February 8, 2014

Valentine’s Day Ideas ~ Couples Edition

Posted in Other Events, Planning Tips and Information tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:30 am by JBEvents

Earlier this week I provided ideas for a Girlfriends/BFF Valentines Day but since the main focus of Valentines Day is COUPLES here is a post to give ideas to those couples who may not have decided how to celebrate with the one they love!

Of course, you can always go out to dinner – but let’s face it, sometimes the crowds can be a deterrent.  Why not have a night-in instead, cook a meal together and then watch a Romantic movie.  Cooking a meal together can be romantic and curling up on the couch with your sweetie to watch a romantic movie can be a wonderful way to celebrate the day of LOVE.

To help you along with the plans, I’ll provide a wonderful meal option and my top 25 Romantic movies.

Here’s a menu that was developed by Chef Dean Sheremet as shown on the CBS show, The Talk.  Incorporating chocolate into each course not only provides delicious flavor, but adds a little touch of the  unexpected which is perfect for a special meal!

Cocoa and Coffee Encrusted Steak with Chocolate Chipotle BBQ Sauce and Frizzled Onions

Cocoa and Coffee Encrusted Steak with Chocolate Chipotle BBQ Sauce and Frizzled Onions

Cocoa and Coffee Encrusted Steak with Chocolate Chipotle BBQ Sauce and Frizzled Onions

2 6-8 ounce steaks of your choice, filet or rib-eye work great

Grapeseed or high-heat cooking oil

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 Sprig of rosemary

1 clove of garlic, smashed

Chocolate chipotle BBQ sauce (recipe below)


1 Tablespoon black peppercorns

1 Teaspoon kosher salt

1 Teaspoon espresso powder

1 Tablespoon cacao nibs

Frizzled Onions

1 Spanish onion, shaved 1/8 in. thin on a mandoline

2 cups Buttermilk

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 Teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 cups grapeseed or high temperature oil

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees, place rack in center position and set a half sheet tray with a wire rack inside
  2. Bring your meat out to temper about 30 minutes before you start cooking
  3. Tip the rub ingredients into a mortar and pestle and grind them until the peppercorns and nibs are coarse, not too fine
  4. Add the sliced onions to a container just large enough to hold them and pour the buttermilk over them, making sure they are completely submerged
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cayenne and set aside
  6. Heat the 3 Cups of oil in a medium saucepan until it reaches 350 degrees
  7. Add 3 Tablespoons oil to heavy skillet set over high heat
  8. Generously coat the meat on all sides with the rub
  9. When the oil is just about to smoke, add the steaks to the pan and cook 2-3 minutes on each side until a nice crust develops
  10. Add the butter, rosemary and garlic to the pan, tip the pan toward you and gently baste the meat in the flavored butter for about 30 seconds
  11. Remove the meat from the pan and place it on the wire rack in the oven
  12. Transfer the steaks to the oven and cook about 4-5 minutes more for medium-rare – flipping the meat halfway through. Check for doneness and allow the meat to rest on a cutting board at least 5 minutes before carving
  13. While the meat is resting remove a handful of the onions and shake off the excess buttermilk, dredge in the flour mix, being careful they don’t clump up
  14. Fry until golden brown, (this happens very quickly) and drain on a plate lined with paper towel
  15. Place the steaks on a plate and top with a heap of frizzled onions and a healthy amount of barbecue sauce

Chocolate chipotle BBQ sauce

1 Tablespoon olive oil

3 Cloves garlic

1 Cup of Chocolate stout (any stout will work fine)

1 Teaspoon Onion powder

1/3 Cup Low sodium soy sauce

2/3 Cup Ketchup

1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce

1 Chipotle in adobo with 1 ½ Tablespoons of sauce, minced

1/3 Cup brown sugar

1 ½ ounces of dark chocolate, chopped

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan and gently cook the garlic until golden brown
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes or until the sauce is very thick
  3. Using a mesh strainer, strain the sauce into a clean jar
  4. The sauce will keep a week in the fridge.
Citrus Salad with Cocoa Vinaigrette

Citrus Salad with Cocoa Vinaigrette

Citrus Salad with Cocoa Vinaigrette  


1 ½ Teaspoons of cacao nibs

1 ½ Teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Teaspoon fluer de sel

½ Teaspoon fresh ground pepper

3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 Teaspoons honey

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine the nibs, cocoa powder, salt and pepper in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and grind into a fine powder

In a bowl or old jam jar, combine the powder with the oil and vinegar and whisk or shake well to combine

This dressing will keep about a week in the fridge


4 cups of spring mix greens

2 tablespoons tarragon leaves

2 Tablespoons dill leaves, chopped

1 grapefruit, peeled and segmented

1 ruby-red grapefruit, peeled and segmented

1 navel orange, peeled and segmented

1 blood orange, peeled and sliced into disks

In a large bowl, gently toss the greens with just enough vinaigrette to coat them

Arrange on a plate with the citrus and herbs finish with an extra drizzle of the dressing over everything


Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies with Salted Caramel Drizzle

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies with Salted Caramel Drizzle

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies with Salted Caramel Drizzle 

Whenever I bake I always measure by weight for absolute accuracy. “Chef Dean Sheremet”

I normally use a #40 scoop, which is about 1.5 Tablespoons, but feel free to play with the size.

  • 275 grams All purpose flour
  • 75   grams Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 200 grams Dark Brown Sugar
  • Teaspoon of salt
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter at room temp
  • 100 grams of white sugar
  • 2 large Eggs, at room temperature
  • 340 Grams of Bittersweet Chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of pecan pieces
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2. In a large bowl, Combine the flour, cocoa powder, Baking soda and baking powder

3. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars and salt until light and fluffy about 5 minutes

4. Add eggs one at a time, letting each one incorporate before adding the next

5. Add the vanilla extract

6. Lower the speed of the mixer and add the dry Mixture in 2-3 batches

7. Fold in the chocolate chips and pecans with a spatula

8. Roll the dough into balls and bake for 9 minutes, rotating halfway through

9. Drizzle with the sauce after it has cooled

Caramel Sauce

1 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons corn syrup

¼ cup water

1 cup of heavy cream

½ vanilla bean, split and scraped into the cream

¼ cup Greek yogurt

1 Teaspoon fleur de sel

  1. Heat the sugar, syrup and water in a saucepan until it becomes dark amber in color, about 6-8 minutes or until it registers 350 degrees on an oil thermometer. Taking care to brush the sides down with a wet brush so the sugar doesn’t burn as it bubbles up
  2. Heat the cream and the vanilla bean in a separate pan until just below a simmer (do not allow it to boil over)
  3. Once the sugar has come to 350 degrees, remove the vanilla pod from the cream and gently pour the cream into the sugar mixture. It will bubble like crazy, but keep stirring with a heat safe spatula or wooden spoon
  4. Once the mixture has cooled a bit and is smooth, whisk in the Greek yogurt until completely emulsified
  5. Pour into a large glass jar
  6. Keeps about a week, but it won’t last that long


Once the meal is prepared, plate it up, pour a glass of wine and enjoy!!

Bottles of Wine

Now that your stomach is full, it’s time to pop a movie into the DVD/Blu-Ray Player and sit back, relax, share a laugh or even a tear and relish in being with the one you love!  It would be my recommendation to have some snacks available to munch on during the movie(s).  For me that could include, popcorn, Peanut M&M’s or more of the delicious Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Here are my Top 25 Favorite Romantic Movies.  Most are readily available from your local Video rental provider, Netflix or your own personal video library!  The movies are not in any particular order!  Enjoy!!!

The Notebook


Ryan Gosling made women around the country swoon when he romanced Rachel McAdams in this 2004 flick based on the popular Nicholas Sparks novel about a couple who fall in love in the 1940s.

When Harry Met Sally


In 1989, audiences fell in love with Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal‘s tale of two New Yorkers who fear that having sex would ruin their friendship.

Love Actually


Keira KnightleyHugh GrantLiam Neeson and Emma Thompson were among the many stars who appeared in this 2003 ensemble story about Londoners looking for love the month before Christmas.

The Proposal


A Canadian-born, New York City-based book editor (Sandra Bullock) gets engaged to her assistant (Ryan Reynolds) in order to stay in the United States and continue her rise to the top in this 2009 flick.

Dear John

Dear John

While he’s at home on leave, soldier John (Channing Tatum) falls for conservative college student Savannah (Amanda Seyfried) in this 2010 tearjerker based on the popular Nicholas Sparks novel.

Pretty Woman


Julia Roberts appears as a prostitute with a heart of gold who finds her prince charming in the form of Richard Gere‘s wealthy millionaire client in this 1990 romantic comedy.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall


After being dumped by his movie star girlfriend (Kristen Bell), Peter (Jason Segel) flies to Hawaii to get his mind off his failed relationship. While there, he falls for hotel receptionist Rachel (Mila Kunis) in this 2008 rom-com.

A Walk to Remember


In the 2002 romance based on the Nicholas Sparks bestseller, Landon (Shane West) falls for Jamie (Mandy Moore) only to find out Jamie is stricken with terminal leukemia. and has stopped responding to her treatment. In their final days together, Landon helps Jamie live life to the fullest, crossing off amazing items from her bucket list.

Just Married


In 2003, Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy played a young married couple who realize they may be in over their heads while honeymooning in Europe.

My Best Friend’s Wedding


When Julia Roberts‘ BFF (played by Dermot Mulroney) falls in love with another woman (Cameron Diaz) and is ready to walk down the aisle, she hatches a plan to distract Mulroney’s character Mike so he’ll fall for her instead.

Friends With Benefits


Tired of being in complicated relationships, GQ creative director Dylan (Justin Timberlake) and head hunter Jamie (Mila Kunis) decide to forge a strictly physical relationship. Emma StoneWoody HarrelsonAndy Samberg and Jenna Elfman costar in the flick, released in 2011.

Never Been Kissed


Drew Barrymore brought geeky Josie “Grossie” to life in the flick that followed a socially awkward newspaper editor as she went undercover at a high school who fell for her English teacher (Michael Vartan).


Definitely, Maybe


Political consultant Will (Ryan Reynolds) attempts to explain his impending divorce and past relationships to his 11-year-old daughter (Abigail Breslin). The 2008 film costars Rachel WeiszIsla Fisher and Elizabeth Banks.


The Wedding Planner


In 2001, Jennifer Lopez‘s character fell — literally! — for a handsome doctor (Matthew McConaughey). The only hitch? He’s already engaged to her biggest client Fran (Bridgette Wilson) and she’s in charge of planning the ceremony.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days


Tasked with writing an article about how to ditch a man in less than two weeks, Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) quickly strikes up a relationship with ad exec Benjamin Barry (Matthew McConaughey) in this 2003 rom-com.

27 Dresses


Always a bridesmaid, never a bride — that’s the story of Jane Nichols’ (Katherine Heigl) life in this 2008 film. When reporter Kevin Doyle (James Marsden) agrees to cover Jane’s sister’s wedding, he stumbles upon Jane’s day planner and decides to make her the focus of his story.

Sweet Home Alabama

Sweet Home Alabama

Reese Witherspoon poured on the good girl charm appearing opposite Patrick Dempsey as an engaged New York woman who returns to Alabama to beg her first husband (Josh Lucas) for a divorce.

Valentine’s Day


Ashton KutcherJessica AlbaBradley Cooper and Julia Roberts were among the legion of stars who appeared in this ensemble comedy about Los Angelenos whose lives intersect on February 14.

Message in a Bottle


When Theresa (Robin Wright) stumbles upon a tragic love letter in a bottle on the beach, she is determined to track down its author. The 1999 film also stars Kevin Costner and Paul Newman.



Our hearts will go on for this high-seas melodrama, starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio as star-crossed lovers aboard the titular luxury liner. (Spoiler alert: The ship sinks.) Directed by king-of-the-world James Cameron,Titanic not only won a boatload of Oscars (a record-tying 11); it also became a box-office juggernaut, with “Titaniacs” flooding into theaters for a good boo hoo.

 Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Breakfast at Tiffany's

We’re mad for this Mad Men-era gem, starring the incomparable Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly. Quirky, vulnerable, and stunning in a little black dress, socialite Holly charms all of New York, especially her new neighbor, struggling writer Paul Varjak (George Peppard). Just try not to cry as Holly and Paul search in the rain for her no-name cat and “Moon River” soars on the score.

Brokeback Mountain


Forget all those parodies and “can’t quit you” jokes, because Ang Lee‘s monumental Mountain is a heartbreaking, groundbreaking love story. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal play Wyoming ranch hands who share a tent, some horseplay and ultimately a strong emotional bond for two decades. Ledger’s untimely death adds another sad dimension to this devastating drama. Grab your handkerchiefs and saddle on up.

Gone With The Wind


Frankly, my dear, we do give a damn! Even after all these years, the tempestuous coupling of rakish cad Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) and quintessential steel magnolia Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) sets our hearts aflutter! This gorgeous, sweeping Civil War romance is still the highest-grossing movie of all time! Fiddle-dee-dee!



Play it, Sam. Play this movie over and over again. It has everything: Bogie! Bergman! Nazis! We’re reduced to sentimental saps every time we watch nightclub owner Rick (Humphrey Bogart) reconnect with former flame Ilsa (ravishing Ingrid Bergman). A 1944 Best Picture Oscar winner, Casablanca is so iconic it inspired Woody Allen‘s Play It Again, Sam and scenes in When Harry Met Sally… As time goes by, we’ll always have Paris—and this ultimate Hollywood romance!

Sleepless in Seattle

Sleepless in Seattle

It’s Christmas Eve and radio talk show psychologist Marcia Fieldstone has asked her listening audience what they are wishing and dreaming of during this season of hope. A little boy, who is tuned in from Seattle calls in his wish, a new wife for his father who has been widowed for a year and a half. Meanwhile, all the way across the country, punching buttons on her car radio as she drives from Baltimore to Washington, D.C., Annie Reed hears Jonah and is immediately captivated by him and his selfless Christmas wish. Jonah and his dad are immediately besieged by countless letters from listeners reaching out to help, including thousands of marriage proposals from women across the country. Meanwhile, Annie becomes convinced that it is her destiny to meet Sam, Jonah’s lovely dad. And as Annie sees it, there are just two minor problems. First, she is presently engaged to marry another man whom she does love. And, of course, Jonah’s dad does not even know yet that he and Annie are made for each other.

 You’ve Got Mail


The film tells of Kathleen Kelly, who owns a children’s bookstore in New York. It is a small but profitable labor of love — until Foxbooks, a mega-chain of super-sized bookstores, begins building across the street. Joe Fox, an executive with the family-owned firm, is directly responsible for this particular branch. Kathleen despises Joe and everything he seems to stand for. The future of her very livelihood is in doubt. When Kathleen and Joe are not working, they are logged onto their respective computers, where they’ve each met a wonderful friend. No one else has shared-or is even aware of-their intimate, anonymous electronic conversations that begin with the magic words “you’ve got mail.”


However you decide to spend your Valentine’s Day, I hope that you will find the ideas provided here to be helpful!  Wishing you all a very Happy Valentines Day!!!!

Chocolate Truffles

Janice Blackmon Events is an Event Planning firm specializing in assisting our clients the ability to enjoy the planning process while we handle the details to ensure a flawless celebration.

Information on the menu and movies contained in this blog post was obtained from CBS.com, US Weekly online,and  E! Entertainment.

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