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Here's How To Actually Enjoy Valentine's Day

Step one: Wine.

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Valentine's Day is an interesting holiday.

And by interesting, I mean pretty awful. But what if, instead of feeling pressured into an expensive dinner at a crowded restaurant, you just, like, threw a really fun party? For you and all your best friends?

A party! With cocktails and cocktail foods! Which means PUNCH and DIP. And probably lots of cheese.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

There will also be crispy flatbreads, spicy chicken skewers, and of course, ice cream.


First things first: Every person who sets foot into the party zone needs to be greeted with an adult beverage, like this here red wine punch with tangerine and hibiscus.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

It's the perfect way to use up all that cheap red wine you've been hoarding. To make this, brew 4 cups of hibiscus tea (Republic of Tea makes a good one) and let it cool.

Add the tea to a punch bowl (or a large pot, because who honestly owns a punch bowl) along with 2 bottles of red wine and 1 cup of tangerine or orange juice. Add some ice, and a few sliced tangerines or oranges. This will go down very easily and disappear extremely fast, so you should probably make a double batch.

And because you love your friends, you'll want to provide dip. Even better than one dip? THREE DIPS.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

These happen to be three very special types of hummus. If someone invited me to a party and served a rainbow of hummus, I would not only be their best friend, I would also ask to move in. Recipes for lemony beet hummus, spicy carrot hummus, and garlicky herb hummus HERE.

And what would Valentine's Day be with out at least one cheesy date? Dates stuffed with cheese, THAT IS.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Thanks, I'll be here all night. To do this: Slit each date in half lengthwise, remove the pit and replace it with a piece of your favorite cheese. Soft goat cheese, creamy blue cheese or a sharp, salty gouda would all be amazing here.


Speaking of cheese, you should probably dump out those crappy chocolates that come in the cute heart box and replace them with cheese. And cured meats. And olives. And other kinds of cheese.

You'll also want something more substantial, because wine, so serve something that people can eat standing up/while dancing, like chicken skewers.

Some people like to serve tea sandwiches at a party. This isn't 1843, so you aren't going to do that. But you *will* serve lil' grilled cheeses.

Easy to eat, cute to look at, what's not to love?

To make these:

Cut a baguette into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Melt some butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add half the bread slices. Add one or two small slices of sliced cheese (something super flavorful and melty like sharp cheddar or Gruyère) to each of the bread slices and top with the remaining bread slices to make little sandwiches.

Once the first side is GBD (golden brown delicious), about 3 minutes, carefully flip all the sandwiches to toast the other side. Add in another knob of butter to the skillet and cook till the second side is also GBD and the cheese is all melty and gooey and wonderful, another 3 minutes.

The good thing about these lil guys, is that while they are obviously amazing served hot, they are still great at room temperature—think of them as little cheese toasts.


Here's what you'll need for toppings:

Lauren Zaser / Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Basically...go HAM. Cereal, candy, nuts, coconut, chocolate sauce, booze, sprinkles and MORE SPRINKLES are all encouraged.

Buy at least 1 pint of ice cream for every 3 people, and make sure you have a variety of flavors. For sundae purposes, the more neutral flavors are best. (Because: MORE TOPPING OPTIONS.) You know, the classics: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, caramel.

Head HERE to find recipes for hot fudge chocolate and salted caramel sauces.

Recipes and food styling by Alison Roman; photos by Lauren Zaser; graphic design by Jenny Chang; set design by Chris Ritter.

Pizza BFF necklaces by M. Greenhalgh Designs via Etsy.