Celebrating Valentine’s Day as a couple is challenging once you’re parents. Unless you have a trustworthy babysitter that is somehow actually available on Valentine’s night, you’ll probably find yourself celebrating at home with your loved one. It’s definitely different from the traditional thinking of what makes for a romantic date night, but it’s possible. After all, romance doesn’t necessarily need to be big – it just needs to be thoughtful.
As I thought about how to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year and how to make a date night at home different from any other night in, I was inspired by a recent conversation with Jai from Mami’s Time Out. She suggested having a candle-lit dinner at home, which is so simple, yet something I had not thought about. Candles – what a nice and easy way to create a different atmosphere!
I decided instead of focusing on the main meal, I’d focus on creating a nice dessert for two. I don’t often bake, so this automatically gives my date night a special meaning. Plus, I wanted to make my husband’s favorite dessert, carrot cake, but a sugar-free version to keep in-line with our attempt at eating healthier. So, with a plan in mind, I headed to the store to pick up some necessary ingredients, supplies, and browse their Valentine’s Day section.
My plan was to set our table for two, using Valentine’s Day colors, and highlight the (heart-shaped) cake with some candles. I added a nice card to further the message of love (you can never go wrong with a card and hand-written note). When my husband walked in from work last night, he was surprised to find an early Valentine’s treat with a candle-lit table for two, and a sugar-free carrot cake with home-made cream cheese frosting. Most of all, though, he came home to a celebration of love, kids included.
If you want to try a sugar-free carrot cake this Valentine’s Day (or for any other celebration), try this recipe, which I slightly modified from this one I found on the Pillsbury website. The main difference is that I omitted the raisins, as I found they are pretty high in sugar. Be sure to scroll further down for even more ideas for a fun Valentine’s Day date night IN!
Sugar-Free Carrot Cake & Home-Made Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
*Adapted from Pillsbury’s Sugar Free Carrot Cake recipe
- 1 package Pillsbury® Sugar Free Classic Yellow Cake Mix (prepared according to box with oil, eggs, and water)
- 2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
- 1 cup Chopped Walnuts
- 2 cups Carrots (4-6 medium), shredded
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1 1/2 cup Cream Cheese
- 3 Tbsp Butter
- 5 Tbsp Splenda
- 2 tsp Vanilla
- 3-4 Tbsp Milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix Pillsbury Sugar Free Yellow Cake Mix according to directions on box.
- Add cinnamon, nutmeg, walnuts, and carrots. Mix together with wooden spoon or spatula.
- Grease heart-shape cake pan and pour cake mixture into pan. (Or you can also use two 9-inch cake pans as specified in the original recipe.)
- Bake for 55 minutes until tooth pick comes out clean. (The original recipe says to bake for 40-45 minutes, but the heart-shaped pan required more time.)
- Prepare cream cheese frosting while cake is cooling.
- Mix room temperature cream cheese and butter with electric mixer until creamy.
- Add Splenda and vanilla. Mix.
- Add milk as needed until frosting is of spreading consistency.
- Frost cooled cake and serve.
More Ideas for a Valentine’s Day Date Night At Home:
- Have a fondue night. Check out this wonderful Mexican Chocolate Fondue recipe for a lovely dessert for two!
- Hire a chef to treat you and your loved one inside your home! Get inspired by reading this personal chef’s story of being hired to cater a date night for a friend and his girlfriend.
- Keep it simple. Stay-at-home-dad Peter Mullen suggests: “…a comforting, casual homemade dinner: smokey tomato bisque, caprese and prosciutto panini with arugula and walnut pesto, and mini lemon cakes with a raspberry couli. That, a card, and a bottle of nice wine.”
- Reminisce. Remembering all the fun you’ve had together as a couple is a great way to share a date night in. Check out these ideas for reminiscing on a date night at home, plus a few other V-Day ideas.
How will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day with your spouse or partner?
All photos © Melanie Edwards/modernmami™