped candy in my goodie bag, and listening to cheesy love songs.  

In high school it was definitely less fun because it became more of a holiday if you had a boyfriend to take you out for pizza.

College it was a mix.  The years I had a boyfriend we’d go out with a group of friends, or have bonfires on the beach.  But if I didn’t have a boyfriend, it was going out to the movies with girlfriends, drinking cheap wine and loads of chocolate.  

When my husband and I were dating we went out to restaurants all decked out in hearts and balloons and red tinsel, with champagne on the menu and little chocolates served with the bill.  

After we were married, we decided it was so much better to stay home and cook, so that became our new tradition.  Which means, for us, this year really isn’t any different from other years.  We’ll be staying in, lighting candles, putting on a playlist (you know there will definitely be some Taylor!), and cooking at home.  

All that being said, the way to make Valentine’s Day extra special this year is doing what you love.  

Cook what you love.  Zoom with your friends.  If you’re in a place with dining available and want a night off from cooking, then make those reservations. 

In 2021 choose what makes you happy, and go with that!  That’s the way to make dinner and cooking and meals and life right now extra special.  

If you’re tired and overwhelmed coming up with new recipes to cook, here are some VERY tasty ones that you’re gonna fall in love with.  And will make ANY day you cook them extra special!

These Scallops Provencal may seem tricky to cook.   But, trust me, they’re really not.  It’s important to dry them off really well and you want your pan to be searing hot.  Having dry scallops (use a paper towel to get them really dry) and a hot pan are what will help create the gorgeous crust.  Add a bit of butter and olive oil and they cook in just minutes. 

 

Another tip when cooking scallops is to let the scallop release itself from the pan.  What the heck am I talking about? You want to turn the scallops when they release easily from the bottom of the pan.  This goes for any protein you cook.  You’ll know it’s ready to be turned when you can easily flip it over.  Ripping it and forcing it to flip over is a way to lose a ton of flavor and ruin your protein.  

 

Click HERE for the recipe.  

 

Then there are the haricot vertes with herb butter.  These are the skinny green beans, but feel free to use regular green beans if they’re easier to find.  The beans are topped off with a generous dab of butter.   But it’s not just any butter.   Herbs infuse the butter with fresh bright flavor.  And then, just when you think it can’t get any better, the butter melts into the green beans, coating them in simple goodness.

Now let’s talk potato.  I haven’t met a potato I didn’t like.  Mashed.  Baked.  Fries.  They’re ALL amazing.  And then there’s potatoes au gratin.  Thinly sliced potatoes layered with onions, a ridiculous amount of cheese (Valentine’s Day is also a day for a bit of indulgence, right?), and then covered in cream.  Baked until bubbly and melty, it’s a dish perfect for nights when you want a little “extra.”  Actually, it’s A LOT of extra.

So there you have it, my friend.  

This menu has it all — flavor, simple food, high quality ingredients and sparkle……because life always needs a little extra sparkle, right?

Speaking of which…….don’t forget to light a few candles, pop open your favorite beverage (I’ve got a bottle of Pinot I can’t wait to open on Sunday!) and put on your favorite playlist.

No matter HOW you spend Valentine’s Day…..with your girlfriends, significant other, spouse, or solo…..I hope your day (and night!) is filled with loads of love!  

And if you cook these recipes I’d LOVE if you tag your pics #amenuforyou!!

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