If you’re a mom to a little one, you’re well aware that a night out can be hard to come by. And if this doesn’t sound like a a total cliché (it does), the truth is that days where you feel like you are able to get anything done can be hard to come by. Take for example this post. I drafted it early last week, as well as photographed and edited the photos with the intention of posting it last Thursday. But Basia was so sick with a tummy bug that most of my time was spent holding her and monitoring her temperature. (And I won’t even begin to talk about the sleepless nights.) So this post is arriving *just* in time for Valentine’s day. Easy brownies with fudgy date frosting–not so bad, right? These are my go-to brownies, the ones I pull out when I want a quick dessert, am attending a potluck, or just need a chocolate fix. They’re rich with a crackly top, have a chewy interior, and they only require one bowl and about 10 minutes to prep. They’re so good on their own that they certainly don’t require any frosting. But it really does add a rich, luxurious quality that, as a rarity, comes alongside healthier ingredients. In other words, I recommend! Especially for Valentine’s Day.
And since many of you will be doing what we’re doing this year and celebrating Valentine’s Day post-bedtime, I thought I’d share some of my favourite stay-at-home date ideas. You don’t have to be a mama to get some inspiration from these! ´
6 Stay At Home Date Ideas for Parents
- Turn your living room into a cozy wine bar. Choose a few different wines that you want to try and prepare a platter of your favourite snacks or make up a quick charcuterie board. Light some candles, put on a cozy sweater, and set the tone with a good playlist. (I love this product and it really comes in handy for a night like this.)
- Create a relationship bucket-list for the year ahead. Talk about your goals, dreams, and adventures and delight in all the possibilities. Then make a list of the things you really want to tick off this year.
- Let music be your magic-maker. The right tunes can conjure up touching memories, make your heart feel full, and bring you to the brink of tears. Let the music transport you to different places and spaces as you take turns sharing your favourite songs or albums.
- While listening to your favourite album, write a love letter to each other. When you’re done, tuck them into envelopes and agree on a time that you’ll share them with each other–a few days or a week later is a nice time that’s not too long away. I recently read that delaying a positive experience allows you to enjoy the anticipatory waiting time and then enhances the experience when you finally do emerge yourself in it.
- Past. Present. Future. PAST/PRESENT: Create a list of your top 10 favorites memories together. Gretchen Rubin talks about the importance of past memory in creating real-time happiness. Reflecting on positive memories gives us the ability to re-live happy moments over and over. Use this as a opportunity to ignite present-day happiness while simultaneously enhancing your recollection of your past memory. FUTURE: Rekindle your romance by planning a weekly or monthly date-night in. Take turns planning the dates so that each person gets an opportunity to relinquish some responsibility and simply enjoy being taken care of. Since the dates focus on staying in, the emphasis is on being creative. Share your ideas in the comments. We’d love to hear them!
- Last but certainly not least: make something together! Bake, cook, shake up a cocktail, assemble a platter, or bake up a tray of brownies. In all seriousness, these brownies are perfect as a shared project. They’re so simple that they allow you to focus on enjoying each other’s company and not at the task of managing something in the kitchen. And the reward is very big! Whatever you do this Valentine’s, I hope it’s filled with all the love and goodness. Until next time, friends.
Easy Brownies with Fudgy Date Frosting (print here)
Makes: 12-16 servings, depending on how you cut them
Notes: You can probably sub in any nut butter that you like. Though I haven’t experimented with all, I imagine hazelnut butter would be delicious.
Recipe for Brownies can be found on BAKED (my other favourite blog 🙂 )
Ingredients for Fudgy Date Frosting
1 cup pitted medjool dates
¾ cup boiling water
¼ cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp sunflower seed butter or cashew butter
Pinch of salt
Add the dates and boiling water to a high speed blender making sure they’re completely submerged. Let them sit for 10-15 minutes to soften, then blend until smooth.
Add the remaining ingredients and blend again until smooth.
Spread over cooled brownies and sprinkle with Maldon salt.