| Posted by Juli
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Do you think we are going to let sports fans have all the fun with their tailgating parties?  Some of the spreads for these parking lot festivities are so elaborate, you’d think this was the main attraction.  There are plenty of events to take you outdoors this time of year,  from cutting down the holiday Christmas tree to skating and sledding.  Why not turn these occasions into a holiday tradition?  Pack up your car with a few of these goodies and you are on your way.

Photo via: thesweetestoccasion.com

Where I grew up, winter activities were a step outside your front door.  With the lawn diligently watered in sub zero temperatures, Presto! an ice rink was born.  A friends enterprising father turned their hillside location into a full fledged luge run for  inner tubes – genius!  A warm drink and a box of tissues for that runny (or occasionally bloody) nose  were only a holler to mom away.  These days, half the fun is putting together a winter picnic before heading out on your winter adventure.

Isn’t the Thermos one of the best inventions ever?!?  It keeps contents hot or cold – it’s a miracle!  Right up there with the miraculous dichotomy of kettle corn, but that, my friends, is another blog.  First up, a steaming beverage to warm the cockles of your heart, wherever they are…

Photo credit: Thermos

I have always been enamored by the idea of Mexican Hot Chocolate.  I mean, hot chocolate on its own  is pretty darn tasty, but the exotic and mysterious addition of Mexican-ness??  I’m game.  Check out this luscious recipe here…

Photo via: Zested

Looking to throw off the shackles of hot beverage tradition?  Why not try this Hot Caramel Buttered Rum for size?  Sounds like super awesomeness to me.

Photo credit: Hot Caramel Butter Rum

Now our epic winter picnic needs to be mitten friendly.  Chips and dip are not a good menu choice here, people.  Your rule of thumbs should be – can this be eaten with claws?  If not, the great Oz has spoken.  Hearty soups, stews or chili are a great bet as they will keep your tongue happy, your belly full, and your nose toasty warm.   Here are a couple of options you can keep hot in that other fabulous winter cooking invention – the slow cooker.

Split Pea Soup via: jessicainsd.blogspot.com

Beef Barley Soup via: ourlifeinthekitchen

White Chicken Chili via: feaston.wordpress.com

Serve with some soft Chewy Cheesy pretzel  bread sticks.  Something about the crisp winter air and dense, chewy pretzel-like bread evokes fond memories of NYC street vendors selling their wares.  I have no idea how one would replicate hot roasted nuts off the back of their SUV… too bad.  Try these cheese pretzel bread sticks to accompany your soup, and feel free to dip away!

Cheese Sticks via: jocooks.com

Assuming a roaring open fire is not an option where you have set up your tailgating party, these amazing smores cookies will have to suffice for the real deal.  And the do a darn fine job I might add.  In fact, a great addition to your holiday baking repitoire.

Smores Cookies via the girl who ate everything

Don’t’ forget your blankets, extra scarves and mittens  to warm up any chilled little hands and feetsies!  Throw in a lawn chair or two, and there you have it.  The other holiday bowl!  Enjoy!

Photo via: realsimple.com

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