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Make a Valentines meal sure to please
Home-cooked meal for your sweetheart will show your love without spending big bucks
Oreo Truffles in a heart-shaped box make a super sweet and inexpensive gift for Valentine’s Day. - photo by BRANDEE A. THOMAS

At the same time, every year, an amorous cherub — better known as Cupid — takes to the skies and showers everyone below with love-tipped arrows.

For the weeks leading up to Valentine's Day, which for the record is Monday, shoppers are inundated with heart-shaped boxes of candy, balloons proclaiming undying love and cards requesting that the recipient, "Be my Valentine."

According to the National Retail Federation, spending for this holiday is expected to reach more than $15 billion in the U.S. alone.

Although the federation predicts that the average adult will spend between $60 to $190 for Valentine's gifts, the holiday doesn't have to be a bank breaker.

With Valentine's Day falling on a weekday this year — and many adults spending the bulk of their waking hours at work — it's a perfect opportunity to present your loved one with a homemade, and edible, gift from the heart.

Instead of going out for a fancy dinner, try starting your sweetheart's day — and week — on a good note with breakfast in bed.

It doesn't have to be anything complicated, bacon and eggs served on a pretty tray will probably do the trick for a lot of folks, just remember that presentation is everything so get creative.

"My husband never cooks. If I'm too busy with work and cooking duty falls on him, we're guaranteed to be eating fast food," said Sherry Johnson, a Gainesville resident.

"So if he cooked anything and brought it to me in bed, I'd be tickled pink."

If you want to jazz up your eggs, try cooking up a frittata. It sounds complicated, but it's really nothing more than an open-faced omelette. Beaten eggs get mixed with a few of your favorite ingredients and are then cooked slightly on the stove top, before the pan is moved to the oven to finish setting.

All in all, preparing a frittata takes about 30 minutes to complete. It's even faster if your ingredients are already prepped and cooked.

For a five-star presentation on a morning-rush time frame, try rounding out your plate with a couple of Belgian waffles, which you can pick up in the freezer or bakery section of most supermarkets.

Women aren't the only ones who love a nice, home-cooked meal.

"We like being wined and dined too. It seems like Valentine's Day is all about the ladies. Nnobody puts much thought into what us guys want," said Jerome Daniels, a Gainesville resident.

"I would love it if my girlfriend made my favorite dinner for me for Valentine's Day: a juicy steak, shrimp scampi and mashed potatoes. Man, I wouldn't even care if she bought it from a restaurant and put it on a plate. Just as long as it was waiting for me when I got off work."

If your lovey has a bit of a sweet-tooth, but you're tired of buying the usual boxed candies, why not make some yourself?

Sounds complicated, but the process can be fairly simple. Oreo Cookie truffles only have three ingredients: Oreo cookies, cream cheese and semi-sweet chocolate. You simply crush the cookies, mix them with cream cheese and roll the compilation into balls and dip them into melted chocolate.

Package them up in a cute little box, stick a bow on top and slip it into your honey's lunch box for a mid-afternoon surprise.

Don't forget to include a sweet, love note; the food may fill them up, but your thoughtful words will warm their hearts.

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