Double couple competition: How to put on a cooking challenge evening

Modern Solutions for Modern Problems: Double Date Ideas, from the team at Couplr

Double Date Ideas, from the team at Couplr

Double date ideasIf you’re like most long-term couples, you are probably well past the honeymoon phase of your relationship. Thus, you have likely experienced the unavoidable “married life” rut. The good news is there are many ways to keep it alive and thriving, with one of them being…you guessed it! Double Dating.

According to a study in Science Daily, double dating can be a great way to reignite passion for your significant other. Having another couple to share personal details with has been proven to help make you feel closer to your partner.

Let’s face it, passion is one of the first things to go in a long-term relationship. It takes a lot of work to keep the passion train going. Not surprisingly, the antidote to breaking that “dry spell” is introducing new options.

So how exactly can you strengthen the bond with your partner via double dating? Glad you asked. See below for two expert tips.

Indoor Double Date Ideas

Play the question game

This tactic has the power to solidify a couple’s unity and increase partners’ attraction to one another. On your next date night, ask everyone in your group questions like, “Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?” or “If you could go back in your life and change any one experience, what would it be and why?”. If you would rather stick to small talk, you can try questions like “When was the last time you walked for more than an hour?”.

Get Out

The typical couple spends their free time “staying in”, which can get pretty boring. Setting the commitment and feeling the pressure to make a “night out” worthwhile pushes you to try things outside of your comfort zone. Most of the time, it ends with you having a genuinely good time. Not only will you get to reconnect with old friends or make new ones, but it may be good for your relationship!

Introducing new experiences with another couple does not only break the every-day mold. Such interactions have been proven to help us perceive our relationship in a whole new light. While most of our day-to-day interactions are now online, our double dating life doesn’t need to be. Oftentimes, couples may want to hang out with others, but they run into decision-making fatigue and are not quite sure what to do. So here are some suggestions!

Put together a cooking challenge at your home!

Double couple competition, double date ideasIf you and your couple friends are foodies, or just enjoy watching any of the myriad cooking shows on television these days, why not throw a mystery ingredient cooking challenge party?

Cooking challenge shows vary in their rules and complexity, so if there is a particular program that you love, feel free to adapt it to your liking. The plan laid out below allows for some friendly competition for a group of four. If you prefer your competition a little more cutthroat, invite a few more friends over to serve as judges.

The rules

Each person is responsible for one dish: appetizer, entrée, side dish, dessert. Depending on the size and functionality of your kitchen, you can either all cook at the same time, two at a time, or one at a time.

The catch

Each individual will need to use a provided set of mystery ingredients to make their dish. You and your friends can decide how best to do this – will one person do all the shopping, or will each person create a mystery ingredient bag for a particular course?

To keep it fun and manageable for everyone, don’t make your mystery ingredients too outlandish, or too disparate. A combination of shrimp, navel oranges, cocoa powder, and bok choy? Challenging, but doable. Rocky road ice cream, anchovies, turnips, and eggs? Maybe not so much.

Tips for success

Engaging with Other CouplesMake sure your kitchen is well-stocked.  You’ll want a good selection of cookware as well as butter, oil, salt, pepper, and spices. You may want to have staples on hand like Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, flour, cornstarch, and lemons. The more you have to work with, the more creative you can be! And don’t forget to plan for some fun cocktails or mocktails. You’ll need something to wash down the culinary masterpieces!

Don’t forget to plate your dishes – after all, cooking show judges never fail to penalize bad presentation.  Then sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labors while you make your critiques (gently, now!). Since this is all for fun, the losers need not pack their knives and go. But you might want to make them do the dishes!

Play a new (board) game!

There’s ALWAYS a new game on the market you’ve been wanting to try. Why not now? When else do you have countless hours on your hands to actually experiment with a new game?! Find it online, order it, and spend a few hours learning how to play it. Who knows – maybe you’ll become masters at it! Here are some fun games to play with multiple people:

    1. Apples to Apples
    2. Cards Against Humanity
    3. What do you Meme?
    4. Settlers of Catan
    5. Monopoly
    6. Clue
    7. Code Names
    8. Charades
    9. Pictionary
    10. Never Have I Ever

board game

Host a movie night!

We’ve all got that never-ending “to-watch” list. Sometimes, watching them with others is more fun than watching them alone! We’re sure that every couple has one. Why not share your list with another couple and find a movie or two (or five, we won’t judge) to binge-watch your night away together? Don’t forget to warm up your home and stock up on popcorn and hot chocolate!

Movie night

Outdoor Double Date Ideas

Attend a beer-brewing class!

When winter just won’t go away, and spring seems just a distant dream, it can be hard to drag yourself and your significant other out of the doldrums. You may find yourself hibernating indoors, doing the same old things. But that’s no way to spend the prime years of your life!

If you’re looking to shake things up, we recommend taking your next double date to a beer brewing class. Learn something new, and a few weeks later, you can open up a bottle of home brew and toast to your friendship – and your new hobby.

There are several options for brewing classes in the Chicago area.

The Pursuit Supply Company

Outdoor Double Date IdeasThe Pursuit Supply Company at 4316 W. Irving Park Road stocks supplies for all your quirky food-related DIY hobbies, and they also offer classes. In addition to beer brewing, you can take classes in photography, wine-making and coffee roasting!

Brew & Grow

Brew & Grow (3625 N. Kedzie Avenue) offers both beginning home brewer classes and advanced classes, should you decide this is a pastime you’d like to get explore further.

Gnome Brew

At Gnome Brew, 2026 W. Montrose Avenue, you can learn to brew your own beer in just one hour. If you really want to geek out on home brewing, you can also keep your eye on the shop’s events calendar for free public lectures. Other events include the home brew bottle share meet-ups they host on the second Thursday of every month.

Make It The Best

And if you’re looking for a memorable and light-hearted Valentine’s Day double date, Make It The Best at 9030 S. Hermitage Avenue has you covered with an evening of winemaking, dinner, and dancing on February 14. The shop also offers beer brewing and wine-making classes throughout the year.

Enjoy a great activity with friends and stock your fridge with drinks for the next get-together at the same time!

Take a food tour!

Chicago is well known for its extensive range of cuisine. While there are many well known stops, a lot of the best eateries are hidden away and hard to find without guidance. Taking one of the many famous food tours around the Chicago area can help you discover new favorites that you will keep coming back too, and who doesn’t love sharing the experience of good food?

Food tour, double date ideas
Image taken from chicagofoodplanet.com

Chicago Food Planet Tours

Chicago Food Planet Tours are critically acclaimed by sources like USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, and Bon Appetit. They have a range of different tours for you to choose from that include everything from tours of the West Loop to a Chinatown tour. These tours range anywhere from $50 per adult to $75 per adult, and take anywhere from about 2-3 hours. These are pretty extensive tours, with some of them taking you to 5 different locations!

Bobby’s Bike Hike

Private tour,, double date ideas
Image taken from bobbysbikehike.com

Are you and your double date looking for a bit more activity in your day? Bobby’s Bike Hike provides food tours both in a walking format and a biking format. One of their better known options is the Bikes, Bites & Brews tours that they provide, which are 4 hour 12-13 mile trips! Their walking tours are often within the 1-1.5 mile range, which makes them accessible to any level of physical fitness. The prices of these tours vary from $48.75 per adult to $69.75 per adult. They also offer private tours, if that is more your style.

Rebecca Wheeler’s Tours

If you and your double date are looking for something led by a specialist, Rebecca Wheeler’s tours are exquisite. Rebecca Wheeler is a traveler and a cooking instructor. She can lead you through Chicago’s neighborhoods and share her deep knowledge into the culture and history of the food and locations that you visit. All of these tours are private, which makes them much more intimate than a large group tour. Currently Rebecca offers tours of Argyle (Southeast Asian cuisine), Chinatown (Chinese cuisine), and Devon (Indian and Pakistani cuisine). For 4 adults, the price per adult would be $93.75, but this price lowers for every adult you bring with you!

Chicago Walks, double date ideas
Image taken from chicagofoodwalks.com

Geek out at the Adler Planetarium!

Adler After Dark

The Adler Planetarium hosts a popular 21+ event once a month that transforms the museum into a prime adult entertainment hotspot. You are allowed to peruse the museum itself in the company of other adults rather than the rambunctious families that usually occupy the space. If you have never been to the planetarium, they have a large variety of exhibits that are all expertly designed. The Astronomy in Culture exhibit takes you through the history of astronomy and teaches you about old tools like the astrolabe and how people used them before navigational technology existed.

Adler Planetarium
Image taken from adlerplanetarium.org

 

 

 

 

Chicago’s Night Sky

Another popular exhibit is Chicago’s Night Sky. It focuses on the problem of light pollution and how we can change our design philosophies to lessen the problem. This area includes the Historic Atwood Sphere that lets you see what the night sky would have looked like in 1913 without any light pollution. The Atwood Sphere is also the oldest planetarium on exhibit and recently got refurbished. Other popular attractions at the Adler Planetarium includes the Clark Family Welcome Gallery, the Community Design Labs, and the Doane Observatory. You also have access to unlimited sky shows in one of their state-of-the-art theaters.

Other Adler Events

Along with all of these great exhibits, the Adler Planetarium hosts live entertainment, lectures, and special guests depending on the theme of the month. They also provide themed alcoholic beverages, as well as food from their café. The food isn’t your usual basic fare. They often have an impressive menu including a hotbar stew, soup, and daily specials that range from turkey and goat cheese wraps to astro burgers. The price of these tickets are $25.00 per adult, but if you happen to be a member, they are only $12.50.

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Helping Others

Helping Others: 5 Tips for Staying Sane through the Process

It’s summer, the weather is beautiful, and you want to be hanging out with your loved ones. Only, the coronavirus is still out there.

It can be easy to get down in the dumps about social distancing. If we’re not careful, the strain can really take its toll. We’ve brought you ideas for socializing from a distance, taking care of yourself, and using creativity to bolster your relationships.

As the pandemic continues, here are a few more ideas to help you get through this time by helping others. Read on for our top 5 ideas for staying sane while giving back.

1 Write a letter

An actual handwritten letter put in an envelope with a stamp on it. Letters are rare these days. How excited would you be to find one in your mailbox? That’s what we thought. Write to a friend or family member and make their day.

Helping Others

2 Donate

You can donate your time or your resources. UChicagoMedicine has a list of places that can use donations including food, supplies, and even blood, which is needed now more than ever

3 Pick up trash.

There might not be as much of it lying around as during a normal summer, but beautifying your neighborhood’s parks and green spaces is a great way to give back while staying socially distant.

4 Check in on your friends and neighbors

Especially the elderly and those who live alone. You never know what someone might be going through. Your phone call or email could lift someone’s spirits on a difficult day.

5 Volunteer

Food banks and other community organizations always need volunteers. Social services around the country have been working overtime to provide food to families whose children depend on school meals for nutrition, and they are in need of volunteers. Spending a few hours helping others will help lift your spirits amid uncertainty.

Sometimes looking out for others is a form of self-care. We hope these tips have given you ideas for taking care of your community and yourself at the same time. Stay well and healthy.

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Double couple competition: How to put on a cooking challenge evening

Double Couple Competition: How to Put on a Cooking Challenge Evening

Double couple competition

Do you and your partner love to cook? If you and your couple friends are foodies, or just enjoy watching any of the myriad cooking shows on television these days, why not throw a mystery ingredient cooking challenge party?

Cooking challenge shows vary in their rules and complexity, so if there is a particular program that you love, feel free to adapt it to your liking. The plan laid out below allows for some friendly, mild competition for a group of four. If you prefer your competition a little more cutthroat, invite a few more friends over to serve as judges.

The rules

Each person is responsible for one dish: appetizer, entrée, side dish, dessert. Depending on the size and functionality of your kitchen, you can either all cook at the same time, two at a time, or one at a time.

The catch

Each individual will need to use a provided set of mystery ingredients to make their dish. You and your friends can decide how best to do this – will one person do all the shopping, or will each person create a mystery ingredient bag for a particular course?

To keep it fun and manageable for everyone, don’t make your mystery ingredients too outlandish, or too disparate. A combination of shrimp, navel oranges, cocoa power and bok choy? Challenging but doable. Rocky road ice cream, anchovies, turnips and eggs? Maybe not so much. 

Tips for success

Make sure your kitchen is well-stocked.  You’ll want a good selection of cookware as well as butter, oil, salt, pepper and spices. You may want to have staples on hand like Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, flour, corn starch and lemons. The more you have to work with, the more creative you can be! And don’t forget to plan for some fun cocktails or mocktails. You’ll need something to wash down the culinary masterpieces! 

Don’t forget to plate your dishes – after all, cooking show judges never fail to penalize bad presentation.  Then sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labors while you make your critiques (gently, now!). Since this is all for fun, the losers need not pack their knives and go. But you might want to make them do the dishes!

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