By Larry Jackson
If you’re someone who panics every time Valentine’s Day comes around because you can’t think of something special to do with your significant other, The Round Up/Oncore Magazine has you covered.
We consulted NMSU students Chris Boren and Rachel Sisneros, who have been in a relationship for more than two years. Here are some ideas, successful couple-approved, that won’t take too big of a chunk out of your budget:
1. Picnic at Dripping Springs: Take Lou Reeds’ advice and “Walk on the Wild Side” by taking your valentine to the Dripping Springs recreational area, 10 miles east of Las Cruces. Choose between four different hiking trails, look at the beautiful waterfall, and then find a spot to sit for a picnic. Be sure to look out for wildlife in the area, such as red tailed hawks or cactus wren.
2. Open mic delight: Before the official Valentine’s Day, go to the NMSU Barnes & Noble University Bookstore and put your affection into words by reciting your valentine a song or poem at Open Mic Thursdays! From seven p.m. to 10 p.m. poets, musicians, and public speakers meet to share their work. This can be a relaxing and insightful way to spend time with your valentine, and certainly an event you won’t want to miss!
3. Romantic dinner at home: For anyone who is looking to do something romantic for their special someone while avoiding the busy crowds at restaurants, surprise your valentine by preparing a nice dinner at home. You can pull different recipes from the internet, television, or a personal cookbook and even decorate your living space with candles.
Recipe suggestion: Coq au vin
- 2-3 chicken breasts
- 1 cup stemless mushrooms
- 1 cup baby carrots
- 3 large potatoes, chopped
- 1 bottle (750 mL) dry red wine, preferably cabernet sauvignon
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup chicken stock (broth)
- Season chicken breasts in pepper, salt, and oil (vegetable or olive).
- Wrap individually in aluminum foil and place on a pan in oven for 40 minutes at 400˚ F.
- Once done, ensure no pink is inside chicken.
- Place the chicken breasts in a Dutch oven, then add broth, wine, potatoes, butter, mushrooms, and carrots.
- Braise (boil on stovetop) for 2-3 hours.
- The flavor of the wine will seep into chicken but leave none of the alcohol content (you can of course buy a second bottle of wine to compensate).
4. The five senses: Sisneros once gave Boren a series of gifts she calls “senses,” wherein each of the gifts given appeals to one of the five senses.
“If you don’t know what to do, you can always go with a surprise,” says Boren.
These gifts included a scrumptious treat (taste), an original painting (sight), or a sweater (touch), this is a relatively inexpensive way to surprise your valentine.
5. La Posta dinner: Of course getting dressed up and going out on the town for Valentine’s Day is classic and always welcome! La Posta de Mesilla has dinner specials from February 5-15. This famous Mexican restaurant has long been a favorite among Las Crucens and will surely not disappoint you this Valentine’s Day.
6. Scavenger Hunt: Is your significant other an adventurous soul? Take them geocaching and look for hidden treasures together. For more information visit https://www.geocaching.com/play.
7. Scrapbooking: If you’re more low-key, take the day and create a scrapbook together, so that years from now you can look back on some fond memories, such as movie ticket stubs, a concert parking pass, or the receipt from a perfect dinner.
“It’s not about the dinner or the movie,” Boren says. “It’s about spending time together.”
It can be tough trying to find ways to make Valentine’s Day special, but as long as you’re thoughtful and spending time with that special person, it can be wonderful.