Search This Blog

Popular Posts

November 20, 2017

Chocolate Bark | The Easiest Homemade Treat

Last week, I hosted our annual Thanksgiving Baskets Party.  I always have snacks and wine for the girls.  This year, I made a cheese board and a couple of batches of Homemade Chocolate Bark.  I have always wanted to try it after watching the Barefoot Contessa make it.  It was beyond simple to make, it took a total of about 5 minutes and it is completey beautiful and delectable.  The combinations are endless.

Candy making can be intimidating.  I don't really dabble too much in complex candy making.  This homemade chocolate bark was frighteningly simple.  Like, I could make a batch every afternoon without any effort.

I made two versions, one with milk chocolate and one with white chocolate.  This chocolate version has dried cranberries, cashews, pistachios and sea salt.  The sea salt was absolutely an amazing touch - don't forget that!  I look forward to making a festive version with Emma with mini marshmallows, pretzel pieces, sparkles and sprinkles.

It will be our go-to Hostess Gift for this season - I love it so much!

The Easiest Homemade Treat
Chocolate Bark

1 24oz. package of chocolate almond bark

topping ideas :

sea salt
dried cranberries
dried cherries
mini chocolate chips
chopped pretzels

Prepare a Large Sheet pan by lining it with Parchment Paper.  Prepare toppings, ready to sprinkle on once the chocolate has melted.

In a microwave safe bowl, put all but one of the chocolate squares. Microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between each interval, repeating until it is all almost melted.  When it is almost melted, add the last cube of chocolate and continue stirring until it is melted in and the entire mixture is smooth.

Pour the mixture on the parchment paper, and

Stir continuously to help coax the melting.  Don't over heat, or the chocolate can become stiff.

The Parchment Paper is key.  It slides off the paper so easily.

This is the version with white almond bark with dried cranberries, cashews and sea salt.

 On the night of the party, I broke it into pieces and put it into pewter bowls.  The girls loved it.  We sat around and just broke pieces off and snacked throughout the night.

To give them as a gift, I put them in a Cello Bag (large pictured here) with a Light Green Snowflake Tag with Green Satin Ribbon.

I paired the chocolate bark with a boxed gift card, available here.

November 18, 2017

Our Holiday Home, Part 1 | Playing with Pillows & Linens, Pears & Pomegranates

I would not say I'm officially decorating for the Holidays, yet.  I'm more testing things out.  We are not hosting Thanksgiving, but we are hosting our entire family the day after Thanksgiving for a post-ice skating and Christmas shopping dinner.  You know how Santa brings up the end of the Thanksgiving Day Parade?  I sort of feel like that is what will be happening at our house on Friday.  We'll have had the feast, and then completely throw ourselves into Christmas the day after.  I want our house to really feel decked out and full of holiday cheer when everyone arrives... although we won't get our Tree until the following Sunday.

So, I spent yesterday playing with pillows, linens and greens and did some holiday cozying.   I fluffed and played, debating prints vs. velvet and rich reds vs. neutrals and greens.

Our house is so neutral (intentionally so) so I'm really able to change the entire feel of the house each season.  The addition of these rich colors completely transforms our home for the Holidays.  In January, I'll sink back into the comfort of soothing, soft neutrals.

Red Hydrangea Block Print Pillows, $28-38
Red Velvet Pillows
Army Green Velvet Pillows
Plaid Blanket Wrap, $26
Red Berry Block Print Pillows, $28-38

My paper whites are just starting to shoot up.  Time for the vodka!  Tessa recently shared her tip for non-drooping paperwhites.  A bit of vodka in the water when they start to grow.

Speaking of Tessa, she recently helped me pick out this new lamp for our hearth room.  I sent her some ideas of what I was thinking via text and about 3 seconds later she sent me a photo of this lamp.  It was 100% exactly what I wanted.  She's so good.  Thank you, Tessa!!

I'm sorry these pots have sold out - I'm sort of obsessed with mine.

I love this combination of the Rich Red Velvet with the Red Hydrangea Block Print Cushions.  The Army Green accent pillow grounds the bright reds and makes them feel warm.

Red Hydrangea Block Print Pillows, $28-38
Red Velvet Pillows
Army Green Velvet Pillows

Darn - I love this star garland, too, but it is also sold out.  Ugh  : (

Cozy, rich, but clean at the same time.

My Plaid Blanket Wrap has found its home on the sofa.  It is the perfect inexpensive accent to warm the room up.

Plaid Blanket Wrap, $26

Or, should it go here, by the fire with the pillows?

I also tried some looks without velvet, just mixing and matching the prints.  They both have the same red color which makes them really coordinate nicely together without feeling to matchy-matchy.

Red Hydrangea Block Print Pillows, $28-38

Red Berry Block Print Pillows, $28-38

For this look, I moved the red velvet pillows over to the dining room (photos below) only rely on the red in the Block Prints.  This feels a little more transitional and might be the look I need until the Tree goes up.

 But then again, this does feel so warm and festive.  I can almost hear Bing Crosby singing...

I rolled out our cozy season runner in the kitchen.  Amazing how switching out our sisal runner for this antique completely warms everything up.

Here is our kitchen last year (or maybe the year before?).  I haven't hung greens or garlands yet this year, but it is always my favorite part.

Oh, this sort of makes me want our tree up now!  See the rest of the tour from years past, here >

Moving over to the dining area in our house - all part of our big great room.  

I made these arrangements on Instagram a couple of days ago.  They are a really nice transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas with its orange and rust spray roses and magnolia leaves.

I used the Red Berry Runner with Red Berry Napkins mixed with Red Hydrangea Napkins.  Mixing the two coordinating napkin patterns helps me set the table for 8 without having two by 8 matching napkins.

I used my Tree Tags ($4 for 10) as a place card tied on each setting.

I also tied some Brown Velvet ribbon too add another level.

I think this would be a beautiful Christmas Brunch table.  It is bright and festive, but still cozy.

As I mentioned, I brought the Red Velvet Pillows to the table to add yet another level of comfort.

I just swapped out the accent rectangle pillow in the center of our living room sofa to help transition this room.  I love the mix of prints in this room, with just touches of the rich velvet.  It feels a little more elegant and sweet.

Products Featured : 

Red Hydrangea Block Print Pillows, $28-38
Red Velvet Pillows
Army Green Velvet Pillows
Plaid Blanket Wrap, $26
Red Berry Block Print Pillows, $28-38

November 17, 2017

Thanksgiving Countdown Day 4 | Pumpkin + Flowers Centerpiece

Thanksgiving Countdown, Day 4 : The Centerpiece

Thanksgiving is special, and the centerpiece of the holiday is the table (ok, maybe the turkey, but really the table).  Fresh centerpieces can be a big part of making the day and meal feel special.  They provide a sense of "this moment is special."  Did you know that flowers stir and intrinsic emotional response from humans reminding us to celebrate the moment, as it is fleeting, as flowers are only fresh and beautiful for a short time.  When you sit around that table, taking in that moment, enjoying the company and being in awe of the feast, the fresh centerpiece will help your guests feel that, too.

See the rest of the Thanksgiving Countdown, here >

Of course, I'm a fan of the homemade versions.  While florists centerpieces can be wonderful and beautiful, we enjoy making them ourselves.  This is the Pumpkin Floral we created for our Thanksgiving last year.  I loved the soft pinks and orange mixed with the deep brown, purpler and rust colors.

Emma loves to help make floral arrangements and I love watching how she carefully and thoughtfully places each stem and gathers things from around the house and yard to decorate the table.  For family holidays, I'm not as interested in perfection as you might think.  In fact "perfection" is one of the words I loathe the most!  Ugh.  When I watch her create something that she thinks will be beautiful and make the holiday special, I know we're doing it right.  As long as she sticks with my color scheme.  Joking!  Sort of : )  

These flowers can easily be found at a good grocery store or Trader Joe's.  The small spray roses are very easy to work with and stay fresh longer than large roses.  Here are the florals we used : 

Spray Roses : Blush & Orange
Berries : Hypericum Berries in a Deep Red/Rust
Dark Purple & Green Leaves
Broom Cob

I LOVED this so much.  It was giant!  It made quite the statement on our table.

Below, is a version we made a couple of years ago, along with Step-by-Step instructions for how to make the centerpiece in a pumpkin :

I started by selecting my flowers and colors - getting a feel for what the colors will look like with the table setting, in the room.

I chose these apricot roses with burnt orange and deep red mums.  I needed something that would drape downward in the arrangement, so I selected the wheat-looking stems.

As you can see (and you might remember), we received a large collection of Spode Woodland china that I always use during the Fall and Winter holidays.  I have admired them for years and am so glad to have them - and I still LOVE them every year when I get them out.

I will use this glass vase set inside the pumpkin to make the arrangement in, so I cut the top to be sure it would fit into my opening.

I cut the opening, then scooped out the insides with an ice cream scoop.

I put the vase in with a square of oasis foam, then filled it with water.

I started by putting in the best roses, trying to achieve the shape.

And then, because flowers look best in groups of the same, I bunched 2-3 flowers next to each of those roses.  I like to use different sizes of roses in these groups to add interest - and it looks more natural.

Then, I started plugging in groupings of mums in the same fashion.

It is starting to take shape.  At this point, I realized it was a little 'tight,' so I pulled the bottom roses out by an inch or so, so it didn't look so much like a ball of flowers on a pumpkin.

To soften the entire arrangement and to add some drape, I placed the broom cob around the collar.

Done!  You can see the groupings of flowers look more appealing than if it were homogeneously arranged - it would look polk-a-dotted!

To keep it fresh, keep it in the refrigerator (or in the garage, if your garage is really cold like mine!).

See the rest of my Thanksgiving Countdown Tips, here, along with Recipes, Table Settings and Planning for Guests >

Copyright @ Jenny Steffens Hobick. Blog Design by KotrynaBassDesign