Date Night Ideas

 

Today I am sharing with you the dates I chose for my “dates for a year” gift. If you missed that post,  you can find it HERE.

  1. Train ride to San Juan Capistrano for Brunch at Ramos House Cafe’.
  2. Tickets to the Kings game.
  3. Walking tour in San Diego’s Little Italy with a gift certificate to Extraordinary desserts.
  4. Lunch at Lucha Libre. It’s this dive Mexican restaurant where you can reserve the “booth”. Funky and fun!
  5. Puzzle night at home. (this is something they like to do together)
  6. Art Splash Carlsbad where locals come together and paint the streets and showcase their art. (sent them to breakfast first)
  7. Cineopolis, the fancy movie theater where you can recline in your comfy chair and have a waitress bring you a martini, while you watch the latest James Bond flick!
  8. Go Cars in San Diego. Basically I sent them to be tourists in their own city. Cafe Chloe’ followed for lunch. (a San Diego must)
  9. Pottery painting at a local shop where they made each other a gift.
  10. Ice skating in La Jolla so they could bring back the teen romance in their life! haha
  11. Their last date was a gift card to Michaels Craft shop so they can assemble their scrapbook together with their “year of dates” photographs and memories…

 

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These were the dates I chose for my sister and brother in-law. My ideas were truly endless, especially the longer I thought about it. Here is a little added bonus for you…

More date night ideas:
  • Picnic with all the trimmings. (candles, blankets, wine and even a laptop to watch a romantic movie)
  • Dinner at a restaurant, but at the “chefs table”. (this is the room or counter you eat at while watching your food being prepared)
  • Spa day for fabulous massages and facials. A mini date at your local pedicure place would be great too!
  • Be a tourist in your own city. I especially like using Groupons/Living Social coupons for this.
  • Whale watching or sunset dinner cruise.
  • Cooking class at a local restaurant or store, such as Sur La Table.
  • Amusement park such as Disneyland. Act like a kid again…even if for one day!
  • An unusual dinner out such as “eating in the dark” or try a new food. (Indian, sushi, vegan, etc…)
  • Museum or local art showing.
  • Music concert for an old favorite band.
  • Your local juice bar, followed by hitting the rock climbing gym. (fun even for beginners)
  • Plant an herb garden together.
  • Create a signature cocktail. Have fun experimenting with ingredients such as lavender, rosemary and mint. (look around on the internet for inspiration)


Date nights that are cheap or free:
  • Embrace the great outdoors by going on a hike or stroll along the beach, river, or local nature spot.
  • Wash each others cars together while blasting your favorite tunes. (if it’s warm enough, add a little water fight too!)
  • There is nothing more romantic than cooking a meal together. Do everything as a team,  from choosing the dinner, grocery shopping, prepping and cooking.
  • Pamper your significant other. Example: Let them watch their favorite t.v. , play video games, eat their favorite bad foods, GUILT FREE, while you make them food, always have a cold drink for them, do a few of their chores, give a little foot rub…you get the idea.
  • Garage sale or flea market date. Designate $10 and have fun searching for a gift for one another.
  • Follow a local food truck to have some gourmet grub on a budget.
  • Pay it forward together. This might be the most bonding date. (tidy your elderly neighbors yard, babysit for a single parent, deliver a surprise dinner to someone sick or depressed, have a fund raiser such as a garage sale for someone in need, volunteer locally such as a beach clean up, help friends have their emergency kits together, I could go on and on…)
  • Attend a free concert in the park or movie in your local community. (usually a summer activity)
  • DIY spa day. Create a spa atmosphere with soothing music, water with cucumbers and lemon, low lighting, favorite candle scent…and give each other scalp, hand, foot or neck massages. If you have a tub, draw a nice bubble bath for the other with a tray of a few of their favorite things. (book, bubbly, soaps) Throw a towel in the drier so it’s nice and warm for them when they get out.
  • Game night,  such as chess or scrabble.
  • Get some household chore done, such working in the yard. It might not be the most romantic date, but you will get something accomplished TOGETHER. Make it enjoyable by taking a break and having some cold beer and chips/salsa together.

 

I think these suggestions should keep you busy for a while. Please feel free to share your ideas in my comment section to share with everyone!! I’d really appreciate your creative input.

The Perfect Lasagne

I’ve fallen in love with the quirky cooking show, Extra Virgin, starring Debi Mazar and her Italian native husband. I recently tried one of their mouth watering recipes, bolognese lasagne with a besciamella sauce. It is divine! I’m going to be upfront with you, it’s a simple yet time consuming recipe. However, one bite and you’ll know it was worth all the effort.  The main thing you’ll notice that sets this recipe apart from most, is the lack of cheese. Instead you use a besciamella sauce that is made from butter, flour and milk. It turns what would be an ordinary dish into an extraordinary one!

I followed the recipe as directed, except I omitted the nutmeg simply because I don’t like it. If you need a meal to impress, look no further… Serve it with a simple salad and rustic Italian bread. Of course, don’t forget the vino!

Recipe Here

(courtesy of Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar)

Sunday’s Supper: Chicken with Olives and Lemons

chicken with lemon and olives in a pan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Okay, okay, mine doesn’t look exactly like the magazine’s photo but I bet mine tastes better!)
 

Cooking Light magazine is one of my favorite places to find simple, healthy, but delicious recipes. I especially like this month’s issue because of the 25 chicken dinners that are featured. I’ve been experimenting with the different recipes and so far I love the chicken with lemons and olives dinner.  The aromas are enough to get your entire family to gravitate to the dinner table!

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE HERE

Hope you enjoy…Buon Appetito!

Sunday’s Supper: Chicken Tacos

 

 

This Sunday, I’m honoring my favorite contestant on The Next Iron Chef, Michael Chiarello, by making his chicken taco recipe. One taste and you’ll be watching with me as I cheer him on.

Recipe here

I don’t take any Nellene short cuts with this recipe. I make it just like Chef Chiarello does. You can decide on which condiments you’d like to serve on the side. I like to offer sour cream, fresh cilantro, red onions, cheese, avocado and homemade salsa.

Next week I’ll be doing a post on how to throw a Next Iron Chef finale party. Be sure to stay tuned…

Sunday’s Supper: Easy Bolognese

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the meal to make when you’re craving that Sunday supper that tastes like you spent all day slaving over the stove. I found a perfect compromise with Ina Garten’s Bolognese recipe. The good news is that it only takes weekday effort to make. I was pleasantly amazed by it’s rich, robust flavors that came together in such a short time.

Recipe Here

Tips:

  • Double the recipe (I did) and freeze the sauce for a future easy weekday dinner.
  • Be sure to print this one out and add it to your recipe file labeled, “company’s coming over for dinner”.  It’s so easy to make the day ahead. On the day of you can just make a fresh salad and boil the pasta.
  • Put together a gift basket. Most of the ingredients are dry and can be bought and assembled in a basket. Include the recipe and what they need to add. (the beef) Keep it simple or add a little extra with wine glasses, vino to drink, cloth napkins, candles, Italian music cd, etc…


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