This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser.
All opinions are mine alone.
'Tis the season to be jolly! Everyone is hustling and bustling to get ready for the holidays. It's a busy time of the year. So many sights to see and things to do. It's also a chilly time of year in the Midwest. When we aren't running around we are tucked in our warm houses. Neighbors that we saw daily a few months ago we see in passing as we dash for the car. I have been working hard to stay connected through the long winters with our friends and neighbors. Opening up the house for evening meals and treats is a perfect way to help pass along the long winter months. We enjoy hosting simple family dinners. The kids love to spread out a dinner picnic for friends and the adults enjoy talking and laughing together. It really does wonders for the soul. I am working on challenging myself to open my house more this winter. You don't always have to do a full dinner, dessert nights or morning coffee and snacks is also a great way to stay connected through the winter. Tomorrow, I am looking forward to heading over to a friends house for a morning of tea and dedicate flour-less chocolate cake. Of course the cake and tea are a complete bonus, spending the morning chatting and laughing with friends is what keeps my spirit bright.
So while you are going through your busy days, here are a few simple and great way to stay connected through the cold seasons.
Family game night. Invite another family over and make a night of it. Set us a couple small tables and create age appropriate game stations. You can get creative and play round robin style! Set the timer for 3-5 mins, one the alarm goes off- rotate to the next game and pick up playing.
Chili Cook Off. Get your creative chefs cap on and whip up and batch of wicked good chili. Invite your friends to do the same and have them over for a night of taste testing. Create judging sheets and send everyone home with a award and swap left overs.
Popcorn and Movie Night with friends. Everyone loves a movie night, why not host one at your house? Invite family friends to come with kids in jammies for a fun movie. Create a big cozy nest for all the kids and let them snuggle in for the evening. Parents can enjoy the time with other adults and some yummy warm winter beverages, aka hot mulled wine!
Hot Chocolate Party. Kids love hot chocolate and if we are honest so do adults! Let the kids add marshmallows, sprinkles, candy cane or caramels. Pick up some Bailey's for the adults and have a great evening of sugar and craziness! Throw on some fun tunes and let the kids dance the night away!
Mom's Brunch. Gather your friends and enjoy a delicious brunch sans kids. Whip up a quick quiche, throw a pot of coffee on and relax with your company. Enjoy your breather before you have claim those little ones from school.
All of these ideas are simple and can be done without spending much at all. There is nothing better than spending time with friends and building memories for your kids. Having some taste treats is a huge added bonus! This winter we are spicing things up with some of Tabasco's new sauces. Scott is such a Tabasco fanatic, that he is more than happy to oblige. I had never even had Tabasco until I married him. I had no idea what I was missing out on. We add Tabasco to several of our favorite holiday party recipes (and it makes a perfect stocking stuffer). It just kicks things up a bit and adds so much flavor. You can find all of your favorite Tabasco products, like the Chipotle Tabasco sauce at your local grocer near the ketchup! Check out Tabasco's other fabulous and delicious party food tips to spice up your next get together.
I spent this morning making this delicious cake to bring to my friends house tomorrow. It is rich, sweet and has a little kick to it. It is super simple and gluten free! Huge bonus there. I am looking forward to sharing this with my friends tomorrow. Of course I made some extra for tasting and if I do say so, it is beyond delicious! The mixture of the dark chocolate and the rich boldness of the Chipotle sauce, creates a taste that is fantastic for all occasions.
Cake2 sticks unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbs. Tabasco Chipotle Sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbs. confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Let's Get Started:Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the paper. Set aside.
On low heat, melt the chocolate, cocoa powder, Tabasco Chipotle sauce, salt and butter together. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs and sugar. Once your chocolate mixture is melted thoroughly, gently fold into the egg/sugar mixture until well blended.
Gently pour into the prepared pan and bake until the edges are set but the center is still moist and a few crumbs stick to a tester, about 45-50 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Run a thin, sharp knife around the edge of the cake. Remove the pan sides and gently lift away the cake. Invert onto a cake plate, remove the bottom and peel away the parchment. Let stand in fridge, remove before serving.
In a bowl, beat the cream, and vanilla in an electric mixer until frothy. Add the confectioners' sugar and cinnamon and continue to beat until the cream holds soft peaks. Serve with a dollop of whipped and a delicious cup of your favorite eggnog. :)
Enjoy and I wish you many #SeasonedGreetings!