According to a study by Bankrate, the average Valentine will spend $512.03 on Valentine’s Day. The National Retail Federation claims that the $512.03 makes the holiday more costly than Halloween and Mother’s Day combined. This year we put together some of our favorite items to keep the holiday within budget and closer to the home, that is where the heart is afterall. Here are our suggestions from HelloFresh, BistroMD, Mathew 1812 House and Manhattan Moonshine. These products are not only perfect for your dinner with cupid but also great for daily meals and gift ideas.
The HelloFresh concept really impressed us. It’s sort of along the lines of FreshDirect but the meal boxes come not only with every ingredient to make a healthy, fresh meal but also include easy-to-follow directions — it’s like having Chef Jamie Oliver guiding you in your kitchen.
You order online and the selection is amazing for every taste, craving and dietary restrictions. Delivery is quick as the box contains perishables. The samples that I prepared at home included Chicken Yakitori with pan-fried chukka soba and green beans. It was tasty and I prepared the meal for two in less than 45 minutes. We also enjoyed the Shrimp Taco Lettuce Wraps made with smoky chipotle beans, charred fajita veggies, ovacado and garlic-lime crema. It sounds complex but the preparation was quite simple and all of the spices come measured. The best of the box in my opinion was the Brown Sugar Glazed Pork Tenderloin with sweet potato wedges and brussels sprout-apple hash. This dish took only 30 minutes to make and the flavors were mouthwatering.
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If you are all thumbs in the kitchen and not up for the passion and dedication of cooking, we discovered BistroMd. These frozen dinners are customized to your preferences. You can review your menu online and select your meals. The meals are structured to help you lose weight and maintain superior health. We particularly liked the Four Cheese Ravioli: Ricotta, Parmesan, Mozzarella and Romano cheeses are combined to create this delicious entree and it is topped with a creamy three cheese tomato sauce. The dish is accompanied by green beans infused with black pepper and garlic. Yum!
Another honorable mention is the Beef Steak & Ale Stew.
This hearty meal contains braised beef cubes in a stew that encompasses many delicious flavors with carrots, parsnips and yellow corn. This dish is complemented with roasted cauliflower florets seasoned with garlic and turmeric. Your sweetheart will love it.
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After dinner you have to indulge with a little dessert and we chose Matthews 1812 House. The company was formed in 1979 in the family farmhouse by Blaine and Deanna Matthews. Named after the year the house was built, they started with two fruitcakes. Today they offer an amazing selection of cookies, pies, cakes, brownies and sweets. Their Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Torte is simply decadent — moist chocolate brownie torte, laced with Kentucky bourbon, topped with a layer of pecans and finished with caramel bourbon sauce. Rich, sweet and an exceptional end to your dinner.
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Raise a glass and make a toast. We found a great cocktail recipe by Manhattan Moonshine Whiskey. They’ve created a libation called Wild Harvest and it includes 1 ½ oz of Manhattan Moonshine, two spoons of frozen wild blueberries, ¼ oz of simple syrup, a squeeze of lemon juice, 4 knuckles of thyme and ½ oz of apple cider. You muddle the berries with the lemon juice and syrup then add the Manhattan Moonshine, fill with ice in a cocktail shaker strain into glass or serve over ice. Refreshing.
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Have a wonderful, delicious and romantic Valentine’s Day.