I’m not very traditional when it comes to romance and Valentine’s Day. Forget chocolate, fancy jewels, and roses. Not interested. One of my very favorite gifts from my hubby was a pair of hiking boots; my wedding ring is a band of diamonds instead of a solitaire (perfect pick, babe!); and he knows to never ever give me flowers on Valentine’s Day. He seemed to get this about me right from the beginning. So I wasn’t all that surprised when he planned an outdoorsy (rather strenuous) all-day hike for one of our first dates. He did all the prep! Everything from picking the trail to making sure we had the right clothing to packing the perfect day pack full of nourishing, refreshing, and lifesaving eats and drinks – including the ever-classic Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich. He thought of everything. And there’s nothing more romantic than a man who knows how to take care of his woman. Nothing!
Now, I must remind you… I’ve got a bit of an issue when it comes to giving up control of all things food (as I explained here in my post about ribs for the Super Bowl). But I put my faith and trust in his preparations. I didn’t even pack a small “emergency” food pack to sneak into the car… Now that’s trust. And boy did he really knock it out of the park! The trail was gorgeous (albeit, quite a bit more of a challenge than I had anticipated), he always had just the right thing to keep me refreshingly hydrated, and the food was absolutely perfect! The trail mix was a wonderful combination of sweet and salty, nutty and chocolate-y, and very conveniently packed in the outside pouch so we could access it anytime we needed on the way there (he clearly already understood that the term “hangry” must have been coined because of me). The oranges were exactly the burst of sugar I needed when I didn’t think I could go on any farther. And when we finally got to the pinnacle of the hike, we sat on our sweatshirts, gazed at the most beautiful craggy desert mountains – outlined with the bluest of blue skies – dipped our feet into the natural (and very cold) spring water, guzzled our sports drinks, and then he presented me with the most wonderful, most delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I’ve ever tasted! It was the perfect combination of protein-filled, stick to your ribs heartiness and cool tangy-sweet-stick-to-your-fingers jelly. I chowed it down faster than I had eaten anything in a long time.
There’s a secret to taking peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on a crazy-long-I-think-I-might-die hike. First, it’s imperative to coat both pieces of bread with a healthy slathering of peanut butter before adding the jelly. This puts an oil based barrier between the jelly and the bread so you won’t end up with a soggy jelly-soaked-bread mess. After you add the jelly, press the sandwich together, put it in a zip top bag, and freeze. (Yes, kind of like the whole “uncrustables” craze, but homemade and really great!) Freezing the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches helps prevent them from being smashed while they’re in your hiking pack. They will be perfectly thawed by the time you want to eat them, and the cool jelly in the center is a delightful treat when you need it most!
The date/hike was magical and unforgettable. Although it was a very difficult (and when I say difficult, I mean I think he must be trying to kill me difficult) 12 miles and 7 hours, it is still one of my very favorite and most romantic memories. So when it comes to planning an impressive, romantic date, think outside the box. Get outside! (And don’t forget the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.) Who knows where it might lead…
Now that you’ve heard one of my favorite and most romantic dates, tell me about yours in the comments below!