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Hot Cocoa and Apple Cider Bar

EASY Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

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Hot Cocoa and Apple Cider BarEASY Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

You too can set up an easy Hot Cocoa bar — really you can! I will show you how.  In fact, you can simply have hot water and the dry mixes and that would be really fun too. 

Wondering when to have it?  It’s always a good time!  

Stan and I have done 30 Open House style Dinners I believe, but we decided to do a Hot Cocoa Bar this time, and it turned out fabulous, or I should say scrumptious.

So who do you invite?  

Well, you could invite your family, or your friends, or what about your neighbors?

We decided to put the word out there, but to make sure that every single house in our neighborhood – all 171 was invited.

Did people come?  YEP!

How did we do it?  We asked for help of course and you should too!  I’ll tell you more about that.

I’ve also included tips and recipes, just in case you might want them:) Click on any blue for easy linking

Let’s get this delicious party started:

To begin: we got hold of some really inexpensive Chinese take-out containers like these HERE

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa bar

Then we filled them with my yummy White Chocolate Covered Corn Pops.  You can find the recipe HERE

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

We had some help as I mentioned, because angels always come to our rescue.  Natalie, who has a FB page HERE  made the adorable tags.  She  makes all sorts of cards and tags that are handcrafted, unique, each one extraordinary and always special gifts.  Make sure to check out her page!

 

 

Our neighbors, more angels; Bret & Teresa Cutler and their sons, helped us deliver almost all of them after Stan and I put them together.

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

For the BIG event I made my Crock Pot Creamy Hot Chocolate.  It’s so easy and you can find it HERE  I did make a change of part semi-sweet chocolate chips and part milk chocolate chips so it was not too sweet or too dark of a flavor for the add-ins/mix-in’s.  (See the notes at the bottom.)

This thermos kept the drinks perfectly warm and it didn’t pick up the taste of either the hot chocolate OR the cider either – at least not in my situation. 

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

eighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

And I also made my Caramel Apple Cider, the recipe is HERE

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

I didn’t want to exclude anyone, so I had hot water in the 2 thermos’s and Steven’s Milk Hot Chocolate which is gluten-free.

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Now for the FUN part!  I had add-in’s or mix-in’s you may call them.   (You can click on the links for easy ordering) 

You simply can’t have a Hot Cocoa Bar without marshmallows!

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

For the paper products we found these awesome cups.  You can get some like it, WITH the little stirrers HERE

Don’t forget the Napkins!

 

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

And of course you MUST have Spray Whipped Cream in the can for the Caramel Apple Cider AND the Hot Cocoa!

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

The drinks kept extremely well in the Igloo Jugs, which you can find HERE

Oh, and I mentioned, I use my fabulous thermos all the time to keep water and drinks hot, like I did for the party, or when we go out to events and activities – you will find one HERE

Now, to save you frustration and calculations, for a party of 75-85 people, and some people had both kinds of drinks; while others had many ‘tries’ of hot cocoa flavors too:)

  • I used only one bottle of all the syrups, the larger one of the chocolate
  • 3 bags of miniature marshmallows
  • 4 cans of spray whipped cream
  • 1/4 can of Stevens hot chocolate mix
  • 1 – 1/4 can bag of heath toffee bits
  • about 1 1/2 cups total of crushed candy canes
  • 1/4 cup approximately of Mexican vanilla
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of orange and almond extract

 

TIPS:

  • Put towels on the floor to absorb any drips from the Igloo jug
  • Garbage cans around to collect the empty cups, spoons and napkins.  We line 5 gallon buckets and have around the rooms.
  • Have a bowl of ice for parents to put in their kids cups if the drink liquid is too hot.

 

I will give you the formula that I used for making large batches of the Creamy Crock Pot Hot Chocolate and the Caramel Apple Cider.  I made it the day before, kept it cold and then warmed it slowly over the stove and poured it into the Igloo jugs.  The jugs kept the drinks much hotter than I expected, so warm it just a little hotter than you would drink it if it will be used within 4-5 hours.

This is what I needed with a little left over for 75-85 people, kids and adults included:

 

CREAMY CROCK POT HOT COCOA  

4 quarts or 2 half gallons half and half

8 cans sweetened condensed milk

3 gallons of whole milk

1/4 cup vanilla (I like the Mexican vanilla)

3 packages  semisweet chocolate chips

5 packages of milk chocolate chips

Full recipe instructions are HERE

 

CARAMEL APPLE CIDER 

3 recipes of cinnamon syrup*

9 quarts apple juice ( not apple cider)

6 envelopes dry spiced cider drink mix

1  1/2 cups caramel sundae topping (use one 14 oz. bottle and that’s perfect)

Follow recipe instructions HERE

 

I hope you get a chance to have family, friends and even YOUR neighbors over for a hot cocoa bar and maybe you’ll want the caramel cider too. 

Here are all my hot drinks so far that I have created that are family friendly and delicious. Simply click on the picture and it will take you there!

9 Fabulous Family Friendly Hot Drinks

 9 Fabulous Family Friendly Hot Drinks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carrie Groneman’s recipes

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2017

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

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9 Family Friendly Hot Drinks

BEST Non Alcoholic Family-Friendly Hot Drinks

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9 Fabulous Family Friendly Hot DrinksI have been working hard for you to put together a collection of hot drinks that are family friendly; drinks that everyone can enjoy.  These are not the usual packets that come in a box, nor the taste by a long shot either.  I wanted to bring you a collection of some instant that you can make ahead to mix with hot water in a hurry. I also have some unique drinks such as the hot buttered rum drink that is made from a batter you keep in the freezer.  The salted caramel hot chocolate rivals anything you can purchase, believe me, and try it with smoked salt…oohh, now that’s a treat.  I have links here on the following pages for each of the drinks shown.  They are listed from 1 to 9 though they are all favorites. I hope you enjoy them – we sure have!

BEST Non Alcoholic Family-Friendly Hot Drinks

#1 This Caramel Apple Cider is my copycat version of Starbucks.  Recipe HERE

Carrie's Caramel Apple Cider #2 My mom made a mix when I was growing up, then I made it for my kids.  I kicked it up a notch and came up with this Extraordinary Instant Hot Cocoa Mix.  Recipe HEREExtraordinary Instant Hot Cocoa Mix

#3 This homemade Gourmet Hot Chocolate earns its name fair and square.  Recipe HEREHot Chocolate 1

#4 BEST Instant White Cocoa Mix is so good and can be made up ahead to have on hand for when you want a wonderful cup of cocoa. Recipe HERE

???????????????????????????????????? #5 This Cozy Vanilla Drink is sophisticated and has a depth of aroma that is so satisfying.  Recipe HERE Cozy Vanilla Drink 1 #6 When you want something easy, but delicious, this CREAMY CrockPot Hot Chocolate is perfect.  Recipe HERECreamy CrockPot Hot Cocoa



#7 This exotic hot chocolate is incomparable to any other in its distinctive and authentic flavor.  It has a perfect balance of a bit of sweet and an amazing flavor. Click HERE for recipe.

Authentic Homemade Mexican Hot Chocolate

Homemade Authentic Mexican Hot Chocolate

#8 My Gourmet Salted Hot Chocolate, in my humble opinion rivals any you will buy in a shop.  Recipe HEREGourmet Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate#9 This hot Buttered Rum drink is nonalcoholic and very unique and wonderful.  Recipe HERENonalcoholic Buttered Rum Drink

Creamy CrockPot Hot Cocoa 1

Creamy CrockPot Hot Cocoa

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Creamy CrockPot Hot Cocoa 1

This is easy-peasy no hastle, put it all together and let it go hot chocolate, but the taste is scrumptious!  It really is amazing for such and no-fuss recipe.  I have options you might like also, as well as ideas for a hot chocolate bar for a party or get-together.

CREAMY CrockPot Hot Cocoa

Ingredients:

1 pint half and half

14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk

6 cups of whole milk for richer flavor

1  1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 package chocolate chips – milk or semi sweet; your preference (you could get adventurous and mix in some mint chocolate chips, butterscotch chips or even substitute white chocolate chips)


Directions:

Pour all the ingredients into a crock pot. 

Stir together, combing well. Creamy CrockPot Hot Cocoa 2Cover and cook on low for approximately 2-3 hours. Creamy CrockPot Hot Cocoa 3Occasionally stir until the mixture is hot and the chocolate chips are melted.   Whisk or stir well before serving.  Creamy CrockPot Hot Cocoa 4

This would be a fun one to have a few kinds going in crockpots and then several options for garnish such as: marshmallows, whipped cream, crushed candy canes, heath bits, crushed cookies, flavored syrups – let your imagination go wild and have FUN!

Carrie Groneman’s recipe, Copyright A Mother’s Shadow, 2016

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.


Authentic Homemade Mexican Hot Chocolate

Authentic Homemade Mexican Hot Chocolate

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    Mexican Hot Chocolate 1

This exotic hot chocolate is incomparable to any other in its distinctive and authentic flavor.  It has a perfect balance of a bit of sweet and an amazing flavor that comes from the Mexican Hot Chocolate Drink Tablets.  Those little tablets are so good, that a bit of taste- testing is in order, trust me.  

The cinnamon sticks give a bright undertone to the drink that’s screams foreign lands. I would recommend taking the cinnamon out after 10 minutes or so.  Some of us have a problem with too much cinnamon, and that is a ‘just-right-amount’ for the discrimination palate.

Now, for the chipotle powder.  Do not be afraid of it, please trust me on this.  I like flavor, not heat just for the sake of  having hot in my food. You just need a few pinches and it highlights the the entire Mexican Hot Chocolate to an out of this world experience.  You will LOVE this very special hot chocolate.




Mexican Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:

4 cups whole milk

5-6 oz of Mexican Hot Chocolate Drink Tablets, chopped into small pieces – these are found in the Latino or Mexican section of the grocery stores

2   3″ cinnamon sticks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3-4 pinches of chipotle powder, start with 2 and add, but allow time for the flavors to marry before adding more




Directions:

In a medium sized pan, over medium heat, add the Mexican chocolate, cinnamon sticks, vanilla extract and chipotle powder.     Mexican Hot Chocolate 2Pour in the milk and whisk, or stirring briskly, constantly, heat mixture through melting the chocolate; using care not to scorch the milk.  Allow mixture to simmer on low for 10 minutes.Mexican Hot Chocolate 4

Mexican Hot Chocolate 3Remove cinnamon sticks.  Mexican Hot Chocolate 3

Froth by whisking by hand or with a hand wand and serve if desired for an authentic way of serving this drink.

Carrie Gronemans recipe, Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2016.

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.


Salted Carmel Hot Chocolate

Gourmet Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

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Salted Carmel Hot Chocolate

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate is all the rage with every specialty shop touting the ir recipe is great.  Well, I have to tell you, I seriously don’t think you will find a better one than this. It’s not difficult at all to make.  The dutch cocoa brings a gourmet flavor to the drink.  And the hazelnut syrup adds a nuttiness that is one of those ‘hhmm, what is that delicious ingredient’ questions.  

Now for the salt.  It’s very common to use coarse sea salt, but my neighbor Jeremy generously gave me some mesquite smoked sea salt to try with the caramel hot chocolate as an experiment. Cups lined up, we tried some with the sea salt and some with the mesquite smoked salt.  We were very pleasantly surprised at how much we loved the smoked salt.  It brought out an entirely different flavor and YUMMY – you’ve got to try it!  There are so many salts to try that will have a blast with this drink and impress your family and guests immensely.



 

Gourmet Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

Ingredients: 

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder

1  1/3 cup half and half

3/4 cup caramel topping

2 Tablespoons caramel syrup

2 teaspoons toasted hazelnut syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups whole milk

Additions: Canned spray whipped cream,   caramel sauce in a squeeze bottle coarse sea salt, mesquite smoked sea salt and other Kinds would be fun to try.


Directions:

In a medium saucepan, stir together the brown sugar, salt, cocoa powder and half & half.  Over medium heat, stirring constantly bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute.DSC_0124After 1 minute of a simmer, add in the caramel topping, syrups and extract and bring back to a simmer and still stirring constantly, simmer for 1 more minute.DSC_0127After the second minute of simmer, which allows the flavors to marry, add in the milk and bring to heat, but do not bring to a boil.  

Warm to desired taste for serving.DSC_0132


Fill a mug about 2/3 of the way full with the gourmet hot chocolate. Then spray generously with spray whipped cream. Next drizzle with caramel sauce. Top with just put in a few pinches of coarse sea salt to your taste and stir it in for best result. Be a bit adventurous and try smoked sea salt.  

It is an amazing journey for your taste buds!

Carrie Gronemans recipe, Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2016.
Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.


Attack of the Pumpkins

Attack of the Pumpkins

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Kimber & Derek

Attack of the Pumpkins aka Derek Strikes

This is a picture of Derek and his daughter.  You can see the mischief in his eyes…He can find anything pretty much you hide from him and smell chocolate no matter how you seal it up in:)  He’s a character and a true joy.  This is one of our many stories of him. I have kids that are extremely full of life, fun, tease a lot and love a good practical joke. There is one though (uuhhmm…Derek) who is exceptionally practiced at the craft; I will tell you more about that another time, but for today it is, dum dum dum  —- the. . .



Pumpkin Attack

Halloween time of 2012 we arrived home very late at night, very tired, wanting only to go to bed.  However, as we pulled onto our street, and the headlights shone into the dark driveway, we could see that the entire length of the car garage was lined with pumpkins. What?!?  For tired, worn out bodies we couldn’t decide if we wanted to strangle whomever did this, or laugh.  We laughed while getting out of the car and moving all, ALL, of these pumpkins so we could pull the car in….geez, who does that?!? Suspicions were high, but no retaliation was planned. . . Yet.

Then Halloween (2013) we came home to pumpkins EVERYWHERE.   Halloween PrankNow I’m talking everywhere. IMG_3588Seriously, they were in the pantry, all the way up the stairs and landing, in the microwave, the dryer,
IMG_3581the bathrooms – IMG_3584
even HIDING in the bathrooms!IMG_3585Stan was quite creative with what to do with all those pumpkins. I still think we should have insisted the little trick or treat-ors take a pumpkin with our treat, lol

Thank you Mr. Farmer who was giving away free pumpkins…..HAPPY HALLOWEEN from A Mother’s Shadow!

You can read about our revenge…hahahahaha….HERE

 

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2013

Recognize a Blessing and Be A Blessing Today

 




Hot Chocolate

Gourmet Homemade Hot Chocolate

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Gourmet Homemade Hot Chocolate

Gourmet Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

 This homemade Gourmet Hot Chocolate is easy and absolutely delectable.  There’s nothing that compares with the texture, smooth and creamy rich taste of a cooked hot chocolate versus an instant and it is really worth the few minutes it takes to cook.  Give this fabulous hot chocolate a try.  Serve with chocolate chips, crushed candy canes, marshmallows, heath-bits, flavored syrups, anything your heart desires as stir-ins.  

GOURMET HOMEMADE HOT CHOCOLATE

Ingredients:

1/3  cup brown sugar 1/4  cup dutch processed cocoa powder

1/8  tsp. salt

1 1/3 cup half and half

3 cups whole milk

1 tsp. vanilla

Optional:

whipped cream

marshmallows

candy sticks

vanilla ice cream

syrups  




Directions:

Stir together sugar, cocoa and salt in a medium saucepan; add half and half.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Simmer 2 minutes, still stirring constantly.????????????????????????????????????After the 2 minutes, add the milk.  Stirring constantly, heat to desired serving temperature. Do NOT boil after adding the milk.????????????????????????????????????When warm enough to your taste, remove cocoa from heat, add vanilla; whisk or beat until frothy and serve with desired toppings.

Carrie Gronemans recipe, Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2013, 2016

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today. 

 




Frozen Hot Chocolate

Frozen Hot Chocolate

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Frozen Hot Chocolate

Frozen Hot Chocolate

   My cousin Allene gave me this terrific recipe and I’ll bet you will love it too!

   Her kids and grandkids ask for this to cool down….ok, they want it all year long, it’s that good.

Join in the FUN and receive my FREE printable Kitchen Conversion Chart HERE

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Frozen Hot Chocolate

Combine in a blender:

1/3 – 1/2 cup chocolate syrup

1 tsp. vanilla 1 cup evaporated milk   (that is canned milk, but not sweetened condensed milk)

3 cups ice cubes Serve and enjoy!  

Recipe by Allene Voreis,

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mothers’ Shadow, 2013

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Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.