MEN, SURPRISE the one you love with a romantic dinner for two.

“Would you like to know your future – If your answer is yes, think again. Not knowing is the greatest life motivator. So, enjoy, endure, survive each moment as it comes to you in it’s proper sequences, A SURPRISE!candles 3

I think being surprised is one of the most amazing experiences in our lives.  There are so many things in our days and weeks that are routine…fixing three meals, cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, laundry, our jobs, grocery shopping, etc…It’s funny, but I am a daily, weekly and monthly planner lady. 🙂  I just adore sitting at my serene desk,  with my coffee and making plans on paper.  I know everything that will happen that day and it is all written down in my book. 🙂  (I bet there are a lot of you out there, just like me.) 🙂 Whenever something out of the ordinary occurs, (not on our ready made lists,)  it is a beautifully wondrous, unexpected joy…It makes us smile, fills up our ‘hope tanks,’ and renews our hearts that ‘surprises’ still exist. 🙂 I was out of my favorite perfume but didn’t want my husband to know as it’s a little bit more on the expensive side…well, one day, he drove in around dinner time from a meeting in Lewes, and in his hands was a fetching perfume bag with my special fragrance inside. It was not only an ‘endearing surprise,’ but a grand blessing as it deeply touched me that he was so thoughtful in noticing I was out of the fragrance as well as going by the shop to buy it. It made my entire week! 🙂

THE DISTINGUISHED QUOTE CORNER: Adorable Baby Boy in Suit on Cellphone

“Love must be as much a light as it is a flame.” ~ Henry David Thoreau.

“There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved . It is God’s finger on man’s shoulder.” ~ Charles Morgan

“Love one another and you will be happy. It is as simple and as difficult as that.” ~ Michael Leunig

“Love is not maximum emotion. Love is maximum commitment.” ~ Sinclair B. Ferguson

“…It’s a blessed thing to love and feel loved in return.” ~ E.A. Bucchianneri

“True love is not a potion one person can swallow and another refuse to drink. It only happens when the souls of two join together to form one.” ~ P.C. Cast

I am amazed at the diversity of ways that we can show our adoration and thoughtfulness to the people we love. Cooking delicious cuisine has always been an important part of my life. (OK, when I moved out of my folks home, into my first apartment and worked two jobs, I never cooked and did not eat healthy, 🙂 ) but there is just something about good food and breaking bread together that is so fulfilling!

In the book by Francis Mayes, “In Tuscany,” an Italian shares his thoughts on what food, (exquisite food,) means to the the people of Italy. (I love his philosophy.) 🙂 “Food is the sun: family, work, friends, the day to day, the extraordinary all in orbit like planets.” There is order in the universe when someone says; “Lets eat.” Italian’s celebrate everything with  robust , flavorful cuisine and some of their fetes and gala’s are celebrations of just the food itself.


What better gift can you give to that special someone in your life than sweet and savory flavors, a warm, gladsome  ambiance, delicious wine and bread, and mellifluous tones to uplift the soul?  (It will always be remembered as an enchanting evening of convivial enjoyment.)

Create  this evening  to be an unforgettable night…surprise the one you love with a homemade, (yes, I said homemade) dinner for two. I have all the “fixings” for you from start to finish. One of the nicest things in life is the element of surprise…So, if there is anyway possible for you to do this secretly, and present it as a complete  ‘marvel and amazement,’ for your loved one,  that would be ideal!

Are you ready to get started? This evening’s meal is a meal that can be prepared early enough for you to leave the Stroganoff on the stove top and fresh greens and shrimp in the  refrigerator, (the bread can be warming about the time they walk in the door, (the aroma will be out of this world.)

G-23Your menu for the evening is quite the crowd- pleaser… (though your only going to be  pleasing one! ) 🙂 (Make sure you check out the end of this blog to “get directions” to your recipes and ingredients needed for the  evening’s cuisine.)

APPETIZER : Fresh shrimp cocktail (served with lemon slices,) accompanied with a chilled glass of sparkling cider .

FIRST COURSE :  Caesar salad with croutons and Parmesan cheese, hot sour dough baguette with butter.

MAIN COURSE : Beef Stroganoff served over  buttery egg noodles.

DESSERT: Haagen-dazs  Vanilla  Swiss almond ice cream with homemade fudge sauce, topped with whip cream .

WINE : I recommend Toasted Head Merlot or Chardonnay…Both excellent wines.

Creating the picture-book ambiance for your captivating and romantic evening is just as important as your menu. Bring forth an ambient atmosphere that is striking to the eyes and pampering to the senses…

Music can enhance your room with melodic reverie and bring froth a soothing, bliss filled  evening. While dining with your appetizer and redolent two courses, I suggest listening to Shardad, ‘The beauty of love’ or  Josh Grobin’s, Live in concert as well as Live at the Greek. All of of these CD’s are quieting , dreamy and will most assuredly relieve any stresses of the day!


 The ambiance of your home, sets the tone for the night…When your special lady walks through the door, have a myriad of candles burning…Perhaps one candle that is scented, (the essence of what ever season of the year it is, ) and then a potpourri of unscented tea lights, (In creative votives) or small round candles,  burning amidst your dining and living room. This will enrich and heighten her first impression of the evening as well as bring forth an awesome aroma throughout the night. (Flickering , glistening candles are very romantic! )  🙂

candle lightchristmas-candles

The table that you create for your dinner will be the center of attention, so make it a beautiful one…It’s up to you, a more formal table with nice china, linen napkins and  ornate silverware or, a comfortable, more casual setting with your everyday china, silverware and cotton napkins. Either way you chose, remember to always adorn the table with fresh flowers and classy taper or pillar candles… (Fresh flowers dress up a table like nothing else and as women, we love that added touch!) 🙂

These table settings below are your more casual settings…Very lovely, comfortable and cozy!


These ‘Tableau’s” beneath are more on the formal side…Fresh , crisp linens always dress up a table, especially in shades of soft whites. ( I love the yellow roses!)


If the weather is beautiful and not to chilly, Alfresco dining is also another option. That can be formal or informal as well. (I adore these romantic settings!) 🙂

G-8garden dining

Another special touch is placing an embellishing and charmingly wrapped gift at the front of her table setting. It does not need to be extravagant….perhaps a striking, decorative writing pen, a Yankee scented candle, two movie passes to a near by theater, a  gift card to her favorite eatery, a popular CD or DVD that you know she loves.


When she arrives, have a glass of chilled Sparkling cider for her as well as the colorful, delicious appetizer. Allow some time to unwind, (both of you ) 🙂 and enjoy the aroma of all the flavors dancing around your home.  (You will find that by the time you sit down to dinner, both of your appetites will be more voluminous and the small wait will be worth it.) 🙂 Allow the contentment to mount up as you both await and imagine that first, mouthwatering bite of salad and the scrumptious beef Stroganoff.


When you serve the first course,  the Casar salad , toss it right before you place it on the plates and bring along side of it, the delectable, hot sourdough baguette and  creamy butter. Now it’s time to open a nice bottle of wine…for this meal I suggest “Toasted Head Merlot.” It is an excellent wine with the Stroganoff and goes nicely with fresh greens as well. If you are a white wine drinker, the Toasted Head Chardonnay is quite delicious as well. If you do not drink at all, then stick with your sparkling,ice cold cider or fresh Raspberry tea. 🙂


Now , (Drum roll please….) it is time to serve up your main meal. When I serve Beef Stroganoff , I usually stir it together before I serve it, but you may want to place your hot , buttery noodles on the plate and spoon the heated sauce on top, right  before you place it on the table. It is a hearty dish and very satisfying! (It’s what my husband and I call a “comfort meal.”)  🙂


As your stomachs are full  and you are both feeling very relaxed , I recommend going into the living room, perhaps having another glass of wine or fresh coffee… (With some of that whipped cream you have for the hot fudge sundaes.)  🙂  If you both are up for it, watch a “girl movie” together… Four wonderful and romantic movies we have enjoyed  together are Bridesmaids, P.S. I love you, New Years Eve and The Holiday.   Bridesmaids is exceedingly  funny… the other three are quite romantic. (All the films have an excellent cast of stars as well!)



About half way through the movie, bring out your delicious ice cream with hot fudge sauce… Maybe some flavored decaf coffee… NOW, JUST ENJOY AND RELAX.


I hope that this evening blesses you both and that it exceeds your expectations! Enjoy, relax, HAVE FUN and leave the dishes for the morning! 🙂

**This dinner is listed in the “Unforgettable Recipes” category under the title; ” Beef Stroganoff and all the fixings.” You will find all the ingredients, recipes and how I prepare this meal at our home. Happy creating and cooking! Let me know how it turns out! 🙂

CREDITS for PHOTOGRAPHS: If you place your computer mouse over any of the the photos or graphics, it will display where it originated from.


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