I know many of you live in more temperate areas of the country, but here in New England it's still winter. That means it's time to decide whether the evening libation will be a nice warming glass of wine, or a hot cup of cocoa. Except that I no longer have to make that decision, Red Wine Hot Chocolate for the win!
I know what you're thinking, I recoiled a bit at first too, it just seems.....wrong.
The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that I love chocolate and wine, and chocolate and fruit...soooo....I mean it kinda makes sense...right?
I assure you it does. It's incredibly rich and decadent, it has a totally unique flavor, and it feels very festive. It's not for everyone, and it is a bit of an acquired taste, but once you start drinking it, it's so unique and different that you'll find yourself finishing the mug without thinking. So if you're brave and looking for something different this winter, read on!
I like to bring a hostess gift when I go to a party around the holidays. I feel like it's a nice gesture, and it's often unexpected. I'm always looking for ideas for these gifts, but I have to admit whenever I see a "hostess gift ideas" list, I always wonder...who are these people friends with? The gifts are often expensive (I saw one suggestion today for slippers that were $300), I mean they're hosting me for a party, not giving me lodging for a whole year. Some of them are just odd (seriously...a hair dryer?) I don't want to weird anyone out, just let them know I'm grateful for their efforts.
I've rounded up a few tried and true hostess gifts. They are inexpensive, and some you can even grab on the way to the party. I've added some that you've seen before, but tried to give you some tips about how to freshen them up a bit.
I'm sure a lot of great chefs draw inspiration from amazing trips, delectable dinners at swanky restaurants, and of course seasonal ingredients. I'm also sure that a lot of them stumble upon a delicious concoction because their significant other randomly declares that he wants hot chocolate and while they would love to make some, they have been dragging their heels to go to the grocery store and cupboards are.. well bare to say the least.
Well not bare exactly, we have truffle butter, three types of gouda, pear balsamic vinegar and figs. We just don't have any...you know... normal food...like Swiss Miss.
When possible I like to make homemade hot chocolate anyways, so I was hoping I had some bakers chocolate stored somewhere, no such luck. I was about to tell bf he was out of luck when I found Nutella stuffed behind some boxes of pasta (oh yeah, we had that too). So I gave it a think, and decided that not only would I make some good hot chocolate, but I would make the bomb-diggity-best thing you ever drank hot chocolate. Okay, I may be overselling it, but seriously, it was good. I gathered up what I had on hand, and the result was a phenominally rich and decadent chocolatty, nutty, boozy, butterscotchy (or if your bf pepperminty) treat.
Ah New England, the region of the country where you go from the sweet sun of summer to the golden leaves of fall. Soft snow falls on Christmas Eve and crisp rains and green plants welcome the Spring. I am so fortunate to live in a place where we get all four seasons.....(insert record screech sound).....yeah right. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE that we get all four seasons, but it's not like they are all given equal dispersement across the months. The reality is that we have winter for about half the year, and then the other three seasons split the remaining half. What this means is that most of my existence is spent in colder weather. It's fine when you get crisp fall nights to roast marshmallows on the fire pit, but it's not so great when it's pitch black at 4:30 pm every night. The desire to eat comfort foods increases significantly. I am always on the hunt for good, hearty, yet modern recipes for the cold weather, you can only eat so much meatloaf and beef stew.