Surviving Valentine's Day

Surviving Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is just around the corner. While it's hard to put a price on romance, many in today's economy will be faced with cutting back on a lavish night on the town. Others will choose to stay in. But you can still have all the luxury and romance without breaking the bank.


Dating for nearly two years now, Patrick Jackson and Michelle Schettino are looking forward to celebrating their love.

Michelle Schettino, Celebrating Second Valentine's Day
"This will be our second valentines."

But perhaps without all the extravagances of last year.

Michelle Schettino, Celebrating Second Valentine's Day
"We ya know typically do go out to dinner a fair amount, but ya know, because of the economy we have had to scale back."

So Patrick and Michelle are thinking about having a romantic dinner at home. To help, we invited a chef to show them how to enjoy a lavish night for less.

Bethenny Frankel, Natural Food Chef
"People get a good feeling of satisfaction if they do something with a big wow factor and it's really, cost effective."

Start by looking beyond the actual food--set the mood with romantic music and special lighting… you can use candles… or….

Bethenny Frankel, Natural Food Chef
"Make it a little bit different. Something as inexpensive as taking a rose colored bulb and switching it out with a regular bulb."

Add unique touches to the evening… like creating and printing out a menu that has a theme...

Bethenny Frankel, Natural Food Chef
"I think that it's cute to plan words like heart and sole because I'm making filet of sole."

And finish it off with a dessert for two.

Bethenny Frankel, Natural Food Chef
"I think Valentine's Day should have something red in it so I'm making a raspberry cobbler which is a little bit bigger, but it's designed to share."

And toast your relationship with a signature cocktail… served in romantic glasses.

Bethenny Frankel, Natural Food Chef
"The purpose is to have a creative, romantic, intimate evening that is different than a normal night and makes it special."

Patrick and Michelle agree.

Patrick Jackson, Celebrating Second Valentine's Day
"The creativity comes from a couple as opposed to a chef and a waiter and you get to build it yourself."


Frankel says you can make dinner for probably a fifth of the price of eating out at a restaurant. When it comes to gifts, she says it's really the thought that counts. Some cost saving suggestions…homemade cookies in a red tin or dressing up inexpensive flowers with ribbon. For her easy to make Valentine recipes log onto our web site at

Bethenny Frankel is a natural food chef whose number-one goal is to democratize health, making it accessible, balanced and sustainable for everyone. She has been featured in dozens of publications and TV shows and writes a monthly column for Health Magazine, in her capacity as the publication's health expert. Frankel is a graduate of The Natural Gourmet Institute for Health & Culinary Arts in New York.

Bethenny Frankel's Valentine Recipes:
Oysters on the half shell with mignonette
Serve over ice

Chop and sauté assorted gourmet mushrooms and finish with truffle oil
Serve on grilled whole grain baguette toasts sprinkle with pecorino cheese

lightly tossed in a champagne vinaigrette

with sautéed green beans and roasted sweet "heart" potatoes

Take filet of sole and place each piece on parchment paper
Season with salt, pepper, garlic, fresh parsley and olive oil with a tiny touch of butter and lemon zest
Bake at 350
Serve with sautéed green beans cooked with almond oil and topped w/slivered toasted almonds and roasted sweet potatoes


1/4 cup instant oatmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 Tbsp margarine
4 Granny Smith apples

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Spray an 8x8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
In a bowl, thoroughly combine the oatmeal, flour, brown sugar,
cinnamon, nutmeg, and margarine.
Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples.
Spread the apple slices evenly over the surface of the baking pan.
Sprinkle the oatmeal-flour mixture over the apples.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the apples are
tender and the topping is golden brown.
Serve warm, topping each serving with vanilla ice cream


Frangelico on the rocks with Lime

Skinnygirl Raspberry Frangelini
1/2 oz Frangelico
2 oz Raspberry vodka
Top with club soda
Shake over ice and serve in a chilled martini glass rimmed with pink sugar
Garnish with a fresh raspberry.

Skinnygirl Cupcakes
½ cup soy milk
¾ cup raw sugar
2 tsp Frangelico
1 ¼ cup oat flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 cup vegan shortening

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with liners. Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in another, then mix both together. Using an ice cream scoop (perfect for portion control), transfer into liners. Bake for 20 minutes (rotating pan after 10 minutes) or until tops of cupcakes are firm. Let cool.

Ingredients for Icing
½ cup vegan shortening
½ cup vegan margarine
3 ½ cup powdered sugar
6.5 tsp Frangelico

Mix all ingredients. Spread on cupcakes and garnish with ½ cup chopped hazelnuts. Makes about 8 cupcakes.

Skinnygirl Biscotti
¾ cup toasted, chopped hazelnuts
¼ cup butter
¾ cup raw sugar
2 TBL Frangelico
2 medium eggs
21/4 cup flour
1 ½ teaspoon of baking powder
¼ teaspoon of salt

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Toast the almonds until golden, then chop by hand into quarter-inch chunks. Reduce oven heat to 325°F (160°C). Cream the butter until light, then add the sugar and beat until it is smooth and creamy. Beat in the 2 eggs until the mixture is smooth. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt; beat until just mixed. Stir in the toasted almonds. On a floured board, divide the dough in half and roll each half into a long roll about 1-½ inches in diameter and about 10 inches long. Set the rolls on a baking sheet a minimum of 3 inches apart, then bake in the top third of the oven for 25 minutes or until set and lightly browned on top. Allow the rolls to cool for 5 minutes, then slice diagonally into half-inch thick slices. Lay the slices flat on the baking sheet, then return them to the oven for another 10 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake for 10 minutes longer. Allow to cool on a rack. Store in a tightly covered tin.

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