Inspired by a winter wonderland theme, we created our own hot cocoa bar. It’s simple, fun, and yummy! After all, a delicious cup of hot cocoa is the best recipe for cold winter days!
Setting up and hosting our DIY Hot Cocoa Bar is ideal for winter parties, holiday parties, or family gatherings. It also works for cookie exchange parties and a baby shower – just take notice the napkins.
First, you will need hot cocoa mugs. Anything goes with the mugs: matchy-matchy, different styles, holiday-themed mugs. This part is up to you.
You will also need hot cocoa mix and a wide variety of toppings, so everyone can get creative. Go for decorative stirrers instead of spoons, it adds a nice touch. We used candy canes, sprinkles, and marshmallows to follow our theme. Cinnamon sticks, caramel bits, and whipped cream toppings are great too.
Now the pro advice: give your chocolate bar a little something extra special by adding cute chalkboard jars to place and label all your toppings. Spray mason jars to display decorative florals and add pictures frames, glass trays, ornaments, and twinkle lights.
You can find a lot of these items at the Dollar Store, the options are endless, keep it simple or go all out! And yes, with so many flavored vodkas or liqueurs available it’s easy to make your hot cocoa bar adult- friendly. Go ahead and warm up these cold winter months!
Your 2 Orchids have so much fun when it comes to seasonal or holiday tablescapes! It’s our excuse to be a little (sometimes a lot, we confess) creative. Who can blame us? Every holiday or special event gives us the opportunity to change settings and test different ideas.
Take it from us: when shopping, look for flexible items that you can re-purpose or incorporate into any occasion. Just in case! The secret is to think of your table as a blank canvas, but – and this is the best advice we can give – have a color palette in mind of what you want to use. For example, on both of our tablescapes, we went for something we could easily transition from Fall/Thanksgiving right into Holiday/Christmas.
The pieces we used have texture, versatility, and colors that represent each theme. As you can see from the photos, we used the same table runner and the same stands for both tablescapes. It’s all about re-purposing.
It helps if you find the wow factor for the event. Still, most of the work will be trial and error. For instance, swap the pumpkins for Christmas trees, harvest fillers for Christmas bulbs. Keep in mind that items like pine cones can work for both holidays.
No need to worry about big budgets either. It can be as easy as finding accessories from around your home that will reflect the theme you are trying to create. Think decor items, leaves, branches, and pine cones from your yard. The Dollar Store is another perfect option where you can get a lot of bang for your buck without breaking the bank.
Candles are always a nice detail since they add that subtle touch that turns a house into a home. Just remember if you are serving dinner you may want to light unscented candles to avoid interfering with the aroma of the delicious meal you prepared.
Links For Fall/Thanksgiving Products:
Links For Christmas Products:
Mexican Tortilla Soup Recipe:
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 gloves of garlic pressed
1- 28 ounce can of plum tomatoes peeled
1 -32 ounce jumbo size chicken broth
2 teaspoons chili powder
3 jalapeno peppers
Place a stockpot over medium heat and add a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Saute onions and garlic in the olive oil, then add in your chicken broth. In a blender, place your plum tomatoes, chili powder, and jalapeno peppers and blend on high until pureed. Transfer the mixture into your stockpot with chicken broth and simmer for approximatley 30 minutes. Ladle the hot soup into bowls and top with shredded cheese (use a blend of taco or mexican cheeses like cheddar and monterey jack). You may also garnish with tortilla chips or strips, cilantro, diced avocado or lime wedge.
Our version of Mexican Tortilla Soup is an authentic and traditional style soup that you can whip up in no time flat! It’s a delicious soup, full of flavor and a little kick! You can customize this soup by putting your own personal twist on it. Mixing and matching ingredients like chicken, corn, black beans, etc., will only enhance this mexican favorite. Or, enjoy as is! The tomato-base broth is already so tasty, it’s enough to fill you up. Either way, it’s the perfect soup to warm you up on a cold winter day. You can also determine the amount of spice by adding less, or more, of the jalapeno peppers. Of course, we like to bring on the heat! With plenty of options for garnish, we like to say “Spice Up Your Night” because “It’s Mexican Night!
Recipe Slow Cooker Hot Cocoa:
(Recipe obtained from the Today Show: Justin Chapple 12/29/16)
1 pounds semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 quarts whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Frozen Whipped Cream:
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the slow-cooker hot chocolate:
Combine all ingredients in a 6-quart slow cooker and mix well. Cook on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Ladle the hot chocolate into mugs, top with frozen whipped cream dollops and serve.
For the frozen whipped cream:
In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the heavy cream with sugar and vanilla at medium-high speed until smooth and thick. Decoratively dollop the whipped cream on a foil-lined baking sheet and freeze until firm about 2 hours. Using a small offset spatula, transfer the dollops onto mugs of hot chocolate and serve.
Instead of champagne and strawberries, or red wine and chocolate this Valentine’s Day, how about trying this?! A slow-cooking, delicious hot cocoa to warm up your loved one’s heart. We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the day with your sweetheart. We actually made this recipe for our New Year’s Eve bash and thought it would be the perfect drink to share on this chilly February holiday. All you need is a crock pot and a few simple ingredients to transform a typical cup of hot cocoa into a not-so-ordinary cup of hot chocolatey goodness. We even added the recipe for frozen whipped cream, a homemade alternative to Reddi-Wip Original Dairy Whipped Topping. While our cocoa was cooking, we set up a fun cocoa bar filled with our leftover candy canes, marshmallows, cinnamon and chili spices (for a Mexican concoction). Of course, we had to make this an adult version of hot cocoa and add Pinnacle Whipped Vodka for spiking! It’s Valentine’s Day and what a way to spice things up for your sweetie!
A view of Lauren’s warm and inviting winter decor in her family room.
Gathering different types of accessories create visual appeal to Lauren’s coffee table. The storage box, in complimentary shades of brown and mother of pearl, and the metal candle sleeve, with snowflake cutouts, create elegance and scent in the room.
Gold glitter square placements from Pier 1 Imports can serve a dual purpose on my dining room table. When placed together, they serve a gorgeous table runner. When used separately, they are perfect to add sparkle to each place setting. The crackled glass hurricanes (also from Pier 1 Imports), in a brown-gold ombre hue, house my well-lit pillar candles.
These faux hydrangeas from Pier 1 Imports will have you doing a double-take because they are so full and realistic. Lauren opts for a subtle pop of color that compliments the warm tones. The large Tuscan urn represents the rustic, Italian flair throughout the home.
My gray faux fur table runner gives a soft, yet sophisticated, look to my kitchen table. The decorative spheres add the finishing touches as the perfect centerpiece.
Pine cones, cinnamon sticks, and decorative faux fruit serve as vase fillers on my kitchen counter. Winter artificial pine and twigs represent the season and create height next to the mantle mirror. Additional pine cones are placed to bring nature into the home.
Display a work of art with a saying that represents the winter season!
I, Lauren, love to decorate my home with accents that flow nicely and compliment my warm autumn color scheme. Instead of using pops of color, I opt for mixing metals, woods, and glass to add texture and dimension for a glamourous look. I have to admit that I almost always gravitate to any accessory that offers a little sparkle or a wow factor! Accent pillows and throws are simple things you can do to instantly freshen up a room. When I’m feeling the winter blues, fresh blooms always lift the mood. I believe your home is a true reflection of you and your personality. Let it represent your best self!