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Lovely Desserts To Spice Up Your Valentine's Day

You don't need to be a chef-in-training to create a spectacular dessert that will have your sweetheart smiling until next Valentine's Day. You can make a truly decadent creation by following this simple chocolate dessert recipe. I like to use the large stem berries as they look spectacular and have a built in handle. Here are a couple of recipes that are guaranteed to make your Valentines a lot more interesting!

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon shortening
36 large strawberries, washed and dried


Line baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. In 1/2-quart saucepan on MELT on Wolf electric or induction cooktop, place bittersweet chocolate. Heat about 12 minutes or until chocolate is completely melted, stirring occasionally. Dip strawberries halfway into chocolate and place on waxed paper. Chill in Sub-Zero refrigerator about 30 minutes, or until chocolate is set. In 1/2-quart saucepan on MELT, place white chocolate and shortening. Melt until smooth. Drizzle white chocolate over dark chocolate-covered strawberries. Chill about 30 minutes or until set. Strawberries can be refrigerated up to 6 hours.

Makes 3 dozen strawberries.

Chocolate Truffles: The word truffle has several meanings in the world of candy because of their different countries of origin. It was invented in France as a small, rich chocolate made of ganache, often flavored and usually shaped into a ball. The original recipe, rolled in cocoa, was named after the black truffle fungus because of its physical resemblance.

1 (12 ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
Half cup butter
1/3 cups water
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon flavored liqueur (raspberry, orange, mint, kirsch, or Grand Marnier)
Three Fourth cup cocoa
*optional: add a little chile powder for some fun heat

Pour water in the basin of a bain de marie . Heat to 140F (60C), covered with lid. In the porcelaine part, place chocolate chips, butter, water and liqueur. Place over water.

Heat about 10 minutes or until chocolate and butter is melted, stirring occasionally. Remove the porcelaine container of the bain de marie and gently whisk in egg yolk until just combined. Place pan in refrigerator for 1 hour or until firm. (Do not refrigerate overnight.)
When chilled, scoop chocolate by tablespoon and roll each into a ball. Roll balls into cocoa, chopped nuts, chcolate sprinkles, etc as you desire. Place balls on waxed paper lined baking sheet. Repeat until all mixture is used. Refrigerate until firm. Store in refrigerator.

Alternate method: In 2-quart saucepan onlow, place chips, butter and water. Heat about 20 minutes or until melted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Gently whisk egg yolk and liqueur into mixture. Place pan in refrigerator for 1 hour. (Do not refrigerate overnight.) Continue as above.

Makes 3 dozen balls.


How Do I Date Online Successfully?

How do you date online successfully? How do you date online? How do you know who you are talking to is really who they are? Let me help you with online dating and guide you to success.

You know what I love about online dating? It filters out exactly what you are looking for in a person down to your last desire. If you do not get what you want right away, sit back and wait a week or two as more and more people come and go.

Another great thing about online dating and matchmaking is the ability to remain anonymous for as long as you like. You can take your time and develop an online communication with someone before you take that next step.

Let me give you a bit of advice on getting started. Be selective on the services available. There are many out there. When it comes to online dating and matchmaking, you get what you pay for. So, the best piece of advice I can give you here is to choose one that is known and is reputable.

To get started, you must build a profile. Be honest. You should talk about what you love in life and what you hate. Be extreme. Be blunt but not abrasive. This is no easy task because you are attempting to put who you are into words. Some of the greatest writers have difficulties doing this.

A good tip in writing a nice profile is to have a friend or someone who knows you review it. Ask them for an honest opinion. Find out if you have forgotten anything or maybe stressed too much on a certain topic.

It does not even hurt to request assistance in writing your profile. Sometimes, an outside perspective can put more accurate and descriptive information in text than you can do yourself.

One final item that is a must for a profile is a picture. A lot of people are very nervous about this. Why would a person be nervous? Well, the idea of others finding out about your online dating endeavor could be embarrassing. Maybe you believe that, but that is likely very far from the truth.

People will most likely envy your courage. Talk to them about what you are doing and why you are doing it. You may find an ally in the online search for a soul mate.

Now, the picture should never be one of those Glamour Shots you run to the mall and get. This is not a true representation of you. I recommend a nice picture of a nice smile. It should be simple. Do not put pictures of you and friends/ pets/ family or anybody else. It should be you; solo.

Now, push the submit button and browse. Do not rush. Online dating is similar to actual dating. As a matter of fact, it will lead to actual dating. The nice part is that you will not waste a bunch of time sifting through people you know absolutely nothing about. The dating service will help sift through the database and align you with someone compatible.

When you get your first match, you will undoubtedly be filled with excitement. Relax, and read their profile thoroughly. It would be wise to read it several times. Now, do not respond just yet. Often times, when our emotions are acting, we make decisions that are not aligned with how we commonly believe and feel.

Sleep on it.

The following day, wait for a quiet time when you can concentrate in a relaxing fashion. Sit down at the computer with you favorite beverage. I would advise against alcohol as it tends to alter our thoughts a bit. Get comfortable and write a hello to your new match.

Be complimentary on their profile but do not over do it. You are not a salesman/ saleswoman. You are not trying to win this person. Remember; be honest with yourself and your matches from the start. I cannot emphasize this enough.

Highlight topics that you and your match share. Go into a bit more detail about these items with your match. These are things that will bring you together and it will compile topics into which you two can dive during the online courtship and even more so, when and if you meet in person.

Now, this next step is as important as highlighting what you have in common. If there is anything that sticks out in the profile of your match, you should also get this on the table. In a courteous manner, bring it up to your match. Explain that this item is something that you may take issue with.

This may seem difficult. Remember, you do not even know this person. The worst thing that could happen is the interaction stop here. That would be so much better than working hard on something for months with that pesky dislike in the back of your mind and it creep out and destroy everything. Again, get it on the table right away. But, be nice.

Now, if this difference is such a big deal that you cannot see getting passed it, do not begin a line of communication with this person. Again, there is no need to become involved when you absolutely know that there are items that cannot be overlooked. Do not be afraid to explain this to your match. Always be honest, blunt and polite.

Once you find that match that everything seems to be perfect and things seem to be going great in your online courtship, take a step back. You do not want to rush these things. Relax and enjoy the communication. But, do not speed into a meeting for a few months.

I would not think this would happen often, but it does tend to happen on occasion. There are people that will write their profiles and formulate their communication to suit other people. They may not intend harm in this, but it will be harmful to a relationship. Honesty is very important.

The only way for you to learn about a person is through a good amount of time and communication. Do not make the mistake of convincing yourself that this person seems so perfect. I assure you, they are not.

Time has so many answers secreted within it. Use the Internet barrier to your advantage. Take a few days off from interacting with your online match. Do not just disappear. Tell them that you are going to take a computer break that you promised yourself to catch up on some things that you need to do. Then, stick to it.

This will give some time for the "high" of romance and relations to settle a bit and for you to evaluate what is going on. Again, relax and enjoy all the little steps involved in getting to know someone. This goes well for online dating as well as face to face dating.

Now that you are back with your feet on the ground, continue your correspondence. Give the relationship a few months, even three before you plan an actual date. If your match is over anxious, then explain why you want to take your time. You want to learn more about them. Explain how valuable you the process of communicating can be. Be leery if they become to pushy or agitated. You may be seeing some "real" traits of your match.

Well, if the courtship with your match goes on for a few months, then it is time to meet him/ her. I am going to stop here as the focus of this article is on the actual dating online. When you have reached the meeting point, you are on your own. Good luck.


The Guide to the First Date - How to Be Yourself and be Gentlemanly Doing It

Some men are naturals when it comes to dating and playing the whole romance game. For me, it was never that easy. I was never that good at it and found quite often that it just took way too much effort and change to even enjoy dating. However, at a certain point, it all changed for me.

I decided that I was going to enjoy dating and loose the stress of trying to impress my date if it killed me. Dating is supposed to be fun and enjoyable and it absolutely can be if you follow my tips.

I do not claim to have the answer on how to win the girl. But, I do know how to make your evening with your date much more pleasant. I can also honestly tell you, that if you follow my tips below, you will enable someone to figure out who you really are.

I firmly believe that it is imperative for a man to be honest and realistic with his date. Otherwise, the show you put on may go fine, but later on the real you will begin to surface. The real you may be a nice person, but she will not be happy with finding out that you have been deceitful in the beginning. You do not want your relationship kicking off like this.

The first thing that a man should do is make communication a priority. Everybody has a rule on when to call her. Well, so do I. First thing you should do is get rid of the "what am I supposed to do next" thoughts. These will get you in trouble and kill your confidence.

Remember, we want her to find out who you really are. I do not believe she is interested in finding out how well you act like everyone else. So, communication is a must. This is where most men go wrong. Women want men to think about them. They want men to talk to them. So, if you have met his great girl, and have exchanged numbers or have received permission to call her, just do it.

Do not wait a few days, a week or even two weeks. There is no timeframe. Call her soon. By calling her, you can gain her interest even more than you already have. Do not play games with her by playing "the game". Call her and make a date. She would not have given you her number if she did not want you to call.

Let's talk about the date.

Congratulations, you have called her and made your first date. Now, let's get prepared. Again, we are not going to try to create a new you or a better you. We are simply going to take who you are and dust it off.

I should not have to go into this, and I wouldn't if I didn't see so many men that go out on dates looking like dirt bags. Maybe this is a fad that I haven't connected with, but it still makes the man look like a dirt bag.

Believe it or not, like it or not, she will remember that first impression until the day that you two are in your golden years, in rockin' chairs and sitting on the front porch. Or, maybe she'll be in her golden years on the front porch with the man she married because you came dressed like a dirt bag.

With that in mind, groom yourself. Now, I am by no means the GQ magazine type, but it doesn't reduce my masculinity to clean myself up, especially for a date.


It is that simple. Don't look like you had to sleep out in the woods the previous night. Shave that mug. You may want to demonstrate your rough look to your date hinting to her that you are a very outdoorsy and rough character by not shaving. This does not work.

If you are trying to demonstrate your character by your appearance, then something is not right. Real people who know who they are and are confident in who they are do not feel that they have to demonstrate or act out who they are by dressing, grooming or acting a certain way. The harder you try to appear a certain way, the more artificial it looks.

Put on some nice clothes.

I despise the way men dress these days. Why put a t-shirt on the outside of a long sleeve dress shirt? Again, maybe I have drifted away from fad and style. If this is your goal, maybe you should skip dating for now and look into becoming a runway model.

Ok, enough sarcasm, at least for a paragraph or two.

Wear nice clothing. Iron your clothing. Ensure that it was washed before putting it on. If there is holes in it, man made or natural made, put it back in the closet and wear it he next time you need to change the oil in your truck, or BMW.

Comb your hair. Again, simple but often neglected. Again, maybe my disconnect from the fad is kicking in again. Regardless, comb your hair. It looks like you give a flip about looking nice for your date and she will appreciate it.

Ok, now your all dressed up and ready to go.

Show up on time to pick her up. Do not be late and do not be more than ten minutes early. She will probably not be ready. She does this for a number of reasons that we will not get into now. Stay tuned for later.

Get out of your vehicle and go knock on the door. If you are the type of guy that sits in the driveway and honks, immediately begin choking yourself before her father or neighbors do.

Knock on the door. When the door opens, smile and introduce yourself. If she lives with her family, make it a point to meet them. You don't have to tell them your life story or spend the night, just speak, smile and shake hands.

If Dad is there, shake his hand. Do not lay your hand in his like a cold, dead fish. Grasp his hand, smile, look him in the eye and shake his hand. Being nervous is fine. If it is obvious, that is fine too. A father can have more respect for a guy that will come to the door and shake his hand despite the nerves than one who is so bashful that he will not even speak or looks at the floor with hands stuffed in the pockets to do so.

Alrighty. Now that you have made proper introductions, escort your date to your car and open the door for her. You may feel that this is a bit throwback or corny. You are wrong. You should open that car door for her on the first date and for the rest of your life if you are lucky enough to spend it with her.

When you arrive at the location of your date, get out of your vehicle and again, open the door for her. If she gets out by herself, don't sweat it. Ensure that you open the door for her to the restaurant or the any building that you enter. Be a gentleman.

The course of the date is important. One thing that you should keep in mind during the date is that your goal is not to impress her with your rendition of Mr. Cool, but you want to impress her with who you are. Trust me, she likes what she sees so far or you would not have gotten this far. So, give her who you are, the real you.

Ask questions.

Do not put your every effort into impressing your date with your job, experience, life or anything that you commonly use to impress the buddies or strangers. This does not work. She wants to hear about you, not about how accomplished or successful you are.

Ask questions about her. If you leave this date without knowing a few things about her like where she grew up, what she does for a living, what she likes to do for fun, who her favorite singer is, favorite show, favorite hobby, favorite song and other things such as this, then you have failed.

A lady wants a man who is interested in her. It is obvious when a man is so selfish that he spends his time telling folks about himself. If she wants to know, she will ask you. Right now, you should be nodding, smiling and commenting on the responses she gives you to the questions you ask about her.

Do not be rude.

When the waiter or waitress comes, be a gentleman. Be polite. Do not demand or act obnoxious. Treat others with respect. This is what a confident man does. When you depart, leave a tip. You don't have to make their car payment, but leave a nice tip.

Drive her home and talk with her. She is sitting there wondering if you liked her. She is more nervous than you are and very sensitive. Be complimentary. Tell her she looked nice and you had a very good time. Comment on something she told you about herself earlier.

When you arrive at her home. Get out and get that door for her. Walk her to the front door. Say goodnight or goodbye and mention that you would like to see her again. Do not expect an answer. Be happy with the smile she gives you. That is your answer and all you need.

My advice, do not kiss her on the first date. A nice hug is a demonstration of the gentleman that you are. She will appreciate this because I promise you, she has been nervous about it all night.

Well, that's my advice on the first date. I wish you good luck.


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