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 

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

 

An authentic Antipasto

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Without fail, every family gathering we have at the house, I end up having an antipasto platter out on the counter for all of us to pick at, and munch on. It’s one of my brothers favorites, and he always looks forward to them! To be honest, it kind of wins over everyones heart, at least a little bit! Honestly, at any party who can resist a pick tray? It was one of my favorite things ever since I was little, and discovered that I wanted to become a Chef. The presentation, and the food options are actually endless, which makes it super fun to put something like this together, and it’s quite simple if you’re unsure of where to start!

To me, this is an “authentic antipasto” platter because in today’s world when we hear “antipasto” we tend to think of a salad containing some sort of lettuce, peppers, onions, olives, and a whole mix of meats, and cheeses. That could be considered  an “antipasto” salad, but many many years ago when my parents were kids, when people made an antipasto it was just a pick tray. The word “antipasto” itself originated as an existing appetizer! My dads family was Italian and Polish, so food was very big in our family, and still is to this day. He told me stories about how his parents and grandparents would go out into the garden, and pick fresh vegetables, lay out assorted cheese, with anything they already had on hand, and a chunk of Italian bread to create their starting dish for their Sunday dinner. It was simply their appetizer; an antipasto, if you will!

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I found this extremely fitting plate, at this cute vintage shop near me that I adore very very much! It was perfect for the occasion, and it would actually be a crime to use any other serving platter, wouldn’t you say?

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It depends what I am in the mood to use to lay down on the platter before sitting on little vinegary bites that have a lot of oil, and juice glistened on them, but here, I am using red leaf lettuce. You could choose to use endive leaves, kale, or any other kind of whole headed lettuce, but the ombre on the lettuce is gorgeous for this particular dish. You want to definitely lay the “wet” ingredients onto something instead of just sitting them on the plate itself for two reasons.

  1. It keeps from having them slide around, making your platter not look as put together
  2. It keeps the oil and vinegar from getting onto the other items that were going to be arranging, and you don’t want that!

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A side angle.

I have pepper shooters, which are stuffed with prosciutto (Italian ham, which is normally very thinly sliced) and provolone cheese (A bit-y Italian cheese). I also piled on some marinated mushrooms. If you love mushrooms you can never go wrong with these!

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On the other side of the platter, we have assorted olives. The big green ones are stuffed with blue cheese; they have a bite to them, but they add something that something else can. The deep plum colored olives are Kalamata, and they are my absolute favorite olive ever. They have most flavor, and are very oily.

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Every antipasto needs.. no not needs… desires a goodsalty, fatty salami.

Sopressata is the best to use! I love it so much. If you’ve never tried it though, brace yourself.. it does have a stronger flavor than your typical American sandwich salami.

For perfect presentation, cut on an angle!

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I usually always choose two meats for my trays, at the least, so here I have mortadella. It is an Italian bologna, and its special because it’s extra fatty, and delicious with chunks of pistachio bites inside each slice.

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I line all of the slices up, and take my knife straight down the middle to cut them in half.

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Take each slice thats cut and roll it like a cigar.

 

 

 

 

 

Just like the meats, I like choosing two different cheeses, but I choose them in the fact that they will be accompaning the certain type of meats that I chose.

The first cheese is a peppadew cheddar, and the second is a roasted garlic cheddar.

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As I filled the tray, I accompany the food by sections, and put certain things across from each other. I ended the platter by filling it with roasted garlic and rosemary pita chips. I really felt like it would be a great accompaniment to the cheeses. I decorated the tray with wedges of vine ripened tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and chunks of roasted red peppers, to accent the flavor of our peppadew cheese triangles!

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This is everything up close so you can see how beautiful all the colors look on our antipasto platter, and to get a prefect view of how to arrange the food on the plate.

 

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Voila! In no time, and with having fun in the kitchen, you’ll get to experience an authentic antipasto! I just love the variety, and it show cases a rustic Italian flare, which would really kick off a good Italian dinner party!

Enjoy your Italian munchies! Ciao diamonds xoxo

Gorgonzola walnut Sandwiches wrapped in prosciutto

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One of the most complex flavor combinations you can experience is a creamy, tangy aged cheese, accompanied with an earthy buttery flavor. I love the combination in salads,  spreads, or even just to pop in your mouth on top of one another; fortunately because I’m so obsessed with the taste of the two together, I decided to take it to another level. So I figured, why not take a walnut, a piece of cheese, another walnut, sandwich them together, and wrap them up like a little pig in a blanket, with a piece of prosciutto. OH! And thats not it! Drizzle the warm sizzling ball of goodness with sweet, sweet honey. Your mouth will feel like it just went on the tallest, highest rollercoaster in the park, and you’ll have the same thrill after swallowing, as you do when you arrive back at the station, and your harness comes up over your head. Yes, it’s that good! lol

 

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     Everything you need to make this creamy, crunchy, and salty, but sweet hor d’oeuvre.

  • Good Gorgonzola cheese
  • Fresh walnuts
  • Marbled prosciutto slices
  • Honey

That is literally it! Four simple ingredients, in just four easy steps. Even if you think these sound complex, they are not, but they do taste it!

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Hold a walnut half in your finger tips, and place a small crumble of the cheese, to act as little sandwiches!

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How the little sandwiches will look!

You could certainly munch on these anywhere, anytime, but were going to kick them up a notch!

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Wrap your sandwiches in the prosciutto and place them in a small skillet, coated slightly with butter.

Cook on medium low heat for two minutes a side.

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The finished product will turn out crispy, with a shiny red sheen too them; almost like bacon!

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Drizzle the prosciutto wrapped sandwiches with honey, as soon as you take each one out of the pan, and plate them up. The warmth of the meat will soak in the honey, leaving them coated with a sticky smooth glaze, glistened on the outside of them.

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I always love platting. I feel it is the most important part of the dish.. being that even though people may not do it purposely, they eat with their eyes first. It is a fact of the food world! When platting food that doesn’t have more than one, or two colors to it, I enjoy using something green, herby, and fresh along side of the dish; making it look alive. These may seem fancy, but as you can tell they were super easy, so you can make them for a dinner party as an appetizer, or even just for yourself to indulge in, after a hard days work. Also, they might seem very rich and satisfying, but just because these little bites are extremely indulging, that doesn’t mean you actually have to indulge in your diet.. just your life!

Until next week diamonds, enjoy! & I’ll be back with a summer drink (:

A Crispy, Cheesy, Collage. (of goodness)

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I have a passion for cold food; creating beautiful trays with edible goodies, scattered throughout. Piling, stacking, and lining little blocks of cheese like perfectly fallen dominos. It makes me so satisfied.. It’s as if it’s in my blood to make collage platters.  You know that feeling you get when you do something you love.. you don’t have to think about it, stress over it, you do it because you love it. It makes you feel something, then the lightbulb goes off in your head, and you say to yourself “this is what I’m meant to do in my life”.  Thats exactly the feeling when I’m creating art with food; mixed with gorgeous dinning decor & design. 

Ugh, that reminds me.. I can shop dinning and entertainment forever! BUT, thats for another time. 

     Let the collaging, commence!! 

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 What you must do is start out with a serving tray! It would be up to you.. whichever style you wanted, how many people are going to be munching & picking, or how many different options you’re going to be serving, to determine how big it will be. Then just line the entire bottom using wax paper. It makes for easy cleanup, and keeps the product off the actual tray itself. I used a 12 by 24 in. “breakfast in bed” serving tray.  It’s easiest to carry, and move around! Perfect for some serious living room munching, a get together with friends, or even just to indulge in yourself with all of your favorite textures and flavors. Speaking of flavors and textures, thats exactly the goal of this collage. This night in particular, was a date night at home, snuggled up in front of a movie. Creamy and crunchy is what came to mind when thinking of what to adorn the platter with. My boyfriend and I both agree; they’re our two favorite things when it comes to snacking. 

Building the tray is easy.. deciding what to build it WITH is the hard part. Luckily, this one might make it easier for you! 

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Yes, let me get the cat out of the bag. This IS a crispy and crunchy platter, filled with gooey cheesy deliciousness, but hear me out…Either place sliced apples (which is shown in the picture above) pears, or a bundle of grapes in the center of it all. The fruit really rounds out the salty and spicy flavors that might be going on in your mouth; sort of like a palette cleanser. It gives you a chance to experience a sweet and light flavor while also preparing it for another strong one, differing from the last. If you want to put some zip in your snack, you could also use a naval, or blood orange to give the tray even more color. That would really send your taste buds on a journey.

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Now for some real goodies! The crunchy! As crunchy as you can get it! And the cheesy.. as creamy and delightful as they will come!

  • For the crunch we have: 
  1. Honey roasted sesame sticks.
  2. Banana chips
  3. Sea salt Wheat crackers (the thin kind) (;
  4. Pork Rinds.. crazy I know, but it the best way possible!

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Pork Rinds, to me have the most interesting mouth feel. If you’ve never had one, you must! It reminds me as if you’re eating a cheese puff, but so so much better. And porkier lol

  • For the cheesy we have:
  1. A sweet, yet still tangy, blueberry white cheddar.
  2. Cajun cheese curds (which you can get a glimpse of in the top right hand corner)
  3. Prosciutto and basil, mozzarella roll (shown in the picture below)

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I added a few slices of some good homemade Italian bread to switch up the crunchy bites you’re going to take! Also, who doesn’t just love a good piece of bread and butter. Absolutely  no-one! At least whom I know of, anyway! lol In this case though, were not putting butter on our bread.. unless of course, you wanted to do so. I enjoy very much, to take a chunk of the chewy goodness, lay a piece of the mozzarella on top, and YUM!

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Last, but for sure not the least, in the left hand corner I added a few hot salami rounds for a nice fatty zap to finish everything off.

As you can see, making a gorgeous tray with snacks and textures that you love is so simple. Yet, you can still have fun with it, by play around with so many different combinations, and realize that snacking doesn’t always have to mean sitting down with a bag of chips… where half the bag is mostly just air anyway HAHA !

I hope you loved diving into my creative side, for catering to friends, parties, or even just yourself. I’m looking forward to posting SO much more. Be sure to stay tuned for many new summer plates to come, diamonds!          xoxo