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The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older.
Ever since we found a babysitter who we love and trust, John and I are pretty good about taking date nights out of the house. We sometimes go by ourselves and also on double dates with friends. It’s so good to reconnect with each other and our adult selves. Ah! The adult-only time is priceless. It’s been such a blessing to find our sitter, and of course it’s a easier to feel like we can finally leave the kids for an evening now that they’re school age.
There is hope my friends, you’ll get there.
I was always so freaked out about leaving, particularly Ronin, when he was young. I do not even want to think about going back there. Before Ellie came around he was a stressed out mess if he wasn’t with us. So we stayed home, and didn’t really “date” each other much. I was so overwhelmed with the newness of parenthood that relationship was last on the list.
Being parents is hard, y’all.
But it’s so important to focus on making time for each other, even if you can’t get out. While I do love date night, it’s costly to go out all of the time. The budget just cannot handle that, but making a romantic at-home date can be just as special, if not more so.
Tips for a Romantic Date Night In
#1 The Scene.
This summer I scored an amazing deal on an inflatable hot tub. I had been wanting a hot tub for-absolutely-ever but the budget also could not handle thousands of dollars for a spa. Talk about a luxury item. But this thing was the perfect solution for some summer fun and a great place for a date night in. How romantic to sit outside in the cool(er) summer night, enjoy some good food, wine, relaxing warm bubbles and each other after the kids go to bed. Do you have a unique place you can set the scene? You don’t have to host your at-home date in your dining room. How about dinner on the back deck under the stars or a picnic in the bedroom by candlelight. Are you getting any ideas yet?
#2 Food and Beverage.
We ate dinner with the kids, so I decided for our after-the-kids-go-to-bed date to make some tapas/appetizer-style food. We’ve been trying to eat a lower carb diet lately so I did a protein-heavy take on Bruschetta. John loves meat so these Pork Tenderloin Bruschetta were just perfect, and much healthier than doing dessert. (See the full recipe below.) They’re even easy to make ahead if you move your date away from home or go to an event! They’re meant to be served cold.
Of course we could not do without the wine. I recently found these “stacked wines” from Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Each contains four stackable single-serve plastic cups of good quality wine that are just perfect for outdoors or on the go events and activities. How perfect to throw the Chardonnay in a cooler to take along to a barbecue, or enjoy the Cabernet Sauvignon on the back patio like we did without the fear of breaking glass when you jump in the hot tub. These are made for sharing!
#3 Special Touches.
Don’t forget the other special elements that make date night really feel like date night. Flowers, candles, a romantic movie. John and I had candles glowing as we watched a funny and touching romantic comedy in the spa. We actually had a lovely idea for the hot tub. We dropped LED tealights inside the empty and cleaned wine cups to float on the top of the water for a glowing ambiance. I’ve always loved the glow of candles, don’t you?
#4 Be YOU and See Where It Leads.
Let yourself have fun and just see where the evening leads. OK, so this isn’t exactly a romantic photo but I had to share it because it is just so us. A behind the scenes look, our life unadorned. Here I am trying to stage a romantic photo shoot and John is cracking jokes drinking his wine. His sense of humor … one of the reasons I fell in love with him in the first place.
If being serious isn’t for you, plan a date night that’s less serious. Do what feels right for you and your spouse. But of course, don’t forget that even if it’s not the norm for you right now, a little romance can go a long way to making a re-connection. The important thing is to spend time together being a couple, actually being adults without the kids.
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Cloves Minced Garlic (or 1 teaspoon of minced garlic from jar)
1/2 pint Red Grape Tomatoes (sliced in half longways)
1 1/2 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Whole Basil Leaves
Fresh Baby Mozzarella Cheese
1 Pork Tenderloin Roast
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Teaspoon Dried Garlic
1 Teaspoon Dried Onion
1 Teaspoon Dried Red Bell Pepper
The beauty of this recipe is that it can be made ahead and the parts stored in the refrigerator to later take along on an adventure in a cooler or lunch bag. This Pork Tenderloin Bruschetta dish is meant to be served cold, and is easy to make and simply delicious.
Heat olive oil in a pan on medium high heat, then saute minced garlic for 1-2 minutes until golden, stirring regularly. But sure not to burn!
In a mixing bowl, mix tomato halves with balsamic vinegar, oil and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper but do not over salt. Set aside to cool or refrigerate for at least an hour.
Rub pork tenderloin roast with olive oil and mixture of dried spices ans salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes until cooked through. Slice thinly and set aside to cool or refrigerate for at least an hour.
When you’re ready for Pork Tenderloin Bruschetta appetizer, pull out parts from refrigerator (or cooler if you’re on the go) and put together. I placed three tomato halves on top of a slice of pork, then topped with a small piece of mozzarella cheese and basil leaf. So simple and scrumptious! Low carb too, and it pairs perfectly with Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Visit the EntertainAndPair Social Hub for more great entertaining ideas. Who will you share an evening with this summer?