Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and the only thing on your brain is that you are going at it solo this year. Well don’t fret, my friend. According to Statistic Brain, there are over 180 million single people wandering around the U.S. on February 14th. So instead of wallowing in sorrow that you aren’t dining at that new tapas restaurant enduring a lengthy conversation with a pseudo stranger who gave you carnations, why not take charge and go solo this year? In fact, the best way to start finding love is to branch out from the over-socialized hype of needing someone to feel fulfilled and beginning to love yourself first and foremost.

Here are some of my favorite ways to spend the day enjoying me time and not feeling guilty… (bonus that you never know who you might meet along the way in your journey!).

1. Get a solid workout in
Okay this might seem like a strange start to your indulgent day, but rest assured, starting your day off with a cardio-pumping session will get your heart racing in more ways than one. Studies have shown that an early morning workout will not only boost your mood and release endorphins, but it also increases your hormone levels and sends out a more intense level of pheromones to that cutie that you’re crushing on at the gym. So get up and get at it to keep your smile constant throughout the day!

2. Schedule a spa treatment
To most, going to the spa and having a total ‘you’ day is considered a guilty pleasure. But why not do something totally nice for the one you love the most…you? Okay you don’t have to break the bank and schedule some over-the-top seaweed body reforming treatments, but maybe it’s as simple as getting that facial you’ve been putting off. Maybe even swing into one of those twenty-minute chair massage shops that you see in every mall and get a deep tissue rub down. Spending some much needed downtime on yourself will not only make you feel calm and stress-free, it will also take your mind off the anxiety of being solo on V-Day.

3. Volunteer at an animal rescue center
Pets make people happy and what makes you even happier…a room filled with cuddly little creatures in need of some love! Head over to your local animal rescue center and see if you can volunteer for the day. Helping out an animal in need will not only boost your mood, you might also be able to help a little one in need of a foster home. You may enjoy working with the animals so much that you end up being a regular volunteer! Win-win.

4. Cook yourself a gourmet meal
Eating your feelings is may not be a good way to survive Valentine’s Day, but why not channel the soul of a chef and construct a delicious meal that you and only you can indulge in? Do some research on the internet and hit up sites like Pinterest or Cookmore for some foodie inspiration. After shopping for your ingredients, make sure to swing on over to the wine department and chat up one of the employees who would be helpful in finding the perfect pairing. Below is my slow cooker tomato jam recipe that is topped off with a creamy burrata cheese and garlic-rubbed toasts. Pair this sensual meal with a fruit-forward Pinot Noir and you are well on your way to loving yourself! Today is all about indulging, loving, and giving back…so smile and realize that tomorrow it’s a brand new day! Happy Eating!

Slow Cooker Tomato Jam with Fresh Burrata and Watercress

Ingredients:
6lbs organic Campari tomatoes, diced
1 ½ cup light brown sugar
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 small onions, diced
½ cup apple cider vinegar
Juice of 2 lemons
½ tsp. crushed red chili flakes
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
1 pound fresh burrata cheese (or fresh mozzarella)
1 French baguette, sliced and toasted
1 garlic clove
Bunch of fresh watercress

Directions:
In a Kenmore Slow Cooker, add tomatoes and all ingredients following up till the black pepper. Turn your slow cooker on high and cook for 5 hours. Stir occasionally. The jam should be of a thick consistency. Transfer to glass jars and refrigerate for up to two weeks. Rub toasted slices of baguette with garlic clove and top with tomato jam, a dollop of burrata, and a sprig of watercress. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and pinch of sea salt.

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