hot chocolate with a spicy cocoa rim

Have you had your first hot chocolate of the season yet?  I just had mine!  My husband and I went to Vegas back in March and while we were there we visited Vosges Haut Chocolat (the best, by far, ever in my book).  We bought some Aztec Elixir (their spicy hot chocolate) which I have been hoarding until just the right weather/temperature to drink.  I feel like it is strictly a cold weather drink.


I love the idea of adding a little something something to dress up the drinks (obviously), so inspired by the Aztec yummy-goodness, I made a little spicy cocoa rim to go with my hot chocolate.

We were turned on to Aztec hot chocolate a couple of years back while visiting Toronto.  Every since I have been hooked.  If you have never had it, it is sweet, super rich, chocolatey, and spicy.  Try to get your hands on some!  And if you don’t have any Aztec hot chocolate, no worries!  You can use this rim with any hot chocolate drink.  It gives it a little kick.  In a very good way.


I used 2 teaspoons of my stash of vanilla sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cocoa, and 1/4 teaspoon quality cinnamon.  To top it off I added a couple of small sprinkles of chili powder and mixed.  Only add a little bit of chili at a time and taste your mix in between additions.  It will slightly resemble cinnamon candy with some chocolate notes.  I wanted to use chipotle or ancho chili powder, but was all out.  The results are still pleasant though.


When rimming your glass, just wet the edges and then dip in your mix–just like you do for a cocktail.  Once your hot chocolate is made, just pour it in!


Oh.  My.  Amazing.


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mix it up {mulled spiced wine}

There is something wonderful about a hot drink at the end of a chilly fall day to make you feel all warm and toasty.  The kids and I are visiting my mother for the week, and after an afternoon visiting a pumpkin farm with the kids, with the temperature dropping and the fall air making our fingers and noses cold,  a hot drink is exactly what was concocted.  Once we were all cozy back at my mother’s house with the fireplace on and the sleet starting to fall, this mulled wine was just what the doctor ordered.


I adapted this from Ina Garten’s Mulled Wine Recipe, using a sweet table wine, omitting the honey, and swapping some sliced ginger for the anise.

The smell coming off of this drink is just like Christmas.  And then you take a sip…warm, spicy, citrusy, and slightly sweet.


Mulled Spiced Wine
adapted from Ina Garten-Mulled Wine

4 cups apple cider
1 bottle table wine
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 cinnamon stick
3 slices fresh ginger
4 cloves

Combine the cider, wine and orange juice in a large pot.  Place the remaining ingredients in a square of cheese cloth and tie off with kitchen twine.  Add to the pot.  Bring to a simmer for about 20 minutes.  You can then keep the heat super low just to keep the drink hot and to let it steep even more.  Ladle into mugs and garnish with a twist of orange.

I am already thinking of how I can experiment with this one.  There are some great suggestions on Serious Eats that I can’t wait to try, like toasting the spices.  Or adding a bit of brandy to the mix.


Stay warm!


pumpkin beer with spiced sugar rim

Pumpkin. Pumpkin. Pumpkin.  Everywhere you look there is pumpkin.  And I LOVE it!!!  One of my favorite indulgences?  Pumpkin beer.  Not just any pumpkin beer though.  Southern Tier Pumking.  It is by far the best I have had so far, and it got kicked up a notch a couple of weeks ago when I enjoyed it with a spiced sugar rim.



Oh. My. Word.

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Rim:

1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4  teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice

Rub the rim of your glass with water.  Rim with the pumpkin spice, sugar mixture the same way would would rim a martini or margarita glass.  Pour.  And when you take your first sip, inhale deeply to get all that spicy pumpkin goodness.

***So, you can’t get your hands on Pumking.  No worries.  Try the rim with any of your favorite pumpkin drinks!



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mix it up {cider & donuts}

I have many favorite fall indulgences.  (hello, Pumpkin Spice Latte)  One of the many that I love, that reminds me of when I was a kid, is cider and donuts.  There is something wonderful about the combination of the two that brings up a lot of nostalgia.  If you are taking part in this yummy treat this season with your family or with a group, consider a festive and dressed up display like this…


Putting anything on a stick and wrapping the end in ribbon gives it instant fanciness, don’t you think?


This quick DIY could be suited to any fall gathering…just change up the colors, the tags, the wraps…and you just stepped up your traditional treat.



Now, there’s some Wow for your Now!

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mix it up {ginger, fruit & carrot smoothie}

Ever have the feeling you just need something that tastes…clean?  This drink is great for that feeling.  There is a slight zing to the drink which is actually my favorite part.  It might be your favorite part too, if you like ginger.  I actually thought of calling it something with “zing” in the title…

but I couldn’t think catchy enough.  Ah, well.


Clean, zingy, ginger, fall fruit, and carrot smoothie.  Call it what you want.  With only a couple of ingredients, it is natural and tasty, and I want some more.



2 small carrots, peeled and halved (or 1 large carrot)
1 small to medium apple, quartered and cored
1 small pear, quartered and cored
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
1 Tablespoon agave
1 cup cold water
1 handful ice cubes

Put all of your ingredients in a heavy duty blender and blend until smooth.  This makes about 3-4 cups.


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