Thursday, December 19, 2013

A tasteful holiday + a Nespresso giveaway

NespressoI am pumped about the HUGE giveaway in this post. Be sure to scroll down to enter for your chance to win one of these beautiful Nespresso machines!

Last Saturday I hosted a cookie baking party. There were five of us gals, two toddlers and one newborn. We had a busy, fun day. And while the day was far from successful from the baking perspective, it was an awesome time laughing and hanging with friends.

Isn't that what the holidays are really about? Celebrating with friends (and family) and laughing through all the chaos that the holidays bring? In our case chaos came in the form of one cookie baking disaster after another. I loved that we were able to laugh our way through the day and have a great time. The holidays can be stressful and I've learned to embrace the imperfections along with all things merry and bright.

Now onto the really good stuff. 

Nespresso contacted me to partner with them on a post to share my thoughts on what a Tasteful Holiday Season means to me. I already had this cookie baking party planned and I thought an espresso table would go nicely with all the treats we would be baking up that day.

I covered a small table with a festive, red tablecloth and added a small chalkboard to label the drink offerings. I lined up coffee mugs, the Nespresso machine, coffee capsules displayed on a small cake stand and chocolate wafer cookies as an accompaniment to the coffee.

To add a little sparkle I lined the back of the table with holiday lights. They provided a lovely glow especially as the day turned to evening.

NespressoI received a Pixie Aluminum Nespresso machine plus the Aeroccino milk frother a week ago and I've made a latte every day since. I am a huge lover of coffee (did you know that I used to be a barista for a short stint in my mid 20s?). I drink coffee each morning. It starts my day off right and my caffeine need is real and it maybe is weird to say but isn't caffeine such a beautiful thing? Warming my hands on a hot mug of coffee...well, that just may be one of my favorite things ever.

I'm no fan of stopping in the coffee shop every day and spending all that money on an espresso drink. But I still enjoy a latte every once and a while and always view it as a special treat. Now that I have this this Nespresso I can enjoy a latte every. single. day. And in just about 30 seconds I have a smooth cup of espresso and perfectly frothed milk. And the Aeroccino froths almond milk wonderfully. I tend to add unsweetened vanilla almond milk to my coffee but let me tell you that frothed almond milk takes things to a whole new level.

Make your way to the end of this post because I am giving away a Pixie Aluminum Nespresso plus an Aeroccino milk frother to one lucky reader. This is a huge value of $330!
NespressoOther than making really lovely cups of espresso, the machine itself is beautiful. The design is sleek and small and seriously competes with my Kitchen Aid Mixer as one of the prettiest kitchen appliances that I proudly display on my counter top.
NespressoHow awesome are these? My friend Sarah brought over adorable hot chocolate, marshmallow and Bailey's in a mason jar to pass out as favors. These make awesome hostess gifts. They were a very nice touch to the coffee table set-up.
NespressoIn addition to baking a cookie recipe, each of us provided an appetizer to share. Sarah brought this delicious shrimp and avocado salad and Libby brought hearty lasagna dip with bread.
NespressoI made this creamy, awesome warm kale and asiago dip. I found it really satisfying to mix a bunch of mayo, cream cheese and asiago cheese with super food super healthy kale. Because honestly, the holidays are not about being super healthy, are they?  NespressoI always have a simple cheese tray at any gathering. This is a jalapeno havarti.   NespressoSarah is anti-bake so she made pretzels dipped in almond bark and different toppings like peppermint, chocolate chips and heath toffee.  NespressoThese were great and a huge hit. They make festive favors if you add a bunch to cellophane bags and wrap with a ribbon.  NespressoNespresso also sent me these Grand Crus which each have different aromatic profiles. There are also a few flavored espressos and so far my favorite is the Vanilio (vanilla flavored).  Nespresso Nespresso NespressoI love this holiday download, from Lindsay Letters. I display it on my mantle, but for the party I added it to the espresso table.

So about the cookie chaos...Deanna made sugar cookies with a peppermint Hershey Kisses and Libby accidentally sent every single cookie flying onto the floor when she knocked over the cooling rack they were on. Oops. Deanna brushed it off saying the cookies didn't turn out that great anyway. Well, we'll never know if they were or not!

Then Libby's cake pops were a huge disaster. First of all, the cake pop pan she purchased produced weirdly shaped cake pops and then none of the pops would stay on the stick. Then the white chocolate frosting was all clumpy and weird. Those ended up in the garbage, unfortunately. They still tasted great but Libby was not pleased and wanted all evidence of the failed attempt gone. I've tried making cake pops once and they didn't turn out at all. Tasted fine but were super ugly. It really makes you appreciate those beautifully made cake pops that you see on Bakerella.

That left my cookies, which actually turned out alright but I wasn't happy with how dark the bottoms of my gingersnaps got. Overall though, they were pretty good. Summer made chocolate chip cookies beforehand and those were delicious.

So not the best results cookie-wise but still so much fun. We laughed and laughed and had a wonderful time. Now that, to me, are what the holidays are all about.

Be sure to enter this AMAZING giveaway! The giveaway will end at midnight on December 22 and the winner will be announced on December 23rd. Eligible to US residents only. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: this post was made possible by Nespresso. I was provided with Pixie Alumium and Aeroccino machines for my own use and also to giveaway. All opinions are my own.

60 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for the chance to win!! I love vanilla or almond lattes with soy milk-extra hot! :)

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  2. My go to espresso drink is a hazelnut latte with 2% milk

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  3. My all time fave is an iced peanut butter chocolate latte - but they are hard to find! When that is not an option my go to is a good iced with milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

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    1. I've never heard of a peanut butter chocolate latte but it sounds amazing. I may have to try making one.

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  4. Man alive am I excited about this giveaway!
    I love a vanilla latte. EVERY DAY!

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  5. It sounds like a perfect day with friends! I LOVE the mason jar favors, too!!

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  6. My favorite coffee drink is a decaf americano! Would love to win this machine!

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  7. This giveaway is the best! My fav is a vanilla latte.

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  8. Awesome giveaway. My husband would LOVE it! pa underscore north at hotmail dot com

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  9. You always host the best parties...sounds like an amazing day! I don't usually post or comment for giveaways but this my dear would be an great win! Merry Christmas to your family!

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    1. Thanks Tiffany, that is so sweet of you to say. I'm glad you entered, good luck and Merry Christmas to you as well.

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  10. oh my gosh, your cake stand of coffee cru's is adorable! I love a nonfat latte or cappuccino. Happy Holiday's!

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  11. vanilla or almond latte = heaven. Or post dinner espresso and baileys. Boom.

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  12. I like coffee or espresso with Baileys.

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  13. I am a fan of all things peppermint mocha and that's not an easy drink to make :)

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  14. I also love almond lattes..so so good!

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  15. Such a great giveaway!! Thank you for a beautiful post! Can't wait to try some of the recipes :)

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  16. I like Chai tea? do they offer that??

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  17. I love almond milk espressos!

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  18. I find myself at caribou daily, this would be an awesome substitute! Hazelnut lattes are my fave and i too am addicted to a warm mug in my hand!

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  19. Your party sounds like so much fun! It's also nice to know that others experience baking fails.

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  20. I'm a chai tea latte girl! And your parties are always so beautiful!

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  21. i love a good soy cappuccino!!! my favourite

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  22. WOW, would love to win this!! My favorite coffee drink is pretty boring - vanilla latte :)

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  23. My favorite coffee drink is a soy chai latte with no froth/foam (they totally cheat you out of more drink when they fill the top with froth/foam!).

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  24. My go to is a white chocolate mocha.

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  25. My favorite is a nonfat hazelnut macchiato. A total life saver on early mornings!

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  26. Mocha hot coffee is my favorite I skip the whipped cream most of the time.
    heather hgtempaddy@hotmail.com

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  27. I am a fan of a good caramel macchiato!

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  28. I would make mochas for my husband and Chai lattes for myself!--Kristin S.

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  29. Lately I've been making Vietnamese coffee at home, which is just strong coffee with sweetened condensed milk. Incredibly unhealthy but super delicious!

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  30. My favorite is only available at this time of year, unfortunately--Fa La Latte.

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  31. So excited to hear more about Nespresso! The pods are recyclable and like you, I don't want to pay for a latte every day at a fancy place but would LOVE one at home!

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  32. I LOVE hazelnut lattes! And, my husband and I make cold press coffee weekly and just heat it up in the morning this time of year. It has such a smooth taste!

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  33. Thanks for the giveaway! I love a caramel latte any morning!

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  34. Awesome giveaway!! I love everything about a good Pumpkin Spice Latte!

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  35. I love Eggnog Lattes. I wish they were a year round drink.

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  36. What a great giveaway! I love white chocolate mochas.

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  37. A caramel macchiato!

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  38. My favorite is a regular latter with a sugar and whip!

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  39. I like to keep it simple with a latte and some sugar!

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  40. A caramel macchiato would be my regular drink to have. This is a great giveaway!

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  41. I tried one of the Nespresso capsules that the salesperson compared to wine and it was wonderful. I still think about it! Just might be my favorite, Love the smoothness of the Nespresso I have sampled. I love a good coffee!

    Michelle Dare....

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  42. I would love to be able to make my own vanilla lattes with almond milk at home! It sounds so easy.

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  43. My hubby & I would LOVE to enjoy Nespresso's Ciocattino with vanilla hemp milk, so yummy! With twins on the way, it would be the perfect cup early in the morning or for those late night feedings! Thank you so much for the chance to win! Happy Holidays! xoxo

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  44. We just brought home our baby girl from the NICU and with a preemie outdoor times are limited so making my favorite skim latte at home would be fantastic. Plus easy peaty for entertaining guests!
    Happy Holidays and thanks for the chance to win!!

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  45. Thank you so much for offering such a wonderful giveaway. My favorite coffee drink is White Chocolate Mocha.

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  46. I love skim lattes and I need to make sure I start off my day with a cup coffee! I was also saying that my cake pops were An epic fail but we sure had a lot of laughs from it. I will have to redeem myself next year as well as stay away from Deannas cookies! :-) - Libby

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  47. My favorite is anything warm on these cold Mn days!

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  48. mocha frappes are my favorite!
    stephanie ann

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  49. I love hazelnut lattes! I just can't get over the wonderful aroma! :) In the Fall and Winter, I especially love pumpkin spice lattes as well! Believe it or not, I just got into coffee a few years ago... and now I'm totally addicted, so this Nespresso would be beyond awesome and would save me a toooon of money, considering lately I've been hitting up the local coffee shop a bit too often :( Thanks for the chance to win!!!
    - Nancy

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  50. bummer...ended at 12 Eastern....

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  51. Fantastic aroma Great Great!!! energy drink is the best

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