Valentine’s Day seriously is the worst.

Really, I shouldn’t be complaining. I have a fiancé now (gross, so weird), and he always sends me flowers. (Disclaimer: I give him … nothing in return, or does a “thank you” count?) I just don’t like the pressure of having to find another perfect gift so soon after the holidays. I’m also fairly confident that I don’t need a designated day to prove to my fiancé that I tolerate him.

Really, Valentine’s Day is such a commercialized idea that can get so expensive, and if you haven’t made a reservation at a restaurant yet, I’m sure there are still some takers. (Wrong, no one wants your last-minute phone call begging for a table.)

Yeah, that’s right: I am the Scrooge of love.

But I’m also someone who, if I must celebrate Valentine’s Day, would rather do it in the comfort of my own home and with a personal touch. And so here I present to you some Gastronome-inspired ways to set your own stage this Valentine’s Day.


You do not need to be a whiz in the kitchen to put something together your Valentine will be able to stomach. Think simple: a combination of premade and homemade goodies.

Consider these quick and easy treats:

Mini Pancakes —Follow the directions for premade pancake mix, and instead of ladling out a huge scoop, make smaller circles in the pan. Stack about four or five after they are cooked, and skewer with a toothpick.

Sandwiches — Yes, it is as simple as it sounds. Choose your bread (I like plain ‘ole wheat; Ciabatta if I’m feeling fancy) and fill it with whatever you want —cold cuts, vegetables. I like a little mayo, Dijon mustard, turkey and cranberry.

Fresh fruit — All you have to do is wash it first.


I like the novelty of having glass bottles of juice or soda —Waialua Soda and Martinelli’s apple juice, for example.

Also be sure to have a pitcher of water —and if we’re being real, some wine or beer, too. For something a little extra special, get a nice bottle of champagne (my personal favorite is Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow), and add it to your juices or sodas for a mimosa effect. Or, you know, enjoy it as is.


Whether you choose a quiet corner in your house or set up a table in the yard, it’ll all still feel like you’re just sitting at home, eating —unless you add décor into the mix. Décor will, without a doubt, make everything a thousand times better. (No, I am not exaggerating.)

Keep these components in mind:

• Since it is Valentine’s Day, consider implementing a pink-or red-hued color scheme.

• Remember those little pancakes and sandwiches I talked about making earlier? Skewer them with toothpicks that have cutout hearts attached. • Incorporate fresh flowers in everything, but be sure to wash them thoroughly if they touch food.

• Hanging décor is always a nice touch, and Pinterest has probably a million different ideas, like tassels.

• Candles, obviously. Just, you know, make sure you don’t burn the place down.


I think it goes without saying that the most obvious representation of Valentine’s Day is a heart. And so I would like to add that whatever you decide to make, it might as well be heart-shaped. This is a relatively easy task, too. All it requires is a heart-shaped cookie cutter, or heart-shaped molds if you plan on making cupcakes, etc.

Among my favorites is egg toast, or what I was told in high school is England’s Toad-in-a-Hole (though I think the true British version includes sausages).

All you have to do is this: • Toast a slice of bread in a pan with butter • Remove it from the heat and cut out a heart • Return it to the pan and crack an egg inside (I also like to add things like pepper, salt and sometimes herbs if I have them) •Cook egg to desired consistency P.S. I like to use the leftover heart to dip into a slightly runny egg.

If you’re feeling ambitious and have some skills in the kitchen, consider heart-shaped hand pies. I found my recipe on Pinterest — where you can find just about every iteration of this, as well as more heart-shaped savory and sweet foods.

Just keep in mind that whatever you make will almost never look as perfect as what you see on Pinterest. So take your time and remember, it’s the thought that counts, right?