easy homemade hot chocolate using just a few ingredients you have on hand!

 

Nothing beats hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day. 90% of the United States right now is freezing… schools are cancelled, roads are iced over, and well everyone is stuck inside trying to stay warm. Last Friday, we had a little “freeze” in Florida. Get ready for it… our temps reached 43 degrees. I know all of you that are in the single digits are cursing me right now, I can’t help that I live in sunny, warm, Florida!

Whenever the temperature drops below 50 degree’s in Florida it calls for Homemade Hot Chocolate!

homemade hot chocolate 1

 

My recipe for Homemade Hot Chocolate is rich and decadent. No sparing any calories here my friends… with a combination of whole milk, half and half, and heavy cream and a whole lot of chocolate my recipe for hot chocolate is pure dessert in a mug. And of course warms you up! I’ve made this with just whole milk, with a mixture of just whole and half and half and of course what I like to call the “trifecta”. I prefer the trifecta way, but if you want to cut some calories you can use one or all the “milks” I recommend for the recipe.

I served my homemade hot chocolate on Friday night to my husband and neighbor. It was our neighbors birthday and my husband started up our fire pit. Being that we live in Florida we only get to use it a handful of times each year. So anytime it gets remotely cool out he itches to make a fire! I figured what better way to enjoy the cold weather than have hot chocolate. It made for the perfect dessert. My husband and neighbor also added 2 oz. of Kahlua to their hot chocolate to really warm them up. Whether you want an adult version or stick with the classic Homemade Hot Chocolate recipe–either way its sure to warm your soul and satisfy your sweet tooth.

Katie Original Recipe

Homemade Hot Chocolate

Prep Time: 1 minute

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 11 minutes

Yield: 4 - 8 oz mugs

Homemade Hot Chocolate

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1-1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 10 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Mini Marshmallows and Whipped Cream for topping

Directions

  1. In a large pot, combine whole milk, half and half, and heavy cream. Cook on high for 2-3 minutes or until the milk is warm but not at a boil. Reduce to medium heat, whisk in cocoa powder and granulated sugar.
  2. Stir in the semi-sweet chocolate chips. Continue to stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Carefully pour into four mugs. Top with mini marshmallows and whipped cream.

Notes

Want to really warm up? Add 2oz. Kahlua to each mug!

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Looking for an instant vacation? Try this easy-to-make 3 ingredient tropical dream drink recipe. This tropical drink will have you feeling like your on a tropical vacation in no time!

Tropical Dream Drink Recipe from KatiesCucina.com

Last month, my husband and I went on an 8-day Southern Caribbean cruise. During our stops we spent a day in Curacao. By far my favorite island we visited while on that cruise. The people were friendly and the beaches were beautiful. The water… sigh… the water was crystal clear.

While in Curacao we we decided to go snorkeling verse our normal scuba diving. Our cruise ship arrived later in the afternoon to the port and didn’t give us enough time to dive. With recommendations from a friend we took a taxi to a local beach and brought our own snorkles. We saw a dive shop and asked the dive master about snorkeling conditions around the beach. He told us to swim outside the channel and we would instantly swim into a fish tank. So we took his advice and swam out past the channel.

Tropical Dream Drink Recipe from KatiesCucina.com

Seriously, he was not lieing. It was the most amazing snorkeling we’ve ever done. Heck just as good as some or most of the dives we’ve been on. The water was sparkling clear. We were 20-30 feet in water and could see perfectly down to the bottom. Schools of angel fish swam passed us and sea urchins galore on the rocks. After our amazing snorkel we spent an hour on the beach and then headed back into town where we met up with fellow cruise mates to have dinner and drinks. While at a local restaurant we ordered a drink very similar to this Tropical Dream drink recipe I’m sharing today.

Tropical Dream Drink Recipe from KatiesCucina.com

Curacao is known for the Blue Curacao liquor. We did not pick up any on our trip, because my parents had just visited a few months prior and bought us a huge bottle! As soon as we got home we opened it up and started experimenting on making delicious tropical drink recipes. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve made this drink since returning from vacation. It’s pretty much a Friday ritual for us. It makes us feel like we our drinking our summer vacation in a glass!

Katie Original Recipe

Tropical Dream Drink Recipe

Total Time: 2 minutes

Yield: 1

8 oz.

Tropical Dream Drink Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. Malibu Rum
  • 1 oz. Blue Curacao
  • 5 oz. Pineapple Juice
  • Maraschino cherries for garnish

Directions

  1. Fill an 10 oz glass with ice. Then pour in Malibu, Blue Curacao and top with pineapple juice. (*we found that 5 oz. worked best but you can add more or less to your desire). Stir and garnish with a few maraschino cherries.
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This is a sponsored post from Cost Plus World Market.

Blueberry Lemonade Spritzer from KatiesCucina.com

I’ve been on a drink kick lately. I think its because it feels like its 100+ degrees out and I just want to cool off. Today, I’m sharing with you a recipe for Blueberry Lemonade Spritzers. This drink can be consumed as a non-alcoholic beverage or you can kick it up with a splash of vodka. It’s whatever you desire. Both ways taste divine!

Blueberry Lemonade Spritzer from KatiesCucina.com

This is the last of my three recipe series sponsored by Cost Plus World Market. Y’all know I love them. Not jut for food props, but for beautiful furniture and decor, and the glorious variety of food they offer! Every time I go shopping their I’m lost in the aisles for hours… lost in a good way! This drink is perfect for sipping on our back patio. We recently redecorated it in June and I still can’t get over how beautiful and vibrant it is. Go check out our awesome video and revamp over at Sew Woodsy (my DIY blog).

Blueberry Lemonade Spritzer from KatiesCucina.com

I love making the blueberry syrup for this drink. It’s add an additional layer of sweetness and flavor. By using Lorina Prestige Sparkling Soda it gives aditional flavors that you could never achieve with plain old seltzer water. The bubbles plus a light lemony taste equals pure summer goodness. So if you’re entertaining this summer or simply want to cool off, make my recipe for Blueberry Lemonade Spritzers!

Check out my other recipes created specifically for Lorina Prestige Sparkling Soda and Cost Plus World Market:

Katie Original Recipe

Blueberry Lemonade Spritzer

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 2

Blueberry Lemonade Spritzer

Ingredients

    For the Blueberry Syrup:
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • For the Blueberry Lemonade Spritzer:
  • 2 tbsp Blueberry Syrup, per glass
  • Lorina Sparkling Lemonade
  • 1 oz. Vodka (optional)

Directions

    For the Blueberry Syrup:
  1. In a saucepan combine, fresh blueberries, sugar, and water. Cook on high for 5 minutes and low for 10 minutes. Remove from the burner and let cool for at least 30 minutes to room temperature. *Seal in a jar and store for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
  2. For the Blueberry Lemonade Spritzer:
  3. Fill two glasses with ice. Pour 2 tablespoons of blueberry syrup in each glass and fill the remainder of the glass with Lorina Sparkling Lemonade. *For an adult version add 1 ounce of vodka. Mix well and enjoy!
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Cost Plus World Market teamed up with Lorina for a Summer in Paris Sweepstakes!

Lorina Summer in Paris Sweepstakes with World Market

Enter to win a Trip for two to Paris which includes airfare and accommodations, 2 day museum pass, river cruise, dinner at the Eiffel Tower, $1,000 World Market gift card and case of Lorina French Lemonade! Enter in the Cost Plus World Market’s Summer in Paris Sweepstakes, ends Friday, August 16.

Plus, 3 First Prizes: $500 World Market gift card

Participants can earn bonus entries for liking World Market on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram & Tumblr for more chances to win.

Disclaimer: I was compensated to create recipes for Lorina French Lemonade and World Market. I love them both and as always all opinions are my own!


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cranberry basil margarita from KatiesCucina.com #summersippers #recipe #drink #margarita

A few week’s ago I contributed to Sweet C’s Summer Sippers! I love making easy cocktails at home. Last month, I attended BlogHer Food in Austin, Texas. On the last day of the trip, I spent the day with Christine, and we ate and drank our way around the city before catching our flights home. We wandered into the the W Hotel. As soon as we flipped open the menu at the restaurant in the hotel, both of our eyes gravitated toward the Cranberry Basil Margarita. We both continued to read through the drink menu; however, our eyes kept going back to the margarita. As soon as the waiter approached our table we instantly ordered the cranberry basil margarita.

cranberry basil margarita from KatiesCucina.com #summersippers #recipe #drink #margarita

We chatted and slurped up our drink, chatted some more and more slurping… it was so refreshing and helped cool us off during that hot summer day in Texas. The W served up the most delicious cranberry basil margarita, and I tried to do it justice and replicate this refreshing drink at home. I used a few simple ingredients from World Market, tequila, frozen cranberries, and fresh basil from my garden. Within minutes I had a delicious tasting drink that accompanied my Mexican themed dinner oh-so well!


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This is a sponsored post brought to you by World Market. All opinions are always my own. 

Summer Entertaining with World Market and a recipe for Blackberry Pomegranate Sangria via KatiesCucina.com

Summer has officially arrived! What better way to celebrate than entertain your family and friends all summer long! Although we live in Florida and our days hit over 100 degrees–we still love to entertain outside! We recently had the opportunity to refresh our back patio and give it a beautiful makeover in time for outdoor entertaining.

Summer Entertaining with World Market and a recipe for Blackberry Pomegranate Sangria via KatiesCucina.com

During the summer months (and really in general) I like to keep entertaining as easy as possible. I love making sangrias and enjoying having simple pantry items on hand to create a delicious snack or appetizer at a moments notice!


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Pineapple-Tequila Cooler from KatiesCucina.com #recipe #drinks #summer #tequila

I thought it was hot in Austin. It was–but now that I’m back in Florida I’m sweating daily. Not the same kind of “hot” like Austin, but the humid-hot. So what better way to cool off than this Pineapple-Tequila Cooler. Don’t fret, if drinking alcohol isn’t your thing you can easily omit the tequila and make this a non-alcoholic pineapple-lime cooler. Both ways it is equally good!

Cutting a Pineapple - Pineapple-Tequila Cooler from KatiesCucina.com #recipe #drinks #summer #tequila
I recently received a box of new fruit tools from OXO. One of the first tools we tried out was the Ratcheting Pineapple Slicer. I hate cutting pineapple and always task my husband with the job of doing it. Now that I have the pineapple slicer, I can cut pineapple with ease! I made a fun animated gif to show just how easy it is to use/cut pineapple! And we learned after the first sliced pineapple that you want to put a bowl underneath because the slicer extracts a lot of juice! So far we’ve found that we get about 1 cup of juice from every pineapple. So I just strain the juice before sealing it in a jar and then I either add it to this drink or save it to be used within a day or two.

Pineapple-Tequila Cooler from KatiesCucina.com #recipe #drinks #summer #tequila

Whether or not you have this tool you need to make this drink. Perfect for hot summer days!

Adapted from Everyday Rachael Ray, May 2013

Pineapple-Tequila Cooler

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4

Pineapple-Tequila Cooler

Ingredients

  • 1 whole pineapple, puree'd
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 6 tbsp agave
  • 1/2 cup tequila (optional)
  • 1/2 cup pineapple, minced
  • Ice
  • Lime wedges for garnish

Directions

  1. Using a blender, puree pineapple (in chunks) until its fine like juice (you may need to do 2-3 batches depending on the size of your blender). Mix in lime juice, 1 cup water, and agave. Pour into pitcher. Stir in tequila, if using.
  2. Pour over ice and garnish with pineapple chunks and lime wedges.
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Disclaimer: I received a box of fruit tools from OXO. I was not compensated to create this recipe nor required to blog about the tools. I genuinely love OXO and just want to share what I’m using in my kitchen. There are affiliate links in this post.


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Guinness Floats via KatiesCucina.com #Irish #StPatricksDay #IceCream

With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner I’m going to share with you a few of my favorite Irish recipes this week. While reading the current issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray I saw she made Guinness Milkshakes, and that’s when a light bulb popped on! Why don’t I make Guinness Floats? Similar concept just in float form.

Guinness Floats via KatiesCucina.com #Irish #StPatricksDay #IceCream

Yesterday, when I shared my Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe I shared that my husband home-brews. This past Sunday he had his “brew crew” over to brew for the day. Which gave me a great excuse to try out these Guinness Floats on the guys. It also gave me a great excuse to cook like a mad woman. I made them breakfast, lunch, and a few snacks plus dessert.

Guinness Floats via KatiesCucina.com #Irish #StPatricksDay #IceCream

This my friends was dessert  (and an easy adult dessert at that)! Simply layer a few scoops of homemade french vanilla ice cream in tall sundae/float glasses.

Guinness Floats via KatiesCucina.com #Irish #StPatricksDay #IceCream

Slowly pour the Guinness into the glass. I started off with about a half bottle of beer per glass; however, the guys add more beer as they drank it! I told you this was a simple adult beverage/dessert in a glass. If you are entertaining this Sunday you could serve these Guinness Floats in tiny shot glasses with a tiny scoop of ice cream and a shot of Guinness!

Guinness Floats via KatiesCucina.com #Irish #StPatricksDay #IceCream

I even served the Guinness Floats with the striped straws thinking the guys would be annoyed by them, but they all used them… slurping up each and every sip of Guinness and vanilla ice cream concoction. I would imagine these would taste just as good with chocolate ice cream too!

Guinness Floats via KatiesCucina.com #Irish #StPatricksDay #IceCream

Katie’s Cucina Original Recipe

Guinness Floats

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 2

Guinness Floats

Ingredients

  • 6 scoops Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 2 bottles of Guinness Beer

Directions

  1. Add three scoops of vanilla ice cream to a tall (ice cream float) glass. Then slowly pour Guinness beer over top. You will only use 1 bottle of beer during the official pouring of the two floats. As your guest begin to drink the floats continue to add more Guinness beer to the glass.
  2. Serve immediately and with a straw!
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Sparkling Vietnamese Limeade from KatiesCucina.com

Since, last week I bombarded you with fondue I’m hear to share Sparkling Vietnamese Limeade to wash down all that ooey-gooeyness from last week! This recipe is compliments of Steamy Kitchen! Yep, that’s right, its from Jaden Hair’s latest cookbook: Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites.

Steamy Kitchen Virtual Launch Party!

Last month, I received a copy of Jaden Hair’s latest cookbook: Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites. From the minute I got it I couldn’t put this book down. The beautiful forward written by Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman and then Jaden’s personal touches. Giving you a glimpse into her family. Then of course there are the recipes. Yes, the glorious healthy Asian recipes! I will definitely admit that there are quite a few recipes I would have never tackled on my own until reading this book and learning how easy they really are to make. Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites is now a new cookbook favorite of mine! And I’m not just saying that because I received a copy. I love to cook Asian food and am always trying to broaden my cooking skills and knowledge. This book is a great resource for Asian cooking.

Last week I cooked the Kung Pao Chicken, and it was awesome. I love making “home takeout” and this is exactly what this book will teach you to do! Since I’m wrapping up the party I wanted to end it on a sweet note. And make a “toast“… a toast to Jaden for yet another amazing cookbook! For being such an amazing role model–for teaching fellow bloggers more about blogging each and every year through Food Blog Forum.

Sparkling Vietnamese Limeade from KatiesCucina.com

I figured a party is not complete without a beverage. Granted this is a “mocktail” meaning that there is no alcohol in it–it doesn’t mean you can’t add it. I added a little tequila for good measure and my husband added rum to his glass. Per the book, Jaden suggests gin! So whatever tickles your fancy–thats what you add. Or keep it as is and enjoy this light and refreshing Sparkling Vietnamese Limeade.

Sparkling Vietnamese Limeade from KatiesCucina.com

You might be wondering why I chose to put paper straws in a drink that has salt on the rim. Well, I will be the first to admit that I’ve fallen victim to the cliche paper straw frenzy. But to be honest. I prefer to drink just about everything through a straw. Even when I have salt on the rim–I’d much rather drink it through the straw and then lick a little salt off the glass every now and then. It’s just how I am. I’m also a slight germaphobe so drinking from a straw feels cleaner to me (although that contradicts the whole lick salt off the rim of the glass theory–but when I’ve had a little liquid courage I don’t freak out as much).

Sparkling Vietnamese Limeade from KatiesCucina.com

So on that note… if you missed out on the Virtual Book Launch Party over the past week make sure you check out all the other wonderful bloggers who participated in the party!

Monday, February 4: Jaden kicked off the party over at  Steamy Kitchen
Tuesday, February 5: Jeanette’s Healthy Living - Dan Dan Mien
Wednesday, February 6: Two Peas and Their Pod – Cauliflower Steaks
Thursday, February 7: Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef – Miso Soup/ Dashi Broth
Friday, February 8: White on Rice Couple – Thai Larb Lettuce Cups
Saturday, February 9: RecipeGirl – Kung Pao Chicken
Make sure you stop by tomorrow because one lucky reader will have the chance to win Jaden’s new book!

Reprinted with permission from Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites, by Jaden Hair, copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

Sparkling Vietnamese Limeade

Yield: 4

Sparkling Vietnamese Limeade

This Sparkling Vietnamese Limeade is a light-citrus bubbly beverage perfect for sipping on a warm summers day. If you want to kick it up notch add tequila or rum to taste or drink as Jaden suggests with a little gin!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup very hot water
  • 1 handful of fresh mint
  • 8 limes
  • Sea salt or kosher salt
  • Sparkling water

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and the hot water until the sugar dissolves. Place a few mint leaves at the bottom of a pitcher and crush with a muddler or large wooden spoon. Juice the limes into the pitcher, add the sugarwater. Fill 4 glasses with ice and rim with salt. Pour in the limeade and top with sparkling water.

Notes

Reprinted with permission from The Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites, by Jaden Hair, copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites from Ten Speed Press. There are affiliates links in this post. As always all opinions are my own.


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 Enter to Win: Primula® Flavor It™ Beverage System #giveaway @KatiesCucina

 On Monday, I shared with you my Mango & Mint Infused Tea. I used the Primula® Flavor It™ Beverage System.

This pitcher is perfect for brewing and infusing hot or cold beverages like tea! My husband is a big tea drinker and being that we live in the South tea is kind of a staple. But don’t worry–if you aren’t into drinking tea… you can infuse fresh fruit flavors into water, infuse mint or lavender into lemonade, or chilling mojitos for entertaining. I can’t wait to make a batch of my Peach Mojitos during the hot summer months and use the Primula® Flavor It™ Beverage System! I also see quite a few other mojitos in my future… and sangria. Well, you can tell. The sky is the limit!

Primula® Flavor It™ Beverage System

Look how slim this pitcher is… it fits into my refrigerator door freeing up precious refrigerator space!

A few features and benefits about the lovely Primula® Flavor It™ Beverage System:

  • BPA-free Tritan material
  • 2.9 quart pitcher
  • dishwasher safe
  • scratch resistant
  • shatter proof
  • stain resistant
  • fits into a standard refrigerator door
  • no-spill locking lid

The beverage system includes:

  • Flavor Infuser - can be filled with fresh fruit, herbs, or spices to lend intriguing flavor notes to water, tea, punch, and more. Creating a multitude of beverage options from cucumber lime drinks to blueberry iced tea, to sangria and more.
  • Stainless Steel Tea Infuser – designed to brew loose tea or ground coffee, either hot or cold. The infuser’s filter sits low in the pitcher, accommodating small quantities as well as a full pitcher.
  • Chill Core – filled with non-toxic gel, it is better than ice because it keeps the beverage cool without diluting the flavor.

On to the giveaway! One lucky reader will receive a  Primula® Flavor It™ Beverage System. Giveaway closes on 2/2/2013. Open to US Residents, 18 years of age or older. Please wait for the Rafflecopter widget to load. If it does not load, please click on the “a Rafflecopter giveaway” link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more information on Primula you can visit them on their website, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Disclaimer: I received a pitcher to review and keep and one to giveaway to a lucky reader! As always, all opinions are my own. 


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Mango & Mint Infused Tea

Living in the South, tea is a staple. Well, sweet tea that is. Being that I’ve lived in the South for almost half my life I consider myself a southerner. However, I’m totally ok with drinking unsweetened tea (gasp! I know). My husband on the other hand doens’t discriminate. He loves the sweet tea, and he loves flavored teas. So when Primula reached out to me and asked if I would do a product review and giveaway for the Flavor It Pitcher 3-in-1 Beverage System, because I knew that this was something my husband would love. And he might actually make a few brews of his own.


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