Husband and I don’t get out much. We’re fortunate to have friends who offer to help, but we generally end up spending “date night” at home, enjoying some down time together after the kids go to bed. I’m sure there’ll be a point when we will have an urge to go out on the town more frequently, but for now, we’re content at home. We’re tired. We like doing things in our PJs. We like going to bed early. Plus, a night out including a babysitter, dinner and a movie is a minimum of $100, which is hard to justify most of the time.
We also really like to eat. It’s almost as if “date night” is actually code for “eat lots of yummy food.” And I’m not talking about chips and dip or popcorn. I’m talking hot appetizers, full meals and/or takeout. It can become a little excessive. It’s a guilty pleasure and while we aren’t going to apologize, it really should be reined in.
But, as I mentioned, we are fairly frugal and we decided we wanted to eliminate the expense of getting takeout (for greasy, mediocre food). I was also interested in reducing the caloric intake of these dates, because eating 1,000 calories at 10 p.m. isn’t good for anyone.
We decided that our food could also be our entertainment and we’d start having cooking date nights at home by picking new recipes – themed by ethnicity – and spend some time together planning the meal in advance. Shopping for ingredients can be a family outing, too. Then on date night we can put away our phones, put on some music and spend the evening cooking and catching up.
Our first cooking date night was simple Italian, something we have fairly often, but to make it new and unique, we made our sauce from scratch, I made eggplant parmesan for the first time to accompany Husband’s chicken parm, and we tried a vegan kale pesto for our garlic bread. It was so delicious and so much fun to make and eat together. We did a homemade appetizer night, on which we made soft pretzels from scratch, fresh chicken wings and wonton samosas. That night was also tasty, but far too much work for one date. We also did pub-style sandwiches and fries one night and Chinese food another. We repeated the first Italian night menu, too, since it was so yummy the first time around.
Tomorrow night, we’re sticking to Italian but trying vegetarian lasagna rolls, which will either be super easy or a disaster. But either way, it’ll be fun. It gets us off the couch, away from screens and interacting with each other. Of course, we interact plenty in the run of the day, but it’s sometimes frightening how quickly my husband starts to feel like my roommate when we don’t make time for each other.
Maybe tomorrow night, if my husband is lucky, I’ll swap my roommate yoga pants for my wifey … yoga pants.