Valentine's Day Food: Breakfast to Dinner

Heart-shaped egg on toast
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Overview

Isn't it romantic? Sitting across the table from your Valentine, exchanging knowing glances over appetizers, playing footsie between courses, and shouting at each other over the deafening din of the overcrowded restaurant? "If you're going out on Valentines day, that's the one day I suggest you stay in," says Martha Hopkins, author of the aphrodisiac cookbook "InterCourses." "Besides Mothers Day, there is no day that people eat out more." Instead of doing the usual date night out, shake up your routine this Valentine's Day with breakfast in bed or a picnic in your own living room.

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Cappuccino decorated with heart shaped chocolate motif
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For Breakfast: Ridiculously Easy Handmade Mocha

What's the quickest way to be the best Valentine? Surprise your sweetie when they wake up by waltzing into the bedroom with a steaming freshly made mocha. Just put two tablespoons of ground chocolate and one teaspoon of sugar into the coffee mug before filling it, and you'll have your very own coffee shop-worthy drink.

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Muffins with hearts
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For Breakfast: Last Minute Baked Goods

Maybe you procrastinated. Maybe you don't like to cook. Whatever the reason, you don't have a sweet wake-up treat for your significant other. Go to the nearest bakery and get yourself a couple baked goods, whether they're chocolate croissants or healthy bran muffins. Arrange them on a plate, write a quick note and make a little production of it -- it's the thought that counts.

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Couple carrying picnic basket
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For Lunch: A Picnic

By deciding on a picnic, your work is pretty much done. Picnics are already romantic, so all you have to do is take a quick trip to the store (or just grab the nearest bottle of wine and cheese). Bad weather is not an excuse. It is perfectly acceptable to picnic in your living room, and, with the right mood lighting, it can be even more romantic.

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Child taking sandwich out of lunchbox
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For Lunch: Pack Surprise Snacks

If your Valentine still takes brown bag lunches to work, use this as an opportunity to sneak him or her a sweet treat. You can pack his favorite dessert, her favorite kind of chocolate, or you can pack little notes with cryptic clues about the rest of your evening.

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Food on kitchen counter
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For Dinner: Simple Steak or Chicken

"Keep it simple," Hopkins says. "If you're not good in the kitchen, sear a steak. Throw some asparagus in a pan. That whole dinner, start to finish, takes 20 minutes." Valentine's Day isn't about the gifts you buy or chocolates you eat, it's about the person you're with. "If you're busy or uncomfortable cooking, or if you just want to enjoy each others company and not be in the kitchen the whole time, keep it simple," Hopkins says.

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Salmon with dill sauce
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For Dinner: Heart-Healthy

It's the holiday of hearts, so it's important to keep your own heart healthy. Salmon, fresh veggies and brown rice are all included in the Mayo Clinic's heart healthy diet guide and together (maybe with a little lemon) you have a meal that will make your heart happy for many Valentine's Days to come.

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Chinese take out
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For Dinner: Take Out

There's more than Kung Pao chicken in that box. Sometimes, the most romantic thing you can do on Valentine's Day is make it stress free. Order in from your favorite restaurant, pick it up before the dinner rush (you can keep it warm in the oven) and enjoy Valentine's Day on your own time.

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Heart chocolates
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For Dessert: The Literal "Love Drug"

Chocolate. Why do we obsess over it? "Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a chemical related to amphetamines," says Ellen Kuwana, in "Discovering the Sweet Mysteries of Chocolate." "Like amphetamines, this chemical causes blood pressure and blood-sugar levels to rise, resulting in a feeling of alertness and contentment. Phenylethylamine has been called the 'love-drug' because it quickens your pulse, as if you are in love." Here's to a pulse-racing night.

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