10 Romantic Gifts Any Home Cook Will Love



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Skip the flowers and get your favorite person something they really want.

Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

Valentine’s Day gifts tend to center around two things: Flowers and food. Gifts like strawberries, roses, chocolates, roses, wine, roses, fancy meals, and maybe a single rose to switch things up are traditional—and kind of boring. And though we aren’t complaining (we love ourselves a nice box of chocolates), sometimes you want to give that special someone a special something they’ll truly remember.

If your special someone is a fan of Cooking Light, s/he is probably also a fan of cooking. So here are ten gifts to delight—and surprise—the home cook you adore this Valentine’s Day.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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So start your day with a romantic breakfast, and—sure, why not—cook a decadent Valentine’s Day Dinner. Maybe even get some roses. But make the day memorable and close the evening with one of these gifts.

Gourmet Oil Dipping Spice Kit

These 15 spice blends will inspire any foodie to explore the cuisines of the world. They’ll love trying new flavors, like za’atar spice and herbs de provence, as a gourmet oil and in new dishes.

Le-Creuset Cast-Iron Heart-Shaped Dutch Oven

A heart-shaped dutch oven is everything your home cook could want for Valentine’s Day. The cast-iron oven comes in rose, matte white, red, and pomegranate, cooking up potpies, baked desserts, and pasta dishes as a heart-shaped masterpiece.

Eiffel Tower Hearts Kitchen Apron

You may not be able to dine overlooking the Eiffel Tower every night, but if your beloved is a Francophile, s/he will treasure this. The simple design features the Eiffel Tower surrounded by pink and red hearts, perfect for a couple who loves to cook.

Port of Mokha—The Yemen Trilogy

If your lover is a coffee connoisseur, you will impress them with this three-box set of elegant coffee from Yemen. The beans come from some of the rarest and most ancient grounds at high elevations, and the taste is astoundingly complex.

Perfectly Paired Mug Gift Set

A mug might seem unoriginal, but this pair is too cute for words. The set spells out a loving message, so you can share your morning coffee together or wherever life takes you.

The Date Night Cookbook: Romantic Recipes & Easy Ideas to Inspire from Dawn till Dusk

Don't just cook together for one evening—make it a regular date! This book is filled with inspiration, and features creative ideas for themed meals, like an indoor tent night, dining in Paris, and a beach date. It may inspire more than just dinner. Amazon.com, hardcover $13.50 and Kindle $10

Twist Decanter

For true wine lovers only, aerate your Valentine’s Day wine of choice. The curved glass decanter allows up to half a bottle of wine to breathe, providing the perfect sip for the romantic meal.

Passion Journal- Recipe

Every home cook needs a place to make notes of their favorite trys and triumphs. This notebook includes food calendars, food facts, measurements, conversions, and theme-based sections to make notes of recipes. Also try the wine passion journal, for the wonderful wino in your life.

4ct Valentine’s Red Wine Glass

Gather your girls or your favorite wine-loving couple for an evening of Valentine-inspired drinking. Each glass is engraved with a loving phrase like “Roses are red, so is my wine” and “You had me at merlot.” Throw in these ceramic loving coasters for the perfect set.

11-Piece Boxed Bar Set

Give your in-house bartender a complete mixology set, including everything you’ll need to craft elegant cocktails. The 20-ounce mixing glass has recipes printed on the side and the set includes a 40-ounce cocktail pitchers for guests to enjoy.


A romantic menu to cook for St Dwynwen's Day (Welsh Valentine's Day)

While many of us may be preparing to raise a dram and toast the haggis for the Scottish celebration of Burns Night, in Wales, today is an altogether more romantic affair – St Dwynwen's Day, otherwise known as Welsh Valentine's Day.

The origins of the date stem from St Dwynwen (whose name means 'she who leads a blessed life'), a fourth-century princess who was the prettiest of King Brychan Brycheiniog's 24 children, and was arranged to be married to a prince.

The princess, however, fell in love with a local and, distraught that she could not marry the man she loved, fled into the woods to beg God to help her. Here she was visited by an angel, who gave her a potion to forget the local boy, which turned him into a block of ice. God intervened, granting Dwynwen three wishes for her lover to be thawed, for God to help all true lovers, and for her never to marry. It is said that she then became a nun and set up a convent in Llanddwyn Island.

Today, the day is marked with gestures of love that include flowers, a romantic meal and perhaps even the giving of a traditional Welsh love spoon. These hand-carved decorative spoons date back to the 17th century, and were traditionally given to a young woman by her suitor.

Though we can't send you flowers (or a love spoon for that matter), we can suggest a few classic Welsh dishes to get you in the spirit.

Welsh rarebit

Traditionally served as a savoury after a main course, this comforting dish makes the perfect brunch or starter, and Stephen Harris's recipe is as classic as it gets.

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 15 minutes

SERVES

INGREDIENTS

  • 100ml stout
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 400g cheddar, grated
  • 30ml double cream
  • 2 tsp English mustard
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 4 slices of bread (I use thick wholemeal, but you can use whatever you like)
  • Butter, for spreading

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4.
  2. Add a splash of the stout to the cornflour and stir it through.
  3. Heat the rest of the stout in a pan until it is just below boiling, then remove from the heat and add the cheese, being sure to keep stirring all the time. Add the cornflour, cream, mustard and Worcestershire sauce, and keep stirring. If you need to, put the pan back on the heat again to keep it warm enough to melt the cheese.
  4. Once smooth, allow it to cool slightly, then beat in the egg yolks. At this stage in the restaurant kitchen we pour the mixture into a baking tray and allow to cool and solidify in the fridge. It can then be cut into squares to fit the slices of bread.
  5. Alternatively, let it cool in the pan until it is lukewarm, at which point you should be able to spread it with a knife.
  6. Meanwhile, bake the slices of bread on a wire rack in the oven until they are just starting to brown – about five minutes. Then butter the slices and cover with the cooled cheese mixture.
  7. Return to the oven and bake until golden.

Roast breast of lamb ribs with rosé wine-baked leeks, capers and garlic

Xanthe Clay's dish makes the most of world-class Welsh lamb, as well as wonderfully soft baked leeks.

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 3 hours 30 minutes

SERVES

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 fat cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp cumin (or ras el hanout)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 whole lamb breast, unrolled, bones in, weighing about 1kg
  • 3 leeks, cut in half lengthways
  • 250ml rosé wine
  • 200ml boiling chicken or lamb stock, or as needed
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 level tsp flour
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C/130C fan/Gas 3.
  2. Smash the garlic cloves in a pestle and mortar with half a teaspoon of salt (or chop them together finely). Mix with the cumin (or ras el hanout) and olive oil, and smear on top of the lamb.
  3. Wash the leeks under a tap and lay them cut side down in a large roasting tin. Sprinkle with salt and pour over the wine. Lay the lamb over the top. Cover with foil and bake for three hours.
  4. Raise the heat to 210C/190C fan/Gas 7. Remove the roasting tin from the oven and lift off the lamb. Pour the hot stock over the leeks (this will rinse off any fat), and carefully lift them out on to a heatproof serving dish. Keep the leeks warm and pour off the liquid in the roasting tin into a bowl or gravy separator.
  5. Place the lamb (ideally on a rack) back over the tin and return to the oven for 15 minutes, then turn and cook on the other side for 10-15 minutes, until crisp on both sides.
  6. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan. Stir in the flour and cook until the mix smells a little biscuity. Lift the fat from the pan juices and pour the juices gradually into the pan, stirring all the time, to make a smooth sauce. Simmer or add stock to get the desired thickness. Top the leeks with the lamb. Stir the capers and parsley into the sauce and serve alongside.

Traditional Welsh cakes

Diana Henry's classic recipe for the fruited stove-top cakes is the perfect solution to a sweet afternoon snack.

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes


These DIY Gifts for Your Boyfriend Will Put a Smile on His Face

These will earn you best girlfriend of all time status.

Finding that perfect present for your boyfriend can be challenging. You want to make sure whatever you give him is not cheesy but is just a little bit romantic (he is your bf, after all). If you've been together forever, it can seem like you've already given him everything he needs, but if you're in a new relationship you might be wondering if you know him well enough to get him what he really wants. Luckily, we've come to the rescue with the coolest DIY boyfriend gift ideas you'll find anywhere. He'll love these gift ideas for men because you created them yourself, which shows him you care enough to take the time and energy to make something with your own two hands.

From treats for a man who loves sweets, to home-crafted toiletries like beard oil, we have the best ideas for homemade presents. If you've got serious DIY game, you might want to try the ab-fab afghan pattern, or the great-looking iPhone cases, while newbie crafters could go for the no-sew apron, or even the super-cool comic coasters. In fact, some of these tutorials are so simple you can probably do enough projects to have a whole mound of DIY gifts for your boyfriend ready to gift on his birthday or your anniversary!

For the boyfriend who likes to be organized this simple DIY will not only leave his desk in tip-top shape but will impress with your carpentry skills, too!

To make:
Cut a one-by-six-inch board into two shelves paint edges. Drill two holes in ends of each board, 3/4 inch from edge. Thread a length of jute rope through holes on one side of one board, gather rope at top, and hot-glue together. Wrap ends with thinner rope, holding in place with glue. Repeat with remaining holes. Paint a two-inch dowel, and thread rope over dowel. Hang with curtain rod brackets.

Memorialize a vacation, hiking excursion, rowing adventure, or road trip by outlining the route traversed with ribbon or twine on a new or vintage map. Hold ribbon or twine in place on the map with hot-glue.

Help your love keep his car or office smelling fresh with a DIY tree-shaped air freshener. Added bonus&mdashthey are made with essential oils so no nasty chemicals are involved.

To make: Trace the shape of a wooden Christmas tree ornament on a scrap of fabric twice. Cut out and glue to the front and back of the ornament. Once dry, soak the fabric with his favorite scent of essential oil (we used cedar). Thread twine through the loop for hanging.

Ideal for holding desk materials, plants, or even acting as a coin jar, this simple DIY can be put together in minutes flat (but don't worry, we won't tell)

To make: Hot-glue jute or sisal rope to empty soup cans (you can use a can opener that won&rsquot create a sharp edge, like Kuhn Rikon&rsquosAuto Safety Lidlifter). Add decorative handles as desired.

You may already have the tool&mdasha paint can opener&mdashneeded to create this craft laying around the house. If not, a quick trip to the local hardware and craft store will get you set up to show your special someone just how clever, inventive, and crafty you are!

To make: Wrap the stick part of a hardware store paint can opener with oven bake clay, forming the clay into desired shape. Bake according to the package directions. Once cool, paint clay with acrylic paint. Once dry seal with satin finish Mod Podge.

This fun craft is both practical and attractive, something most guys can appreciate.

To make:
Wrap a brick with thin sisal rope, holding it in place with hot-glue. Glue lengths of rope along sides and top, tucking in loose ends and gluing in place. Add a handle for portability.

Creating a gallery wall of imagery your boyfriend loves (including cute pictures of you and him together) is an easy way to show him some love. But frames can get expensive! For this arrangement, simply clip prints to vintage clipboards. Thread a piece of leather jewelry cord under the clip, knot it at the top, and hang with a pushpin.

The ideal gift for a bf who has a green thumb, these cute hanging planters are made from vintage (you can also use new) baking tins.

To make: For the Bundt pan, thread twine through a series of craft bead (making sure they are large enough to not slip through the center hole of the pan), tie a knot in the twine to keep in place. Thread the twine up through the center hole of a small Bundt pan. Add more craft beads on top, for decoration, then tie a loop in the top of the twine for hanging. Fill pan with pebbles, soil, and desired plants.

For the loaf pan, thread craft beads through two separate pieces of
twine, tie knots in the twine to keep in place. Thread one piece of
twine through each of the holes in the loaf pan handles. Join the twine above the pan and add more craft beads for decorations. Tie the two pieces of twine together at the top for hanging. Fill pan with pebbles, soil, and desired plants.

This leather pouch gets its picture-perfect looks courtesy of iron-on transfer sheets intended for regular fabric. You can scan your own photos or use our woodland imagery, cribbed from a vintage postcard.

Step 1: Using our template, trace around a piece of paper and cut out.

Step 2: Use our deer image, or pick your own and resize, if necessary, to fit the templates you've made. Then print each image onto a transfer sheet. Place the template for the case's front atop one image trace and cut out. Repeat for the back with the other template and image.

Step 3: Following the package instructions for the transfer sheets, iron each image onto the smooth side of a leather scrap that's at least 3"W x 5"L. Cut the leather to the exact shapes of the images.

Step 4: Using a sewing machine, and our photo as a guide, stitch a decorative seam along the top of the front and back pieces, leaving a 3/16" edge. Align the pieces, right sides facing out, with a 3/16" seam allowance, leaving the top of the pouch open. To end on a high note, pair it with a new set of earbuds.

If you two like to snuggle by candlelight, there are few gifts more romantic than these nicely masculine votive candleholders&mdashespecially if they come with scented candles tucked inside.

To make: Simply cut a piece of upholstery webbing to the same length as the holder's circumference then trim the webbing a tad bit shorter than the holder's height. Coat the webbing's raw edges with Mod Podge to prevent fraying let dry for 20 minutes. Next, affix the webbing around the holder with thin lines of hot glue and let dry for five minutes.


Inexpensive Valentine’s Day Date Ideas

There are plenty of ways to share a romantic evening with your loved one, even on the tightest of budgets. All it takes is a little planning, a little ingenuity, and a few helpful hints.

Dining

Probably the most popular Valentine’s Day date idea is a romantic dinner out. It’s easy to do on a weeknight, and any city or large town offers plenty of eateries to choose from.

However, there are two big problems. The first is the cost of dining out. An analysis by meal-planning app Wellio found that even ordering takeout from a restaurant costs about five times as much as cooking a similar meal at home. Dining at the restaurant is even more expensive because of the high markups for drinks and tips for the waitstaff.

Second, even if you can spare the cash, that doesn’t mean you can get a table. In a normal year, restaurants are always crowded on Valentine’s Day, so getting a dinner reservation is a challenge, particularly on short notice. And this year, many restaurants are either closed or reduced to a fraction of their typical capacity.

Still, that doesn’t mean your only alternative is switching from the romantic bistro to McDonald’s. There are several ways to save money on dining out for Valentine’s Day — or dine in and save still more.

1. Go Out Earlier

One alternative to a pricey dinner date is to go out for a less expensive breakfast or lunch. After all, the point of a date is the time you spend together as a couple, not what you eat. And at many restaurants, the lunch special costs as little as half the price of a dinner dish.

Done right, a breakfast or lunch date can be just as romantic as dinner. For instance, you can meet for breakfast at a coffeehouse where the barista serves up cappuccino with heart-shaped froth. Start your day off right by lingering over coffee, pastries, and conversation, and send each other off to work with a long goodbye kiss.

For a lunch date, meet at the restaurant with a single rose in a vase for the table. Decide together on your two favorite entrees from the menu, order both, and share. You might even be able to get away with a little footsie under the table.

2. Just Have Drinks or Dessert

If you can’t get away from work during the day — or if you want to make sure your date lasts all night — go out only for cocktails, either before or after dining in. Many restaurants are happy to seat you and your date at the bar, particularly if you show up later in the evening — after 9pm or so. Sitting at the bar can also help you get a seat at a popular restaurant that’s otherwise completely booked.

Alternatively, dine at home and go out just for dessert. A dessert and a cup of coffee at a fancy restaurant won’t set you back as much as a dinner, and you can soak up just as much of the elegant atmosphere. Or you can go to a place that serves only desserts, such as a coffeehouse or ice cream parlor, and enjoy a delicious treat for even less.

As a bonus, a dessert-only date is likely to put you both in a more romantic mood. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that people who have just eaten something sweet tend to have more positive feelings about their relationships.

3. Bring Your Own Bottle

If you want the experience of dining out on Valentine’s Day, don’t pay more than you need to for drinks with your dinner. According to Web Restaurant Store, restaurants typically charge four to five times as much for a glass of wine as they paid for it. The markup on cocktails is even higher — more than seven times the cost of the liquor. All told, one to two drinks with your meal can easily double your total bill.

To enjoy a good wine for less, search online for BYOB (bring your own bottle) restaurants in your area. Restaurants typically charge a “pour fee” or “corkage fee” for providing the glasses and offering pour service. Before making a reservation, check to see how much they charge. In most cases, even with the fee, you pay less for the wine than you would buying it by the glass.

4. Cook It Yourself

A DIY dinner at home can be just as romantic as a restaurant meal. In some ways, it’s even better. You have complete control over the menu and atmosphere, from the background music to the flowers on the table. And you don’t have to stress over details that could ruin the mood, like lost reservations, overworked waiters — or, in 2021, the risk of infection in a crowded place.

Even a pricey dinner, like steak or seafood, is much cheaper if you cook it yourself. However, these expensive dishes aren’t your only options for a romantic meal. Websites like AllRecipes, Epicurious, and Food Network offer a wide range of recipes to impress your partner on a budget, from chicken to pasta to quiche. You can even make your own romantic Valentine’s Day desserts to top things off.

If you don’t have that much confidence in your cooking skills, you can still show your partner some love with a romantic dinner for two. Just put together a charcuterie platter with store-bought delicacies like cured meats, sausage, pate, cheese, bread, olive oil, and delightful nibbles like nuts and dried fruit. All you need is a bottle of wine, some candles, and a playlist of your favorite love songs to complete the intimate atmosphere.

Stepping Out

Going out for a meal isn’t the only way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. You can also bond with your significant other at a movie or concert or go out for a night on the town. However, theaters and stadiums are largely closed right now — and they’re expensive even at the best of times.

To get around these problems, you need to get creative. With a little effort, you can plan a unique and fun date that’s just as romantic, even on a shoestring budget.

5. Check Local Listings

Many performance venues have found ways to continue holding events during the pandemic. They’ve held drive-in concerts, livestreaming shows, and socially distanced outdoor performances with the audience wearing face masks. These adapted events aren’t the same as being in the theater, but they’re a chance to see live performances — often for less than you’d usually pay for theater or concert tickets.

You can find entertainment in your area — both live and virtual — by checking your local calendar of events. If you live in or near a college town, you might find streamed or outdoor student productions and performances. You could also catch a free or low-cost exhibit or performance at a local museum, a play reading hosted by your public library, or a drive-in show at a cultural center.

Pro tip: If tickets to a show are no longer available, check out StubHub on the day of the event. Tickets frequently drop in price the closer you get to the event date.

6. Have a Shopping Date

To turn a mundane activity into a romantic date, go shopping together for Valentine’s Day. Pick an inexpensive store you both like to visit, such as a used bookstore, dollar store, or even grocery store. Browse your way along the shelves together, looking at unusual or appealing items. Even if you don’t buy anything, you can have fun looking — and if you do find something you like, you won’t have to pay too much for it.

You can also combine this activity with gift shopping. Instead of buying Valentine’s Day gifts for each other, make hunting for them a part of your shopping excursion. You can cruise down the aisles together and treat your partner to anything they happen to admire or split up and try to find the best gift for your sweetheart within a set time limit. Then meet up back at the cash register, pay for your purchases, and formally present them to each other.

7. Go for a Walk

In many parts of the country, February isn’t the best time for a romantic walk outdoors. However, if the weather is nice enough, you can enjoy strolling hand in hand through your favorite setting, whether that’s the woods, the beach, or the city streets. Or if you both have bicycles, you can enjoy a leisurely bike ride through a pretty area.

Even if it’s cold and snowy where you live, that doesn’t necessarily have to spoil your outdoor fun. You can bundle up and turn your walk into a winter activity, such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or ice skating. You could even build a snowman together as a fun way to revisit your childhood. Then head back home to chase away the chill by snuggling up together under a blanket and sipping hot chocolate with marshmallows.

Staying In

Sometimes, staying in on Valentine’s Day is more romantic than going out. Instead of coming home from work and hurrying to get dressed and head back out again, you can just settle in for a romantic date night at home. On a cold February day, a night at home is a lot more cozy and companionable than a night on the town. And it lets you devote all your attention to each other.

8. Watch a Movie

Unfortunately, going to the movies isn’t possible in many areas right now — and it’s not such a budget-friendly date anywhere these days. However, staying in and renting a movie through Redbox, watching one on a streaming service like Netflix or Disney+, or checking one out at your local library is still cheap or even free. Pair it by ordering takeout through DoorDash from your favorite restaurant.

In many ways, watching a movie in your living room is much more romantic than going to the theater. You can choose any movie you like — an Oscar winner you’ve always wanted to see or an old favorite that holds sentimental memories for the two of you, like the one you saw on your first date. Instead of paying a fortune at the concession stand, you can enjoy your favorite snacks, sip hot chocolate, or pop open a bottle of wine. And you don’t have to listen to some jerk behind you yakking on a cellphone throughout the movie.

Best of all, instead of sitting in theater seats with an armrest between them, you can snuggle on a cozy couch. And if you want to stop the film and go to bed early, the rest of it will still be there for you the next day.

9. Play Games

Playing card games or board games together is an inexpensive way to spend an evening in. If you and your sweetie are already board game fans, you can spend the evening playing one of your old favorites or trying out a new game that’s been on your list for a while.

If you’re both new to the world of tabletop gaming, check out lists of the most enjoyable games for two players. If you don’t have any of the suggested games in your collection, head out to a local store like Target or Barnes & Noble — or if you have time, browse the adult-friendly game section on Amazon — and pick up a game that appeals to you. Or just grab a deck of cards and look up the rules for two-player card games on Pagat.com.

If you want to give your game night a spicy twist, choose a game with a naughty component, like strip poker or dirty-word Scrabble. Or you could invest in a romantic game designed specifically for couples, such as Talk Flirt Dare or Truth or Dare. Games like these are an alluring segue into more private romantic activities later in the evening.

10. You Know What

Talking of private activities, when Luvze asked men what they really wanted for Valentine’s Day, the No. 1 answer was sex. And while it wasn’t the top answer, almost 50% of women said the same thing in a New York Post survey.

So if you’ve wanted to try something a little adventurous in the bedroom, Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to do it.

One nice thing about this activity is that it doesn’t have to cost a penny. However, if you have a little cash to spare, there are all kinds of things you can buy to make your evening extra spicy, from lube to lingerie.

A week or so before Valentine’s Day, casually ask your partner if there’s any kind of intimate toy or activity they’d like to try. Then pick up the necessary goodies and give your sweetie a very special Valentine’s Day surprise.


Tips to Cook Romantic Dinner for Boyfriend

The important thing to remember here is that a romantic dinner is supposed to be fun. You want to spend quality time with each other and enjoy the food. As the cook, it’s your responsibility to make sure you don’t go around looking hurried and frantic. You want to come across as cool chef who has everything under control.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind while cooking a romantic dinner

Don’t try too many things – Simplicity is the name of the game. A soup or a starter, a main course and a light dessert is all that you need to wrap up a good dinner. You can ask your boyfriend to get the wine or champagne.

Keep the kitchen clean – Your boyfriend will want to see you cooking. If you come across as a disorganized and frantic cook, it will leave a bad impression. Be slow and organized in your cooking, pay attention to details and don’t create a mess in the kitchen.

Do the cutting and chopping before he arrives – The objective of a dinner date at home is to allow for some quality time together. Instead of spending time in the kitchen cutting and chopping stuff after he arrives, it’s better to get done with it before hand. You can then just put things into the oven or grill, while the both of you enjoy a wine and a starter.

Be clear about what he likes and dislikes – The last thing you want to do is make him eat something he doesn’t like, just because he doesn’t want to hurt you. Many guys hate the taste of garlic or ginger, some don’t like mint, while some might hate corn. Just ask him if there are any specific flavors or vegetables that he has a dislike for, before you plan the dinner menu.

Be careful with the seasoning – If you are beginner at cooking, you should pay extra attention to the seasoning. Too much or too little can easily spoil the taste of the dish. Too little salt makes the food taste lipid, while an excess can offset the best of dishes.

Presentation is important – A touch of parsley and coriander leaves on top of the serving, a few cut peaches on the side or a slice of lime on top of the dessert, these small things can give a great impression. If you’ve eaten at a 5 star restaurant you will know that the chefs put in a lot of effort just to make the presentation look good.

What to cook for a romantic dinner?

Here are a few tips on what you can cook for your dinner date. The menu should consist of a starter, a main course and a dessert to keep the dinner well organized. Of course there are no hard and fast rules, but if you are planning on making a good first impression, you may as well be precise.

The starters

Soup – Nothing like a piping hot soup to start off a dinner, especially if it’s the cold season. Sweet corn or chicken soup would be ideal.

Cheese or crackers – You can have the wine along with some simple starters like cheese sticks, crackers or just an olive salad.

A garden salad – It’s very healthy to eat some raw veggies as a starter but do ask your boyfriend if he’s a fan of vegetable salads. The dressing is the key as is the freshness of vegetables you use.

The main course

Roast chicken – This is an all time favorite and if your boyfriend likes chicken this is the dish to go for. You can cut up some carrots, cauliflower, parsnips, sweet potato and roast it along with the chicken. The seasoning and the sauce you use to paint the chicken is crucial.

Beef tenderloin – It’s bound to be a hit if it comes out well. A juicy beef tenderloin with some mashed potatoes is an ultimate delight in culinary circles. It’s quit easy to prepare and again the sauce you use makes all the difference. You can enjoy it with a glass of wine, a perfect recipe for a romantic dinner.

Braised meats – You can’t go wrong with this. You can braise the meat a day before because it tastes better that way. Braised chicken makes for a gourmet meal with little fuss involved in cooking.

Pasta – If he is a vegetarian, it would be a good idea to make a pasta dish, with tomato sauce and garlic for taste. You can also make a non-vegetarian pasta by adding cut sausages and chicken nuggets to the penne.

The dessert

A pie – You can make a pie the night before your date. An apple pie or a blueberry pie would be great, though it does require some expertise to prepare.

A short cake – If you are good with baking, then a short cake is a great option for desert. You can top it off with some chocolate sauce and raisins.

Pudding – There is nothing like a home made pudding to top off a dinner.

Instead of trying out new things, stick to what you are good at cooking. To cook a romantic dinner for your boyfriend is task you should undertake with a love and care. Do not try and out do yourself, keep it simple and be sure to enjoy the whole process.


5 Ways to Prepare for a Romantic Weekend with your Husband

Oh snap! You have a sitter for a whole weekend? (Babysitter, Dogsitter, Housesitter, whatev… you got a sitter.)

Let’s make it a good one, shall we?

My husband and I try to go away for at least a night, I’d say about once every 2 months. There’s nothing like getting away from home, out of the normal every day routine, and makin’ it happen. A whole weekend away doesn’t happen too often, but when it does… I wanna prepare for it. (I like to prepare for the one nighters too… but there’s something special about a whole weekend or even WEEK away.)

Let’s face it. When you go away for one night…

Going to bed by 9pm sounds exhilarating, with the thought that you won’t be woken up by a screamin’ baby in the middle of the night. You MAY get to dinner, but after that… it’s off to sleep. Ahhh… a full night. But if you’re gone for more than one night, you can leave the next night for the good stuff.


17+ DIY Valentine’s Day Gifts For Men: Creative & Romantic Gifts For Him

Are you searching for the perfect Valentine&rsquos Day gift for your boyfriend or husband? Today&rsquos lineup of DIY Valentine&rsquos Day gifts for men has you covered.

From romantic coupons and &ldquoopen when&rdquo letters to creative candy, insanely fabulous bacon roses, and infused alcohol you won&rsquot find a better collection of Valentine&rsquos Day gifts for men.

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Date Jar

All you&rsquoll need to recreate this date jar idea is a mason jar, paper, pen, and a few clutch date ideas.
Here are a few of my favorite date night ideas in case you need a little inspiration:

Take a ballroom dancing class
Cook your favorite childhood food together (instead of the standard dinner date)
Go on a picnic (indoor or outdoor)
Spend an hour brainstorming your ideas of the perfect date &ndash together
Go to a comedy club
Take a cooking class, or recreate a cooking class at home if that&rsquos too pricey
Take a long walk on a hiking trail, or the beach, or a local park
Go to the bookstore &ndash you&rsquoll get to know each other better by noticing what section he&rsquos drawn towards
Visit a local organic farm or outdoor market
Go antique shopping (or window shopping)
Google the places of interest in your hometown and go!

If you need more date night ideas, check out 101 Creative Dates🙂

I found this kit that comes with the jar, wish tickets, and pen on Amazon prime!

Now all you need to do is write your ideas and put them into the jar. Boom: you&rsquove got a thoughtful and romantic Valentine&rsquos Day gift for your husband or boyfriend & you still have money to buy a cute outfit to wear:)

Tunnel of Love

Here&rsquos a sweet & romantic gift idea that won&rsquot take up too much time or money! Plus, this one comes with a Free Printable! Check it out on Flamingo Toes

Year of Dates Gift

This year of dates idea is impressive, but if you are pinched for time, you may want to save it for next year. This DIY Valentine&rsquos Day gift for men requires planning &ndash starting with a little brainstorming.

If you&rsquore up for it now, the easiest way to start is by grabbing a pen and paper and making a list of date ideas.

If the ideas aren&rsquot flowing yet, try listing the major holidays, then go over to checkiday to see if any odd-ball holidays inspire you. Check out The Big Activity Book for Couples &ndash it is full of ideas!

Then think of his interests &ndash is he a hunter? Golfer? Does he live for the grill?

Get creative and have fun.

Candy Bar Card

If you need a fabulous and fun gift fast, this candy bar idea has your back!

Bacon Infused Whiskey

When you think you&rsquove seen it all, here&rsquos comes a recipe for bacon-infused whiskey!
I love this DIY Valentine&rsquos Day gift for men, and if you want to go the extra mile, go ahead and pair it with The Bacon Bible.

Coupon Book Made with Love

Use this free printable to create the ultimate coupon book for Valentine&rsquos Day!

Love Coupon Ideas

  • One back rub
  • A day of compliments
  • Master of the remote (for a day)
  • One &ldquoYou Can Pick Where We Eat&rdquo Date
  • Romantic Walk
  • A Phone Free Night

Open When Letters & Free Printable

All you need for this DIY Valentine&rsquos Day gift for men is card stock paper, access to a printer, and a pair of scissors! Oh, and a few creative ideas to use:)

Chocolate-Dipped Bacon Roses

If you want to make something special for him, try this recipe for chocolate-dipped bacon roses!

Alcohol Bouquet

Maybe the best way to say I love you isn&rsquot with flowers? Up your Valentine&rsquos Day game with a whiskey bouquet.

Rosemary Mint Shaving Cream

Or go the DIY route with this &ldquorecipe&rdquo for mint shaving cream.

5 Senses DIY Gift Idea

Need a He Will 100% Love It Guarantee gift idea? Get creative with the five senses: see, hear, touch, taste, and smell.

Love Letters

This idea is cool because it has the DIY feel, but you don&rsquot have to be super crafty to pull it off! Also a bonus: you get prompts to inspire your letters like

  1. When we first met&hellip
  2. I knew you were the one for me when&hellip
  3. What I love about us&hellip
  4. I promise to you&hellip
  5. It&rsquos the little things, like when&hellip
  6. You are remarkable because&hellip
  7. Here&rsquos a story I&rsquove never told you&hellip
  8. This is an invitation to&hellip
  9. I never want to forget this&hellip

Did I mention you can get it on Amazon Prime for under $15?

How to Make a Sock Bouquet

Maybe try pairing the 5 senses sensual gift with a practical one like this sock bouquet?

Library of Love

Here&rsquos an idea you can make for Valentine&rsquos Day to serve as a romantic scrapbook of sorts for all of the important memories you want to last. You&rsquoll need a small box, some card stock paper, and six months to a year or more of good times together!

Printable Love Coupon Book

I Think You&rsquore Red Hot Gift Basket

Or make a Red Hot gift basket for him with these ideas.

The Story of Us Scrapbook

If you have some time, this romantic Valentine&rsquos Day idea shows you how to create an epic scrapbook!

Message in A Bottle

Finally, if you want to go with the ultimate DIY Valentine&rsquos Day gift for men, make this message in a bottle keychain with this helpful tutorial.

Ok, so hopefully I&rsquove shown you today that you don&rsquot have to spend a ton of money to give a memorable Valentine&rsquos Day gift. If there&rsquos a DIY gift I missed, please let me know so I can add it!

Happy Valentine&rsquos Day!

More Ideas You&rsquoll Love

38 Romantic & Creative Valentine&rsquos Day Gifts for Him

22 Valentine&rsquos Day DIY Decorations & Crafts

40 Ways To Organize Your Kitchen On A Budget

Save & Share these DIY Valentine&rsquos Day Gifts!

About Heather Burnett

Hey! Thanks for sticking around. I started this blog to help people like you take control of your health, achieve your fitness goals, lose weight, and gain the confidence you need to go out and live life to the fullest. (Because that's what losing 100 pounds did for me:) I will help you eat clean, shed the shame with the pounds, and become the bad-ass beauty you already are!


45 Best Camping Gifts for All the Outdoorsy People in Your Life

What do you get the person who's happiest outside, in a tent, and under the stars? Well, camping gear for their next excursion would be a great start! We're here to help you out with some of the best camping gifts on the market. From the best camping chairs to a few fun campfire cookware essentials, and our best hammocks we've rounded up all of our favorite finds that we think will help you create some seriously happy campers. Oh, and they're affordable too!

Remember: Just because they don't have a big camping trip coming up doesn't mean it's not prime time to gift them with all the things they'd need for one. Whether you're looking for a few car camping tips or a gift for your significant other, a birthday gift for a friend, something small with which to celebrate an upcoming hiking adventure with your family, or just want to treat yourself, we guarantee there's something on our list that'll suit your personal taste&mdashand/or the taste of your resident outdoorsy companion. From our guide to the best camping mugs to the best yurt camping sites or if you need the top tips for camping with dogs, we've got you covered.

Of course, the best gifts are edible&mdasheveryone knows that! If your unsuspecting gift recipient happens to be a foodie too, surprise them with a treat from our make-ahead camping meals to ensure a stress-free trip. No matter what you decide, they'll be touched by your thoughtfulness&mdashand you might even score an invite to their next trip to the woods.


The 50 Best Gifts That'll Impress Any Guy

Is he stylish? Does he have cool hobbies? Does he like nice things? Great&mdashwe've got him covered here.

Men are notoriously difficult to shop for. There&rsquos the husband who already bought himself everything he wants. The boyfriend with mercurial tastes. The son who completely blanked and forgot to send you his wish list. The dad who insists that believe him, he&rsquos quite happy with nothing at all, as if that's a viable option. Pains in ass, the lot of them. However, all is not lost. We&rsquove collected a master list of the 50 best gift ideas for men&mdashmen who like sneakers and watches, men who like tinkering with smart tech, men who like roughing it outdoors or lounging around the house. Finding that pitch-perfect gift for an upcoming birthday, anniversary, or holiday (reminder: Father's Day swiftly approaches) suddenly becomes a lot less daunting.

Bose's Frames combine Bluetooth headphones with sunglasses, so he can block out the sun while listening to his music through mini speakers. That's a seriously futuristic tech gift, and one he'll appreciate this summer.

Polaroid's printer is the best gift for the guy who prefers his photos to be tangible, not trapped behind a phone screen.

Would you believe that this glass travel mug does triple duty as a pour-over maker, a cold brew maker, and a tea steeper? Yeah, believe it.

Light a fire, literally and figuratively, with FLIKR's mini fireplace. It burns safely and cleanly, more than making up for the fireplace he doesn't have or the bonfire he can't light.

Because he's gotta protect his ride, and because this Garmin dash cam is so small it won't clutter up his windshield.

After years of making eggs but never quite mastering the perfect omelet (fluffy and light, not rubbery), this a gift for him that's both dead useful and well-crafted. And microwaveable.

After the year we&rsquove had, any man would leap at the chance to have beer on tap, at the ready to dispense wherever he goes. The benefit of this Growlerwerks keg is that it infuses beer with CO2 to make it fresh, crisp, and soul-sustaining for weeks.

Take him back to the '80s with a retro-inspired, collectible-status NES system that comes loaded with only the best video games: Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros., Zelda, and more. Consider getting him a box of Bagel Bites and a can of New Coke to boot.

Nike's Killshot 2s that are seriously cool. So cool they kept selling out, for a while. But now they're back in stock (finally). These shoes will match everything in his closet.

This temperature-regulating mug will make every cup of morning coffee stay steaming hot for an hour and a half. Because only a sadist likes cold coffee sludge.

For the man who can point to scant few things he loves more than Star Wars, this'll become a treasured possession and much-read coffee table book. In it, The New York Times collects four decades of all Lucasfilm-related news, art, and ads.

Any memorable outfit starts with the bottom layer. Choose one of two monthly Stances shipments&mdashsocks or underwear&mdashthat'll keep any guy stocked with stylish undergarments.

These superior Rhone shorts do all the things workout shorts ought to&mdashwick sweat, dry quickly, stretch comfortably, and store odds and ends&mdashwith the added bonus of looking like actually tailored clothing.

Because every man must have a hobby, and that hobby ought to be making damn delicious pizza in the backyard.

VR is accessible to anyone with Oculus's surprisingly inexpensive Quest 2 headset&mdashfinally. There's a trove of games to play on this thing, but beyond that, it will factor into his fitness routine and even his binge-watching.

If he's ever mused about dribbling like Steph, cooking like Gordon, photographing like Annie, or skating like Tony, here's the best shot he'll get. MasterClass hosts online courses taught be celebrities and experts, and an All Access pass will set him up for a year of learning. Since you're cutting it close, it's a great last-minute gift, too.

These best-selling, Hugo-award-winning books are astounding, engrossing, and most likely utterly unlike anything he's read before, sci-fi or otherwise. Get them to punch up his summer reading list.

And just like that, he's got the shirt he'll wear to every barbecue, beach outing, happy hour, and family gathering while the weather's warm. Scientifically speaking, it&rsquos impossible for a man to not pull off a tropical print this stylish.

Give him a classic timepiece, and we mean that in the literal sense. Timex went back to 1979 to spiff up and reissue this diver-inspired timepiece for everyday wear in 2021. It looks like it costs a bundle&mdashbut doesn't.

Not just any accent piece, the Mod reclines for optimal comfort and comes in 40 colorways. See, recliners don't have to be cheesy.

Picture this: A waffle stuffed with bacon, a waffle stuffed with fresh herbs, a waffle stuffed with blueberries, and a waffle stuffed with preserves. A nice picture, isn't it? This kitchen gadget specializes in homemade stuffed waffle-making, which is a wonderful thing.

This building set is for adults with lofty aspirations of becoming seafaring captains or world-class model-building hobbyists. But who has the time for that? Hence the LEGOS.

This is certainly not your dad&rsquos briefcase. It's a low-key stylish way to carry his laptop and whatever else he needs for the day, just in time for the office to open back up.

No one's carting around a chunky wallet these days, not when excursions out of the house are limited to the grocery store, the laundromat, and the takeout joint. Still, he'll need a card or two to snag that seltzer at the bodega. This handsome black leather card holder will get a lot of use.

Who wouldn't appreciate somewhere to jot down those brilliant thoughts? This smart notebook is all the better because it's, well, smart. So not only will his ideas, notes, and drawings be on paper, but they'll be saved digitally as well.

Boots? Seriously?! The man in my life already has boots aplenty. Well, not like these, he doesn't. Tod's painstakingly crafts its distinct desert boots out of a rich, durable suede, making these&mdashand I mean this&mdashthe last boots you'll ever have to buy for him.

With 100 years of history behind it, the NFL has racked up great play after great play. This handsome, leather-bound book recounts the true GOATs, making perfect reading material for the dad who's already looking ahead to the first kickoff of fall.


#6. Trust in Him

The temptation is nearly always there — especially early on — to act like a private investigator, checking in on his whereabouts, asking who he’s texting and calling. But acting like this just shows a complete lack of trust.

If your man feels like he’s having his every move watched and questioned like he’s under surveillance, you’ll never build a strong bond. To truly be in a happy, committed relationship, it’s vital you show your man you trust him.

Of course, if he does something that betrays your trust, call him out. Or ditch him, if you have to. But until then, trust in him. Because the only way a relationship can last is if it’s built on mutual love and trust.


10 Dinner Party Themes Your Guests Will Love

Throwing a dinner party can be stressful. What do you make? Should you decorate? Will your guests have fun? Add a theme to your party, and suddenly everything falls into place. It's a snap to figure out your menu and decorations, and chances are your guests will enjoy a themed event more than a standard party.

What theme you select is limited only by your imagination. More traditional themes -- say, a Mardi Gras dinner on Fat Tuesday -- are perennial favorites, while creative ideas such as an animal theme (all foods come from a particular animal or are shaped like it) are fun surprises.

To spark your creativity, here are 10 dinner party themes, both traditional and unusual.

One of the most popular dinner party themes is ethnic food. If you've got guests with finicky palates, stick with cultures whose foods are more mainstream (at least by Americans standards), such as Italian, Mexican or Chinese. Adventurous diners can sample Thai, Ethiopian, Indian or Japanese cuisine.

Decorations can be simple -- a red-and-white checked tablecloth topped with a candle in an old Chianti bottle for an Italian theme paper lanterns and a big bowl of fortune cookies for a Chinese theme figurines of elephants (sacred to the Thai people) and banana-leaf placemats for a Thai theme.

Play music from those cultures to add to the ambience just make sure the volume is set on the low side.

Don't stress over your party's ambience. Dropping a bundle on decorations isn't necessary, nor is a masterful playlist of tunes. The main thing is to have the table attractively set, and make sure your centerpiece is low enough to not interrupt conversation.

A Valentine's Day party can be lots of fun, but it's hardly a novelty. So try picking a lesser-known holiday or day of note from which to create your dinner party. The sky's really the limit here.

If you choose Groundhog Day, for example, you can serve all brown foods, foods shaped like the furry critter, or plan your evening according to the popular 1993 comedy movie of the same name, dining on dishes referenced in the movie, playing the soundtrack in the background, etc.

And why not even create your own holiday -- or steal someone else's. Throw a party to celebrate Festivus (every Dec. 23), courtesy of Frank Costanza on the TV show "Seinfeld." The Feats of Strength, one of the hallmarks of Festivus, would make for some great after-dinner entertainment!

Everyone has a favorite movie, book or play. So why not plan a dinner around yours? It certainly helps if your favorite has a strong food component, such as "Eat Pray Love," a movie which initially centers around pasta, or "Chocolat," a story about a female chocolatier.

But even if your favorite is the "Harry Potter" book series, it's not a problem. In fact, it might even be more fun. The books' butter beer, pumpkin juice, treacle tarts and cauldron cakes, just to name a few, would be fun to invent if you like to tinker in the kitchen. But you wouldn't have to do that the series is so popular, lots of Web sites, including YumSugar.com, already created the recipes for you.

Still other movie/book/play themes -- "Casablanca," for example -- could center more around the decorations and ambience than the actual food served. With the movie playing, a sign reading Rick's Café over your dining area and classic cocktails ready upon guests' arrival, you'll be all set.

Dinner parties are more successful if you remember a few simple rules. Dinner parties are meant to be intimate, so don't host more than six to eight people everyone should sit together at one table. Figure out a good mix of personalities to invite, and add in interesting friends who can help keep the conversation going (and someone who can help you in the kitchen if necessary).

Certain times in history have left strong images in our minds, whether we were alive during the period or not. What do you think of when you hear about the Prohibition Era or Flower Power? What about the Victorian Era, the Renaissance or the Roman Empire? Translate that into a dinner party idea.

A 1960s Flower Power party can mean tie-dyed placemats, beads in the doorway and endless music choices (think the original Woodstock Festival). If you tie in the food from that era, you're probably talking comfort foods like meatloaf and mashed potatoes, with whipped cream-topped gelatin for dessert. Add to the ambience by purchasing nostalgic toys for guests to tinker with before and after dinner. It doesn't hurt to dress the part, either bell bottom jeans and a fringe vest would be right on, man.

Dinner party themes don't have to take their cues from food or drink: Color themes are a popular and fun way to make a meal unique. A Lemons and Limes party features yellow and green decor, and guests at Black and White dinners (which are increasingly popular) are often asked to wear only black or white.

Of course, it's easy to slip a little of the color theme into the food and drink -- lemonade, lime vodka cocktails, lemon bars and key lime pie are all easy items to add to your Lemons and Limes party. Similarly, a Black and White dinner can conclude with, say, vanilla ice cream accented with chocolate syrup, followed by White and Black Russian after-dinner drinks.

If you decide upon a more unusual color for your theme, like purple or yellow, don't dye your mashed potatoes or other foods guests might find that a bit unpalatable.

Don't let a fear of proper etiquette stop you from hosting a party. Your main job is to make everyone feel comfortable. Do this by introducing your guests to each other, graciously accepting hostess gifts and creating seat assignments.

Love pizza, tacos or pasta? Take a signature dish and make a few variations of it. For a pizza theme, make one standard pizza (but use quality ingredients), then go wild. Make a baked potato pizza: Top the crust with thin slices of potato, crumbled bacon, onions and cheese, and add a few dollops of sour cream when it's served. Assemble a Thai pizza with shredded beef, grated carrots and cabbage, sliced onions and peanut sauce. Leave one crust plain for guests to toss on whatever they'd like for the final pizza.

Into Mexican food? Set up a taco -- or burrito, nacho, fajita, whatever you like -- bar with a mix of hard and soft shells, a variety of meats and beans, salsa, avocado, cheese, sour cream, cilantro and any other toppings you and your guests will enjoy. Don't forget coordinating side dishes, beverages and dessert!

Remember to select your theme according to foods you're comfortable cooking. If you've rarely or never made barbecue, for example, now isn't the time to experiment.

Being green is increasingly becoming the norm, so why not throw a sustainable dinner party? Start by shopping at your local farmer's market for as much of the meal's components as you can. Or, if you belong to a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) organization, use whatever's in your weekly box. Talk to the growers to glean any stories about your food that you can share during dinner, or simply ask the farmers about their growing practices, location and history of their farms.

When preparing your table, use fresh flowers from your yard as a centerpiece, rather than buying some from the florist. Fruit and veggies from the market can also make an attractive decoration. Set the table with cloth napkins, and light beeswax candles.

Even if you grew up in the days of canned vegetables and over-boiled meat, you still probably have several favorite meals from childhood. So do your friends. Plan a potluck dinner where everyone shares his favorite dish, which you can divide up in any number of ways. For example, the host will supply the entrée, and each guest brings a side dish or dessert. Or you can assign everyone to a category (appetizer, sides, salad) and the final dish will be revealed at the party.

During dinner, guests can explain how their dishes were created, and tell any favorite family stories associated with it, such as the Thanksgiving when Aunt Dorothy pulled out this very gelatin mold from her fridge and it slid onto the floor. Extra points go to guests who bring the recipe with them or a photo of them as a child during the time they typically ate the dish they brought.

If everyone at the party is roughly the same age, play background music from that era, or create a mix with songs popular from every guest's childhood.

Much like the game Clue, guests at a murder mystery dinner are first assigned identities, then become suspects in the crime. During the meal, clues are handed out, and guests quiz each other to determine who the fictitious killer is. While these events are often big hits, it's best to purchase a murder mystery party game to help guide the action.

Not a big cook but still want to throw a dinner party? Serve soup -- it'll be a cinch! It's easy to whip up a few pots: broccoli and cheese, chicken noodle, minestrone, just to name a few. Throw in something more adventurous, too, like beef borscht, crab bisque or tortilla soup. You can also make a few variations on one soup: think chili with and without beans and white chili. And while it's great if everything is homemade, you can certainly mix in some store-bought creations.

Fill in the dinner with salad, a few bread choices and a simple dessert (fruit crisps can be baked in advance and served warm or room temp). Foster the cozy ambience with a fire, if you have a fireplace, or dim the lights and use lots of candles. Not surprisingly, this type of dinner party works best in the fall and winter months, and because of its intimate nature, it's also better to have a smaller group of guests.

While a growing number of people are adopting vegetarian and even vegan lifestyles, most Americans still eat meat and dairy products and aren't well versed in the foods these diets accommodate. This makes vegetarian foods great choice for a dinner party, as everyone will learn a little about these eating patterns.

Web sites like Vegetarian Times and PETA offer a wealth of information on what it means to eat a vegetarian and vegan diet, and plenty of recipes are included. Just be sure to select a variety of dishes for your dinner party. At the start of the meal, explain the two types of diets and point out which dishes are which, and why. If any of your guests are vegetarians or vegans, ask them to share why they adopted this lifestyle and what they most enjoy about it.

We hope we've given you a few original ideas for your next dinner party. Happy cooking!


Watch the video: Best GIFT IDEAS for HER. 10 Gifts any woman will love


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