Valentine’s Day is a fine and noble holiday, but let’s be real, we’re not really able to go anywhere. We are in an awkward reality, where we’ve had time to experience quarantine, so we’ve had time to navigate the waters but we still can’t quite go back to how things used to be.
Now, you may be thinking, “Help! I’ve got less than 5 days and I still have no clue what to do for Valentine’s Day this year! How in the world am I going to celebrate it at home, especially considering for the past few months we’ve done nothing but stay home?”
Well first, take a deep breath, and second, don’t worry, Gilesa (yes me), has your back. It’s all about getting creative, here is my 5 step guide to creating a lovely Valentine’s Day experience.
1. Valentine’s Cards: Love Notes and RVSP Dates
Consider making your own cards. I would argue that cute cards and love notes are completely underrated. I still have the cards I was given by peers from kindergarten. They were adorable, fun, and had puns. There was no way 6-year-old Gilesa wouldn’t love them. I can almost guarantee you that your recipient will love them too.
Remember you’ve got options, formal cards, handmade cards, ecards, texts, etc. Be as low effort or over the top as you want. Last year, I literally ripped out a piece of my agenda and wrote a note for my boyfriend, but not everyone is as romantic as I am.
Keep in mind, these cards can double as a sweet RSVP for your date. I recommend this even more if you live with your significant other! Trust me, they will appreciate the effort. This year, I sent my boyfriend a pretty cheesy RSVP card that I made in Microsoft Paint.
Pro Move: Take advantage of our new bowl tabs! Write a cute note for your significant other, friends, or family!
2. Create a Menu
Another fun thing I like to do is to actually write out a menu. I like to include a section for each selection: starters, appetizers, main course, dessert, and drinks.
Now it’s time to figure out what exactly you want to eat. I highly recommend making something a bit more involved. Not only does this piggyback off my point about effort, but it also adds a fancy feel to the date.
3. Cook A Beautifully Delicious Meal
Not sure what to make? Well, lucky for you, our Chef Justin, has prepared a few simple but delicious recipes for you to enjoy!
Now we present: Sesame Chili Pan Roasted Salmon with Shaved Sauteed Kale and Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Seared Halloumi Cheese with Arugula, Lemon Tahini, and Almond Dukkah Recipe
Sesame Chili Pan Roasted Salmon Recipe (Chicken or Tofu works also!)
- 2 Pieces of Skin-on Salmon 6 Ounces Each~
- Substitutions: Chicken Thigh/Breast or Extra Firm Tofu
- 1 Can of Spyce’s Sesame Chili Spice Blend
- 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- Take Spyce’s Sesame Chili Spice Blend and sprinkle generously coating both sides of the salmon (or protein option of your choosing)
- Heat oil on medium heat in a non-stick pan until oil is hot and starts to glisten. Place salmon skin side up in the pan and let cook for 2 to 3 min.
- Flip Salmon over and let cook for an additional 2 to 3 min or until an internal temperature of 145 F or greater is reached.
- Place a ¼ cup portion of the Whipped Sweet Potatoes on the plate.
- Place a ¼ cup portion of the Shaved Sauteed Kale on top of the potatoes.
- Place Salmon on top of kale skin side down.
- Garnish with a little more of the Sesame Chili Spice Blend.
Shaved Sautéed Kale Recipe
- 1 Bunch of Kale (destemmed and chiffonade) ~ 4 Cups
- 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- 3 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
- Salt & Pepper
Optional Pro Move – Leftover chili garlic sauce from the Big Biang
- Destem the kale and cut into ¼ inch ribbon-like strips
- Heat oil on medium heat in a non-stick pan until oil is hot and starts to glisten. Place kale in a pan and cook for 3 min until kale starts to wilt.
- Salt and pepper to taste and add apple cider vinegar. Cook for an additional minute until the liquid is gone.
Optional Pro Move – substitute the apple cider vinegar for the Extra Chili Garlic Sauce from the Big Biang….if you have any left over!
Whipped Sweet Potatoes Recipe
- 2 Lbs. Sweet Potatoes (peeled and cut in 1-inch pieces)
- 8 Cups Water
- 3 Tbsp. Salt
- Salt & Pepper
- 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
Optional – 1 Tbsp. Roasted Garlic Cloves
- Peel and dice sweet potatoes and place into a large saucepan. Cover with water and add 3 Tbsp salt and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are tender and drain liquid, set aside ½ cup of the liquid for later.
- Mix potatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste using a masher, fork, or electric mixer. Thin the potatoes with the ½ cup cooking liquid to desired consistency.
- You can also mix in some roasted garlic cloves if you have some lying around like we do.
Appetizer: Seared Halloumi Cheese with Arugula, Lemon Tahini, and Almond Dukkah Recipe
- 1 Package Halloumi Cheese
- ½ Cup Arugula
- 1 Container of Spyce Lemon Tahini Dressing
- 1 Tin of Spyce’s Toasted Almond Dukkah
- 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- 3-4 Mint Leaves
- Cut Halloumi lengthwise into planks.
- Heat oil on medium heat in a non-stick pan until oil is hot and starts to glisten. Place Halloumi in the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown. Flip and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Tear mint into nickel size pieces and mix with arugula. Toss greens with 2 Tbsp. Lemon Tahini Dressing.
- Place Seared Halloumi on a Plate.
- Top with dressed greens mix.
- Garnish with Spyce’s Toasted Almond Dukkah.
Recreate the Ambiance
Now that you have your fancy dinner ready to go, it’s time to recreate the experience. Seemingly small changes can completely transform a nice dinner at home into a special occasion with the ambiance of fine dining – without the $1000 bill. I am a firm believer that it is all about effort and thought (that being said, I would graciously accept a box of discount candy from the grocery store).
4. Implement a Dress Code
Got the extra mile for your attire, it truly does play a large role in how we feel throughout the occasion. For instance, when I tried this last year, I implemented a dress code. It made our average date night feel special. But do not let this limit you to fancy attire. Consider a color code, pajama code, or costumes if you are super clever.
5. Decorate the Table
When I tried this last year, it was April, right when it became clear that quarantine was indefinite. So needless to say, it was extremely last minute but I made it work.
- Dress the table: I suggest dressing the table with either a table cloth, placemats, or both. My last-minute solution was a checkered picnic blanket.
- Set the table: I tried to do it restaurant style. Several pieces of silverware, fancy dishware, glassware (water in wine glasses too), all hopefully arranged properly.
- Accessorize the table: Choose whatever you like! Maybe you like rose petals, a fruit bouquet, or candy. I chose my hand made menu and cat candle that was given to me as a Christmas gift. Just make sure that it makes you happy.
While I know this blog is heavily centered around a romantic day, Valentine’s Day is way more than just a couples holiday. I actually like to celebrate it throughout the week, with the different people in my life that I love and care about.
The biggest takeaway here is that, whether you’re with your significant other, your family, your friends, or even your pets, just put the effort in. For instance, if you opt to do takeout rather than cook, let our Infinite Kitchen be your chef. After all, picking up at Spyce is a pretty cool shared experience, especially if you watch your adorably labeled bowl move across the track.
Everything you do doesn’t have to be out there or over the top, just find the little things to show the people you love that you care.
Gilesa Thomas I’m the Sr. Digital Marketing Manager at Spyce and I love every moment of it. I am known in my friend group as “extra,” partially because I am over the top with everything I do, including organization and planning. I am a strawberry obsessed, emo kid, who you can probably find gaming or cuddling my cat, Gracie.