Human Interest

Valentine’s Day, No Sitter, No Date? No Problem

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Valentine’s Day approaches so I tried to make plans early on, maybe beat my husband to the finish line this year.  Well it did not work out as planned. Even two weeks in advance, my sitter is unavailable. I know all of my friends have plans so switching off nights as we typically would do for a date night is out of the question.  As I continued to try to figure things out, I thought maybe we could just wait until the weekend.  Then it hit me, not all is lost! Every year we try to include the girls by giving them something to include them in the celebration of love. I figured this year does not have to be any different maybe we could simply split up the evening to make Valentine’s Day memorable for all of us.

There is no reason to be a Debbie downer on Valentine’s Day because you do not have a sitter or a date. I have a few tips that will make your day just as special whether you are spending it with a spouse, significant other, your child(ren), or alone. Let’s start with single parents, making this day about your child can actually make your day brighter.  Most days we are on auto-pilot ensuring the kids are off to school on time, we get to work on time, kids are picked up, make it to extracurricular activities, getting homework is done, dinner cooked, off to bed, and wake to do it all over again.  Taking this day to stir up the routine can be rewarding for both of you. Try this out for size, the day before prepare to make pizzas, have a champagne/sparkling cider toast, with a dessert of a heart shaped cake. The day of cut out a heart shape from the pizza dough, set all the pizza toppings on the counter, and make each other a pizza.  While the pizza is baking begin the preparation of the cake; this can be done with a heart shaped pan or one square pan and one circle pan. By the time the pizza is ready, the cake should be ready to bake. Have your pizza and champagne/cider, afterwards ice the cake together.  Take plenty of pictures.

Single moms with daughters, start your day off by doing yours and your daughter’s nails in a pretty pink shade. Prepare the day before to have a pamper day with your daughter(s): 

cucumber masks- 1 cucumber

chocolate dipped strawberries- melting chocolate and fresh long stem strawberries 

strawberry vanilla sugar scrub- 1 cup sugar, 1 tbsp., vanilla, ¾ cup coconut oil, 1 cup freeze dried strawberries 

rose petal bath- 3 roses

heart shaped quesadillas- flour tortillas, Mexican cheese blend & salsa

Families without a sitter, do not fret! I have a plan for you as well.  I typically do not support the two meal or separate dinner plan however, for Valentine’s Day I will make an exception. As with the other scenarios, advance planning will be necessary. For the kiddos you can make heart shaped grilled cheese sandwiches with homemade tomato soup (recipe below). Make dessert easy buy some brownies and a heart shaped cutter, add some whipped cream, and top with sprinkles! Once the kids are off to bed, try this quick 30-minute dinner for you and your spouse, steak, scallops, and sautéed asparagus with garlic herb butter.  If you do not eat meat or scallops, there are always variations to this meal; just try to keep any substitutions at a 30-minute preparation maximum so you can enjoy the rest of the evening.  Keep an open mind and stir things up a bit; you and your children are worth it!

Tomato Soup Recipe


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish


  • Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and bay leaf and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Stir in heavy cream.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Remove bay leaf.
  • Puree with an immersion blender or pour into a blender. Stir in vegetable broth until heated through, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve immediately with heart shaped grilled cheese sandwich.

Steak & Scallops (or Shrimp)

  • 2 beef tenderloin steaks, 1 1/2-inch thick, 4-6 ounces each
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 6 large sea scallops, rinse and pat dry or ½ of Large shrimp peeled & deveined
  • 1 pack of asparagus

For the Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup finely chopped green onions (approx. 4), white and light green part
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste



  1. Season steaks with salt and pepper. In a 10 to 12-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat until hot and bubbly. Add steaks to skillet and brown on one side for 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the steaks on end and rotate to brown the sides, then turn over to brown the final side for 4 to 5 minutes. When turning the steak to brown the last side, add scallops/shrimp to the skillet to brown at the same time, about 2 minutes on each side.
  2. To make the sauce in the separate skillet, sauté onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat 3-4 minutes, until fragrant. Add wine and lemon juice; simmer to reduce slightly, 1-2 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons butter and stir until melted into the sauce.  
  3. Sautee the asparagus in tbsp. of olive oil for 2 minutes on medium high heat.
  4. Serve the asparagus next to the shrimp/scallops and steak. Enjoy!  

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