February 10, 2016

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Posted in Other Events, Planning Tips and Information tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:00 am by JBEvents

In just a few days, we will be celebrating the most romantic Holiday of the year – Valentine’s Day!  If you are wondering what you can do for your sweetie that would be fun, romantic and special, I would like to offer a few ideas.

LOVE with roses

The day of love, when we celebrate with hearts and chocolates with the special person in our lives – or if you are single, we call this Single Awareness Day.  Regardless, you can’t go into any store without seeing heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, Teddy Bears, bouquets of roses and greeting cards espousing words of love.  But you may be wondering what you could do for the one you love that might be a little more personal, special or different.

For the most personal and special, try writing a love letter to your significant other.  Rather than purchasing a card with verses created from the pen of a stranger, write your own instead.  You don’t have to be a poet, just write from the heart.  This makes the words more special because it’s personal and shows that you took the time to think it through and say things that you might not have ever said. 

Love letters


There is always the option of going out for dinner – whether to your favorite restaurant or to one you’ve always wanted to try.  Since many people will have that same idea, you may have a long wait if you didn’t make reservations.  Instead of going out, you could make dinner at home.  Now I realize this may not sound romantic or even fun, but you can make it special.  Select a menu consisting of items that the two of you can make together.  Pour a glass of wine, put on some music and share the tasks for preparing the delicious meal.  Or, for an extra special meal that is created using some amazing products from my favorite specialty Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar store, Branch and Vine, try out the recipes below created by store owner, Tracey Jenkins.  You can purchase many of the products in the recipes at Branch and Vine located in Newnan and Peachtree City.  

Chipotle-Serrano Rib-Eye Steaks

Ingredients :

Four  8-10 oz. Rib-eye steaks

1/2 cup Branch & Vine Serrano Honey Vinegar

1/2 cup Branch & Vine Chipotle Olive Oil

1 Tbsp. h.e.r.b Steakhouse Seasoning (available at Branch & Vine)


Combine vinegar and Steakhouse Seasoning. Slowly whisk in olive oil.  Place steak in a zip lock bag or in a single layer non-reactive pan or container. Pour the marinade over the streaks and massage marinade into steaks. Cover and refrigerate, allow in marinate for a minimum of 2 hours or up to 6 hours.

Prepare a medium charcoal or gas grill and cook to desired doneness. Allow to rest for ten minutes before serving.

Serves 4. (The left-overs will be great the next day)

Asiago & Truffle Mashed Potatoes

Ingedients :
3 pounds Yukon Gold (or red skinned) potatoes, unpeeled
1 Tbsp Branch & Vine Butter Flavored Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Branch & Vine Garlic Infused Olive Oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium clove garlic
1/2 cup half & half, plus extra if needed  (low or no-fat is ok)
1/2 tablespoon Branch & Vine Black Truffle Oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Asiago Cheese, plus a little for finishing sprinkle
1 Tbsp Pacific Ocean Sea Salt (for boiling water) (available at Branch & Vine)                   
Sel Gris or Pink Himalayan s.a.l.t. & (available at Branch & Vine)  / fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Optional:  Finely chopped, fresh flat leaf parsley for garnish

Dice potatoes, making sure all are relatively the same size.  Place in a large saucepan add the Pacific Ocean salt, and cover with hot water.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil.  Cook until potatoes are tender throughout when poked with a fork.  Heat the half-and-half, oil, butter and the garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering, watching carefully so it doesn’t scorch.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain off the water.  Mash and add the garlic-cream-butter mixture, grated Asiago and truffle oil.  Stir to combine, adding extra half & half if too dry.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Let stand for 5 minutes so that mixture thickens.  When ready to serve, drizzle extra olive oil over the top and sprinkle with grated Asiago and fresh parsley for garnish.


 Asparagus with Roasted Tomatoes, Balsamic Reduction and Goat Cheese

Ingredients :
1 lb fresh asparagus, washed and tough ends removed
1 pk grape tomatoes, 1/2 cut in half lengthwise  and leave other 1/2 whole
2 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp Branch & Vine Garlic Infused Olive Oil  (could also use Branch & Vine’s Lemon or Persian Lime Oils)
1 tsp + 1tsp Fleur de Sel or Sel Gris s.a.l.t. (available at Branch & Vine)
Mild goat cheese  (can sub with feta if you like it beta)
freshly ground pepper to taste
3/4 cup Branch & Vine Serrano-Honey Vinegar, reduced by 1/2   (you can substitute with several others, such as Traditional)
  • Preheat oven to 300F.
  • In small mixing bowl, toss whole tomatoes, 1 Tbsp Olive, 1/2 tsp s.a.l.t. and a sprinkle of pepper to coat well.  Pour tomatoes onto parchment paper lined baking sheet (make sure to get all the oil too!)  Bake at 300 degrees for approx 30-40 minutes. You want them blistered slightly but not bursting.   Once they are in the oven… 
  • Place Serrano-Honey Vinegar in sauce pan and heat on low to med-low.  Do not allow to boil! Simmer until reduced by 1/3 to 1/2.   Remove from heat.  It will continue to thicken as it cools.  You want syrup consistency.  If it is too think once it cools, you can return to very low heat and stir in a little extra, non-reduced S-H Vinegar.  (Don’t get frustrated, it takes a few times to know when to remove it the first time)  This can also be done a day or two before!
  • Toss the halved tomatoes as you did with the whole and set aside.
  • Pat asparagus dry. Place on parchment lined baking sheet in single layer to one side, then drizzle with 2 Tbsp of olive oil to coat well.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add the halved tomatoes on the other side of baking sheet.  
  • When whole tomatoes have been in the oven for 20 minutes, put the asparagus and halves in for the last 20 minutes.  Cook until the asparagus just barely begin to get wrinkled.
  • Remove pans as they are finished.  Arrange asparagus and halved tomatoes on platter or plates, crumble cheese on top and then drizzle with reduction.
  • Use whole tomatoes as a plate garnish next to your steak and potatoes.


Don’t want to cook, then how about ordering a meal from your favorite gastro pub and take it home, plating it up, setting the table with nice linens and candles and enjoy it in the privacy of your home.  There is nothing wrong with serving pre-made items – reduces the mess, but can still be tasty.  You can find prepared items at your local grocery store or a gourmet market.  Don’t forget the wine and/or champagne.  

Romantic-DinnerFifth Group Restaurant, Ecco.


Many couples find Valentine’s day a perfect time to stay overnight in a hotel.  You can arrange to have a rose-petal turn down and champagne and chocolates delivered to your room for that special touch.  If you decide to stay at home, turn your bedroom into a special escape by placing lighted candles around the room, place rose petals as a path to the bedroom and the bed.  Have a chilled bottle of champagne waiting and maybe even serve dessert.  Take a bubble bath together – just relax and enjoy each other!

Champagne roses and bubble bath

Hearts wine and roses

Watch a movie – watch a classic romantic movie like Casablanca, or Gone with the Wind, or a romantic comedy like Sleepless in Seattle or Sweet Home Alabama or last years box-office hit,   Fifty Shades of Grey now available at Redbox!    



Gone With the Wind

Gone With the Wind

Sleepless in Seattle

Sleepless in Seattle

Sweet Home Alabama

Sweet Home Alabama

Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey

Speaking of Fifty Shades of Grey, why not create your own celebration, Christian Grey style.  Invite your significant other to visit your personal Red Room of Luxury.  Have soft lighting, candles, blindfold, and maybe some fuzzy handcuffs.  Or, arrange for a helicopter tour of Atlanta at night – complete with champagne.  Ideas abound for fun ways to bring in the immensely popular book trilogy by E. L. James.  

50 Shades of Grey invitation The Fifty Shades trilogy by E. L. James

Fifty Shades of Grey caption cookiesFifty Shades of Grey Hard Limits Soft Limits

Helicopter tour over Atlanta

Regardless of how you decide to celebrate Valentine’s Day, just keep in mind to be creative and personal with your plans and enjoy the time you are spending together – because after all, the purpose of the day is to celebrate your love and having quality time together is what’s most important. Of course sparkling gifts {like diamonds} is never a bad idea!  Maybe a fabulous idea would be a gift with a “sparkling” theme….diamonds and champagne!!!!!

champagne-flute with diamond ring

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!  

Janice Blackmon Events is a special events planning company specializing in creating unique and flawless celebrations.



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