Thursday, 25 January 2007
Share the love this year with a Valentine's Day party.
Favorite songs and CDs, suitable for a romantic evening at home.
- At Last--Etta James
- Blue Valentine--Tom Waits
- Crazy Love--Van Morrison
- I Only Have Eyes For You--various performers
- I Want to Know What Love Is--Foreigner
- Let’s Get it On--Marvin Gaye
- Let’s Stay Together--Al Green
- My Funny Valentine--various performers
- Quelqu’un M’a Dit--Carla Bruni
- Smooth Operator--Sade
- Sympathique--Pink Martini
- Thank You--Led Zeppelin
- Time After Time--Cindy Lauper
- You’re the Inspiration--Chicago
Whether you're catering to grownup sweethearts or starry-eyed kids, this is your moment to go over the top with the hearts and flowers. After all, it's Valentine's Day
- Cover your front door with red gift wrap, white paper lace doilies and pink hearts.
- Fill a basket with red, white and pink carnations, each tied with ribbon. Have corsage pins on hand if guests choose to pin on flowers as they arrive.
- Write "Be Mine" on the bathroom mirror using inexpensive red lipstick. (It will come off with glass cleaner--really!)
- Drape a white or red tablecloth on the dining room table and sprinkle liberally with paper hearts, conversation heart candies and wrapped chocolates.
- Be sure to include lots of candlelight, romantic tunes and a little room for dancing.
- For take-home party favors, fill red glass votive candle holders with candies. Set each in the middle of a square of tissue paper, twist to close and tie at the twist with ribbon.
- Set up an area where guests can create valentines and decorate white paper lunch bags for stashing love notes. Supply paper lace doilies, cupcake liners, colored papers, glue, double-sided tape, pipe cleaners, buttons, yarn, ribbons, scissors, envelopes, pens, pencils, stamps, inks, etc. (Hint: white and silver ink, pencil and crayon show up beautifully on red and dark pink paper.)
- Bake heart-shaped cookies in advance and let everyone get creative with candies and icing pens.
- Rent karaoke equipment and sing silly love songs.
- Play a game where you stack conversation hearts and award a prize for the highest candy tower left standing. Or guess the number of chocolate kisses in a glass jar, with the winner taking the spoils.
- For kids, give familiar playground games a Valentine's Day spin. "Simon Says" becomes "Cupid Says." "Red Light, Green Light" becomes "Loves Me, Loves Me Not." "Musical Chairs" becomes "Musical Hearts." An egg race becomes a valentine cupcake race with the confection perched on a spoon. (Hint: don't play this one in a room with carpeting!)
Sea of Love
- A pretty bowl of punch makes for easy refreshments. Mix equal parts chilled cranberry juice, cherry juice and lemon-lime soda with a small amount of crushed ice and call the pink concoction Cupid's Love Potion. (If you wish, you could add a splash of vodka for adults.)
- For kids, pile miniature savory sandwiches onto serving platters and let the little sweeties help themselves. Valentine pizzas might win some hearts, too. And save room for traditional Valentine's Day treats like brownies, cupcakes and cookies.
Foods of Love
- While the menu for adults can be more opulent, you still want to keep it simple. Start with beef tenderloin flavored with blue cheese and add some elegant but easy side dishes. Cook a whole loin for a crowd, or do individual filets if you're hosting a small group.
- Add two easy accompaniments to keep kitchen time to a minimum: make-ahead mashed potatoes and baked asparagus.
- Top off the evening with chocolate: either a dense, flourless chocolate cake that you prepare the day before, or a platter of homemade truffles.