7.06.2018

Hot Chocolate Mix


"Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made." - Otto von Bismarck

TGIF, everyone! I KNOW I'm not the only one that's happy for the weekend, am I right? Although my work week only consisted of four days, it felt like the longest work week ever. I think it has to do with the fact that things were kind of slow at work. Like, when I'm extremely busy at work, time flies by, and in the blink of an eye, the clock changes from 7:30am to 4:30pm. On the contrary, when I'm not as busy, and I'm reaching out for extra assignments and projects, time drags on and on, making a normal eight hour workday seem like a 28-hour workday. To top it off, on these super long workdays, all the forces of the universe seem to unite and make the commute home an extra long one. What usually takes about an hour can take up to two-and-a-half hours... =/

But, enough of the complaining, because right now, all I want to do is curl up on the couch with either (or both) of my pets, find something to watch on my Tivo, and drink some hot chocolate. I'm not a huge chocolate fan, but OMG, I can never turn down a cup of hot chocolate. It's one of my go-to comfort foods, with Swiss Miss hot chocolate mix being the number one brand I always keep in the house.

That was, however, until I learned how to make it on my own! I'm not sure why, but it never struck me as being an easy thing to make. But really, I confess, I had never really given it any thought. I would just mindlessly go to the grocery store, buy some Swiss Miss, get home, heat up a mug of milk, and mix in some hot chocolate mix. Thankfully, that has all changed thanks to this recipe, and now, I am always fully stocked with a canister of my homemade hot chocolate mix :) The good thing about this mix is that I'm able to drink it with either hot milk or cold milk, so I can enjoy it in all kinds of weather days! Apart from this, it's easy to mix, easy to store, sooo delicious and creamy, and probably easily adaptable to different kinds of chocolate, depending on your tastes (milk chocolate, dark chocolate, bittersweet chocolate).


Hot Chocolate Mix
adapted from: New Cook Book 14th Edition by Better Homes and Gardens

*makes: 32 servings*

Ingredients:
1 25.6 oz package instant nonfat dry milk powder
1 16 oz package nondairy rich and creamy coffee creamer powder
1 8 oz package 100% cacao natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups confectioners powdered sugar
small and fluffy marshmallows

Directions:
1) In an extra-large bowl, combine dry milk powder, nondairy creamer, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar. Store in a tightly covered container for up to 3 months.
2) For one serving, place 1/2 cup of the mix in a mug and add 1/2 cup boiling water or milk. Top with marshmallows.



Malted Hot Chocolate Mix

1 25.6 oz package instant nonfat dry milk powder
1 16 oz package nondairy rich and creamy coffee creamer powder
1 8 oz package 100% cacao natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups confectioners powdered sugar
1 13 oz package malted milk powder
small and fluffy marshmallows


7.05.2018

Lemonade


"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage." - Lao Tzu

Let me start with wishing everyone a Happy belated 4th of July! I hope everyone enjoyed the fireworks displays, whether live in person or on the television. We didn't do much yesterday; we made burgers for dinner, watched a few episodes of a novela on Netflix, basically chilled with our pets on the couch. It was a much needed relaxing weeknight. Although, having a day off from work in the middle of the week totally threw off the vibe of the rest of the workweek! I came back to work today thinking it was Monday... it was the most un-Thursday Thursday in a while!

Does that ever happen to you? It happens to me all the time when packing for a trip. We usually leave on Thursdays for vacations (it's kind of become tradition at this point), so I work Monday and Tuesday, take Wednesday off to pack and spend time with the fur babies, and then we leave Thursday. It makes those two workdays seem like Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday at the same time, while making these two days seem like the longest work week ever!

Ugh, speaking of vacation, I would LOVE one right about now, to escape this horrible humid Summer heat! I don't know how Summer's been wherever you are right now, but here in Miami, it has been I think one of the most humid Summers ever! It gets to a point that not even the afternoon rain helps; it kind of just gets even muggier, and all we can do is just pray for more rain to see if the wind will refresh anything around here.

One thing that helps keep us cool is staying hydrated, whether by drinking water, or making fresh juices, such as this lemonade. I know, I know, who doesn't know how to make lemonade, you might be asking? Well, you'd be surprised at how many people I know just buy store-made lemonade or the frozen lemonade mixes that you blend instead of making it! Lemonade in itself is easy to make: lemon juice, water, sugar. Little kids make it all the time and make those super cute lemonade-selling stands! As grown-ups, we can spice it up any way we want: adding mint leaves, other fruit juice, alcohol, or iced tea to make an Arnold Palmer... *hint hint*

Now that I've dropped that hint (LOL), I'm going to sip on some leftover lemonade, wind down from a long workday, and make dinner. All in a day's work, right?


Lemonade
adapted from: New Cook Book 14th Edition by Better Homes and Gardens

*makes: 4 servings*

Ingredients:
3 cups cold water
1 cup freshly squeeze lemon juice
3/4 cup extra fine granulated sugar

Directions:
1) In a 1 1/2-quart pitcher stir together the water, lemon juice, and sugar until sugar is dissolved.
2) If desired, chill in the refrigerator.
3) Serve in glasses over ice.
4) Garnish with lemon slices.



Peachy Lemonade

3 cups cold water
1 cup freshly squeeze lemon juice
3/4 cup extra fine granulated sugar
15 oz canned peach slices

Prepare as above. Place half of the peach slices, chilled and undrained, in a blender with 1 cup of the lemonade. Cover and blend until smooth. Pour into a large pitcher. Repeat with remaining undrained peaches and 1 cup of the lemonade. Stir in remaining lemonade. Serve in glass over ice. If desired, garnish with peach slices.


6.15.2018

Virgin [Bloody] Mary Smoothie


"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." - Robert Frost

Every four years, an internationally-spanning event happens, that has the power to unite the whole world for the span of an entire month... and I'm the happiest girl in the world!!! For those that don't know, the FIFA WORLD CUP officially started yesterday, with this amazing futbol (soccer) event being hosted in Russia. Basically, this is like a global Superbowl for futbol fans everywhere. Every day for the next month, millions across the globe will be glued to TV/cellphone/tablet/computer screens everywhere watching futbol matches, whether they are for the teams their rooting for or for other countries' teams. The energy everywhere is electric, and I, for one, will be glued along with everyone else! Yesterday, I made sure to watch both the opening ceremonies and the Russia vs. Saudi Arabia match from the comfort of my cellphone, while at work. Sorry, but not sorry... :)

Along with futbol matches will come many, and I mean, many, watch parties! Weekday, weekend, all types of watch parties, and parties in general, will be happening everywhere! The interesting part of this year's matches is that most of them happen in the morning or during brunch hour (if you're counting the weekend matches). And, what pairs well with brunch? Bloody Marys! I know, they usually are made with vodka, but I'm bringing you a "smoothie" alcohol-free alternative. It's quick to make, and can be jazzed up with any additional toppings you usually enjoy with a Bloody Mary. However, I'm not sure if vodka can be added... Would it react badly with the yogurt? If any of you try it, please let me know.

I'm going to go catch up on my Tivo from this week (The Bachelorette, World of Dance, MasterChef). I need to clear up some room for tomorrow's games! Good luck to whichever team you're rooting for!


Virgin [Bloody] Mary Smoothie
adapted from: Smoothies! by Stella Murphy

*makes: 1 smoothie*

"A pick-me-up or pre-lunch drink."

Ingredients:
9 3/4 oz ripe red tomatoes, quartered
4 1/2 oz plain non-fat Greek yogurt
dash of Tabasco pepper sauce
dash of Worcestershire sauce

Directions:
1) Place the tomatoes, yogurt, and sauces into the blender and blend until smooth.
2) Pour into a glass over crushed ice.