400 dollars should make for an awesome new years
December 1, 2011 9:14 AM   Subscribe

New Years Eve @ home Filter: Lets say you and your partner decide to stay at home for new years and you have pooled your money together to have $400 to blow on the whole evening (food, alcohol, general supplies/decorations/presents/whatever). How would YOU spend that budget? Describe your fantasy new years eve under that budget. Best suggestion wins a cookie. Additional requirements within....

After my last question my partner and I have decided to take Mr.MoonPie's advice stay in for NYE and put the money we would have spent on hotel and dinner and just make ourselves a spectacular meal and create a romantic experience for ourselves in the home that we share. We are each throwing in 200$ towards it so we have a $400 budget that has to pay for all the food, all the alcohol, and anything else that we may need or want (candle holders, flowers, fancy condoms, an armadillo hat, etc). We may also have a little extra money to work with if we have money left over from our usual monthly food budget. I'm looking for ideas on how/where to spend that money so that it is a memorable, fun, and romantic time.

- meal must consist of at least three courses (appetizer, main, dessert) that we cook ourselves (you can assume that we have the skill to cook anything you suggest)
- need sparkling wine/champagne for toasting at midnight
- need bottle of wine to consume during dinner
- entire time must be spent at our house. No going down town to watch fire works or anything like that since we live way out of town and taking a cab anywhere else isn't practical.

- a fireplace in the living room
- a well stocked kitchen with most kitchen gadgets you could ever want for
- a really fancy surround sound giant tv entertainment centre
- empty house (we share custody of his four year old son with his ex-wife so we have a high energy kid running circles around us half the time.)
- a queen size bed in a small bedroom that (unfortuneately) also includes a computer desk and whatnot (not terribly romantic a setting and difficult to make it so)
- we aren't at all against schmaltz and cheesy touchy feely emotional romance stuff. we actually like that stuff.

- preferable if some sort of New Years Day breakfast/brunch was included in the plan but that isn't necessary
- this is our first new years eve together so we would like to make is special
- it is an opportunity to create traditions since this is our first so including fun things we can do each year would be great
posted by gwenlister to Human Relations (31 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh god, I misspelled "unfortunately"... where is an edit button when you need one?
posted by gwenlister at 9:18 AM on December 1, 2011

I would spend the entire day cooking something elaborate together (say, Boeuf Bourguinon, or however you spell that, or something from this thread) and also baking some impressive dessert. During any downtime or after you've eaten, watch sexy movies together. Blow the other $200 on lingerie.
posted by vytae at 9:23 AM on December 1, 2011

Response by poster: I should have mentioned that lingerie is already covered (or not as the case may be). :)
posted by gwenlister at 9:27 AM on December 1, 2011

Lobsters and champagne. It's not the most creative elegant celebration dinner, but it's a classic for a reason.
posted by gauche at 9:29 AM on December 1, 2011 [5 favorites]

Our tradition is to get a nice bottle of champagne and a spread of upscale party foods: Water crackers, pate, crudite, shrimp cocktail, good olives, our favorite kinds of cheese, sliced fruits, and so on. We watch movies and nibble through the evening, and then watch the ball drop at midnight. The benefit of this plan is a lot of variety and feeling fancied up, but nobody has to do a lot of work, once the great setting-out is completed.

(Not that this is relevant to you for this year, but we let the kids have root beer floats and wake them up at midnight to see the New Year in. It's traditional. ^_^ )

We've been stymied in recent years by various food allergies, so I am keenly interested in seeing what answers you get.
posted by Andrhia at 9:30 AM on December 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

How about some of the money going to a maid service to come in a couple days before and get the place SPECTACULARLY clean?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:30 AM on December 1, 2011 [12 favorites]

Cook yourselves a slightly fancier-than-normal dinner, rent a good movie, have some good sex, then contribute the rest of the cash to a standing date night fund. Why only have one nice night a year when you can have several?
posted by phunniemee at 9:32 AM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: We have food allergies to deal with too (he is very allergic to shellfish). I should have mentioned that, eh?
posted by gwenlister at 9:33 AM on December 1, 2011

A few ideas:

For your entree (or as an hors d'oeuvre before the entree), homemade blinis with caviar, creme fraiche and some really good quality smoked salmon.

For a side dish, gratin dauphinois made with potatoes and onions, flavored with a bit of garlic and cooked in cream with loads of gruyere grated on top. Trust me, this is the most delicious concoction known to man but too fattening to eat except on special occasions.

For the brunch the next day, save a bit of the smoked salmon to have with poached eggs on English muffins. You'll also need to make some hollandaise sauce and serve with wilted spinach. Drink mimosas made from freshly squeezed orange juice and leftover champagne.
posted by hazyjane at 9:34 AM on December 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

This is the only way MrsGroweler and I have ever done NYE even with the kids (so for the past 17 years has been less on the romance side but starting to be again) For six years now we watch LOTR extended DVDs that takes us to late Jan 1st

You need to plan for later things if you want to make it to midnight here is our typical evening (even with kids)

$400 budget is HUGE I imagine my plan doesn't cover that much

Also avoid excessive alcohol sounds like you plan that so... Wine at Dinner another wine to share and the best (or worst) champagne for midnight

Around 5 Start making elaborate dinner
Scallops quickfried with butter and champagne sauce for the appetizer (on preview skip this :)
Instead really really good vegetarian spring rolls either purchased or made a day ahead with your own hotpepper/vineagar/leek/carrots sauce (memail if you want the recipe it takes 2 minutes and about 1 hour to cool... but sexxy)

Roast Duck
6 (different) Onion dish cooked in oven
A really good salad you make together while you wait for the duck

A really rich red wine Italian maybe... Barolo (you have the budget)

Honestly you JUST can't go wrong with cheesecake But also have an espresso for staying up

Sit back and play a game or just talk about the year past and the year to come (last minute sex before year end)
A movie that you both love and can ignore is also good to stay awake by

Have some cheeses ready with grapes and crackers for snacks

About 5 minutes before midnight open the champagne (we usually get baby duck or some other terrible $5.00 fizzy pop) for the shmaltz
By now you should be only wearing plastic hats
At midnight dance to Auld lang syne
New years sex
More cheese and sleep

Morning wake up and have orange juice and champagne crepes with fresh fruit and a coffee...

Even going all out you probably are under $200 so as Phunniemee says put the extra money away for Januarsyeese

Sorry it is so long but I love planning NYE
posted by mrgroweler at 9:38 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

50$ worth of steak, 10$ worth of vegetables and the best bottle of Ardbeg 340$ will buy.
posted by wrok at 9:54 AM on December 1, 2011 [4 favorites]

Don't do the cooking yourself - hire a personal chef for the evening.
posted by FreezBoy at 9:56 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Go to the party store and get a dozen (or more!) silver helium balloons filled, with long gold ribbons, and just let them rest at the ceiling one-by-one around the room. It sounds a little cheesy, but especially by candlelight, it's the best bang-for-your-buck way I know to transform a home-y space into something more festive and visually "different" than your other evening meals.

(Works in the bedroom, too, especially as a way to draw your eyes away from the desk unit. Not that you probably won't be distracted enough! but you do need to take occasional breaks).

Oh, and you should definitely slow-dance. Maybe you could each put five songs on a playlist, without revealing in advance to each other what they are? Could start a nice tradition.
posted by argonauta at 9:56 AM on December 1, 2011 [6 favorites]

a queen size bed in a small bedroom that (unfortuneately) also includes a computer desk and whatnot (not terribly romantic a setting and difficult to make it so)

How about some nice new silky sheets for your bed? That coupled with candles lit around the room should make it pretty romantic.
posted by daydreamer at 9:57 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

What I made last year, I am going to do it again this year.

Sevruga, my girlfriend at the time prefered this to Beluga for some reason, we didn't have blini we had toast points and water crackers.

Steamed white asparagus with olive oil and whole garlic cloves. I sautee whole cloves in olive oil until they are brown and toss it over the steamed asparagus.

Standing rib roast with quality sea salt and cracked pepper, I just seared it and finished it in the oven.

I got a vintage Cristal Rose for a somewhat reasonable price. I am going to skip that this year since I am going to be alone, I am thinking watermellon fourloco.

I think I made my grandmother's chocolate pudding recipe, it is just standard cocoa/sugar/milk/cornstarch in a double boiler. I think I will try to make violet creme brulee this time though.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:01 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Dan Savage would tell you to do the sexy stuff first, then eat a giant expensive meal. Unlikely to work the other way around.
posted by chaiminda at 10:08 AM on December 1, 2011 [7 favorites]

liking the ideas above. my addition is for the 1st. make a strata together on nye that you can cook for new years brunch (bread soaks overnight). easy to make and delicious. also, do you drink coffee or tea? splurge on some really good beans or tea for the morning. make an itunes mix for good morning music that can lead to more hanky panky or cuddles.

this is just an example of a recipe. i use one from a cookbook that is at home right now that i love.
posted by anya32 at 10:12 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Cuddle up in front of the TV with a proper cheese fondue. If you don't have a good fondue set, this may eat into a good chunk of your budget. Then buy some really good emmental and gruyere cheeses, and a nice french stick. Make sure you use a recipe that includes kirsch and white wine (like this recipe, but be generous with the booze) Booze in the food, booze in the glass! Along with the bread, fruits are good with the cheese, as well as raw, roasted or blanched veggies. You can do a meat fondue along side if you like too.

Follow strict fondue etiquette: If you loose your food in the pot, you must kiss the person next to you. Then make up your own additional rules (take a drink, sing a song, remove an article of clothing, etc)

Maybe even a chocolate fondue for dessert? (oops where did that drip? Can you get that for me?)
posted by Kabanos at 10:13 AM on December 1, 2011 [5 favorites]

oh, and one more idea that i am implementing with my sweets this year. an annual love birds storycorp conversation. easy to do (a lot of phones can record) and a way to connect that you can repeat each year to see how you have grown, changed, etc., as a couple and individuals.
posted by anya32 at 10:19 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you're going with champers, make sure you get plenty of strawberries to go with! (And maybe also to add to decadent New Year's Day breakfast?)

I second daydreamer's suggestion of fancy sheets for luxury lovin' and luxury snoozin'; it seems like silk satin would be nicer than synthetic, although those may be out of budget. You could just go for silk satin pillowcases or top sheet, or this site has a nice-looking silk/cotton blend.

If silk isn't your thing, you could go for fancy cotton or flannel; whatever curls your toes!

There's also plenty of other (NSFW) "bedding" options if such things interest you. They also sell silk sheets.

A romantic soundtrack would be fantastic; you could even do a mix of serious and cheesy--maybe start out the evening with your yacht rock favorites and finish with songs for gettin' it on. Spend a little of your budget at iTunes or wherever to flesh out (wink wink) your collection and put together a mix. Maybe throw in for some inexpensive wireless speakers if you use an iPod or smartphone as a player, so you can bring the tunes into the bedroom?

This stuff might be a little far afield from what you're planning, but everyone else seems to have the luxury food goodies covered! And the bedding can be saved and used for future romantic holiday traditions! Have fun; it sounds like you guys are going to start the year off right!
posted by Fui Non Sum at 10:46 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

The holidays are the only time we get a box of chocolates. You could get something like a Vosges assortment, taste some while drinking champagne and compare flavors.
posted by BibiRose at 11:21 AM on December 1, 2011

A day or two before, you both might like to see a professional to clean up (e.g., with wax) around your sexy bits.

Appetizer: Pan seared scallops with curry sea salt & a drizzle of good olive oil.
Salad: Caesar or other favorite
Palate cleanser: cranberry sorbet
Main: individual-sized Beef Wellington with a madeira reduction.
Dessert: crème brûlée or œufs à la neige
Late-Nite post-coital Snack: Slices of Stilton served with Madeira

Wines: A decent Cab for the main course, champagne (of course), good Madeira.

Ahead of time, you can set up a jazz or other preferred music selection to suit whatever mood(s) you're going for. If you have the software to do it, you might want to edit together a year's worth of photos or a video montage from 2011 to watch with music on that fancy screen you have.

Make sure you have an ice-bucket handy with some bottled water or other necessary mid-coital refreshment. Bonus points if you use the ice for more than keeping your beverage chilled.

The holiday celebration should include moderate sleeping in, fresh squeezed orange juice (and more champagne for Mimosas) and coffee along with an English muffin. Mrs. Hylas likes her muffin topped with slowly scrambled (small curd) eggs with a bit of grated Gruyère, finished with a touch of cream and topped with fresh chives and cracked pepper.
posted by Hylas at 11:45 AM on December 1, 2011

I think it would be fun and romantic to start by watching Like Water For Chocolate sipping wine and having some fun appetizer (maybe from Isabel Allende's Aphrodite?)

Then, eat a pre-prepared Like-Water-themed dinner! You could buy the novel that comes with the recipes of the film (but you can also find the recipes online). The now famous Quails in Rose Petal Sauce would be an obvious choice for main course -- I'd adjust the recipe to your taste, reading other quail/poultry recipes.

Get really great wine and champagne! They can help you to pair them up with your meal at your liquor store or internet forums. Any decadent chocolate dessert will do. At this point, you don't have to plan anything else, 'cause your plans will be abandoned anyway.
posted by TheGoodBlood at 12:09 PM on December 1, 2011

Might I suggest making homemade champagne cream puffs (disclaimer: self-link) for dessert? They taste super fantastic and also double as a great morning-after breakfast (not that I've done that...)
posted by geeky at 1:20 PM on December 1, 2011

10 bucks on movie rental
60 bucks on dinner ingredients (I'd also do a make ahead sit over night french toast and fresh squeezed orange juice for mimosas for the next morning)
50 bucks on a a bottle of wine and a bottle of champagne
250 bucks on in house massages
posted by beccaj at 1:33 PM on December 1, 2011

Fireplace ideas:

1. Fancy s'mores - use good chocolate or nutella or peanut butter cups, make your own graham crackers, get flavored gourmet marshmallows, or add fruit, caramel, or other toppings.

2. Write down wishes for the new year, or things you want to leave behind in the old year, whichever symbolism you like better, and throw them in the fire.
posted by songs about trains at 5:14 PM on December 1, 2011

I don't really have any good ideas other than that Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything" has suggested holiday menus (New Years Eve included) and his recipes tend to be simple and very good.

Nothing much else to say other than that I love that you're doing this. Sounds like something my boyfriend and I would enjoy (and we're in our early twenties, so go figure.)
posted by Emms at 5:29 PM on December 1, 2011

Two words: bouncy castle.
posted by sugarbomb at 5:43 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

miracle berry taste tripping with an assortment of fun fruits and other sour things.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:44 PM on December 1, 2011

Maybe spend a bit on a way to separate the computer desk from the rest of the bedroom - a little screen or build a cubicle of some sort? or one of those armoires that opens into a desk. Then you solve the problem of romantic bedroom for more than just one night.
posted by dawkins_7 at 7:08 AM on December 2, 2011

For your brunch the next day - buy a waffle maker! New year's resolution = eat more homemade waffles.
posted by hazyjane at 10:12 AM on December 2, 2011

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