Food + Wine

Pink for Valentine’s Day

I really get into holidays.  Even the not so real ones like Valentine’s Day make me excited.  I wear orange and black on Halloween, red and green on Christmas, green on St. Patrick’s Day, red and Pink on Valentine’s Day…you get the picture.  I get it from my mom.  When I was little, my mom would go all out for holidays.  My brother and I would wake up on Valentine’s morning to Pink and red baskets filled with chocolates, treats, toys, clothes and trinkets. On Easter Sunday, more of the same.  St. Patrick’s Day came with eating traditional Irish fare and listening to anything played on a fiddle.  New Years Day we ate the black-eyed peas, collards and pork…you get the picture.

So now that I have kids I get even more excited to celebrate all the different holidays with them.  It was incredibly fun as a child to have so many things to celebrate and I love that I can now continue the tradition with my kids.  This Thursday is Valentines’ Day and I have my daughter’s outfit picked out and resting on her dresser, I have plans to take the kids to the Dollar Store and let them pick out as many Pink and red crafty things they want and let them go wild, take them to pick out chocolate truffles from the Davidson Chocolate Company and I know, without a doubt, that I will be wearing lots of Pink this year.  I’m not a Pink-wearing person on any other day of the year, it very well may be my least favorite color of all, but one day out of every year you will find me putting on all the Pink things I own.

Rosy Pink lipstick?  Iridescent Pink eyeshadow?  My Pink pumps?  What will I be wearing this year?  I’ve been thinking about it for a few days now but first thing this morning it came to me.  Actually it occurred to me in the middle of the night and woke me up…when I tried to open my left eye and couldn’t because it was glued shut…from the conjunctivitis…a.k.a. Pink eye.  The universe has a sick sense of humor, doesn’t it?

So…I can’t go to the dollar store, or to the chocolate place, or anywhere for that matter, unless I was an incredibly irresponsible person who wished eye pus upon innocent bystanders.  No fancy, glittery Valentine’s eye make-up for me, unless I wanted all my fancy, glittery Valentine’s eye make-up to be perpetually Pinked.  I’m quarantined and I can’t do anything about it.  And anyone who knows me at all knows that I do not do well with things that ‘I cant do anything about’.

So, what’s a girl to do?  It’s raining outside, it’s cold, I feel about as good as I look, so instead of developing a new recipe with you, which would require the use of both my eyes, I thought I’d share something I’ve been meaning to share for a couple months but never found the time to do.  I want to share some tips on how to throw a hot chocolate party.  It’s a fun, inexpensive way to host a party this time of year and it’s great for kids and adults.  The pictures below are from a Christmas party I hosted this year and I didn’t need to buy a thing, I just used things that I already had on hand.  Gotta love that.  And it kinda ties in to the Valentine’s Day theme, right?  Chocolate…Valentine’s Day…

So Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!  If you’re low on Pink this year, you know where to find me.

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*How to Set up a Hot Chocolate Bar-

-Set your biggest pot on low heat on the stove top with your already made hot chocolate inside.  Use whatever hot chocolate you’d like, but I happen to like the solid chocolate bars made for hot chocolate, instead of the instant powders.  The powders are filled with a bunch of fillers and usually no real chocolate.  For a great solid hot chocolate mixing bar try this brand, which is what we like in my house.

It’s easy to find at Walmart or most grocery stores with a large Hispanic section.  If you like the ease of the powders, then make your own using my recipe.   Or simply melt some good quality, dark chocolate over a double boiler and mix with your milk of choice (possibly some sugar, depending on the type of chocolate you use) until you get the right flavor and consistency.

-Place a heat safe ladle inside the pot.

-On the side of the stove, on a pretty kitchen towel, place your mugs and a glass with some spoons.

-Right next to the pot, on the stove itself, line a small cookie sheet with another pretty kitchen towel and place all your accompaniments in pretty cups, bowls and carafes.  I poured some Irish Cream and Coffee Liqueur in some carafes instead of using the bottles they came in because it’s much prettier.  Then I made a simple label out of an index card, a sharpie and a hole punch and tied it around the carafes using kitchen twine.  I bought some of those Pirouline rolled wafer cookies and put them in a highball glass.  These are great for dipping.  I put some mini marshmallows in a small bowl with a fancy spoon.  I put a can of whipped cream in a bowl of ice and lined it with foil to make sure it stayed as cold as possible.  You could also make your own whipped cream, of course, this was just easier for the guests.  I put out a container with some cinnamon and dark cocoa for sprinkling with spoons and labels.  I also put out some fresh nutmeg and the microplane.  More accompaniments could be some crushed peppermint candies, caramel syrup, sea salt, just raid your pantry and candy stash and I bet you can come up with some great ideas.  Just make sure you label everything!!

-If you set the towel-lined cookie sheet right next to the cocoa pot, on the stove, you don’t have to worry about your guests spilling hot chocolate all over your stove.

-And even if you bought everything and didn’t make a single thing on your own, by putting everything in different, pretty containers with homemade labels, no one will know or even care.  Presentation is everything!

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