Peppermint Cream Hot Cocoa

Neat or On The Rocks with Harley - www.cobornsblog.com
Harley

Hello January! Old man winter it here with vengeance, blasting us with wind, cold and of course SNOW, so I thought a nice hot cocktail was just what we needed and this recipe does not disappoint.

If you love a Peppermint Andes Chocolate Mints, then you are going to love this Peppermint Cream Hot Cocoa recipe. Using only three ingredients, we step up your traditional Hot Cocoa to an adult beverage that you will not want to put down. And if you want to step it up a notch, topping with mini marshmallows and peppermint is recommended. Simply print the recipe below, pin in on Pinterest, watch the video… but please try it, because this is sure to become a new winter favorite! Continue reading “Peppermint Cream Hot Cocoa”

Last Minute Homemade Christmas Gifts

Last Minute Homemade Christmas Gifts www.cobornsblog.com

 

Ashley Maurer www.cobornsblog.com
Ashley Maurer

 

 

Last Minute Homemade Christmas Gifts

With Christmas right around the corner, it is officially time to stop procrastinating. Let’s face it, those gifts aren’t going to buy themselves! There always seems to be a last minute party to attend or an extra person coming to spend the day with the family that you weren’t planning on. Not to worry though! I’ve got a few last minute ideas that will make those last minute plans feel like they had been planned all along. The best thing is that you can get most, if not all of the things you need at your local Coborn’s!

 

Snowman Chocolate Bars www.cobornsblog.com
Snowman Chocolate Bars
This is my personal favorite and a good craft to make with the kids. I picked up some extra large candy bars and a couple pairs of gloves from Coborn’s. I used plain computer paper to wrap them in, pulled the open glove over one end of the wrapped chocolate bar and tie some ribbon around it to tighten the top together. Then use crayons to draw the snowman features on. Add one more ribbon to make the scarf and that’s all there is to it. It’s quick, easy and fun to make. Plus they make great stocking stuffers or would even be cute as place settings for the kids’ table!

Snowman Hot Chocolate www.cobornsblog.com
Snowman Hot Chocolate
Who doesn’t love hot chocolate on those cold winter nights? Make hot chocolate even more fun by building a snowman to give it in. This is a great project to make with the kids and I love being able to reuse baby food jars to make it. You can mix and match jar sizes too! Don’t have any baby food jars laying around? A quick visit to Coborn’s can solve that. That’s what I had to do. Don’t worry, I didn’t waste the food, my sweet niece ate it up for me!

Make sure to peel the labels off, wash and sanitize the jars. Paint the lids black and use paint to make the face and buttons of the snowman on the outside of the jars. Use hot glue to hold the jars together in a stack. Fill each of the jars, one with mini marshmallows, one with hot chocolate (or cappuccino mix works too) put peppermint candies in the last one. I had scrap fabric laying around that I used to make the scarfs but you could use ribbon for that too. Simply adorable!

Candy Whisk www.cobornsblog.com
Candy Whisk
Making a candy filled whisk is very fast and easy. Plus it can be made for less than $10! Buy the candy and whisk, fill the whisk with candy. It’s really that simple. Click here for a free printable tag to add to it as well.

Pot Holder Bouquet www.cobornsblog.com
Pot Holder Bouquet
This is also a super easy gift to put together. All it takes is one trip to your local Coborn’s store and you can get everything you need. Spend some time going through the kitchen aisle and mix and match to your liking. Grab a pot holder and make sure all the utensils you picked out will fit inside. When you get home you can add some tissue paper, bows or ribbons to top it off. This works great to give as a hostess gift for those last minute Holiday parties.

Giving homemade gifts can be fun, personalized and meaningful. These were just a few of my favorite gift ideas. If you want to see some more crafty creations check out Lynell’s blog for more fun ideas you can make yourself.

Happy Holidays!
Ashley Maurer
Coborn’s Inc. Graphic Designer
Homemade Made Easy

Is Dark Chocolate Really Good For You?

Is Dark Chocolate Actually Good For You?

Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley. www.cobornsblog.com
Ashley

Is dark chocolate really that good for you? Depending how I answer, I could lose a lot of friends. In a one word and simple answer: Yes! However, you must read on to the rest of the blog to get all of the details. For example, which type of dark chocolates are best, what amounts can be consumed in one sitting, how often it can be eaten and the reasons why it is or is not good for you.

Wouldn’t it be nice if it were simple and I could say that because dark chocolate has some benefits, you can feel free to eat as much as you want? I really wish I could, but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that… True health benefits rely on the portion of foods to determine whether it is beneficial or not.

So let’s get started! To begin…

What Is Chocolate?:

Chocolate is made using beans harvested from the cocoa tree, Theobroma cacao. The beans are removed from their pod, fermented, dried, roasted and then ground to produce a cocoa mass or cocoa liquor. Cocoa liquor can be pressed to yield cocoa butter and cocoa cake which is ground up into cocoa powder. Cocoa liquor can also be combined with cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla, (and milk, in milk chocolate) to make chocolate.

What Is Dark Chocolate?:

Dark chocolate is also known as “bittersweet” or “semisweet” chocolate. It contains a high percentage (> 60%) of cocoa solids, and little or no added sugar. Dark chocolate has a rich, and intense flavor. It can be found in chocolate bars, candies and baking chocolate.

Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate:

  • Dark chocolate contains flavonoids called procyanidins and epicatechins; flavonoids are part of a group of antioxidants that Cocoa Beansare great for the body known as polyphenols. They are found in a variety of foods including dark chocolate, tea, red wine, and various fruits and vegetables.
  • Flavanols, which are more prevalant in dark chocolate and cocoa beans, have antioxidant effects that reduce cell damage implicated in heart disease. They also help to lower blood pressure and improve vascular function.
  • Dark chocolate and its main ingredient, pure cocoa, appear to reduce risk factors for heart disease, as well as increase blood flow to the arteries and heart. Pure cocoa is also low in fat and sugar, while offering potential health benefits such as lower blood presure and reducing risks of blood clots. Most commercial chocolates have ingredients that add fat, sugar and calories. Too much of those things can contribute to weight gain, a risk factor for high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Therefore dark chocolate and pure cocoa are much healthier than commercial chocolate.
  • Dark chocolate can decreases LDL (“bad”) cholesterol oxidation.
  • In addition, some research has linked dark chocolate consumption to reduced risks of diabetes, stroke and heart attack.
  • Cocoa may have a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels because it consists mainly of stearic acid and oleic acid. Stearic acid is a saturated fat, but unlike most saturated fatty acids, it does not raise blood cholesterol levels. Oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat, does not raise cholesterol and may even reduce it.
  • Regular intake is associated with better cognitive performance in the elderly.
  • It also contains a number of minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
  • Best of all- Dark chocolate improves mood and pleasure by boosting serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain! It makes you happy!

Keep In Mind:

Caffeine Levels:

  • There are measurable amounts of caffeine in dark chocolate. Eating large amounts may increase blood pressure. Individuals who are sensitive to caffeine should be aware of this when considering adding dark chocolate to their diet.

Kidneys:

  • Chocolate contains oxalates which can lead to an increase in urinary oxalate excretion. Increased urinary oxalate increases the risk of kidney stone formation. As a result, those individuals prone to developing kidney stones should reduce their intake of oxalate from food – including chocolate – as a way to reduce urinary oxalate.

Migraines:

  • Dark chocolate contains a natural chemical called tyramine. Although more data is needed, Tyramine is thought to trigger migraines. Not all individuals who suffer from migraines are sensitive to tyramine, however those who suffer from migraines may consider experimenting to determine if dark chocolate is a trigger for them.

Milk:

  • Milk tends to bind to antioxidants in chocolate making them unavailable. Therefore, milk chocolate is not a good antioxidant source.
  • To get the benefits of antioxidants, avoid drinking milk with dark chocolate.
  • White chocolate contains no cocoa solids and therefore is not a good source of antioxidants.

Ideas for Healthy Dark Chocolate Consumption:

  • High-quality chocolate contains a high percentage of cocoa solids (up to 60 %). It also contains phytochemicals, like Chocolate Heartflavonoids, that contribute to pigment. More flavonids means darker choclate and greater health benefits. Therefore, avoid purchasing chocolates that have a grayish tone, white spots on the surface or small holes. Look for brown, glossy or dark brown chocolates to purchase- The darker the better!
  • Look for chocolate made from cocoa butter instead of fats such as palm and coconut oils. Although cocoa butter does contain significant amounts of saturated fat in the form of stearic acid, it has been shown to have a neutral effect on cholesterol unlike the saturated fats in both palm and coconut oils.
  • Purchase chocolate without the use of ‘hydrogenated’ or ‘partially hydrogenated’ oils, which are known to negatively impact cholesterol
  • A small portion of high quality dark chocolate is recommended. Be aware, dark chocolate is high in calories and fat, so consume sparingly. According to the University of Michigan the recommended daily serving of chocolate is 1 oz. per day. That equals about the size of one small individually wrapped Dove Chocolate.

To Avoid Overindulging in Dark Chocolate:

  •  Eat it after you have enjoyed lunch or dinner.
  • Have a piece of fruit prior to eating dark chocolate to help satisfy your sweet craving.
  • Take your time when eating dark chocolate. It is very rich and has complex flavors. Eating it slowly and mindfully wil increase enjoyment.
  • Try dipping fresh fruit into melted dark chocolate for a divine dessert! Delicious!
  • If you enjoy chocolate flavor, add plain cocoa to your low-fat milk or morning oats. Pur cocoa is much healthier than commercial chocolates and tastes just as great!

So when it comes down to it there are both pros and cons to the consumption of dark chocolate. In the end it is all about moderation and about getting all of the other daily nutrients your body needs to function. Don’t feel guilty about eating dark chocolate- just make sure you aren’t over doing it!

Peace and wellness,
Ashley

Click Here for more articles written by Ashley

Eat Healthy Shop Smart with Ashley - www.cobornsblog.com
Eat Healthy Shop Smart

 

 

 

 

 

Resources: Mayo Clinic, University Of Michigan, USDA Nutrient Database

 

3 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the Holidays

www.cobornsblog.com - Crafty Creations with Lynell
Lynell

Last year I wrote a blog featuring Seven Festive Ways to Use a Mason Jar. I received a lot of positive feedback so I wanted to blog about a few more fun ways to use a mason jar for the holidays. These ideas are simple, fun and make great gifts. Don’t forget that you can get most, if not all of the items to make these gifts at your local Coborn’s!

Mint Cocoa Cocktail

First let’s start with a fun “Adult” gift, The Mint Cocoa Cocktail. A little mint a little cocoa and a little liquor make for a great way to unwind from a long winter day. Click Here to print the Free Printable Gift Tags that include the directions on how to make this Christmas-y Cocktail.

Mint Cocoa Cocktail Mason Jar Gift PLUS two more great ways to use a Mason Jar for your Holiday Gifting. www.cobornsblog.com

5.0 from 1 reviews
Mint Cocoa Cocktail Mason Jar Gift
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • Mason Jar
  • Handful Peppermint Candies
  • 2 Small Bottles Peppermint Schnapps
  • 2 Packets Hot Cocoa Mix
  • 2 Peppermint Candy Canes
  • One 8" Round Piece of Material (peppermint pattern)
  • 4.5' Twine
  • Four 1" Bulbs (I used 4 different colors)
  • Free Printable Tag
Instructions
  1. Place peppermint candies in the bottom of the jar.
  2. Place 2 hot cocoa packets in the back of the jar.
  3. Place 2 bottles of peppermint schnapps in the jar in front of the cocoa packets.
  4. Add 2 candy canes in the jar for stir sticks.
  5. Screw the lid on the jar.
  6. Place the material on top of the lid.
  7. Wrap the twine twice around the lid to secure the material on the top of the jar.
  8. Attach free printable tag with twine.
  9. Tie the bulbs to the end of the twine.
  10. Stir with candy canes and enjoy!

 

Cinnamon Popcorn Santa

My next mason jar gift idea is a tasty treat that anyone on your list will love!

Cinnamon Popcorn Santa Mason Jar Gift PLUS two more great ways to use a Mason Jar for your Holiday Gifting. www.cobornsblog.com

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cinnamon Popcorn Santa Mason Jar Gift
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • Mason Jar Supplies
  • Large Mason jar
  • Little Santa hat
  • 1 Foot 1" Black Ribbon (or paper)
  • 2" x 2" Sparkly Silver Paper
  • Cinnamon Candy Popcorn
  • Hot Glue
  • Cinnamon Popcorn Ingredients
  • 8 Quarts Popped Popcorn
  • 1 Cup Butter, cubed
  • ½ Cup Light Corn Syrup
  • 9 Oz. Red Hot Candies
Instructions
  1. Mason Jar Instructions
  2. Hot glue the Santa hat on the lid.
  3. Hot glue the black band around the middle of the jar.
  4. Hot glue the silver buckle on the black band.
  5. Fill the jar with Cinnamon Candy Popcorn.
  6. Cinnamon Popcorn Directions
  7. Place popcorn in a large bowl; set aside.
  8. In a large saucepan, combine the butter, corn syrup and candies; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently for 5 minutes.
  9. Pour sauce over popcorn and toss to coat.
  10. Transfer popcorn to two greased 15" x 10" x1" baking pans.
  11. Bake at 250°F for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  12. Dump popcorn onto waxed paper to cool.
  13. Break apart; store in airtight containers.

 

Edible Play Dough Snowman

My last mason jar gift idea is an edible play dough snowman. This is a great gift for the kids on your list. It is not a tasty treat, but if it is consumed, it is at least made with all edible ingredients! Not to mention it is pretty adorable as well.

DIY Edible Play Dough Snowman Mason Jar Gift PLUS two more great ways to use a Mason Jar for your Holiday Gifting. www.cobornsblog.com

5.0 from 1 reviews
Edible Play Dough Snowman Mason Jar Gift
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • Mason Jar Snowman Supplies
  • Mason Jar
  • White Spray Paint
  • Two ¾ -1" Black Buttons
  • Four ½" Black Buttons
  • Small Piece Orange Felt
  • 16" Square Piece of Material
  • Styrofoam ball - 3" Round and 1 ½" high
  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue Gun & Glue
  • Edible Play Dough Ingredients
  • 1 Box White Cake Mix
  • 1 Stick Butter, softened
  • Water
Instructions
  1. Spray paint the Mason jar white.
  2. Cut orange felt into a triangle to create a nose.
  3. Hot glue button eyes, button mouth and felt nose onto jar.
  4. Lay material right side down and place jar lid on top.
  5. Cut Styrofoam ball to fit on top of the jar (use a steak knife).
  6. Pull material up around the lid and ball and tie it, cutting off any excess.
  7. Make Edible Play Dough by combining cake mix, stick of softened butter and water. Add water as needed to create desired consistency.
  8. Push play dough in the jar and seal it with the lid.
Notes
The white spray paint is optional. You will still get the white color of the snowman by placing the white play dough inside the mason jar.

 

I hope you enjoy making these fun and festive mason jar gifts for your friends and family this holiday. For more fun gift ideas using mason jars Click Here and start following us on Pinterest today!

Lynell
Coborn’s, Inc. Graphic Designer

Click Here for more blog articles written by Lynell
www.cobornsblog.com - Crafty Creations by Lynell

 

 

Easy Entertaining: Nutella Hot Chocolate

Coborn's Blog: Nutella Hot ChocolateHot chocolate with marshmallow? Classic.

With a peppermint stick? Love it.

With Nutella? How is it we’ve never thought of this before? More chocolate flavor and a hint of hazelnut sounds like the perfect update for this classic. Your family and guests will love this.

Nutella Hot Chocolate

Ingredients

1 cup milk

2 1/2 tablespoons Nutella

1 tablespoon cocoa

Tiny pinch salt

Directions

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, whisk all ingredients together until they are well blended and hot. Pour into a mug and top with homemade whipped cream and shaped chocolate

Homemade Whipped Cream

Ingredients

1 cup heaving whipping cream

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Place a medium bowl and your beaters from your electric mixer in the freezer for 10 minutes; this helps whipped cream stiffen faster. Pour all ingredients into chilled bowl and start to beat with chilled beaters. Start off slowly and gradually work your way up to high. You can tell if it’s done when it is the consistency of whipped cream. Do not over beat!