5 Tips for preparing your Valentine’s Day meal

Right about now you probably feel bombarded by all the Valentine’s day marketing being thrown your way. You’re not even done recovering from the Christmas slew of commercialism and here they are again, looking for your wallet!

I just want to tell you, relax, it’s not that serious! (^_^)

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I must say I feel nothing for these “special” calendar days. I think they are a commercial gimmick to get people to panic and spend. Nothing wrong with the sentiment, everything wrong with the approach to express it. Love is something we already express daily (knowingly and unknowingly). Everybody knows when they’re being loved. Stop for a minute and think about it. Consider the last 12 months or so, the events that took place in your life. Who was there? Who was actively loving you? You can also reverse that and consider the people in your inner circles, who did you spend time loving?

What is love?
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. — 1 Cor13:4-7 (NKJV)

Whomever you spend your time loving, already knows you love them. They don’t need Valentine’s Day to tell them that. So what’s Valentine’s Day for? Well, it’s up to you to choose how to spend that day. You don’t have to do anything out of the ordinary, or you may choose to, even go all out and do something grand. My point is not to do it because of pressure.

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If a person pegs their perception of your affection for them on how you treat them on one specific day of the year, then perhaps it’s time you take stock of what that relationship has become. Backtrack and rekindle the authenticity that makes these “special calendar days” rich and meaningful rather than stress inducing D-days!

Don’t wait for the calendar to remind you to treat someone special. Whether it be your parent,  spouse , sibling, friend. If they’re truly special to you then they’re special every day. Handle their heart with care, regardless of the situation. That takes some serious strength. THAT, is Love.

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But you’re not here for me to tell you how to love. So let’s talk about food! Home cooked meals are my favourite. So if you choose to express your love that way this year — no pressure — here are my tips for getting it done without hiccups:

  1. Don’t cook something new.
    Always make what you are already good at or familiar with making. Trying a new recipe means you are not familiar enough to know how to fix it/improvise if something goes wrong. If you do choose to make something new, choose a dish with preparation methods you are already familiar with. For example, if you want to make a fancy breakfast, pick a fancy omelette, garnish it, serve it with a fancy fruit cup, etc. Don’t choose to make poached eggs if you’ve never done it! When planning your menu, go for dishes that you’ve made at least once before.
  2. Do your prep the day before.
    If planning to host in the evening it’s easy to think that you will have ALL DAY to get it done. In reality, there will be distractions and procrastination. So if there’s something you can make ahead of time, do. It will be one thing off your list and you’ll be less stressed after all that procrastinating and distractivity. Look through your recipes to check for things you can do ahead of time, like chopping vegetables. Dessert is a great make-ahead item. The Bonus of doing this is you will know early enough if something is missing, so you can get it first thing next morning.
  3. Plan to be done with cooking an hour ahead of time.
    You want to be relaxed when your guest(s) arrive, not stressing about what is still in the oven or even worse, on stove stop and needs your constant stirring and attention. This also gives you time to air out the house of all that smoke and cooking fumes. Open all the windows for about 20 min to let that air out. Don’t you worry, your house will still smell like something tasty has been made, but with out having a steamy/smoky fog greet your guest(s) at the door. Number 2 really helps with this, especially if you tend to procrastinate. It also means you’ll have time to freshen up, take a quick shower even and get that “I’ve been cooking all day” smell off of you!
  4. Set the table and the mood ahead of time.
    Do it the day before — most especially if you’re hosting a group. Set the table, arrange the flowers, place the candles. Set up the drinks station, if some need to be cold, put them in the fridge the day before — how many times have you pulled out meat from your freezer to cool drinks quickly after your guests arrive? Select the music and have that ready too so that all you have to do is press play. If you do nothing else on this list, do this! It’s awesome because once you’re done cooking, you’re really really done!
  5. Keep it simple
    Don’t choose all the complicated, labour intensive, fancy recipes you know to make on this one day. Have one show stopping dish and  keep the rest simple.

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Lastly (bonus tip) — keep calm! If things don’t work out exactly as planned, laugh it off, even with your guest(s). It is you who will set the tone for the evening, so if you’re stressed out, your guests will not be comfortable. Make your mind up ahead of time to keep calm and stress free.

Hope these will be helpful as you prepare for the weekend. If you have any additional tips, do share below in the comments. Whatever you do, have tonnes of fun and eat lots of good food (^_^)

Know someone that’s stressing out? Do then a favour, send them this link. #ShareTheLove

Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.
— Alan D. Wolfelt

About aika

Making, eating and sharing good food are a splendid way to start, brake and end a day! I post good eats on www.pendolamama.co.ke. Life is a feast, eat up!

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