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Casual Valentine’s Day Soirée

Today was a very cold day here in Poteau, Oklahoma, so the thought of frilly pinks and red hearts sounds a-mazing! Do you want to do something a little different this year? Maybe you are like me and your kids are getting older or you just need some adult time with a few friends. Why not plan a casual Valentine’s Day get together? What better way to beat the winter blues than have a little Valentine soirée?

With the beautiful hues of red, white and pink, Valentine’s Day can be casual yet elegant. Keep in mind that elegance doesn’t mean fussy. This party will work for singles or couples.

Decorations: The color scheme is easy. Reds, whites, and a hint of pink, try using hot pink instead of light pink. The hot pink mixed with the red give it more of a grown-up look instead of a children’s party look. Of course, it’s not Valentine’s Day without red roses. Pick up a bundle of roses at your grocery store and throw them in a vase for a quick centerpiece. If roses aren’t in your budget a vase of red carnations arranged in a roundy mound type style. This is a low and compact arrangement. Scatter vases filled with red hots and candles for a fun touch.

Food: The focus is on sweets and chocolates like cream cheese stuffed strawberries, chocolate-covered strawberries, and pink pecan fudge. Keep the fair simple so you can enjoy this easy winter party.

• Raspberry-Walnut Vinaigrette Salad- Fresh baby spinach leaves, dried cranberries, walnuts, feta cheese, and bottled raspberry-walnut vinaigrette salad dressing. Prepare the salad in advance and add toss with the dressing right before guests arrive.

• Pork tenderloin. Purchase a preseasoned tenderloin and simply cook in the oven. Let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

• Boiled new potatoes with fresh garlic and kosher salt.

• Pink pecan fudge recipe:
1 ½ cups pink Candy Melts chips
½-cup butter
2 cups sugar
¾-cup evaporated milk
Pinch of salt
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, shelled

Add pink Candy Melt chips and butter into a large mixing bowl. Butter an 8-inch square pan. Place sugar, evaporated milk, and salt in a medium heavy-bottom saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and immediately pour over chips and butter. Beat mixture on a low speed for 5 minutes and then increase speed to high for another 5 minutes. Stir in pecans and pour candy into buttered pan. Chill until set and then cut into small squares. Makes about 2 lbs.

Whatever you choose to do big or small, make it special.

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