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How To Make Hot Chocolate

Drinks, The Holidays, Winter

How to Make Hot Chocolate

I don’t think anyone would argue that hot chocolate is the coziest of cozy drinks. And since this is lil’ blog is called A Cozy Kitchen I think I’ve gone way too long without sharing a proper recipe for it. So, let’s talk about: How to Make Hot Chocolate.

How to Make Fancy-Ass Hot Chocolate // www.acozykitchen.com

Hot Cocoa vs. Hot Chocolate!

Let’s talk about the difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate. Hot cocoa is exactly that – cocoa powder dissolved into milk or (God forbid) water. I have good memories of hot cocoa, actually. When I was a kid, I used to sit in my way-too-long PJ t-shirt and watch cartoons, sipping on Swiss Miss. I also loooved dipping whole wheat bread into my hot cocoa. (I was a weird child.)

But during the holidays, it was always hot chocolate. My mom would tell us stories about how in Peru, on Christmas Eve, right before midnight mass, a big pot of hot chocolate was made. They’d take big blocks of chocolate, melt it and then mix it into warm milk until it dissolved. Real, thick hot chocolate is a game changer.

There’s like two or three steps–this ain’t rocket science.

How to Make Hot Chocolate!

Step 1: Get your hands on some good chocolate. I had some Scharffenberger chocolate in my pantry. Other brands I love: Tcho, Green & Black or Ghiradelli. I chose a bittersweet (70%) to use in this. I think it adds a nice depth and lends a lot of richness to this hot chocolate, but feel free to go sweeter if you like.

Step 2: Don’t be shy to add some other stuff like a cinnamon stick, 1/4 of a vanilla bean, some Ancho chile powder and salt. I looove steeping the milk with a cinnamon stick and vanilla bean–it smells like heaven.

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Last Minute Hostess Gift: Winter Herb Potted Plants

DIY

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

Wasn’t Pie Week fun?! I kinda miss it already. I’m already scheming for a possible Cookie Week in December? And maybe more pie. Always more pie.

On Wednesday I’m headed up to the Bay Area for a very short trip for Thanksgiving, so I figured some of you might actually be heading to other people’s homes, too. I love hostess gifts that have a nice personal touch, and since this time of year is so crazy, they need to be quick and easy. I looove having winter herbs in my kitchen for cooking and making cocktails. These herbs will all survive a cold winter – they’re considered “aggressive” herbs, or so they say.

Supplies you’ll need to make this lil’ quick and easy DIY:

– 3 small terra cotta pots
– Assorted colors of acrylic paints
– Scissors
– Painter’s Tape
– Acrylic Top Coat Spray
– Winter Herbs: Rosemary, English Thyme, Mint, Cilantro or Sage
– Paint brushs

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

Step 1: Brush each pot with two to three coats of paint. Allow ’em to dry completely.

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

Step 2: You can do any sort of patterns that you like. I figured it’d be nice to do all an assortment of patterns that all sort of compliment one another. For the first one, I cut out triangles from the painter’s tape and placed them on the perimeter of the pot.

I gave it two coats of metallic light gray paint, allowed it to dry and then removed the tape.

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

Step 3: Continue with a different pattern. I chose little hand painted dots.

For the third and final patter, I used a spouncer – which is my favorite tool and word – dipped in paint to make a larger polka dot pattern.

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

Step 4: I allowed the pots to dry completely, about 30 minutes, and then sprayed each pot with a clear top coat, which will help protect the terra cotta pots against moisture, weathering and overall handling.

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

Step 5: Divide the herbs between the pots and fill with potting soil.

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

And that’s it! Super easy and quick. Tomorrow I’ll show you a cocktail recipe to use with one of these herbs. You know, so you can give your host the gift and then use it to make something. Super classy!

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

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How To Make a Fancy-Ass Caesar Salad

Dinner

How to Fancy-Ass Caesar Salad // www.acozykitchen.com

I lived in Orange County California until I was around 10 years old. My favorite So Cal memory is going to this restaurant called Souplantaion. I remember thinking it was so 80s, even though we were totally in the 90s. The concept is cafeteria-style make-your-own salads. It’s supposed to be healthy but it’s actually the kind of place for a kid to put a bunch of bacon bits and creamy ranch dressing on a pile of bleached lettuce and call it dinner. I loved it. And I especially loved dessert, which was a killer soft serve bar. Tons of sprinkles were poured on top. Tons of crushed Oreos were added when mama wasn’t looking. I was sneaky.

Up until recently I’ve never been a big salad eater. Now–if I’m at a particularly good restaurant–I’ll always order a salad. Always. A good salad is what dreams are made of. (And this is coming from a girl who loves biscuits.) Too often than not salads are treated like an afterthought for vegetarians. They aren’t properly dressed. The lettuce isn’t dried off properly. The leaves aren’t properly seasoned. That stupid ubiquitous kale salad is always on the menu. I can literally go on and on and on about my salad gripes. I will stop. You didn’t come here to listen to me be a brat about salads. Instead, I’ll share with you a fancy-ass caesar salad. I loooove a good caesar salad. They’re so simple, but so amazing when done correctly.

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