Host a Hot Chocolate Party
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I have never been a milk drinker, and I recall as a child my grandmother would give me a bowl of cereal and pour whole cream over the top just to get me to eat some cereal in the morning. It turns out she did this for my father as well, because he had a aversion to milk too. I continued to do this all the way through college. (seriously, try it, it's so delicious!)
When I had babies after I married, I nursed all of my children for a very long time and once they stopped, it was time to switch over to milk, right? Nope. My kids refused to drink milk, at all. I'm not sure what it was, the taste, or the fact they had ever had milk for the first three years of their lives. Whatever it was, my kids refused to drink it. I didn't stress about it at all because I never drank milk growing up and I'm totally fine.
My kids are all teens / tweens now and they still won't drink milk. Neither will I for that matter. So a few years ago, I discovered that I can't tolerate dairy in my system for some odd reason. Maybe that's why I (instinctively) didn't drink it as a child? So, I switched our home over to almond milk. I cooked with it and the kids began eating cereal with it. My husband even ate his morning cereal with almond milk. We gave up dairy for health reasons, but really, it was the first time I was actually getting my kiddos to "eat" milk in their lives.
If I wanted to I could probably make my very own almond milk, but really, who has the time? Almonds are simply soaked in water overnight and blended with water until smooth. Almond milk is naturally lactose-free too, which helps me out loads! I recently sampled a new-to-me brand of almond milk by New Barn. New Barn's Almond Milk is organic, Kosher, vegan, Whole-30 approved, gluten-free (another plus for me)/soy-free(a huge plus for my teenage son), non-GMO and carrageenan free. (on a side note, carrageenan is a seaweed derivative that may cause digestive problems in some people).
I don't need to make my own almond milk because New Barn's Almond Milk is authentic and has three times the almonds! Almond milk is also lower in calories than other milks, as long as it is unsweetened and it is free of saturated fat. So, almond milk is good stuff. It's so good that I decided to make some homemade hot chocolate with it. We live in the Midwest and it is cold already! It is the time of the season when you need a warm drink to keep you warm inside.
Since winter has hit the Midwest in full force already, the time of the year is here - Hot Chocolate season! I recently had a bunch of my daughter's friends over after school one day and I threw them all a little hot chocolate party. Hosting a hot chocolate party is so simple. I made all homemade hot chocolates with New Barn's Almond Milk too!
Setting up your Hot Chocolate Party
I went super simple here and grabbed some festive fall cups for the kids and loads of toppings. I did simple decorations for a tablescape and had everything set-up in the foyer. The girls could grab a hot chocolate after coming in out of the cold and warm up immediately. A table could be setup literally any place in your home. On the kitchen counter, the dining room, on a large footstool or even in the foyer, like I did.
I created some printables that I thought the girls would like to design their own hot chocolates to drink. I didn't have any other signage up, but large hot chocolate signs are all over the place these days and you could even print off some toppings signs if you like.
Hot Chocolate Recipe & Add-ins
Simple start with the traditional hot chocolate mix and go from there. Most of the girls requested a traditional hot chocolate and then went crazy with the toppings. There are so many different hot chocolates to sample, but I thought a traditional, salted caramel, peppermint and pumpkin spice were the best selections for our Hot Chocolate Party.
As far as toppings go, the limit is really your imagination - or really what you can find at your local grocer. I went with the usual: whipped topping, marshmallows, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, sprinkles, shaved chocolate, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar, peppermint sticks and crushed peppermints. The girls really had so much fun with the toppings.
Build your own HOT CHOCOLATE
Choose your cocoa flavor
- Pumpkin Spice (2 tsp. pumpkin spice)
- Salted Caramel (drizzle with caramel sauce)
- Peppermint (add peppermint sticks and crushed peppermints)
Choose your toppings
- Whipped cream
- Caramel Sauce
- Chocolate Sauce
- Crushed Peppermints
MAKES 2-4 (depends on the cup size)
1 bottle New Barn Unsweetened Almond Milk (28 oz)
7-8 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Instructions: place in pot and simmer until heated.
I had other treats and snacks available for all the tweens that were here and once their parents came to pick them up, they were all thoroughly full of sugar!