For a great date night, consider staying home instead. And if the goal is to end up in bed (or on the floor near the bed), what could be more convenient? Nothing kills the mood more than having to drive the babysitter home.
You know what also kills a mood? Yoga pants. Baseball caps. Stubble. Treat this like a real date and dress up. Shave. Put on lipstick. It may feel silly, but if you were going out you would dress up. And why? To impress all those strangers? Surely you can do the same for your own spouse.
Divide up the work. Put one of you in charge of the menu and the other in charge of décor and entertainment. For the décor, think candles, flowers, romantic music. Hide anything that has Fisher-Price on it. Set a nice table with your best china or throw a blanket in front of the fireplace for a picnic.
If you are in charge of the menu, keep it simple. The last thing you want for your hot date is to spend half the night slaving over the stove. And overeating is a definite no-no. Opt for simple, delicious bites of food. Bonus points for finger foods-to feed each other, of course.
For my sexy date night menu, I started with a light arugula salad. Arugula has a peppery bite that makes it more exciting than lettuce, but it won't get in your teeth like spinach. Dress your salad up with crumbled goat cheese and a champagne vinaigrette.
For the main course, try Penne a la Vodka. It is easy to prepare-you can make the sauce while the pasta cooks-yet elegant. The red pepper flakes give the dish just the right amount of heat for a spicy evening.
Don't fuss making a fancy dessert. Put together a plate of indulgent bite-sized treats, like chocolate-covered strawberries, grapes and rich truffles.
Or, think about all the money you are saving by not going out and splurge on a bottle of Piper Heidsieck Brut Rosé Champagne and nine-piece box of Exotic Truffles from local favorite Vosges Haut Chocolate ($103).
After dinner and dessert, do something fun. Think dancing to your favorite tunes, soaking in a bubble bath, playing your favorite board game or watching a provocative movie with lots of eye candy.
Emily Paster is a mom of two living in River Forest. Her food and parenting blog is West of the Loop (westoftheloop.com).