Since the Middle Ages, February 14th has been a day on which messages and symbols of love and affection were exchanged. However, my modern-day version of Valentine’s Day is not just about love, but being thoughtful and letting people know you care.
Even if you aren't in love, I'm sure you have many friendships you cherish — so show them that you care on the 14th. It doesn't take much effort; maybe it's a phone call, baking a batch of brownies, or simply writing on a red piece of craft paper, "I cherish our friendship, thanks for always being there, enjoy your day..." Whatever you feel, just say it.
These are some of my favorite ways to show people I care on Valentine's Day:
1. Give Flowers
Credit: Stephen Danelian
They don’t have to be roses, or even red, as long as they’re beautiful. Think bright, happy colors; nothing is wrong with giving someone bright orange or yellow tulips on Valentine's Day.
2. Decorate the Table
For an inexpensive alternative to using a tablecloth, use pieces of red construction paper as placemats when setting the table. Then, with white chalk, draw big hearts and sayings of love or a special friendship quote on each placemat to personalize it. I also like to use white dinner plates and decorate the rim with raspberry purée. If you can't find raspberry purée in stores, make it yourself, with a bag of frozen raspberries and a bit of sugar. Simply bring the mixture to a boil in a saucepan, stirring until the fruit is broken down and the sauce is thick, then strain out the seeds and solids.
3. Serve Bubbly Drinks
Credit: Stephen Danelian
I like to dress up ordinary drinks for Valentine’s Day. Rosé sparkling wine, like Cristalino or Domaine Carneros, is so easy to serve, yet is special. For something a bit more unusual, try updating the classic Cosmopolitan cocktail, served in a martini glass, by adding Pop Rocks for some fizz.
4. Prepare a Special Meal
Credit: Lulu Powers
When making dinner on Valentine's Day, I like to keep it simple while adding an element of fun. Start with Baked Brie Crostinis, topped with my "homemade" Cranberry Jam. For dinner, serve a large bowl of tomato soup garnished with a heart of sour cream (for heartier appetites, add a big salad with roasted vegetables, toasted nuts, and creamy blue cheese alongside). For dessert, I like to make little Peppermint Milkshakes, garnished with pink cotton candy, and serve them along with bite-sized pieces of my addictive Caramel Fudge Brownies.