Date Challenge: Cheap Date

When trying to find something to write about for our first blog post, we wanted to find something that would help you get to know us, something that was relatable, but also something fun. We wanted you to feel like you were joining us on our journey, as our friends or maybe even as our family. So we decided a challenge would be fun, it would allow you to join us and tell us what you did with your loved one. It would also help you get to know us, you would hear all the sweet, weird, and funny things we do together. It would also be relatable, since we have been together for almost 6 years now, we have a good idea of what married life is like. We live together, do everything together, and sometimes you just need to switch things up. To DATE each other again. So that was our challenge, come up with a themed date, do the challenge and tell you all about it, in hopes that you will take the challenge with us.

For our first challenge we decided to do a “Cheap Date.” We are on a tight budget because we are getting married. Weddings. Are. Expensive! So we needed to find a way to have fun, spend some quality time together, and not spend a single penny. Thats right, our budget for this date is $0.

When we started coming up with ideas for our $0 cheap date challenge, we had the idea of going to a park, the beach, or even to a library, but that would cost money. We only had a quarter of tank of gas, and we would have to stop at a gas station on the way! So those ideas were out. We started looking around our house and got an idea.

What do we already own that could make a fun date?

Well we found flour, eggs, and tomato paste, so we made homemade pasta. We put on our aprons, cleaned off the counter, and googled a dough recipe (below). We turned on some music, Zac’s favorite when cooking anything is Mambo Italiano (Renato Carosone version). We always laugh and goofy dance along to this song. It is something we have been doing since early on in our relationship, when we first made pizza with Zac’s family. We both come from Italian families so it is pretty fitting.

As we let the dough rise, we started on our pasta sauce. It is a secret family recipe from Shelby’s grandmother. The only ingredient we will tell you about is the bay leaf. Shelby’s family has a tradition of placing one bay leaf into the pasta sauce. Whoever ends up with the bay leaf on their plate, has to kiss the cook. It has been one of Shelby’s favorite traditions since she was a kid. It gets the entire family talking and asking, “who has the leaf?” It became a competition, that Shelby would almost always win.

Once the pasta sauce was cooking, we stood facing the counter rolling the dough together. You know, that moment you see in chic flics, when the guy comes up and hugs her from behind.  It is one of the most cliche things about couples cooking together, but to take a moment and actually enjoy the time you are having together, feeling each others warmth and love for one another, is such a beautiful moment. It is something we make sure to do each time we cook together. Whether we are cooking together for date night, or cooking for friends and family for a party, it is a moment of peace and makes time stop, allowing you to connect with the one you love.

After our time in the kitchen, we got to sit down and really enjoy our meal. Not only does it taste 100% better than boxed pasta and a jar of sauce, it is also more enjoyable knowing the effort that went into making dinner. The love and passion that we put in, made our conversation stronger than our typical last minute dinner. We actually took the time to eat slowly and enjoy each others presence.

We both agree that our Cheap Date Challenge was a success, it was something we both had fun doing, and will remember years from now. We are so excited to tell you all about our next date challenge, and hope that you will join in on the challenge with us! Please leave a comment or tag us on your date night so we can get to know you! #TheDateChallenge

This is the dough recipe we really enjoyed and found was the easiest to make:


  • 3 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


Mix eggs, flour, oil, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with your hands until a shaggy dough forms. Knead with dough hook until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rest at least 30 minutes.

Cut and roll as desired.

Do Ahead: Dough can be made 1 day ahead; tightly wrap and chill.


(We made meatballs as well! Yum!!)

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