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This year, part of setting the table for our special meal will include tiny bowls of personalized M&Ms. Throw in red and pink carnations with lots of baby's breath. The carnation colors are perfect and the price is definitely right (I think carnations get a bad rap). Buy two or three dozen and put them into drinking glasses of all sizes, littering them all over the table with tiny tea lights in shot glasses or heart-shaped holders and put them into drinking glasses of all sizes. Add a special touch by rolling the napkins into cylinders and placing a few carnations and some baby's breath on top, tying it all up with raffia for the dinner plate and voilà! The perfect Valentine's Day setting for your sweetie. And the best part is you didn't have to spend a fortune for a dazzling effect!

If you are looking for something sweet and thoughtful to make for that special someone, friends or teachers, you might try my Super-Duper Chunky Chocolate Chip Cookies. You may even decide to give the raw cookie dough as a gift. Just place it in a container, wrap it in a beautiful ribbon (why not red?!) and write your love note on one side and the baking instruction on the other. There is nothing quite like homemade, warm chocolate cookies fresh out of the oven with an ice-cold glass of milk, now is there?

Now that our kids are out of the house, I want the evening to be quiet, romantic and special—just for us. A romantic dinner for two doesn't have to begin with no kids, no phones and no dogs, but it does help. For my Valentine's Day dinner this year, I am starting with a light pasta dish followed by a fresh wild arugula and mâche (lamb's lettuce) salad garnished with goat cheese, red ripe pomegranates and a shallot vinaigrette with either marinated grilled chicken or shrimp. I want to keep the meal light and easy to prepare so I can spend time with my husband, talking to him face-to-face at the dinner table rather then yelling back from the kitchen! There is another reason to keep it light—leaving room for my ooey-gooey Valentine's Chocolate Cake from the Heart!

Sending "A Big Bowl of Love" for Valentine's Day!

Love,
Cristina

More Valentine's Day Desserts

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