Jennifer is a one in a million stay-at-home mom. (More like one OF a million stay at home moms!) She graduated from a liberal arts college but there is nothing liberal OR artsy about her. She is married to Kevin Fischer of This Just In, and together they have a beautiful young daughter Kyla Audrey. In no particular order she loves dogs, wine, a good bargain, her family, pizza, and entertaining. Follow her blog of all things miscellaneous including but not limited to cooking and baking, entertaining and party planning, being a mommy, and homekeeping.
I think I’ve mentioned “once or twice” that I enjoy entertaining and will find any reason to have friends & family over. The fall to winter holiday season offers many opportunities, and this year I decided to try something a little different. I hosted an afternoon cocoa & cookies party for mommies & kiddos. You really can’t go wrong with a few savory nibbles and a spread of sweets. I offered tortilla & deli meat pinwheels, PB sandwiches, and snowman noses (simply a dish of baby carrots.) Go figure, the kids barely looked at that side of the buffet. They were, however, MORE than happy to zero in on the crock pot full of steaming cocoa & toppings. Actually the mommies were just as eager to sip a mug and choose from the assortment that included North Pole cupcakes (pictured below,) brownie biscotti, pecan tassies, gingerbread bites, and meringue kisses.
The real star of the show, though, was the hot chocolate. We’re all used to that stuff from the blond girl in braids:
Once you have the real deal you’ll be hard-pressed to resort to a packet of powder & hot water. There are tons of recipes out there for crock pot hot chocolate. Needless to say, they all claim to be “the best” so that description didn’t really help me. I finally decided on one from Mrs. Happy Homemaker. (You’ll notice in her recipe post she even proudly claims, “This isn’t Swiss Miss.”)
I didn’t have a large gathering but towards the end of the afternoon I wondered to myself if I’d actually have enough to last. I offered mini marshmallows in regular and peppermint flavors, whipped cream, mini chocolate chips, white chocolate chips and cinnamon to sprinkle. (Note to self, next time remember to pick up some peppermint schnapps for the mommies in the group!) I’m happy to report that not only did I have enough to last, there was a mug full left for me to reheat today as I’m writing this blog.
Of course, I’m not one to be satisfied with baking all the treats myself, making the sandwiches and creating a cocoa feast. Half the fun for me is all the extra details that a styled party offers. I was thrilled to find an amazing set of printables and styling ideas from Catch My Party. Unfortunately I didn’t take the amount of time I would have liked to take more photos of the spread. The above cupcake was one of the few I managed. I really would like to know how these talented hostesses can cook, bake, entertain AND photograph their parties!
Throughout this blog I’ve been referring to my hot beverage as “hot cocoa” and not “hot chocolate.” While you might think it’s a “toMAYto, toMAHto” sort of thing, I really should have been calling it hot CHOCOLATE. Who knew?
This get-together tasted like a tradition has begun! Even if you don’t want to go all-out Martha for your gathering I HIGHLY suggest the recipe I used. It is so delicious it earned its own blog in the Ms. Elaine Kneeous line up. Made-from-scratch hot chocolate on a cold January day? MMM… You bet your brown milk mustache it’s a Culinary Yes Yes!
CULINARY YES YES BONUSES
As we still reminisce about 2013, here’s a local restaurant recap.
Take that, Starbucks.
The next time you wonder what your server wants to be when they “grow up” consider this.