(all ideas for the hot chocolate float bar are at the end of this post)
For me, Christmas-time is a time to get together with family, a lot. And since almost all my siblings are married and have children now, our family just gets bigger and bigger…which means get togethers are even crazier and louder…but even more fun. And, of course, we always have to have food. Can you tell it’s always a blast when we get together?
However, as much as I love cooking…I don’t always like cooking for our large family size crowd, and no one else really does either! I mean, who wants to slave over the stove when you can be hanging out with family! So, it’s always nice to have a few things in the freezer that can be popped in the oven and easily served. In our family, we also love desserts — simple ones like ice cream or hot chocolate, but with a few extra toppings here and there.
Some of the best frozen foods to have on hand are those from Nestle! Seriously, they have just about everything that everyone will enjoy. For the more sophisticated taste buds, there’s the Stouffer’s Party Size Lasagna, and for the youngins (or the young-at-hearts) there’s Stouffer’s Party Size Macaroni and Cheese. And, of course, the ultimate frozen food/meal in a pinch is pizza, and DiGornio has tons of yummy flavors that everyone is sure to enjoy. I didn’t even realize Nestle made all these foods! All of this, plus some delicious desserts from Nestle (more on that in a second) can be found at Walmart. Talk about one stop shopping!
We just got to Colorado, and we decided to have a little family get together. I was so happy that I didn’t have to slave over the oven all day, because, frankly, I’m exhausted! All I had to do was time everything perfectly so the food was all hot, make some garlic knots, and we were good to go. Of course, nothing tastes as good as homemade, but for those of you who are looking for an easy way to feed unexpected guests, large groups, or just your family when you don’t feel like cooking, it’s a great alternative. We added a little parmesan cheese to the Macaroni, and, as I mentioned, we made garlic knots.
Although the dinner was yummy, the highlight of the night was the hot chocolate float bar.
What’s a hot chocolate float? Well, it’s something Forrest thought up a few weeks ago. Basically, you make hot chocolate, put a scoop of ice cream in it, and a few other toppings (like peppermint chips and marshmallows) and you have one of the most perfect, drinkable desserts ever. I seriously thought it was brilliant when Forrest came up with it, and it was absolutely delicious. I honestly think everyone should consider doing one of these at their next party or family get together!
My sister Diana said it was perfect, because the ice cream cooled your hot chocolate down just enough that it doesn’t burn your mouth, but you still get that delicious, hot cocoa experience. The ice cream makes it super creamy, and adds a whole new dimension. Everyone agreed — it was the best hot chocolate they had ever had.
The kids loved this. They went to town putting on toppings and slurping down their cups of hot chocolate and ice cream. It was a lot less messy than eating ice cream (because if you have kids, you know that event never ends with clean hands and faces) and they all loved being able to customize it to their liking. However, I think what they liked most was giving themselves ice cream mustaches. Both the kids, and adults, loved this idea…I think it might be a new tradition!
The only sad part of the evening was that Jack couldn’t really have any of the dinner or dessert. Doesn’t this picture break your heart? My hot chocolate float spilled a little bit, and he just sat there gazing at it (and…when I looked away, he started to lick it up. Poor boy.)
Anyways, here is how we assembled our hot chocolate float bar. It was seriously so simple and turned out better than I could have imagined.
We bought three boxes of Nestle Hot Chocolate — dark chocolate, chocolate caramel, and milk chocolate.
We wanted to keep it simple, so we only bought two types of ice cream — Dreyer’ s Peppermint Wonderland and A Very Merry Egg Nog. Everyone loved the Peppermint Wonderland kind, but Forrest was the only one who tried the Egg Nog one…he was just so distressed that no one would try it!
We also had whipped cream, peppermint chocolate chips, marshmallows, and coffee creamer to put in the floats. The options are endless!
It was such a fun night! Be sure to check out other great holiday ideas in this digital magazine:
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.