Noah had a snow day on Friday. We corralled a couple of his buddies and after more time than expected gathering coats, hats, gloves and boots from every closet in the house, they walked through the woods to the sledding hill while I got to work in the kitchen. Homemade hot cocoa, grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies awaited their return.
When I see friends after a year or so and they ask, “Are you still doing the real estate thing?” I know how to answer them now. Cancer and snow days. When you hear that little six-letter word, you never know how it will affect you. For me, it brought about laser focus to my priorities and where I belong. I acquired a certain level of clarity after the closing of my restaurant, but it was hammered home with one little sentence.
You have breast cancer.
Those were tough words to swallow. So, as I entertained three sweet, hungry 12-year-old boys on a glorious, snowy day, I felt the joy maybe only someone with a new lease on life can feel. The next time I’m asked if I’m still trying the ‘real estate thing’, I’ll throw back my shoulders, and with no hint of apology, say that I’m cooking, doing snow days and caring for my family. Because I’m a survivor, and because I can.
See my hot cocoa for a crowd recipe below!
Here’s the backstory:
For those of you who don’t already know me, I owned a tasty little restaurant in a suburb of Dayton, Ohio for quite a few years. Seven, to be exact. It came time to close the doors and I did so with a very heavy heart. The beauty from that pain: it allowed me to focus my time and attention on my family, something I hadn’t done for far too long. I am blessed to be able to care for them.
After a few years at the helm of the home, it was time to get back out into the world. Real estate was always interesting to me, so I spent some time getting licensed. As the spring arrived, I was getting down to the business of helping friends and family buy and sell homes.
Fate stepped in and (as I’ve heard many others say), 2019 became a year of health challenges. After a springtime injury that resulted in a spinal fusion, I was on the road to recovery when diagnosed with breast cancer, which resulted in the difficult decision to have a double mastectomy with reconstruction. In all that time, real estate was the last thing on my mind. Food and entertaining my family were the things that kept my spirits up during those dark days. I decided that God and Fate were showing me the way.
Now I am here, sharing my love of cooking with you. But not just cooking. To me, it’s a complete package. The way the house feels, looks and smells when friends walk through the front door all work together to make every occasion special. That doesn’t always mean a meal that took hours to prepare. It could be as simple as a few slices of cheese laid out beautifully on a platter, next to store bought meat, olives and crackers with glasses of cold wine to enjoy a spring evening.
If your guests are welcomed into open arms and a happy home, they will remember the good times you shared. My goal is to convey to you the things I’ve learned about hospitality over the years. Come along on this journey of food and fun. I hope it brings you as much joy as it does me. Here’s to living a beautiful life.
Feel free to ask questions about the next party or meal you’re planning! Get in touch with me at: Candace@FullFrontalEntertaining.com
Hot Cocoa For A CrowdCourse: DrinksDifficulty: Easy
Rich and sweet, this hot cocoa will please any crowd!
3/4 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper flakes
6 ounces hot water
4 cups half & half
4 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
- In large pot, mix together cocoa, sugar, salt, red pepper flakes and water with whisk. Add half & half and milk and stir until no lumps remain.
- Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.
- Remove from heat and add vanilla.
- Serve with whatever you have lying around your kitchen or pantry: marshmallows, peppermint sticks or candies, red hots, chocolate chips, and whipped cream are my favorites (along with peppermint schnapps or coffee liqueur for the adults!)
- I make this big batch anytime, whatever we don’t use can be stored in the refrigerator and heated in the microwave, a cup at a time, for a quick weekday pick-me-up!