Cinnamon caramel pumpkin hot chocolate!

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We’ve hit November which means Hot Chocolate season is officially here. All of October I fill myself up with pumpkin spice iced lattes, so by this time of the fall season.. I’m ready for some cozy hot drinks to cuddle up with. By the name of this drink it doesn’t seem like it is the easiest thing in the world to create, but it absolutely without a doubt, is! This hot chocolate would even be great to double or triple the recipe, and have it kept held warm in a crock pot for guests while entertaining for Friendsgiving, or a seasonal soiree with your closest girls! It tastes like autumn..with dessert sweetness and lots of warm spice.. everything you could want in a warm toasty beverage!

 

Normally, as you guys know I love to do step by step instructions on how I go about creating all my dishes that I have on the blog, but it wouldn’t serve any purpose showing you the things I’m putting into boiling milk ..due to that fact that as soon as the ingredients dropped into the pot, everything would go right to the bottom. Therefore I’m going to create a simple recipe down below ..

  • Pour four cups of milk into a soup pot ( one cup of milk per serving)
  • After the milk comes to a boil – on medium high heat, use a whisk to whisk in two tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • Scoop in one cup of pumpkin puree
  • Drop in one cup of milk chocolate chips and one cup of cinnamon chips
  • Lastly for sweetness instead of adding sugar.. drizzle in one half cup of caramel syrup!       

Stir the hot chocolate off and on for five minutes, letting it simmer, ensuring that all of the flavors are combined, and that our drink will be hot hot hot! 

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Fill your festive cups with the yummy chocolatey goodness!

— SIDENOTE: If you would like to get your party on ( And you are 21 years of age) you could always splash in some chocolate liquor.. that would be super good, and a nice boozy touch! (;

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To top this delicious drink off, dollop whipped cream as high as you could pile.. drizzle with caramel, drop some left over chocolate & cinnamon chips onto the pillowy-goodness, sprinkle pumpkin jimmies on top, and finish with a warm scented cinnamon stick!

Everyone knows theres nothing better than a delicious cup of hot chocolate, but this is next level hot chocolate, and it is a MUST TRY!!

I loved this so so much that I decided to make it a series on the blog.. so be prepared for seasonal hot chocolates as the holidays/seasons change!   xoxo

 

October calls for Oktoberfest festivities

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Something I mean to do every October is have an Oktoberfest party with all kinds of German food, and goodies to go along with the theme. Planning a themed party where the food and decor are a match made in heaven is my absolute favorite thing in the world to tackle. It makes me super happy doing something that gets me excited.. letting me have fun while doing what I do best, and I am the best at throwing bashes (; Now, there are many different types of munchies/appetizers that you could put out for an Oktoberfest bash, but the two flavors I wanted to focus on was mustard and cheese! When mentioning mustard and cheese.. my first thoughts were pretzels!  Pretzels are a must have on an Oktoberfest platter .. hard and soft! Some other things that I thought would pair exquisitely on this tray are mini sweet gherkin pickles for a tart, vinegary bite, ring bologna, fresh radishes, and sharp cheddar cheese; that goes incredible with this sweet and tangy vidalia onion relish.

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You could see how gorgeous the radishes are this season, and how beautiful the relish looked. In this picture it even almost reminds me of jelly! So so yummy!!

Of course the snacks on this tray are super addictive and totally celebrate Oktoberfest.. but the star of this platter is for sure the creamy dijon cheddar dip. Not only does it pair amazing with the pretzels, but it literally goes with everything scattered around! If you’re having lots of company over I would go ahead and double the recipe! It will go fast – beware ! lol

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To start the dip off, you’ll need to drop 8 oz of cream cheese into a glass mixing bowl.

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In with the cream cheese, add one cup of mayonnaise.

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For the mustardy-ness that I was talking about earlier,  revolving around the flavors of our food will come now!

Just go ahead and add two tablespoons of yellow mustard, and three tablespoons of dijon mustard with our creamy ingredients.

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Whisk everything together using a hand mixer! If you prefer using a kitchen aid you’re more than welcome, or if you do not have either, you may use a kitchen whisk. It will mix together either way!

After combining everything.. throw in four dashes of hot sauce, dried parsley, granulated onion, paprika, salt, and pepper to taste.

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Lastly, for richness and cheesiness.. pile in three cups of shredded Colby jack cheese.

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Grease a small, deep casserole oven dish.

Spoon the dip into the greased dish, and top with paprika.

  • Bake at 350 degrees for a half an hour. 

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I mean come on, how glorious and cheesy does that look!!! Grab a pretzel on the sneak while it’s hot and take a taste! You won’t regret it, and no-one will know because we are transferring it into a serving bowl.

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Mid platter making – to kind of show you guys how to plan out where you will put your bowls and where you’ll place your actual pieces of food.

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Since the previous picture only got a shot of the relish.. look at those pickles!! How CUTE are they?! lol

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You can choose any hard pretzels you would like, but honey wheat is what I decided on. I truly felt that the sweetness would pair amazingly with the dijon dip!

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Your guests will love everything about this platter. It’s gorgeous and it definitely has everything you could want to snack on for an Oktoberfest bash. My family thought that the pretzels not only went super well with the dip, but even the relish. Everything complimented each other to a T. This is a must try, and should be on everyones October bucket list. It’s fun, exciting, and thrilling to try out something out of everyones, everyday comfort party food.

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This is essential.. and I probably don’t even have to mention it, because you guys are already getting your bottle openers ready, but BEER is a need while indulging in these snacks! It is an October MUST HAVE for Oktoberfest festivities.

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Get your Oktoberfest on before it’s over and we’re onto Thanksgiving! 

Oh gosh diamonds.. where did the year go? 

                                                          xoxo 

Happy Birthday, in Hershey.

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Brunch.

Brunch at it’s absolute finest. I’ve had brunch at many places in my life, and still, there are many more to try, but the Sunday brunch buffet in the circular at The Hotel Hershey hits home. It might be because I joke around while walking the hotel hallways saying .. “this would be the dream to live in this place like Eloise lived at the plaza.” It’s a dream, and while you are visiting, the staff does everything possible to make you feel like you are in fact in a living dream. The month of October is birthday month for both my parents, so we killed two birds with one stone, and celebrated in the best way we knew how. Along with Hershey being one of my favorite places on this earth, it is also my moms, and my father loves everything about brunch buffets. Of course it was a total win, win!

They dec the buffet out with everything you could imagine. It’s a food fantasy, and it’s unbelievable! The quality and freshness of the ingredients could never be topped. The room while you walk in is filled with a site of stations. Theres an omelet station to my left, an avocado toast station to my right, and you could never miss the seafood bar standing tall in the middle of both stations; created of raw oysters, mussels, clams, and a smoked salmon bar with toast points, and all the fixings needed!

Thats just the beginning…

They have two buffet lines on both sides as well, right behind the action stations. One line accompanied with breakfast beauties, and the other, decked with lunch/ dinner comfort foods. In between those two buffet lines, right in front of the luxurious bar in the center of it all, there sits an extraordinary cold food station and salad bar. This has to be.. by far my first choice food of life. I always loved how creative, delicious, and experimental you could be with raw flavors.

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I filled my plate like an artist fills their canvas..

Pilling and placing food in such a way that it looks super pretty because …lets be real, thats who I am lol but also, not leaving any texture, or food category out of site.

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The three of us had such a nice time enjoying and indulging, in down right amazing food!! Being together is so special as you grow, and life becomes more crazy… leaving less time for family. Hershey is the greatest place to make that time, to create memories for important occasions, and to leave feeling full of content and love.

        xoxoxo

 

Maple Munchies

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My favorite month is finally in full force, and I am totally in my element! One thing I love most about this time of year is indulging in autumn treats because unfortunately, it doesn’t last long. On a day where I have nothing on my agenda, I want nothing more than to munch on delicious snacks, while binge watching Halloween movies, and let me tell you this sweet heat, maple trail mix will have your taste buds wanting to finish the entire bucket! 

     While scrolling on Pinterest looking for fall inspiration, I always come across yummy snack mixes, but nothing ever like this one. This particular bucket of harvest goodness has my name written ALL over it. This is even an amazing party snack to make if you’re having everyone over for football Sunday, or even to pack up in a huge zip block bag to bring to the pumpkin patch. Honestly it’ll be great wherever, whenever! 

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     In a sauté pan, you’ll want to melt two teaspoons of butter over medium low heat. 

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In with the butter, add a small container of whole, halved and unsalted pecans. 

Add: Salt, pepper, and sprinkle brown sugar over to candy them up a bit! 

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   After five minutes of roasted the nuts, getting them toasty, slide them out of the pan and into a large mixing bowl. 

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     To create bursts of sweet, yet tart bites in your mouth, sprinkle little dried cranberry jewels over the candied pecans. 

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   In my book apples scream fall, so I definitely wanted to incorporate that flavor into this Chex mix. Apple chips were definitely the way to go. They have all the flavor, with tons of crunch! 

When eating fruit or even chocolate, I love pairing those sweet flavors with different types of cheeses. Autumn is a time that reminds me of those pairings, so because I just can never have sweet without that delicious cheese flavor, I added cheddar jack crackers. It was absolutely the perfect touch to this snack. I promise you that! 

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When creating the perfect perfect snack mix, you need five things.. I truly believe that, no matter what season you’re making it in, or what theme you’re inventing it for. 

  1. Nuts. That is a given. I feel like no matter what you need a nut in your mixture. 
  2. Something crunchy
  3. Something cheesy.
  4. Something sweet.
  5. A type of cereal. 

The cereal that I thought would add texture, and that would soak up the glaze were going to pour over our snack, is Chex mix. There are so many kinds of even one type of cereal, but I chose “corn”. 

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   Even though we went and candied our pecans, we need a glaze to smother all over every little autumn treasure to give it even more of an addictive flavor! 

  • AWESOME for binge watching scary movies. 

The glaze is fast and simple. You’ll have to put a small soup pot over medium low heat to melt four tablespoons of salted butter. Then add a quarter cup of organic maple syrup. (NOT PANCAKE SYRUP) -two totally different syrups, believe it or not! For the final touches, sprinkle in a handful of brown sugar, with a few dashes of cayenne pepper for a different layer of flavor. If you’re a hot heat kind of dare devil, add a lot of dashes! lol 

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When the glaze comes to a boil, turn the heat off, and let it thicken for a few minutes.

For that beautiful site.. drizzle that gorgeous brown, sticky glaze all over the snacks. 

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 Pour, pour pour! 

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     To add a last and final layer of crunch to this mixture, you’ll want to let pumpkin seeds rain into the bowl! I mean.. tell me whats more autumn than pumpkin seeds? Let’s be honest. 

     Mix it up.. mix, mix, mix it up! (;

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A heaping of spicy, crunchy, sweet and sticky wholesomeness. 

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In the world of fall flavored snacks.. nothing compares to this. It doesn’t get better than munching on handfuls of Chex mix, while cuddling on the couch with a pumpkin spice hot chocolate.

We cant forget to light those cozy candles either diamonds!     xoxo 

Candy Crunch Cannoli Dip

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This is for sure dessert snacking at it’s finest! YES, you heard me correctly.. “dessert snacking” is a thing, and if you’ve never experienced it, you must! It’s kind of like when you sit in front of the big screen, and dip bread cubs into a delicious, cold, creamy dip of some sort. In the case, you’re snacking sweet, so the same is super super fitting!! You can munch on this at a party you’re planning on hosting, or at midnight with your honey, and a spiked coffee in hand.

When you imagine the ultimate entertaining/party food this is exactly what should come to your mind. This dip is next level, inventive, colorful, and FUN!

It is everything that you love and want in a cannoli, but even more amazing because of the mini candy treasures folded inside, but it is HALF the work!  In this crazy world we all live in, with crazy lives, who doesn’t love something thats going to be a hit, as well as  knowing that it will take a fraction of prep work in the kitchen? That’s everything that everybody wants, especially when preparing for a huge bash!

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In a bowl, drop in one package of 8 oz. cream cheese.

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Sprinkle in one cup of powdered sugar.

 

 

Scoop in two cups of whole milk, ricotta cheese. Don’t skimp and buy low fat ladies! We’re not going to count calories with this luxurious, cheesy mixture!

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Lastly, add one teaspoon of vanilla extract. 

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The delightful mixture! Unmixed, of course.

 

With a hand mixer, beat everything together to create a gorgeous thick and fluffy mixture. To the eye, it will almost resemble a nice silky pie filling!

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All mixed together! This delectable, white glorious site will just need to be finished with our crunchy candy!

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I chopped up pretzel filled chocolate coated candies, mini chocolate bars, and wafer chocolate coated candy bars

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I cut them into small chunks, kind of mimicking the size of chocolate chunks that you would use for chocolate chunk cookies.

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These are some what difficult to chop up with even the sharpest knife because of the pretzel ball inside of the candy coated chocolate, so you might want to use to back of the knife to smash them into small pieces before cutting.

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Scrape the candy into the bowl using the side of your knife.

 

Using a rubber spatula, fold the candy into the dip to combine everything, making sure each piece of candy is scattered throughout.

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I garnished our cannoli dip with some more pretty color coated chocolate candies to make it look cutesy and to give fun vibes!

I also placed in two cannoli chips to add a little extra somethin’, somethin’, and so someone can get right to digging in because you know everyone is going to dive right into this!

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Even if you’re not too much into cannolis, this dip is a must try!

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Look how crispy, crunchy, and sugary these little triangles are. OH MY!

These mini chips also have powdered sugar baked into them, so it makes them even more addicting!

 

Next time on the blog, I’ll be back with another snack attack, but this time, savory and very fall fabulous! Have fun sweet snacking, Diamonds xo

 

Farms in the Fall

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Farmers markets in the fall, make me the happiest girl on earth. Fall in general makes me super happy! I’m obsessed with everything about it. The weather, food, activities, the colors of leaves changing, the fashion; its incredible. Autumn is me, and it’s when I am totally in my element. Honestly, I think this season has a special place in my heart because it reminds me on my childhood, being young and just having fun. It brings back memories with my family and I going to the farmers market to get fresh apple cider, and picking our pumpkins to carve at the pumpkin patch. I was also very into picking out my halloween costume. Every single year without question my parents would take me to party city to pick out the perfect costume for myself. I took it super seriously! lol I think as being a kid, since dressing up was something we looked forward to all year long, everyone tried to out do each other.. in a fun way, of course!

As the years went on and I grew into a young adult, dressing up doesn’t happen as often, but I still love prancing around the stores looking at the costumes, deciding what I would be if I were to dress up again. It’s fun to reminisce at times, especially when you feel like you’re getting older, and life goes by faster and faster! As that happens though, I make it a point to indulge myself in everything I love, and doing all that makes me happy. In the fall time shopping for produce, and things to create beautiful autumn dishes/ table scapes is what brings me peace and gratifies my life.

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Not only do I love decor in the kitchen, I also obsess over interior design as well. It’s something I have a passion for, so I think that this little corn bundles are the cutest accessory to put around your home. You can find them at any famers market during the fall season, and even at some local grocery stores! They’re on the inexpensive side too which is always a plus. While I was at the farm eying these beauties up, I noticed those beautiful beautiful bright red cherry tomatoes sitting right underneath!

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Tomatoes are known to be a summer staple. I do not disagree with that because for some reason when I think of summer produce.. thats one of the first things that comes to my mind along with watermelon, but these little babies are actually in full effect until the end of October.

 

There were many root vegetables and “nightshades” to pick from. ( tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, and potatoes) The carrots and potatoes looked absolutely gorgeous, along with the onions. I’ve truly never seen onions look so beautiful as they did when I made my trip to the farm.

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AHHH! honestly, just take a couple seconds to appreciate this beauty!

Farm days are one of my favorite days because I take all of my goodies home, wash them, and plan out my farm fresh menu! That makes me extremely excited. As I said in the summer about shopping farm fresh, that statement also stands in fall!! This season is the most important for shopping. If you have a root cellar thats where you’d want to stalk up for the winter. If not, which thats quite alright because I myself do not, so you want to shop smart for canning. Pickling, and preserving is what you want to do with your vegetables for the cold months to come!

  • cucumbers to turn to pickles
  • tomatoes to turn to salsa, stewed or jarred sauce.
  • Green beans that don’t get eaten can be turned into pickles garlic beans, or spicy beans.
  • cauliflower, carrots, peppers, and celery can be turned into chow chow
  • onions can be turned into onion jam
  • Lastly, baby pearl onions can be turned into pickled pearl onions.

Truthfully, you could pickle ANY vegetable.. turning it into something so different, yet incredible!

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Don’t worry.. because I deep down knew all of you were thinking… oh my gosh isn’t she going to mention apples? Yes, yes I am. I did not and could not forget about the apples! Apples of all kind swarm the farms in autumn. They are everywhere! We can’t escape them… and seriously I mean, who would want to? They are juicy, delicious little balls of fall goodness. The amount of how many different kind mind be over whelming to some. Why are there so many when they’re just apples? Shouldn’t they taste the same?

Absolutely not! All of the apples are very different. Some are sweeter, juicier, crisper and harder. It all depends on the type and of what location they were grown in.

Baking Apples:

  • Pink lady apples are best for breads, bars and cakes. Anything thick and floury!
  • Granny Smith apples are the number one baking apple, in my eye. It is THE apple to use when baking pies. You can also use to bake in pastries as well.
  •  Honey-crisp apples are best for apple dumplings which so so many Americans have such a soft heart for. They’re probably a top five fair food, for sure! 

To Eat !  You an choose to eat any apple, it will not hurt you, obviously! There are certain ones I feel like you should eat on it’s one just to munch on or dip into peanut butter/caramel sauce.

  • Red delicious! My top apple to eat whole without the skin! (I choose not eat the the skin on red delicious apples. I feel that the skin sometimes is too hard and I end up chewing on it, wanting to spit it out.)
  • Golden delicious– My second choice to just sit down and take a big bite out of!
  • Gala apples – Although you can certainly bake with this apple, or even all of them (thats up to you) this one is also great for eating due to the fact that it is so sweet. I love choosing the extra sweet ones for enjoying, for obvious reasons of course.

These three apples are also delicious to make into “fried apples” or cooked into a sauce to finish a plate off to make a perfect fall touch!

There are countless apples to choose from at your local farm, you just have to know how to pick them wisely, and to what they are being used for! There are so many kinds, that even I have never worked with before, or tried, so if it’s up to you.. spread your wings and test out some you never heard of before! You might be pleasantly surprised.

Happy fall & farm pickings, diamonds!