This post was sponsored by Starbucks as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received compensation and complimentary products to facilitate my review.
The amount of time I have to relax is limited and infrequent, so when I'm able to snag a few moments here and there, you better believe that I make the most of them. While it varies from season to season, I thought I'd share my winter rituals for the perfect cozy afternoon, as it appears the cold just can't decide if it's ready to stay or go.
Put On Some Soothing Jams || Soft music is just the thing to help your body start to relax. I love a gentle piano mix or even a soft meditation playlist.
Mix Up a Cup of Cocoa || Rarely does a cold afternoon go by that I don't mix up some hot cocoa (with marshmallows, of course!). Thanks to the recently released Starbucks® Hot Cocoa K-Cup® pods, that come in a rich chocolate and salted caramel flavors, this part of my ritual just got way easier. Not only is the hot chocolate decadent and delicious (it's made with real cocoa and non-fat milk), but because all that I have to do is press a button to make a cup, I get to spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying my cozy afternoon. Also, how pretty and sleek is the mug from the Starbucks Cozy Collection?! Perfect for that cocoa!
Pull Out a Favorite Snack || Popcorn or cookies are two of my favorite snacks to pair with a cup of hot cocoa. I usually stick to something plain to balance out the sweetness of the cocoa, but my hot chocolate obsession has gotten the best of me so I couldn't help mixing up a batch of hot chocolate popcorn. It was too good to keep to myself, so lucky for you, I'm sharing the easy snack recipe below.
Grab a Warm, Soft Blanket || There is truly nothing like a good blanket when it comes to cozying up. I recently added this one (also found in the Starbucks Cozy Collection box) to my collection and it's softness has quickly moved it to the top of my favorite blankets (and trust me, that's not easy to do considering I have quite the collection of soft blankets). FYI, you can win your own Cozy Collection full of everything you need (Yes, this blanket is included!) for your own cozy afternoon. Just enter your name and email here. Easy peezy, right?!
Reach for a Good Book || Because nothing says relaxing like slipping in between the lines of a good book and escaping into an entirely different world. I keep a running list going of the books I want to read on my library's e-reader app so I never have an excuse to not pick up something to read.
Don't Forget a Cuddle Buddy || (even if it is just your cup of cocoa)- Hands down, my favorite part of a cozy afternoon is when I get to snuggle up under the cozy blanket, in my cozy clothes, with Mr. RC. We'll swap out reading for an old classic flick, and, if he's lucky, I'll sometimes even share my hot cocoa and snacks with him...but only if he gives me most of the blanket ;)
For ways to make your afternoon even cozier, check out my video below:
What's your favorite way to relax and get cozy? Do you have any go-to rituals? And, of course, I have to ask, what's your favorite flavor of hot chocolate? Do you go for classic, or do you like to spice it up with a flavor?
SALTED CARAMEL HOT CHOCOLATE POPCORN
yields 6 cups
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted
- 1/3 cup caramel sauce, at room temperature
- 1 cup miniature marshmallows
- Over a medium-high burner, heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a large pot. Add the kernels and swirl to evenly coat with oil. Place lid on pot, but leave a slight opening for air to enter the pot. Keep an eye on the kernels (about 5 mins) until you start to see the kernels popping. Once the majority of the kernels have popped, shake pot to ensure that any unpeopled kernels pop. Once the majority or all of the kernels have popped, turn heat off and remove pot, but continue to shake for about 30 seconds.
- Combine the cocoa powder and sugar in a small bowl, then set aside.
- Once kernels are finished popping, drizzle on the remaining 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, then sprinkle on the cocoa powder and sugar mixture. Gently shake the pot around a few times to ensure there is an even coating. Next, drizzle on the caramel sauce and sprinkle with the salt. Set aside.
- In a small pan, melt the chocolate chips over medium-low heat, stir constantly. Once fully melted, pour onto the popcorn. Gently stir to mix in the chocolate and caramel. It doesn't need to be evenly mixed...some of the popcorn will clump together to form small balls, some will have chocolate, some will have caramel, etc, and that's totally fine. Finally, add in the marshmallows and stir to mix everything together. Allow to cool (for faster cooling time, spread the mixture out on a baking sheet), then dig in. Ok, well, you don't have to wait until it's cool (chances are you probably won't be able to), but it is less messy if you can wait!
- Store leftovers in an airtight container.