Winter Warmth

I don’t know about the weather where you are…but here in Tennessee, it has gotten mighty chilly over the past couple of days.  It was a brisk (by that I mean bitter cold) 24 degrees when I left for work this morning.  Yikes!  Thankfully, I love cold weather clothing..so I’m somewhat grateful for the cold and being able to wear warm sweaters and scarves all day!

The other thing that I love about cold weather…all of those WARM beverages I can consume!  Granted..not all of them are very “Calorie Friendly” but I do enjoy endulging from time to time.  Here are 2 of my current favorites:

Hot Apple Cider:

The picture may be from the Land O Lakes website…but I take the really simple route to my Cider.  Just add Mulling Spices to a gallon of apple juice.  I know, I know…this is not very “gourmet” but that’s ok.  It tastes great and is easy to store.  Tuesday night I simply through the apple juice in a big pot, added the mulling spices and simmered on the stove until the spices had disolved.  I funneled the juice back into the original bottle (which was pretty interesting on its own…we had no funnel so I had to improvise.  Thankfully I’m married to a pretty smart guy).  Now I can have cider whenever I want..I just have to pour some in a mug, pop it in the microwave for a few minutes and I’m set to go!

The other warm beverage I love in the winter is hot chocolate and I found a fantastic recipe on AllRecipes.com.  This, my friends, is definitely not calorie friendly.

 

 

 

 

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 c. white sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/3 c. boiling water
  • 3 1/2 c. milk (I used 2% to give it a little extra body..thought skim might be a little too thin)
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract (forgot to add this and it was still delicious)
  • 1/2 c. half and half cream

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan.  Blend in the boiling water.  Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir.  Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes.  Watch that it doesn’t scorch.  Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil!  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Divide between 4 mugs. Add the cream to the mugs of cocoa to cool it to drinking temperature.

Here are some tips:

Make sure you have all your ingredients ready–have everything measured out and ready to add.  If you have to run to the fridge to grab your milk to add..you risk burning your chocolate mixture and noone likes burned chocolate.

I didn’t measure my half and half, I just poured a little bit in each glass to take the temp down slightly.

Add some mini marshmallows or whipped cream to the top.  I did ready whip, as I didn’t want to fuss with homemade whipping cream (and my father-in-law wasn’t home…and he is the expert whipped cream maker).

 

What is your favorite winter treat?

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