Keepin' It Fresh

Easter Bark

recipe: Easter Bark

Posted by | Deborah, Holidays | No Comments

I will totally admit – I have no self control when it comes to holiday candy. I have to practically close my eyes when I walk down the aisle at the grocery store, trying not to put it all in my cart.

But somehow, I always end up with bags of candy at home. This Easter season has been especially bad because my kids have been joining in. They beg for bags of pastel eggs and bright jelly beans. And of course, chocolate covered bunnies.
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stephanie brubaker - hot chocolate web version

Half a Heart: Peppermint Hot Cocoa for Valentine’s Day

Posted by | Celebrate, Holidays, Steph B | No Comments

If you’re like me, you still have a few mini candy canes hanging around from Christmas.  Well, who says candy canes are just for Christmas?  After all, one candy cane is shaped like half of a heart.  Why not put two hearts together and call it hot cocoa for lovers? Très apropos for the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday, I’d say.  So, keep those candy canes stashed for another few weeks and consider this hot cocoa idea your Plan B if you don’t nab a reservation or a babysitter come February 14th.  Extra points if you drink your mugs beside the fire.

What you’ll need:

Good quality hot chocolate mix

organic milk

mini candy canes

freshly whipped cream

Note: I highly recommend owning a Mr. Coffee Cocoamotion if you enjoy hot chocolate.  The Cocoamotion creates perfectly frothed, hot cocoa in minutes.  You don’t have to worry about burning the milk if you have to step away for a moment, or worse, hot chocolate bubbling over the edge of the pan all over the stove.

Alternatively, you could put together a Peppermint Chocolate Affogato by using this recipe and then substituting good quality peppermint ice cream.

chocolate-bark-1

Pistachio, Cranberry and Milk Chocolate Bark

Posted by | Holidays, Maria, Recipes | No Comments

I absolutely love this time of year; and one tradition that I never skip is making chocolate bark to help celebrate the holidays and bring in the New Year. Chocolate bark is one of the easiest, prettiest and tastiest holiday desserts that you can make. The recipe I am sharing today is not only simple and elegant but is a quick 3 ingredient, no bake dessert. Since it is so simple it’s a fantastic recipe to have your little ones assist with and is one that my son now loves helping me with as much as he loves tasting it.  

One of the reasons making chocolate bark is so fun to make is that the possibilities are endless.  You can use whatever flavor chocolate you like and top it with just about anything that pleases your pallet. Melt your chocolate, sprinkle it with some goodies and the only thing left to do is wait for it to dry. Couldn’t be much easier and produce more gratifying results.

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Thanksgiving Dinner Favors

Posted by | FYI, Holidays, Steph B | No Comments

a la modo pie boxes kraft lidded

With Thanksgiving Day a little over one month away, it’s time to start thinking about some of the details that make this special meal so memorable.  First, figure out who you would like to spend the holiday with this year and extend an invitation before calendars begin to fill. In order to ensure you aren’t a stressed out host, be sure to take your guests up on their generous offers to contribute to the meal; after all, one can’t have to many pies on hand!  You won’t regret it come Thanksgiving Day when you’re up early brining your bird (these bags and this brine will make your life easier). Next, order your turkey from your local butcher or fine foods market (or, better yet, look for a local farm that raises turkeys and order direct).  If there is one thing that makes a big difference on Thanksgiving, it’s a good bird.  And last, consider this cute way to package up leftover slices of pie for guests.  You can find these in my etsy shop (yes, this is my side business!) throughout the year, but they are especially fun for Thanksgiving.  Customize the boxes your own way with a Thanksgiving-themed stamp and some pretty twine or grosgrain ribbon.  Just be sure to save a few slices of pumpkin pie for breakfast the next morning!

image via A La Modo

Peppermint Bark Milkshake

Posted by | Holidays, Maria, Recipes | 4 Comments

The holiday season is winding down, but don’t worry, there is still time to make a Peppermint Bark Milkshake. And I know it is a little cold for ice cream, but put on your coat, hat, and gloves if you have to. This shake is so worth it!

All you need is vanilla ice cream, peppermint bark, milk, and whipped cream. This shake is so simple to make! Hopefully, you have extra peppermint bark lying around. If not, you can buy some at the store or whip up a batch.

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Vanilla Caramels with Fleur de Sel

Posted by | Caroline, Holidays, Recipes | No Comments

It’s that time of year again, where sweets are a plenty!  If I indulge in sweets, I want to make it worth it, homemade is the only way to go!  These caramels have real vanilla beans straight from the pod, and are finished off with some fleur de sel sea salt.  If you love the salt and sweet combination, this may be your perfect treat to eat and give this holiday season!

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Spiced Pumpkin Cake with White Chocolate and Toasted Pepita Glaze

Posted by | Holidays, Recipes, Seasonal, Steph B | No Comments

I adore pumpkin this and pumpkin that and certainly don’t hold this delicious ingredient to just Thanksgiving.  Pumpkin is wonderful throughout the remainder of the holiday season and even through early Spring (if you’re a fan like I am).  Today, I’d like to share with you a festive spiced cake that will take brighten any holiday dessert buffet thanks to a silky, white chocolate glaze and bright green pepitas.  True to form, this cake boasts a slight peppery taste thanks to the addition of quatres épices (I told you I’d be making a lot with this delicious, French spice blend!).   This Spiced Pumpkin Cake with a White Chocolate and Toasted Pepita Glaze is a moist, semi-dense cake (my favorite) and is best served with a cup of hot, herbal tea.

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