Hot Chocolate with Roasted Marshmallows

January 15, 2014  |  Food + Drinks  |  2 Comments

Hot Chocolate with Roasted Marshmallows |

When I was planning our Sledding Party, there were two things I knew I wanted to include – a Hot Chocolate Bar and a bonfire. When you have a hot chocolate bar, the hot chocolate is kinda the star of the show, so I wanted to do something that was fun and that we hadn’t tried before.

Hot Chocolate with Roasted Marshmallows |

I also thought, what better way to incorporate the bonfire with the hot chocolate bar than to have Hot Chocolate with Roasted Marshmallows. This turned out to be a big hit. It added a fun, interactive element to the hot chocolate bar and gave the guests the added enjoyment of gathering around the bonfire and roasting marshmallows together – not to mention to staying warm.

Hot Chocolate with Roasted Marshmallows |

I placed a sign at the hot chocolate bar encouraging guests to grab a marshmallow and roasting stick, roast their marshmallow nice and golden and add it to their hot chocolate. Having a sign is a nice touch because, besides providing some simple instructions, it makes guest feel at home and comfort helping themselves – which of course is the whole point.

Hot Chocolate with Roasted Marshmallows |

I used this recipe for the hot chocolate. It works well for large batch hot chocolate, like we did here, or to keep on hand for individual hot chocolate throughout the winter.

Maybe for your next hot chocolate, you’ll try adding roasted marshmallows – it’s delicious!


Seasonal Signature Cocktails for Fall

November 20, 2013  |  Food + Drinks, Party Ideas  |  No Comments

Seasonal Signature Cocktails for Fall |

Signature cocktails are almost a given at special events these days, which is why they sing out celebration. And why not, they’re special, fun and personal. But I don’t think they should only be for big events…so this fall I decided to come up with three seasonal signature cocktails just to add a special, fun and personal touch to our entertaining, as the holiday season gets underway.

The first, the Sour Apple,  is a bit bold. This might be considered the “his” cocktail if there were his and her cocktails (which isn’t the case here).

The second, Gin & Tonic in a Pear Tree,  is lighter, more fruity and bubbly. This might be considered the “hers” cocktail if, again, there were his and her cocktails (which, again, isn’t the case here).

And the third is the Pear-ple, what my youngest daughter calls asian pears (which taste like a cross between a pear and an apple). This  is a non-alcoholic cocktail for anyone not wanting to drink alcohol, or for the kiddos (who love special, fun and personal drinks too).

The idea here is to have the ingredients on hand, so that if we have last minute guests, drop-ins etc., we can always offer up a special drink that would make an otherwise ordinary evening, a little more special.

With a bit of prep these drinks can be whipped up in no time. One of the tricks is to use overlapping ingredients without making the drinks too similar.


  • Whiskey (I like Rye, that must be the Canadian in me, but Bourbon works too)
  • Gin
  • Tonic
  • Sprite
  • Pear Juice (can be bought in bottles or tetra packs and kept in the pantry until needed. Very handy)
  • Apple Cider
  • Lemons and Limes

Make Ahead:

  • Boiled Cider (see yesterdays post for instructions on how to make boiled cider)
  • Lemon juice
  • Lime juice

Fall Seasonal Signature Cocktails |

Juice the limes into a sieve over a bowl.

Fall Seasonal Signature Cocktails |

And store in an air tight container in the fridge.

Fall Seasonal Signature Cocktails |

Then do the same with the lemons.

Juicing lemons and limes ahead can save a lot of time and the juice can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days in an air tight container. I like to keep a jar of each in the fridge to add to tea, club soda etc. so it always gets used, but if you don’t think you will use it within a few days, just keep lemons and limes on hand and juice them before guests arrive.

Sour Apple

Fall Seasonal Signature Cocktails |

I love whiskey sours, in this drink the simple syrup is replaced with Boiled Cider.
To a whiskey glass filled with ice, add 1.5 0z of whiskey

Fall Seasonal Signature Cocktails |

1 oz lemon juice and 1.5 oz Boiled Cider

Fall Seasonal Signature Cocktails |

Stir and serve with a lemon wedge.

Gin & Tonic in a Pear Tree

Fall Seasonal Signature Cocktails |

To a highball glass filled with ice, add 1.5 oz of gin, 0.5 oz of lime juice and 1 oz of pear juice. Top with tonic and serve.


Fall Seasonal Signature Cocktails |

To a glass filled with ice add 1/3 pear juice, 1/3 apple cider and top up with sprite.

Here’s to the start of the holiday season…cheers.


Boiled Cider

November 18, 2013  |  Food + Drinks  |  No Comments

Boiled Cider

Boiled cider is a delicious syrup made by boiling down apple cider. We live in the heart of apple country so apple cider is a fall treat we often enjoy. But boiled cider is an even sweeter treat. It is similar to maple syrup but with a nice tart apple goodness that is delicious on pancakes and wonderful to cook with.

Boiled Cider Recipe

And it couldn’t be easier to make. All you need is apple cider and a heavy bottomed pot.

Boiled Cider how-to

Then you simple boil the cider, gently, until it is reduced by 1/8. Four cups of apple cider will make half of  a cup of boiled cider. Eight cups of apple cider will make one cup of boiled cider. You get the idea.

Boiled Cider syrup

Stir the cider every so often, making sure it is a nice gentle boil. It will take about two hours to boil down. The bonus is the scent of appley goodness throughout your home.

Boiled Cider apple cider

Once the cider is boiled down, let it cool at room temperature and store in the refrigerator, in an air tight container.

Boiled Cider yum

I made this batch of boiled cider for a seasonal signature cocktail that we enjoyed over the weekend.  I will tell you all about it tomorrow or the next day. Til then…

Fall Picnic and Waterfall Tour

November 8, 2013  |  Food + Drinks  |  No Comments

Fall Picnic

A fall picnic + a family adventure is one of my favorite things to do on the weekend. We have spent a few weekends this fall playing tourist in our own backyard and loving it. Over two weekends we visited six of the eight waterfalls on the Grey County Waterfall Tour. The weather wasn’t the best, cold and wet, but the waterfalls and scenery were beautiful, and the time together was wonderful.



We have plans to explore more of our own backyard, as fall turns into winter, and something that makes our time as a family even more special is packing along a picnic. It can turn an ordinary weekend outing into a memorable one. And the setting couldn’t be more perfect.


Fall Picnic – what we brought:

  • Basket to carry everything in. It was cold and temperature was not an issue for us with regard to keeping food cold, so a basket worked, but in warmer temperatures a cooler would be better.
  • Blanket. Nice to sit on. And did I mention, it was cold.
  • Thermos or two filled with something hot to drink and/or eat. We packed hot apple cider and soup.
  • Hot beverage cups. These work for hot drinks and/or soup.
  • Hearty food. Adventures make you hungry. We packed sandwiches, soup (chili or stew would be nice too) and fruit.
  • A treat. Because we earned it. We brought chocolate chip cookies.
  • Water
  • Utensils + napkins

Fall Picnic what to pack |

Fall Picnic Food Labels |

I pre-made the sandwiches and made labels for them (and for a few other items). I’m not sure about your family but everyone in my family has different tastes. Plus self serve is always encouraged. I used the Hello Fall Printable Party Collection to make all the labels. You can find it in the shop.

Fall Picnic + Family Adventure |

Do you have any family adventures planned this weekend? Why not turn it into a fall picnic.
I’d love to hear about it if you do, so leave a comment telling me about your adventures.
Have a great weekend.