Oh, Valentine’s Day. 24-hours of loud and clear, in-your-face love. If you’re not in a relationship, don’t let this Hallmark holiday be a natural reminder that you’re alone; instead, celebrate your singledom with the people who make you happiest…your girlfriends! Whether you decide to try one of the group pursuits below or do something entirely different, revel in your ability to have a kick-ass time, no men necessary.
Dress Up and Dine
Treat you besties to night they’ll remember and host a dressy dinner party at your abode. Light candles, play your favorite tunes, and decorate the table with flirty flowers and playful tableware…in other words, don’t scrimp on the little things. And, since you’ll be all-dolled-up, head out for a night on the town where you can bust a move without stressing about the dating scene.
What to Make:
Caesar Salad Bites
Recipe via goop.com
What you need:
1 head of romaine, washed
A thick slice of day old bread
2 cloves of garlic, 1 minced, 1 whole
Half a lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & pepper
What to do:
Remove the large outer leaves of the Romaine, picking out the smaller pieces in the center. In the meantime, chop up the bread into 1-inch cubes. Coat a sauté pan with olive oil over medium heat and add bread. Cook for about a minute, until bread begins to get some color, then add minced garlic, cooking for another minute until bread pieces are a nice golden brown. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside. Slice the whole clove of garlic in half and rub the inside of a large bowl with the open ends. Add the egg and squeeze half of a lemon into the egg while whisking. When that’s combines, whisk in about a tablespoon of olive oil. Add lettuce leaves to bowl and mix until well coated.
Grilled Salmon & Zucchini with Red Pepper Sauce
Recipe via fitnessmagazine.com
What you need:
1/23 cup sliced almonds, toasted
¼ cup chopped jarred roasted red peppers
¼ cup halved grape tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes
1 small clove garlic
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, or red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon paprika
¾ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1 ¼ wild-caught salmon filet, skinned and cut into 4 portions
2 medium zucchini, or summer squash, halved lengthwise
Canola or olive oil cooking spray
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley for garnish
What to do:
Preheat grill to medium. Process almonds, pepper, tomatoes, garlic, oil, vinegar, paprika, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon paper in food processor and blend until smooth; set aside. Coat salmon and zucchini on both sides with cooking spray. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Grill, turning once, until the salmon is just cooked through and the squash is soft and browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the squash to a clean cutting board. When cool enough to handle, slide into ½ inch pieces. Toss in a bowl with half of the reserved sauce. Divide the squash among 4 plates along with a piece of salmon topped with some of the remaining sauce. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
Chocolate Heart Sandwich Cookies
Recipe via marthastewart.com
What you need:
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for parchment
¾ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
What to do:
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir together butter, sugar and egg. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and combine. Knead until a dough forms and divide dough in half. Roll out each half unto 2 sheets of lightly floured parchment to 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to baking sheets, and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Next, preheat oven to 350 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. Cut out 1-, 1 ½-, and 2 –inch heart shapes, making sure you have even numbers in each size for a total of thirty-four 1 inch, thirty-four 1 ½ inch, and twenty-eight 2-inch cookies, rerolling scraps once. Place cookies 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes. Bake until firm for 8-12 minutes, rotating halfway through. Let cookies cool completely on baking sheets set on wire racks. Spread of pipe, filling onto bottom side of half the cookies, and sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing gently. Store for up to a week.
Relax and Renew
There’s nothing better than some R&R with your best group of girlfriends. Find discounts on beauty services in your area through sites like Lifebooker and Groupon. Lots of times, you can even book same-day-services, so don’t worry if you’re a little late in the game. Whether you’re trying to relax, rejuvenate, or both, it’s always nice to indulge a little. So, go ahead- you deserve it!
Working out is always more fun with a companion. Whether you’re heading to a local Pilates class, hiking your favorite trails, or showcasing your skills in a hip-hop class, sweating it out (and laughing) with your girls makes working hard a breeze.
Call a girls-night-in and invite your gals over for a flick! Have each friend bring their favorite movie and play what we like to call movie roulette. Throw all the films in a bag and have someone pick one out…and that’s the movie you’ll all watch. Cover the floor in blankets and pillows, and don’t forget the snacks…the more popcorn, the better!
Homemade Caramel Kettle Corn
Recipe via babble.com
For the caramel:
1 cup granulated white sugar
6 tablespoons butter
½ cup heavy whipping cream
heat the sugar in a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium-high heat. Stir the sugar occasionally and watch it closely. After 5-10 minutes, the sugar will begin to liquefy and form large chunks. Keep stirring. Then the sugar will turn a golden color and become liquefied. When the sugar is all melted, add the butter, and stir until melted. Once butter has melted, remove from heat, wait 5 seconds, and stir in the cream. Pour into jars and seal, leaving some in the pan if you’re going to make the caramel corn right away.
For the corn:
2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil
½ cup corn kernels
In a large kettle, heat the oil and 3 corn kernels over medium-high heat. When the three kernels pop, add the rest of the corn, hold the lid on with your pot-holder clad hands, and shake. Do this for 5 minutes then quickly remove from the kettle.
Pour warm caramel sauce over the corn and let sit for 5 minutes. Check salt levels and add more if you like. Serve in small bowls.