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Steps For A Simple French Dinner And Special Valentine Cards

My husband loves to cook.  But when it is up to me, I try to keep things simple and enjoy my guests.  I like to do things ahead as much as possible.   Why not invite a few friends over for a winter gathering?  Or, this could be an intimate dinner for two.

1.  Set the table in advance.  

  • Store bought flowers are added to my existing succulent pots. 
  • I love my new oversized gray table runner and the price!  
  • The linen napkins are from a Schumacher remnant sale (you can look on Ebay for fabric).  Fran from Etsy did a nice job making napkins for $3.50 each.  
  • The charcoal glasses are on sale right now (in store only) at World Market.

2.  Shop and prepare menu items in advance.

Disclaimer...this isn't hard but the darn onions take a loooong time to brown.  So making it ahead is your best bet!
Do ahead:
Soup can be made up to 3 days ahead (without toasts or cheese) if refrigerated, or up to 6 months ahead if frozen. Toasts can be made (without cheese) and kept sealed at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Your guests will appreciate the aroma when they enter your home and you can have a cocktail with them while it finishes cooking.
I make this often for just us (good leftovers for the week).
Sprinkle some fresh chopped parsley on the platter.

  • Store Bought Lemon Sorbet with a Spritz of Meyer Lemon (and lemon slice garnish) 
  • Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Lacey Almond Cookies

To be honest...after the holidays, I'm trying to cut back calories and so baking is not in the cards since I have zero self control.  But you want your guests to have a little something sweet and this works nicely (not to mention--how easy?).  The fresh lemon juice squeeze is an old trick of my mom's.
Do ahead:  Scoop the sorbet into small cups and store in the freezer until ready to serve.

Thoughtful Valentine's Day Card Idea...

My cousin, Billy told me about the Pixinote telephone app.
It's fun, easy and inexpensive.  I've been sending Valentine's Day cards with personalized messages, like to my mother-in-law in Florida...
It comes the good old-fashioned the mail (postage is included)! 

Happy Valentine's Day to YOU!

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