Thursday, December 22, 2016

Hot Chocolate Bar

Winter is finally here and I'm reaching for my cups of hot chocolate and tea to stay warm and toasty during these cold days and nights.  Hot chocolate bars are the perfect way to keep guests warm and happy during those cozy winter birthday parties, wedding receptions, celebrating new years eve or just a fun get together with friends and family.  I had a wonderful opportunity to visit with our local MOPS (Mothers Of Pre-Schoolers) group and set up a fun hot chocolate bar for their meeting.  If you are a mother of little ones and searching for a group of moms going through the same struggles and joys, you might want to check this group out.  They have over 4,000 groups around the world.

For the hot chocolate bar styling, I started with our Penguin Birthday Party items and just modified them a little to fit our group.  This is something that we can do with most of our products, so feel free to ask us if we can change the wording, colors, take off the design, etc.  

Here are a few tips and ingredients you will need to pull off a delicious hot chocolate bar at your next winter event.  When planning a hot chocolate bar, make sure to have plenty of toppings, whipped cream and cute signage.  People are more likely to use the toppings and condiments if they know exactly what they are.  The signage and topping selections were the easy parts, finding the right hot chocolate mix, not so easy!  I originally wanted to do a crockpot hot chocolate, but the meeting started early in the morning and all the crockpot recipes required several hours to reach full yumminess.  I am not a morning person, so getting up at 5am to make hot chocolate, wasn't an option for me.  So I thought it would be a good idea to make my own mix then use a large coffee urn for hot water.  I headed over to pinterest and tried many different recipes for homemade hot chocolate mix and I didn't care for the way those tasted, some too sugary, some not sugary enough, most just didn't have enough taste when mixed with water and milk.  So, I broke down and used a store bought mix. I tried Swiss Miss, Nestle and Land O Lakes and decided on Land O Lakes Chocolate Supreme Hot Cocoa Mix.  We borrowed large coffee urns from the church where the meeting was held for the water.  I had regular milk and rice milk on hand and in cute glass containers. Everyone seemed to love it.  

Here is what you will need and links to purchase.

Toppings and ingredients we used for the cocoa bar:
Land O Lakes Chocolate Supreme Hot Cocoa Mix
Rice Milk and/or Coconut Milk
Whipped Cream
Peppermint Sticks
Mini Chocolate Chips
Butterscotch Chips
Crushed Peppermint Candies
Chocolate and Peppermint Crumbles (Andes Mints)
Caramel Chips
Chocolate Hazelnut Pirouettes
(for a wedding reception, you could also add flavored liquors and syrups (Peppermint Schnapps, Baileys, etc.) 

Paper Goods and Signage
paper straws 
cup wraps
straw flags
tags for milks and hot cocoa mix
food tents and tags for toppings
directions for mixing and making the hot chocolate
banner or sign directing guests to the hot chocolate bar
stir sticks

Added Bonus:
Add favor bags, stickers and ties and let your guests make a bag to take home as a favor.

Photos (and help with the setup) by Jennifer Cox of JT Photography.
All paper goods by us: Tiger Lily Invitations

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Chocolate Coconut Truffles in our Post Valentine's Day Post

It's a rare occasion that I feel the need to bake, but this past weekend was Valentine's Day and after several years of going out (sometimes resulting in a nice romantic evening, sometimes not so much) I decided to cook. My main meal was super simple - my family recipe of Swiss steak, rice and homemade biscuits (yes, I make my own).

All was going well until I realized at 8 pm the night before Valentine's we had no dessert and I had no gift for Eric. We had given each other Swatch watches (yes, they still exist ) earlier in the week as gifts but I still like to have something extra for him.
So over to Pinterest I went for some ideas.  Luckily I have pinned 77 yummy dessert ideas to my Craving Chocolate Pinterest board so the finding a dessert part was easy. Eric loves chocolate and coconut, so BAM, chocolate coconut truffles it was for both dessert and gift!

I used a quick and easy recipe for the truffles I found on pinterest from Sugar Apron Blog:

3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup butter - melted
2 cups or regular size bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Coconut Filling
Mix coconut, condensed milk, sugar, butter in large mixing bowl.  (I thought the butter was a little overwhelming so I added in a little more powdered sugar and condensed milk.) Form mixture into balls using hands. Place balls on parchment or wax paper on cookie sheet or tray. Place tray in freezer for 2 hours or until hardened.

Side note:
Before placing in the freezer, I thought it would be a good idea to add some of our (Tiger Lily Invitations) cute heart cupcake toppers before putting the coconut balls in the freezer.  I thought it would help with the chocolate dipping process. It didn't, so I took them out and added them after I dipped them in chocolate.

Chocolate Dip
Melt chocolate in microwave safe bowl at 15-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and dippable.

Place frozen coconut balls on a fork or use mini tongs and dip into melted chocolate. Making sure to coat evenly on each side.  Place back onto wax paper.  Sprinkle with coconut or powdered sugar.  I added our heart toppers at this time. Place back into the freezer for 30 minutes or until hardened.

Keep refrigerated or frozen until ready to serve.

Here's my finished product! I served them on my granny's beautiful vintage rose dishes and crystal cake stand for a little added specialness and used one of the Tiger Lily Invitation heart banners as a backdrop for our table.

The night was simple and special and the truffles were delicious!

The recipe made over a dozen, but they will keep in the freezer so we can have a little treat anytime we need a little sweetness in our day.  ( I just had a half to get me through this dreary Monday afternoon!)

Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day filled with a little sweet, a little sparkle and a lot of love : )


Share your thoughts and favorite Valentine's desserts with us in the comments below.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Country Meets Rocky Mountain Rustic

The creative process really is easier for me with guidance and feedback.  During our slower months (August-November) I love to take on custom orders because I have the time to really work with the customer to come up with the perfect invitation for their special day.  This summer a customer emailed me and said "I'm a Georgia girl who lives in Colorado now, so the theme of our wedding follows suit: Country feel meets Rocky Mountain Rustic."  I took that description and designed our Rustic Floral Antler Wedding Invitation Suite. The Invitation Suite combines a rustic antler design, commonly used in the Rockies, with a romantic flower bouquet and calligraphy fonts.  The designs and type feature a rich fall jewel tone color palette of plum, marsala, dark brown, deep orange and khaki and the invitation is wrapped up with twine.  Beautiful for a romantic and rustic Rocky Mountain Wedding.  While I am waiting to see photos from the real wedding, I put together a little inspiration board.  

Photo and Product Credits:  
Top Photo: Venue: Dunton Hot Springs 
photo by Benj Haisch 

Groomsmen photo by Ryan Ray

Feather Bouquet and Shoes: photo by Clear Photography

Table Decor:
photography: Lukas & Suzy VanDyke 
planning + design: Harmony Creative Studio
venue: The Ranch at Bandy Canyon Escondido, California

Cake Photo by Ashley Cook Photography
Cake Design by Heavenly Delights Cupcakery

Bridal Party Photo:
Bridesmaid Dresses:The Dessy Group
Wedding Dress:Morilee