Erica Lea on Dec 24th 2012
A Very Merry Christmas!
If you’ve never tried or made eggnog from scratch before, let me urge you to do it. Today. It’s my favorite Christmas drink. You can find my step-by-step photos over on the Tasty Kitchen Blog here.
Reuben is sick today. I hope he feels better soon - it’s sad to see him so miserable.
This evening, if he’s feeling up to it, we’re heading over to Reuben’s family’s house (a few miles down the road) for a new-to-me tradition: a soup party! Sounds like an awesome custom to me. Family members bring a different kind of soup to share. So far I’ve heard rumors of seafood, squash-apple-parsnip and oyster (or was is clam?). I’m planning on bringing my Sausage and Potato Soup.
Another new-to-me tradition: opening presents on Christmas Eve. We’ve always saved our presents for each other for early Christmas morning. When do you open your presents?
I leave you with these beautiful words from the hymn “As with Gladness Men of Old” — it’s not one often sung, but the words are powerful. The tune is the same as “For the Beauty of the Earth“
As with gladness men of old
Did the guiding star behold
As with joy they hailed its light,
Leading onward, beaming bright
So, most gracious Lord, may we
Evermore be led to Thee.
Holy Jesus, every day
Keep us in the narrow way;
And, when earthly things are past,
Bring our ransomed souls at last
Where they need no star to guide,
Where no clouds thy glory hide.
Merry Christmas from Reuben & Erica!
Erica Lea on Dec 12th 2012
For some reason, I have been averse to pairing mint with chocolate my whole life. Whenever someone would order a mint mocha or mint chocolate chip ice cream I would inwardly shake my head in wonderment. Why ruin perfectly good chocolate with mint?
But I heard people raving about the peppermint hot chocolate at Starbucks. Could I be wrong in my presumption? I decided to give this mint-and-chocolate thing a try.
Am I ever glad I did. The fresh, strong flavor of peppermint lightens the rich, heavy hot chocolate perfectly. Which means you can drink more of this scrumptious beverage without feeling overwhelmed by the creaminess.
- The original recipe suggests chopping your chocolate, but I just used chocolate chips and they melted perfectly.
- The OR also directs you to bring the milk/cream to a boil and add it to the chocolate. I just put it all in a pot and let it melt together. Worked wonderfully!
- The peppermint flavor that I used left little grease puddles at the top of my hot chocolate. If you’re a purist, go for a non oil-based flavoring.
- I added a few drops of the peppermint flavoring to the whipped cream just for kicks. I highly recommend it.
- 1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
- 1 teaspoon + 2 tablespoons sugar or sweetener of choice
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or chocolate bar, chopped
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon peppermint flavor
- candy canes, for garnish
1) Place 1/2 cup cream, 2 tablespoons sugar, the milk and chocolate in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the chocolate has completely melted and is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the peppermint flavor.
2) In a small bowl, beat the remaining 1/2 cup chilled cream with a few drops of peppermint flavor (optional) until soft peaks form.
3) Serve the hot chocolate with whipped cream and a sprinkling of crushed candy canes. Enjoy!
Erica Lea on Feb 16th 2012
It’s always fun to plan out our lunches for skiing, trying to come up with something special and delicious. A few weeks ago, I decided that Frappuccinos would be a lovely treat. Creamy coffee drinks are my favorite.
Thus I purchased a pack of bottled Frappuccions. The words “low-fat” on the bottle disturbed me a bit, but I was sure they would be yummy anyhow. Alas, not so. We found them to be overly sweet and thin. We dumped in some cream and they were improved immensely. But I was sure I could make something better myself.
Sure enough, I was able to produce something rich and creamy with much better flavor and less sweetener. That’s the beauty of making it yourself - you can customize it to your own personal tastes!
Here is my method for making your own creamy bottled frappiccino drink at home. Don’t think of it as a recipe as it’s meant to be highly customizable. I like my coffee fairly strong, so keep that in mind.
Printable Page | Makes 1 serving
- 1/2 cup espresso or strongly brewed coffee
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk (none of this low-fat stuff)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (oh yeah)
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup (more to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Brew your espresso or coffee and place in the refrigerator until cold, about an hour or so. Add the remaining ingredients and stir or shake well (if using a bottle). Taste and adjust the ratio of milk, syrup, etc. Keep going until you love it. Enjoy!
This should keep in the refrigerator for a few days. I haven’t experimented with keeping it longer!
Erica Lea on Feb 1st 2011
Yesterday, I had a completely new experience: homemade hot chocolate. Not the kind made with cocoa powder and sugar. No. The Kind made with REAL chocolate.
Oh my. It was like drinking chocolate pudding; it was so rich I couldn’t finish it in one sitting!
Notes: I used maple syrup for the added sweetener and bittersweet chocolate chips for the chocolate. I also added a bit of cream to the milk. Perhaps next time I will use only milk as it was so rich.
Homemade Hot Chocolate
Adapted from Elise Bauer
- 3 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces chocolate, preferably dark
- 3 teaspoons maple syrup or natural sweetener of choice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
1) Chop the chocolate very finely.
2) In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a low simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally.
3) Add the chocolate, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt. Whisk vigorously until all of the chocolate has melted. Cook for an additional 4 minutes, whisking constantly.
4) Serve with maple whipped cream (recipe follows) if desired.
Serves 4 generously
Maple Whipped Cream
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup (more if you like your whipped cream very sweet)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and beat until stiff.
And now for the Frigidaire Accessories winner:
Commenter #90: Diana!
I have contacted Diana and sent her the coupon code.
Thank you all for participating in the giveaway!
Erica Lea on Dec 24th 2009
Using random.org, I have selected the winner:
Hannah and Esther: We like COFFEE! But we also like tea. I love the Rooibos tea with a little milk. Yummy!
Congratulations, Hannah and Esther!
Just for fun, I tallied up how many people like to drink what. Here are the results:
#1 Tea (52%)
#2 Coffee or Undecided (both 16%)
#3 Cocoa (10%)
#4 Cider (6%)
Thank you to all who entered my giveaway! Merry Christmas!