All posts by Guest Writer

‘Hot’ chocolate ideas for the holidays

Peppermint may grab the glamour as a flavor of choice during the holiday seasons, but when it comes to sheer staying power in the hearts of the American public, it’s hard to beat chocolate. While many of us consider chocolate welcome and appropriate at any time of year, this most delightful sweet can take center stage during the holidays. Whether you give it as a gift, serve it on a holiday buffet or make it the centerpiece of your seasonal decor, chocolate is always on trend.

Here are some hot ideas for making your holiday entertaining a celebration of all things chocolate:

The (practically) one-size-fits-all gift

As gifts go, chocolate has timeless appeal for any occasion. Many people who might forgo the sweet during the rest of the year, treat themselves to an exception at holiday time. From basic bars in milk or dark chocolate to complex flavors like Platinum, a dark chocolate shell wrapped around pecan praline and caramel, it’s possible to find a chocolate treat that appeals to virtually all tastes.

Sending gourmet chocolates as a holiday gift has many advantages. The chocolatiers at Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates create truly unique, memorable offerings, and online ordering makes it easy to send a one-of-a-kind chocolate gift without the hassle and fuss of wrapping, packing and shipping on your own.

Fabulous feasting

What holiday celebration would be complete without some form of chocolate? As an ingredient or a dessert, chocolate is versatile. Whether you’re using it as a sauce ingredient for a main course or making it the centerpiece of a meal’s finale, you can find a place for chocolate in holiday cooking.

Sweeter decorating

Holiday decorating doesn’t have to start with tinsel and end with twinkling lights. Chocolate also makes a great decorating element. Decorating with chocolate shouts “festive,” and when done right, chocolate decorations can do double-duty as treats or dessert.

Start with creating chocolate tree ornaments. One of the easiest ways to make an ornament using chocolate is to purchase clear plastic ornaments at your local craft store and fill them with colorful chocolate candies.

Another easy option is to tuck colorful chocolates into your favorite holiday centerpieces. To create an illuminating centerpiece, choose a large pillar candle in a festive color. Place the candle atop a round mirror (also available at craft stores), and create a ring around the candle with colorful chocolates, such as Kohler Original Recipe Chocolate Rare Facets. Pleasing-to-the-eye and yummy-to-the-tastebuds these little pieces of artwork look like precious gems in rich hues. When dinner is done, invite guests to partake in the chocolates.

However you choose to incorporate chocolate into your holiday revelry, it’s hard to go wrong with this time-honored, beloved treat.

Try this great chocolate recipe from the chefs at Kohler’s American Club Resort:

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Chocolate Gingersnap Cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or mini chips)
1/3 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1/3 cup coarse sugar (or additional granulated sugar), for rolling

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and all spices. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg, followed by molasses, balsamic vinegar and vanilla. Either by hand or with the mixer on low speed, gradually stir in all the flour mixture, mixing only until no streaks of flour remain. Stir in crystallized ginger and chocolate chunks.

Form dough into 1-inch balls, roll in coarse sugar and place on baking sheet. Press cookies gently to flatten slightly and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until browned around the edges.

Makes about three dozen.

Crock Pot Oatmeal

1 cup steel cut oats
Pinch of salt
4 cups water

Put it all in a crock pot on LOW when you go to bed. It will be ready when you awake. Let everyone add their own unsweetened almond milk, nuts, chi seeds or flax seed meal, raisins or frozen blueberries or sliced bananas or diced apple and some cinnamon. (If your family is used to a super-sweet package instant oatmeal, you may want to add a little REAL maple syrup-drizzle it on the top so they can get a little with each bite) Serves 4

Written by Heather Millar Quintana

To find out more healthy back-to-school recipes, pick up our latest issue on stands now!

Wasena City Tap Room

Roanoke just keeps getting better and better when it comes to great places to live, eat and hangout. Wasena City Tap Room, in the Roanoke River House, is the perfect addition to the bar, food and hangout scene! Step into a relaxing pub atmosphere and enjoy their incredible beer selection and tasty meals!

Wasena City Tap Room offers over 30 beers on tap, many of them from our very own local breweries and a wide selection of pub grub with a tex mex style flair! The beer selection cycles fequently and keeps a good amount of the favorites on tap at all times.

To find out more about Wasena City Tap Room, pick up our latest issue on stands now.

Weekend in Abingdon

Written by Julia Sherertz

Find yourself in need of a weekend getaway? Travel to the charming and cozy town of Abingdon, Virginia. Stroll the tree-lined streets, the brick sidewalks, and admire the beautiful nineteenth century homes. Indulge at one of the many shops and restaurants in this beautiful town. Abingdon is one of Virginia’s most historic cities, founded in 1778, located in the picturesque Blue Ridge Highlands.

To find out more about where to stay, shop, eat and what to do in Abingdon, Virginia, pick up our latest issue on stands now!

The Pixie Cut

Anne Hathaway. Michelle Williams. Natalie Portman. Miley Cyrus. Charlize Theron. Emma Watson. These are all gorgeous celebrities who have gone the way of the Pixie cut-or some variation of it.

Have you been tempted by all these cute cuts to go short? There are a lot of benefits with short hair. Super fast blow dry time & styling time, you’ll use less product and more options with your hair color.

Written by Tanya Ritz

To find out more about the benefits and styles of Pixie cuts, pick up our latest issue, on stands today!

Family Staycation Ideas

Many working families have neither the time nor the money to take elaborate trips while the kiddos are out of school. Such travel takes time, money and planning. Here is a list of Roanoke Valley staycation ideas:

  • Spend a Friday evening listening to blue grass at the Floyd County General Store
  • Enjoy the Butterfly Garden and Aquarium at Center in the Square
  • Go on nature walks
  • Check out KIVA’s monthly events
  • Salem Red Sox games
  • River Rock Climbing Gym

Written by Lauren Ellerman

For more ideas on family staycation ideas, pick up our latest issue, on stands now!

Magnolia

Magnolia carries furniture, lighting, carpets, and offers custom upholstery. A major part of the business includes in home interior design services. There are a wide variety of price ranges and decorating styles offered in the store. Not only does Magnolia offer home furnishings and designing services, but it also has small gifts and jewelry.

To read more about Magnolia, pick up our latest issue on stands now!

Visit Magnolia on Starkey Road in Roanoke, open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Written by Julia Sherertz

Posh Pad: The Perfect Bar Cart

Bar carts have made a huge come back within the last few years.  Call it the “Mad Men Movement” or whatever you like, but they are back in a HUGE way.  Guarantee that if you surf any home improvement website or creative home blogs, you’ll see a slew of bar carts.

Whether you like to have guests over or you enjoy the after work cocktail, having the perfectly stocked bar cart helps you entertain with ease.

Written by Caitlin Cheatham

To find out how to stock the perfect bar cart, pick up our latest issue, on stands today!