Nutella Hot Chocolate… Need I say more…
I’ve seen this rendition of Hot Chocolate done all over the web and in a variety of different ways. I tried it out once last year, then again the next day… then again the following day… and well… it’s a new year and a new winter season is practically among us! So without further ado… I give you one of the simplest and tastiest versions of the Nutella Hot Chocolate craze. Enjoy!
- 4 cups whole milk / low fat / skim milk
- ½ cup Nutella
- Heat milk in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.
- Once milk is nice and warm, add the Nutella and whisk until dissolved and combined.
- Bring the heat down to a simmer and stir for about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Serve with any of the desired toppings listed above.
Lastly, cuddle up on the sofa with your boo-thang and savor the flavor.
It’s been a little over a month since Jan and I moved into our new place. After taking some time to settle in we finally had our housewarming. Nothing too big or fancy… but still full of love and lots of laughs. Here are some tips on preparing for a small… a.k.a. **funsized** housewarming/event.
1-2 WEEKS PRIOR TO THE HOUSEWARMING
- SEND THE INVITE: After you’ve decided on the date and time of your housewarming, determine how many guests you can accommodate and send out the invite. For something as casual as mine, creating an informal Facebook Event is invitation enough. One good feature of a Facebook Event is the ability to see guests accept or decline their invitation in real time. This makes it easier to keep track and refer to the number of guests you can anticipate attending. Another great thing about this modern invitation approach is that guests can post their questions and comments in one place for all to see. This decreases the amount of repetitive questions that you may grow tired of answering. If it’s open for all guests to see, there is no reason you should have to answer the same question twice. If you’re going for something a little more formal, the traditional approach of mailing out invitations is always a great way to add a personal touch. You’d definitely have to do this 2-3 weeks before the party… so hop to it! Be sure to provide a postage stamp with your invitation if you prefer that guests mail back their RSVP, or at the very least provide a phone number or email address where guests can RSVP.
- PLAN THE MENU: Normally when my husband and I have get togethers with our family and friends we have pot lucks to take the load off of meal prepping. This time around we were feeling a little more generous, so we decided to do all of the cooking. We only asked that our guests bring adult beverages to share. We went with an Asian inspired dinner menu – chicken lettuce wraps, Asian meatballs, chow mein, honey walnut shrimp, fried tofu and Asian salad. For dessert we made homemade pineapple upside-down cupcakes using the recipe from one of my previous posts. Unfortunately I did not get to take pictures of our buffet table before people started to indulge. Hopefully the pictures I have here of the honey walnut shrimp and pineapple upside-down cupcakes are enough to express how good everything else looked and tasted!
1 WEEK BEFORE THE HOUSEWARMING
- CLEAN: Get some cleaning done early by putting away things that you don’t want your guests to see and/or touch. Be sure to make your place kid friendly if you are expecting guests to bring their little ones along. About 5 of my nieces and nephews came to my housewarming. I wasn’t sure if they’d have much fun in a small apartment, but they found ways of entertaining themselves. They even managed to play a few rounds of hide and seek for a little while… which I thought was odd… this is just a 2×2 apartment we’re talking about. When the night was over I did find that my closet had been ransacked and my shoe rack knocked over and dented! Luckily my husband was able to pop the bars on my shoe rack back into place the next day… otherwise those little rascals would’ve had some explaining to do. Hahah!
- MILD DECORATING: Do just enough decorating so that it appears that you actually live there! Put away all moving boxes and unfinished household projects, hang a few pictures on the walls or set some up on a shelf, maybe light a few candles to set the mood, and remember that plants are always a great way to bring freshness inside a home and can even double as a statement piece (I’ll be sharing some of my DIY decor projects in later posts). Jan and I spent the first month in our apartment preparing our living and dining spaces. Our goal was to make those spaces as complete as possible before we started inviting guests over. We always want people to feel welcome and comfortable in our home, and I believe we achieved just that at our housewarming. Guests complemented our modern yet cozy style, so I was happy! Though our bedrooms we’re unfinished, we still showed them to our guests during the tour of our home. This was just to show the little bit of progress we had made in those areas. After all, a housewarming is about sharing your home… all that is finished and all that is still a work in progress. Plus, you never know… by sharing what you plan to do with an unfinished space a guests just might have a helpful suggestion to share. I am however a private person, so I don’t feel that sharing my bedrooms are necessary anytime after the housewarming. In other words, if you want to show off all of your rooms at a later time when everything is complete, by all means go for it! Just know that it is not required, and that it is perfectly okay to keep a closed door policy on rooms that you’d like to keep private.
- SHOP: Make your list and check it twice! Be sure to shop for all utensils, table settings, cooking supplies and ingredients, etc. Jan and I also used this time to borrow a foldaway table and food warming trays from my mother in law as part of our buffet style dining.
DAY OF THE HOUSEWARMING:
- MEAL PREP: Prep your meals early in the day so that when it gets closer to the time your guests will arrive you can just pop things in the oven and set the tables. The food will still be fresh and warm by the time all of your guests arrive.
- SET UP + FRESHEN UP: Jan and I left the dinner table completely clear so that people could eat comfortably, and we set up a second table to display the food. A center piece wasn’t really necessary for our type of crowd. We knew that playing cards and games would come out at some point and that the centerpiece would just get pushed off to the side anyway… so at least we saved on floral. I’d recommend a centerpiece for a nice dinner, but if you just plan on partying it up, less is always more!
- HAVE FUN: After all the hustle and bustle of planning and preparing for your housewarming, grab a drink to unwind and enjoy the company that came out to celebrate the next step in your life. Whether your new place is a small apartment or a huge house, it is still the place that you will call home. Getting people together to celebrate, bring joy, and create memories in your new home is always a must.
Share your own housewarming experiences and tips here!
“Do what makes you happy, be with those who make you smile, and laugh as much as you breathe.” – Unknown
Thought I’d share one of my new favorite cake recipes. I found this one on averiecooks.com. I baked this delicious Pineapple Upside-Down cake the other day for my mother-in-law’s birthday and she loved it! Well… everyone loved it! It was a breeze to make and a treat to eat. Check out the full recipe below, or here.
**CAUTION: If using a springform pan keep in mind that it may leak. To avoid a big mess, double check that the pan is tightly secured and put a cookie sheet under the pan to catch any potential overflow.**
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- one 20-ounce can pineapple slices
- about 12 maraschino cherries
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch salt, optional and to taste
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup buttermilk (or Powdered Buttermilk, use 2 tablespoons with the dry ingredients + 1/2 cup water added with the wet)
- 1/3 cup sour cream, lite is okay (plain Greek yogurt may be substituted)
- 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a small, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
- Pour the butter into a 9-inch springform cake pan. Use your finger to run a bit of butter around the side of the pan so it’s well-greased.
- Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter.
- Add 1 whole pineapple slice to the center of the pan.
- Halve the remaining slices vertically. Stagger them in a fan-like fashion going around the cake. I used 12 slices.
- Place the remaining slices around the sides of the cake pan with the curved side pointing down toward the bottom of the pan (see photos for reference). There will likely be bare side patches with no pineapple coverage, that’s okay.
- Place 1 cherry in the center of the whole pineapple slice in the middle of the pan.
- Place 1 cherry in the center cutout of all the fanned pineapple slices; set pan aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, optional salt; set aside.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the next 5 wet ingredients (through vanilla).
- Add the wet mixture to the dry, mixing lightly with a spoon or folding with a spatula until just combined. Small lumps will be present, don’t overmix or try to stir them smooth.
- Gently turn batter out into prepared pan, being careful to not disturb the pineapple slices on the sides or bottom. Fill pan only to about 3/4-full. If you have a little extra batter, discard it rather than overfilling your pan.
- Place pan on a cookie sheet (to catch anything that does overflow) and bake for about 40 minutes, or until center is set and not jiggly, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Only go down about 1-inch with the toothpick, not all the way to the bottom where you’ll hit gooey pineapple juice.
- Place pan on a wire rack and allow cake to cool for at least 30 minutes before inverting, slicing, and serving. I allowed cake to cool overnight, covered with a sheet of foil, before inverting. Cake will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days.
The Crave + Love portion of my blog is about two things that I do in fact love and crave wholeheartedly, and those are my relationships and FOOD! I mean honestly, the two go hand in hand. Hahah! Just like I crave delicious food, I crave great relationships with my husband, family and friends. And just as I love the people in my life, I love food! Maybe on different levels… but you catch my drift.
There will be plenty of post in the near and distant future surrounding these two topics. As far as cuisine goes, I’ll share some of my favorite food and drink recipes, places to dine, and more. In regards to relationships, I’ll be sharing some of my personal experiences, and my thoughts and opinions on all relationship types. Everything from dating and marriage, family and friends, etc.
I’m looking forward to sharing my stories and hearing yours! #thelovewecrave