The gift of chocolate, living room style, the perfect houseplant, and more.
Have a Heart
Take the gift of chocolate to a whole new level with this tasty Valentine offering.
Grilled Chocolate Sweetheart
Place 2 (0.375-oz.) good-quality chocolate squares between 2 white bread slices; brush both sides of sandwich with 1½ tsp. melted butter. Cook in a hot nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 30 to 60 seconds on each side or until chocolate is melted and bread is golden brown. Dust with powdered sugar. Garnish with raspberries, if desired. Makes 1 serving. Prep: 5 min., Cook: 2 min.
- Cut bread into heart or other desired shape before filling with chocolate and cooking.
- For testing purposes, we used thin squares that would melt quickly and evenly, such as Ghirardelli 60% Cacao squares Dark Chocolate, Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate With Caramelized Almonds squares, and Lindt Excellence 70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate Extra Fine Squares.
- Other good fillings include raspberry jam, marshmallow cream, toasted pecans, peanut butter, and sliced bananas.
Plant for All Seasons
Around this time of year, everyone yearns for the green promise of spring. We've found the perfect solution--a carefree houseplant. Cast-iron plant ( Aspidistra elatior) has long been celebrated for its hardy nature outdoors, but its tall, broad evergreen leaves make this perennial a lovely choice for inside too. It laughs in the face of low light, accepts infrequent watering, and shrugs off pests and disease. You just about can't kill it, which means you can have all the beauty with none of the bother. Plant it in a favorite pot, tuck in some ivy at the base, and add water only when the soil feels dry to a depth of ½ to 1½ inches. It's a view you can savor for months to come.
Update your sofa's look by using one long lumbar pillow instead of several smaller ones. It lends the setting a more streamlined appearance. A seamstress made this patchwork pillow out of old sweaters, cut to size and sewn together. The effect is colorful, modern, and oh so comfortable.
Each of us has one of those days from time to time. When the hours get too full and the schedule too hectic, picture yourself here. There's nothing more relaxing than kicking back in front of a fire to spend a few minutes reading or just daydreaming. Even if you don't have a fireplace, make sure you fill in a little "me" time for yourself on your daily planner.
Eye-catching Coffee Table
Here's a unique approach to displaying the beauty of a favorite art book: Frame it. We asked a local framing shop to create a shadow box that would press the open pages flat like a matted picture but still make it possible to open the back and turn the pages to another great image. The result is an attention-getting--and changeable--piece of art that can be used as a one-of-a-kind glass-top table or hung on a wall.
Pages 26: Table by Toro-Cordes Iron Arts, Birmingham,  510-0014.
"Inspirations" is from the February 2008 issue of Southern Living.