Celebrating Valentine’s Day from the comfort of your own home allows for a certain level of intimacy that a busy restaurant will never be able to offer. You can even do dinner and a movie without fighting traffic. Instead, it’s just a few steps from the table to the living room couch.
Set the Mood
You know your partner best, so transform your home into the atmosphere where they feel most at-home. Celebrate by framing and displaying your favorite pictures of you and your partner. These stenciled Valentine Heart Frames would make the perfect home for your favorite photos. And if you’re crafty, try making some of your own decorations. If you still want the environment of a fancy restaurant, use a tablecloth, candles, a floral centerpiece and background music. You may even get some bonus points if you put your partner’s favorite songs on the playlist.
No romantic evening is complete without a good bottle of wine. Red wine and chocolate are known as some of the best — and most romantic — aphrodisiacs. With so much chocolate available during this season, why not grab a bottle of red to accompany it? You can even buy a couple of different bottles to taste-test with your meal. Between dinner, dessert and a movie, there will be plenty of time to finish off the leftovers. At Market Table, you’ll find all the reds, whites and rosés your heart desires — plus, we can play matchmaker and find the perfect wine for your meal.
The Perfect Dinner
You may want to impress your partner with a home-cooked meal. If you’re short on time, try Market Table’s meal kits. The ingredients are already prepared for you, down to the chopping and measuring. All you have to do is put it all together and throw it into the oven. While you are waiting on the food to cook, a Market Table cheese plate will pair nicely with the wine that you bought for the evening. Or, if you’re in a rush, let us do all of the work! Market Table offers three full Valentine’s Day dinners: Garlic Shrimp Alfredo, Steak, and Creamy Tuscan Chicken. For desert, our cheesecake or flourless chocolate cake will make even the busiest heart flutter.
Speaking of Dessert …
Honestly, Valentine’s Day is all about sweets. This year, trade in the tired heart-shaped box of chocolates for a decadent dessert. Anything chocolate is sure to be a winning choice, but you can also try one of Market Table’s prepared desserts to mix things up this year. And remember — if Market Table does the cooking, you won’t have to do many dishes!
Save the Dishes for the Morning
Don’t let a few dirty dishes get in the way of your romantic evening. Instead, use that time to watch a good, corny romantic comedy. Pick a few classics that you and your partner will both enjoy and spend the night relaxing with a movie marathon. Valentine’s Day should be about celebrating your relationship and having fun, so let the chores wait another day.
Text by Katherine Polcari
For many, mealtimes provide much more than time to fuel our bodies with healthy fuel. More than that, mealtime can create a sacred space where families can spend time together and learn about each other’s lives. However, technology can cause distractions and turn attention away from loved ones. Tech-free mealtimes encourage a positive and conversant family environment.
Here are a few tips for fun, device-free family dinners:
Start with a plan.
Explain to your family why a tech-free mealtime is important to you. Then, as a family unit, decide the best way to handle technology at the dinner table. Maybe everyone has to leave their phones in a bowl before sitting down. Maybe make it a game: anyone who uses their phones has to clean the dishes.
Lead by example.
If you want your family to be tech-free during mealtimes, then you must also follow the rules! Your kiddos are always watching. Using your phones at the table tells them that it is acceptable to use theirs. If your children see you practicing tech-free mealtimes, they will be much more likely to respect that rule.
Turn off the T.V.
We know how easy it is to leave on the kids’ favorite movie or the big game during mealtimes. However, this impedes that essential connection families gain while talking during meal times. Not to mention that watching T.V. while eating has been proven to encourage overeating.
Make dinner conversation fun.
Whether you draw topics out of a hat or just catch up naturally, mealtimes are a good opportunity to make sure your children know that they are being heard and cared about. This is also a good way for parents to connect with each other away from work emails and social media notifications.
Of course, it can be difficult to plan and prepare meals every night. Thankfully, Market Table can help. Our meal kits, prepared meals and proteins and sides make the perfect setting for a family meal.
Making mealtimes a positive experience will encourage connection amongst your family. This will not be an overnight change — some patterns are hard to break. Encourage one another to see the importance of making mealtimes about family and not about technology. Your family will not only be happier and more involved in each other’s lives, but they will also feel affirmed of their place in your home. Start working on this and, before long, your kids will be asking to help you cook! One can dream, right?
Text by Amy Haupt
We’ve all experienced times where a meal has taken longer than anticipated to prepare. In fact, many consider time management to be the most stressful part of cooking. Some may even admit to being too tired to enjoy the meal after putting all that effort into it. Finding efficient ways to prepare meals cuts down on stress and makes cooking — not to mention eating! — more enjoyable. Here are a few tricks of the trade to make meal preparation go as smoothly as possible.
Tools of the trade
Your cooking utensils are an important part of your process. Make sure all of your utensils and cookware are ready to use. Dull knives, for example, can seriously slow down prep time. Also, you don’t want to prep an entire meal for your slow cooker only to discover that it’s shorted out. Pull out your cast iron cookware and check its condition. If it needs to be seasoned, take time to do so before you cook. Also, make sure that you have all of the utensils and cookware necessary for your recipe. This all goes a long way towards making meal prep go faster.
Make a list, check it twice
Another important part of the process is to check your recipe. Then, make a list of ingredients. Even if you’ve used the same recipe countless times, there’s always a chance that you could forget something. Running back and forth to the grocery store definitely makes the cooking process long and frustrating. You can even use your smartphone to make food shopping easier. For example, the ListEase app makes easy lists that can be accessed through your Apple Watch, too. The Grocery Pal app goes a step further, helping you compare prices and find those all-important sales at local supermarkets.
Pre-cut veggies are your friend
You may not have the time (or patience!) to chop up your veggies. Don’t be afraid to try pre-chopped veggies. They may be slightly more expensive, but it’s worth the time you’ll save. Plus, pre-cut onions save on time and tears.
Cook like a TV star
If you’re a fan of television cooking competitions, you’ve probably noticed that no matter the show, the contestants share one trick: making one trip to the refrigerator or pantry. When you pull out those pots and pans, grab a baking sheet or tray. Then, load it up with all of the ingredients you need. That way, you won’t have to keep rushing to the refrigerator and back while trying to keep your pasta pot from boiling over.
Cooking without all the hassle
Sometimes you want a nice, hot, healthy meal, but just don’t have time to prep and cook. Meal kits solve this problem. Because the daunting prep work is done for you, meal kits are fast, easy and tasty. Market Table offers a variety of healthy, delicious and unique meal kits. Plus, they can even help you pair your meal kit with the proper wine. Boost your efficiency level to a thousand and try a meal kit today!
Text by Amber Pope
Text by Jennie Tippett
I come from a family with deep Southern roots. In fact, we’ve traced our lines back at least 300 years. All of my ancestors on my mom’s side had between six and sixteen children. My mom herself is one of thirteen, no multiples. I have 22 blood-related first cousins.
Every year on July Fourth, we gather at Liberty Hill Baptist Church in their hometown, Clanton, Alabama. The fellowship hall at the church is the only place big enough to hold us. My Uncle Ricky brings over his enormous grill, the biggest I’ve ever seen that wasn’t in a barbecue joint. Believe me, the size is needed. Forty to fifty of us will show up this day. We all have hearty, Southern appetites.
We are a meat-eating bunch. Vegetarians need not apply. Piled onto this grill are slabs of ribs, Boston butt pork roasts from local school fundraisers, hot dogs, sausage, cheese-stuffed burger patties, chicken, and any other animal that has been caught on a deep-sea fishing trip or hunted and killed that year. All thirteen of the siblings grew up on a dairy farm so no part of any animal ever goes to waste. So along with the usual, there are pig ears, cheeks, and tails; beef tongue and liver; chicken feet and gizzards and other things I cannot identify but don’t want to ask.
While the men are grilling, the women ready the side dishes in the kitchen. There are at least three kinds of potato salad, three kinds of deviled eggs, macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, turnip and/or collard greens, okra, corn on the cob, and some things we don’t have a name for but just threw together. The women here are also preparing meat for the grill and the soon-to-be buffet. Any meat that needs to be marinated swims in delicious sauces as it waits its turn. For some reason, there is an unspoken rule that no one can eat until it’s all done. Still, there are those of us who sneak a taste, proclaiming, “I’m just testing it for poison!”
The food is spread out along the two twenty-foot parallel islands in the kitchen. Everyone gathers in the dining room for announcements and blessings. Finally, we line up and start self-serving. There are so many of us that the first few through the line are usually finished with their meals by the time the last people can get in.
When people have gone in for seconds (and sometimes thirds or fourths), the dessert table becomes free game. Oh yes, we have dessert, too. That’s the whole point of the meal. While it’s not as varied as the entrée food, it’s still impressive: made-from-scratch chocolate cake, pecan and lemon pies, homemade cookies and peach or blueberry cobbler. We pile up our plates with a sampling of each.
Throughout the day, we gather around to tell stories, reminiscing on the ones who have passed on. It’s a great way to get to know the family, to grieve and cope with shared pain through laughter.
I cherish these reunions. For me, they are not only a feast for the stomach—they’re a feast for the soul.