Welcome to our 1864 farmhouse…life is good!

Friday, December 25

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all the blessings of the season.

Day five...

...of the 5 days of cocoa

Something sweet & simple for a wonderful day.

Brown Sugar Cocoa...

3-oz. unsweetened chocolate
1/3 c. water
4 c. milk
1/4 c. brown sugar

Combine chocolate and water in a saucepan or double boiler over medium heat; stir until heated through; do not boil. Add remaining ingredients; whisk until well blended.

Thursday, December 24

day four...

...of the 5 days of cocoa!

This recipe is one my son has wanted to try since seeing the Polar Express movie, remember...

"You know, Montezuma, the king of the Aztecs would drink 50 quarts of hot chocolate every day. It was thick as mud and red. He put chili pepper in instead of sugar. Get it? Hot chocolate?"

...and so it's our cocoa for today.  The kids are still snoozing, but when they're up, this is what I'll treat them to.  Who knows if it's accurate or not, but I do know we'll be leaving out the green chile pepper!

I can't say it's "tried & true" until we actually try it...so come share our adventure for the day!

Aztec cocoa...

4 squares baker's chocolate, broken, or 2/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 c. milk
1 t. chili powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cardamom
1/2 t. ginger
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. nutmeg

Add chocolate or chips to a saucepan with milk over medium heat; do not boil. Whisk until chocolate is melted and well-blended. Divide between 2 mugs; set aside.  Whisk together remaining ingredients, add 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) of spice mixture into each mug; stir to blend.

And Happy Christmas Eve! How do you spend your 24th...baking, wrapping, crafting?

Part of our day will be spent in the kitchen...time to mix up scratch for the chickens, molasses treats for the goats, and goodies for barn cats & our faithful guard-dog. Finishing touches need to be added to the gingerbread train and we'll decorate the last of the sugar cookies. The Christmas music is playing, the fire is crackling, and excitement is in the air!

Have a wonderful Christmas Eve...
may it be filled with the fun of surprises, and the spirit of the season.


day three...

...of the 5 Days of cocoa!

We're in the home stretch...today includes a bit of stocking-stuffer shopping and lunch out with the kids. There's a movie and some games on the agenda for tonight, and although the temperature is in the 50's (boo, hiss) there will be cocoa!

Tonight we're enjoying this recipe that's new to us. If you're a peanut butter cup fan, I think you'll like it!

Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa

4 squares baker's chocolate, broken, or  2/3 c. milk chocolate chips
2 c. milk
2 T. peanut butter

Add chocolate squares or chips to a saucepan with milk. Warm, but do not boil. Stir to blend; add peanut butter and whisk until smooth.  Serves 2.

Tuesday, December 22

day two...

...of The 5 Days of cocoa!

Okay, yesterday's recipe was absolutely tried & true...the cocoa we make on frosty mornings or to warm up before bedtime (houses that have been around 152 years tend to be cold in winter!) My son once called it, "Cocoa made with love." Ahhh...

The recipe for a Day Two is also tried & true...the difference? It is oh-so rich! (Don't let the fact that it has almost a cup chocolate chips in it turn you away...am I the only one who has tossed at least that many chocolate chips in my mouth "just because"?)

Go ahead and substitute milk chocolate or white chocolate if you'd like, and even try peppermint extract for a new flavor.  

If you're looking for something special, this recipe is yummy!

Rich Hot Cocoa...

2/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (3-4 oz.)
1 t. butter
1/4 t. vanilla extract
1 c. half-and-half or cream

Combine first three ingredients in a saucepan or double boiler over medium heat; stir until melted and smooth. Stir in half-and-half or cream; blending slowly.  Do not boil. When heated through, pour into a mug and garnish with a dollop of marshmallow cream.  Serves one. 




Monday, December 21

the countdown is on!

Ahhh...how about a little Frank Sinatra to begin the week? He's right there alongside all my favorites...Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Andy Williams, Dean Martin...and this song, Christmas Memories, is just what I'm dreaming of this week. (Oh, and skip the ad...yuck.)

Frank Sinatra...Christmas Memories

Today is the official start of Christmas break for the kids...yay! We all look forward to this time, and our routine never varies much. Generally, the "rules" are...

~ sleep in
~ stay up late
~ watch all the classic holiday movies
~ bake cookies & roast s'mores
~ enjoy fires in the fireplace
~ camp out under the Christmas tree
~ watch movie marathons (Harry Potter, LOTR, Dr. Who, Merlin)

Not a bad way to spend two weeks off!

The packages are wrapped (and hidden!) the cards are out (as of today...okay, cutting that one close) and the menu is planned...life is good.  Our son says he has a "gift for my heart"  ~ oh my, that makes me weepy and I don't even know what it is yet.

Anyway, since most of us will be busy this week, I'm keeping it simple by posting recipes for
The 5 days of Cocoa.  We have some recipes we tinker with, and some recipes I've been wanting to try...so we'll try them together!

Here's our tried & true Old-fashioned Cocoa...

3 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 c. sugar
2 c. milk
1/2 t. vanilla extract

Combine sugar and cocoa powder; set aside.  Heat milk until scalding; stir cocoa mixture into warm milk; whisk to blend well.  Add vanilla.

(Now I tinker with this a bit...a little more cocoa, a little less sugar, just take a sip and change what you like.) And I usually pour the cocoa through a strainer then into a mug...dry cocoa never really likes to dissolve completely!

Add homemade marshmallows (oh-so easy!) or a dash of cinnamon...yum!

Wishing you all a wonderful week filled with the blessings of the season.

photo from: those fabulous folks at: http://www.maryjanesfarm.org/

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