It is no surprise that many moms and dads with newborns and toddlers may find it challenging to keep things sizzling and spontaneous. Nothing says “sexy” like hitting the sack early on Saturday night in order to be bright eyed and busy tailed for the Children’s Museum “member hour” at 9am on Sunday morning.
While your idea of a “night out on the town” may have changed drastically over the past year or so, that doesn’t mean that intimacy has to go out the window. Planning a night in may be just the right balance of romance and relaxation that you need to build upon your foundation as a family, as well as a couple.
Boston Babies features Mom, Devon Holden, who once again warms our hearts with her family friendly menu. Add a sprinkle of love this Valentine’s Day!
Devon Holden, Back Bay
Trying to figure out how to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your family?
As a young child, I remember Mum and Dad giving us chocolates and we would make valentines for them at school. This tradition developed as we got older, and we now look forward to spending time with family and friends while enjoying champagne and chocolates by the fire.
This year we are continuing traditions…
We are going eat dinner as a family and relax by candlelight as we enjoy a little Coq au Vin. My son, Henry and I are planning to make sugar cookies for Daddy, which we hope to nibble on as we snuggle by the fire.
Try the recipes below, learn more decorating tips, but most importantly spend time with your friends, family and loved ones this Valentine’s Day…
Simply Splendid Sugar Cookies
- 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup confectionary sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup white whole-wheat flour, such as King Arthur
- 1 2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- White sugar sprinkles, for rolling
1. Arrange the racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Get out 2 large cookie sheets and line with parchment paper. Place some white sugar sprinkles in a small bowl.
2. Prepare dough: Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla, baking soda, salt and orange peel and beat at medium speed until incorporated. Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Add the flours and mix at low speed until blended, scraping down the bowl once or twice.
3. Divide dough in half and chill for an hour.
4. Take half of the dough and scoop up enough dough to form into a 1-inch ball, rolling between the palms until smooth. Roll the dough ball in sugar sprinkles and then place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat, arranging a dozen coated dough balls evenly spaced on each sheet and then, using a drinking glass, press on dough balls to flatten to about 1/4 inch thick.
5. Take second 1/2 and roll out to 1/8 inch thick and cut in desired shapes with cookie cutter.
6. Bake rolled cookies about 12 minutes, switching and rotating the pans half way through, until cookies are golden and somewhat firm to the touch. Transfer cookies with a metal spatula to racks and let cool completely.
7. Bake cut cookies for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and cool.
8. Put fun pink, red and white frosting on cut out cookies.
You can use chocolate sprinkles for coating the cookies before baking. The sugar comes in colors, but we prefer not to use artificial coloring. Coarse sugar sprinkles are available in specialty stores; we like them better than the kind you can typically get at the supermarket. Indiantree.com offers sugar sprinkles that are dyed with vegetable juices—the pink, orange and yellow are particularly pretty.
Sugar Cookie Cut-outs:
Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper and chill for at least 1 hour. Lightly flour a work surface and then roll out one pieces of dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out cookies with cookie cutters. Transfer cookies with a metal spatula to baking sheets and chill for 10 minutes. Bake cookies about 15 minutes, let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to racks.
Coq au Vin
- 4 bacon slices, coarsely chopped
- 4 large stewing hen legs (I sometimes just get a package of drumsticks and thighs with skin)
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
- 8 ounces large crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, halved
- 1 large carrot
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 package of pearl onions (trader joes has frozen ones)
- 1 large yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1 bouguet garni (herbs tied together usually parsley, thyme and bay leaf)
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups dry red wine (such as Syrah) I use a whole bottle
- 1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth, divided
- 4 teaspoons all purpose flour
1. In a large bowl, combine chicken, onion, carrot, garlic wine and bouquet cover and refrigerate for 24-36 hrs. Keep wine after marinating.
2. Preheat oven to 300°F. Sauté bacon in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer to bowl. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon parsley. Add to drippings in skillet. Sauté until cooked through, about 6 minutes per side; transfer to pie dish (reserve skillet). Place in oven to keep warm.
3. Add mushrooms and pearl onions to skillet; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté until brown, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and other reserved vegetables; toss 10 seconds. Stir in tomato paste; cook for 2 minutes and add flour look below. Add wine, 1 1/4 cups broth, bacon, chicken, and 1 tablespoon parsley. Bring to a slow simmer Meanwhile, place flour in small cup.
4. Add 1/4 cup broth, stirring until smooth. Add flour mixture to sauce. Cook until sauce thickens, maybe up to an hr to have chicken falling off bone. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken on platter; stir juices from pie dish into sauce and spoon over chicken. Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon of parsley.
This could be made in stages–so just do a little each day.
Setting the Mood:
Table decorations are dove milk and dark chocolates–very easy and not too expensive. I bought the cookie cutters at Shaw’s for $ 0.50 each so that was easy; plus I was able to get everything I needed at a one stop shop! The less stores the easier when toting your little one around with you!
I hope these ideas can start some fun and loving traditions for you and your family.