The Valentine’s Dinner

Whenever I actually find a man, trust that I will be cooking all the time for him, and Valentine’s Dinner would be something extra special. Just throwing that out there if any men are reading … I love to cook & bake! Sorry, I needed to plug that.

Anyways, I thought about what I would love to make for my man on this romantic evening and came up with this menu:

– Seared Scallops with Pumpkin Soup

– Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes (play on the classic chocolate covered strawberries)

– Champagne

I’m not sure about you, but this spells delicious romance to me! Seafood is supposed to be aphrodisiacs and chocolate covered strawberries are a must, so updating them into chocolate strawberry cupcakes is so up my ally. And um, you can’t celebrate without champagne!

What will you be serving your special someone tomorrow?

Seared Scallops with Pumpkin Soup

Photo courtesy Women's Health Mag.

Photo courtesy Women’s Health Mag.

12 oz fresh sea scallops
1 can (15 oz) unflavored pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp roughly chopped hazelnuts
8 to 10 chives, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Put it together:
1 Toast chopped hazelnuts, either in the oven (10 minutes at 400°F) or on the stove in a stainless-steel saute pan (5 to 7 minutes over medium heat, shaking often so they don’t burn). Set aside.
2 Combine pumpkin, honey, butter, and broth in a medium saucepan, and heat the mixture on low until it’s warmed through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep the mixture warm.
3 Preheat a cast-iron skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Pat scallops dry with a paper towel and season them with salt and pepper to taste. Add oil to the pan, and then add scallops. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until they’re firm, browned, and caramelized.
4 Pour soup into wide-rimmed serving bowls. Add scallops and hazelnuts, and garnish with chopped chives.


Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes

Photo courtesy Your Cup of Cake.

Photo courtesy Your Cup of Cake.


1 Box chocolate or devil’s food cake mix
1/2 C. melted butter, cooled (or oil)
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 C. milk
1/2 C. sour cream
Strawberry Buttercream:
3/4 C. butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-4 Tbsp. strawberry puree (see note)
3-4 C. powdered sugar, as needed
Melted Chocolate and Strawberries to decorate


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners.
2. Sift cake mix into a small bowl and set aside.
3. Combine all other cake ingredients in a large bowl and mix until smooth.
4. Stir in cake mix.
5. FIll cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 17-22 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
6. Let cool.
7. Buttercream: Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla extract and add 2 Tbsp. strawberry puree. Slowly add powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. If it becomes too thick, add more strawberry puree.
8. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and top with melted chocolate and strawberries.


Strawberry puree means strawberries that that been put in a blender and mixed until it reaches a soup consistency.


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