DINING — February 8, 2012 at 9:38 pm

A Night In

by

No surprise that certain foods make you wax nostalgic. Crock pots can easily transport you back to 1979 and your mom’s newest soup-can-recipe – 1,001 things to do with cream-o-mushroom… but this month, I set my sights on whipping up a swanky crock pot version of the French classic: Boeuf Bourguignon. This was settled upon after discarding my initial idea to cook filet mignon or lobster tails, low and slow. My mate put the brakes on me experimenting with sacred foodstuffs in a slow cooker. And, since said mate ended up making the whole shebang, I was extra pleased with the results. So much so, that this is slated to become our new easy occasion meal, or date night (in) go-to. Usually this would be served up with buttered egg noodles, but I subbed in a dollop of coconut oil and a wee drop of truffle oil to take it all up another notch. (Check out the recipe – we mostly stuck to – on canadianliving.com

So, what to wear to this jazzy dinner with spouse? I’m thinking smokin’ hot duds… well unduds, actually. Though actual smoking is not at all cool, the smoking jacket’s resurgence has been building over several years. Some googling on Etsy and Ebay easily confirm that this trend is still happening (& happenin’). My mate has coveted one since he donned a vintage jacket on Queen West ten years ago – yeah, he’s so ahead of the curve – but sadly his 6’ 2” man-arms did not synch up with the stouter proportions of the 60’s era physique. Alas, I found some pretty cool repros for the modern-retro man on betabrand.com. Give your man that brocade he secretly craves and let his inner-Hef run wild. For girls, a cozy robe is always a thoughtful choice. It’s not that frilly is silly, but secretly we girls love to bundle up when we’re not dressing to impress. californiacozy.com, offers a delish robe that is cozy on the inside and sleek on the outside – in a leopard fleece/satin combo that won’t allow your man to out-chic you. Power up that crock at around 1pm and let the jammies-to-dinner-event commence at 9pm (baby in deep sleep… no whammies)! A madmen marathon to accompany your meal may not seem romantic, but this gal finds the Manhattan ad scene rather dreamy.

No V-day celebration is complete without some chocolate, so here are some pantry pinch-hitters to sub in for the generic heart-shaped box. Hint to the men out there: nothing says I Love You more than a secret stash of emergency chocolate that you gallantly present to your lady when she’s in the jonesin’ zone. Also, these say I love you in that ‘I want you to live ‘til you’re ninety’ sort of way. At our house, we’re still on board with dark chocolate for health. Santa did get us a little off track… he must get some kind of deal on milk chocolate in bulk! Anyway, here is a range, from super healthy to decadently health-wise to take you from morning ‘til night (perhaps not all in one day). Start your day with Cocoa? Yes sir! We’ve been sprinkling Chocolate love on our breakfast cereal lately – in the form of Cocoa Nibs. A little sliced banana is a nice complement if you go with the unsweetened version. If you’re looking for a chocolate nosh in the afternoon, I was recently introduced to Bija Omega Bars – yummy, truffle-y goodness with brain boosters to boot. Perfect for your desk drawer in nicely portioned squares. Once night falls, get just a little crazy, with a liquid dark chocolate jolt of flavonoids, by treating yourself to a steaming cup of Cocoa Camino Drinking Chocolate. I make mine with Almond milk, but any dairy or non will do. Add some ginger snap hearts and an episode of Modern Family and life as a homebody is pretty darn good.

I promise, we’ll leave the house next month. But for now, slip into something more comfortable, get cozy and Live Well!