Foolproof Breakfast in Bed
by Kat Richter

Couple having breakfast in bed
Never underestimate the power of a good breakfast. And while we're on the subject, never underestimate the power of a good breakfast in bed. My boyfriend and I owe our entire relationship to a mug of Colombian hot chocolate. Of course there were other factors involved but it was the hot chocolate that convinced me to trade serial dating for monogamy, and there's a good chance a well-planned breakfast could do the same for you.

Granted, you may not keep a stock of imported dark chocolate on hand. And you may not have the time whisk up a fresh pot for your sweetheart every morning, but with a little planning, you'll be a dishing up a healthy serving of romance in no time.

Plan Ahead

I once drove all the way to Pittsburgh to visit a man who in turn served me Hot Pocket. Unless you're severely hung over and living in a dorm room, this is unacceptable (and even then I'd still recommend against it).

Make a little effort. If there's even a remote chance of someone spending the night with you, hit the grocery store. If you're unsure of your date's dietary preferences, go for a bit of everything: protein (eggs and bacon), carbohydrates (muffins or croissants), dairy (cheese), and some fruit (we recommend berries or bananas because they make less of a mess than citrus or melons).

Don't forget to consider your beverage options as well. Spring for tea, coffee and juice, and make sure you have milk and sugar on hand as well. It may seem like an awful waste, especially if your date turns out to prefer a simple glass of water in the morning, but they'll be touched to know what an effort you made on their behalf. And whatever they don't drink, you can take into work for your co-workers - then they'll love you too.

Make Something

Nothing says "I love you" like an omelet made to order. The eggs, the veggies, the cheese, the careful flip and the equally careful fold once it's all done...but if you've never made an omelet before, now is not the time to try. Stick with a simple scrambled eggs or something you've already taken for a test drive. It's better to play it safe than to give your date salmonella poisoning, and if all goes well, this won't be your last opportunity to get creative in the kitchen.

Use your Freezer

If you know you're going to wake up next to someone, take the time to bake something the day before. (This is also a good option if you just can't resist the urge to try out a new recipe.) No one wants reheated pancakes or day old eggs but fresh muffins generally hold up well in the freezer. Whip up a batch the night (or even week) before and pop them into the freezer. When you're ready to eat, throw them into the microwave for a few seconds and you've got yourself a batch of almost-fresh muffins, plus enough time left over to complete your usual morning routine.

Don't Panic

If your dinner date leads to an unexpected overnight, there's still plenty of time to work your magic. Hopefully you have a few basics on hand but if not, gently wake your companion and let them know that you're just going to pop out to run a quick errand. Then run like the wind to your nearest bakery and load up (after hiding your valuables of course). You can even order take out from a diner if push comes to shove; it still counts as breakfast in bed as long as your sweetheart doesn't have to come with you to procure it.

Include a Special Touch

Has your sweetheart been going on and on about her love of Reese's peanut butter cups all night? Or maybe she has a weakness for tofu cream cheese? Listen...and if you've picked up on her favorite treat, don't be afraid to get it, even if it's not proper breakfast food. For a touch of humor, you can even garnish those Reese's cups with a side of strawberries and serve them on a proper plate with a knife and fork.

Consider your Presentation

We all know how breakfast in bed is supposed to look (a sleek wooden tray, a bouquet of fresh flowers, color coordinated napkins and trendy flatware) but unless you're Martha Stewart, there's a good chance you might have to settle for something a bit less magazine cover and bit more realistic.

Let's say cooking is not really your thing. Let's say a bag of Reese's peanut butter cups is really all you can handle. Well then serve those Reese's cups with pride! Arrange your entree(s), beverages and utensils on a try and top it all off with a small bouquet of flowers. If you don't have a tray, consider bringing a small coffee table into your bedroom to serve as a holding station. If you don't have access to flowers, a few dandelions in a glass are better than nothing; you can even clip a few stems from a flowering tree. Use a teapot if you have one, but if you don't, a mug and a small saucer will do the trick.

Most likely, your date will be so impressed by the fact that you're serving them breakfast in bed that they won't be overly critical if your presentation (or even the meal itself) is a bit off.

Helpful tips: For more advanced relationships (and more advanced cooks), try chocolate chip pancakes with dried cranberries or chopped walnuts mixed into the batter. Another favorite is pecan-crusted French toast; simply add a handful of finely chopped pecans to your batter before coating the bread and fry as usual.

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