Homemade Hot Cocoa

Is there anything more satisfying on a cold, snow day than a cozy mug of cocoa? I still believe my mama makes the best homemade hot cocoa mix, but I loved the Crock-Pot version my Aunt Michelle made for Christmas so much too! Today I thought I’d share the recipe I’ve been using to make a quick stovetop hot cocoa at my own house.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 C milk
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon sugar
  • Dash of vanilla extract

I start by warming the milk as I add the cocoa powder, cinnamon sugar, and vanilla to the pot. I bring it to just before boiling, while constantly whisking, before I pour the mix in my mug and top with a spoonful of whipped cream.

This is the cocoa powder I prefer using (it also makes great brownies!):

How do you fix your hot cocoa?

I also just finished a delightful book where hot cocoa was one of the main plot points, so it’s been a extra treat this weekend! 😉

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2017 in Photos

I saw Amanda post this same prompt today and couldn’t resist following suit!

Find a photo from the year‘s greatest adventure – big or small.

Find a photo of a significant moment.

What photo makes you feel most alive?


Pick your favorite photo of you and the people you love.

Search for a photo of a morning you want to remember.

Find a photo that represents joy.

Locate a photo of the people that shaped your year.

Find a photo of you trying something new.

Identify an image of something you are proud of.

What is a photo that you’ll want to pass down for generations to come?

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! This week I have three favorites I wanted to share with y’all.

First, has been gorgonzola on my gluten-free pizza. I make the crust, then have been topping it with red sauce, a bit of garlic salt and Italian seasoning, some shredded mozzarella and some small chunks of gorgonzola. When the pizza is out of the oven I add a drizzle of balsamic glaze. The combination is so tasty!

Second, is snuggles with Mavis Jane and William. I love when the three of us curl up together on the couch to enjoy a show together! Mavis has been extra snuggly this week after being boarded over the weekend.

Third, is that Alabama won the National Championship game Monday night in overtime! What a game! The first half was ugly, but I’m glad Alabama was able to make some changes and create a win.

What did you love this week?

What I’m Watching Lately

Red Oaks

This show on Amazon has three seasons and follows friends and co-workers from a New Jersey Country Club in the 1980s. It has humor, and history, and handles different relationship highs and lows well. It looks at differences in wealth and faith and how when they meet in relationship, they can be worked through or cause insurmountable problems. This show is hilarious and definitely worth watching! All three seasons are available on Amazon.

The Crown

I have always been interested in the royal family and their history, as well as having a deep love of history in general, so this show is perfect for me! I find the acting to be superb and the stories interesting. I love the writing and costumes as well. Two seasons are available on Netflix, and beginning with season 3, later this year, we will see a.casting change as the royal family ages.

Home Town

I find Ben and Erin super sweet and I love how evident their love and respect for each other is. I love that Erin really works to design a house for her clients and the final product doesn’t feel as staged as other shows. I find Ben’s carpentry work to be beautiful, and I love the humor these two have. Season two just started this week, but season one is available on Hulu and HGTV.

Fixer Upper

This show is in it’s fifth and final season. I love seeing the designs that Joanna comes up with for each family and find Chip hilarious.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

I love the fast pace and quick wit of the Palladinos writing and directing and this show takes that up another level from Gilmore Girls and Bunheads. The casting is fantastic, the costumes are so fun, and the storyline draws you in. It’s full of good humor and definitely worth checking out. If crude language offends you I would skip this one though. Season one is available on Amazon.

Better Late Than Never

My Aunt Michelle and Grandma told us about this show over Christmas, and William and I find it hilarious! Season one followed their travels around Asia, and season two is around Europe and Morocco, focused more on finding their family roots. The show definitely is irreverent, but it is also heartwarming and so very funny! Terry Bradshaw runs around naked a lot, George Foreman sleeps a lot, William Shatner tries to add some culture to the group, and Henry Winkler is so earnest and warm! Check this one out on NBC and be prepared to be entertained.

What have you been watching lately?

10 on the 10th

Happy Wednesday! I thought it would be fun this year to join Perfectly Port on the tenth of each month in this link-up!

Today’s topic is ten random facts about me. I feel like I always share similar facts, so I’m going to try to share ten things that aren’t my typical “go-to” facts.

  1. I feel most confident and put together when I’m wearing a red lipstick.
  2. In high school I dreamt of becoming Secretary of State one day.
  3. I prefer to sleep in socks. My feet are always so cold and I’ve found socks help me fall asleep quicker and sleep deeper.
  4. The food I miss most from not having to eat gluten-free all the time is soft pretzels. I’ve found an okay gluten-free frozen version at Wegmans, and I’m going to try and make my own, but I sincerely miss soft pretzels. 
  5. I wrote my AP Lit exam essay on Rhett Butler from Gone With the Wind and received a perfect score. It’s something I’m still proud of a decade later.
  6. Every time I wear dark nail polish, my middle school self squeals in excitement that I wasn’t told to remove it and the bottle taken away. It feels rebellious to me, though I’ve been wearing it for years and wear it often.
  7. If I ever got a tattoo, it would be one of three things: two small twin stars, the Latin phrase lux et veritas, or a small cross. The spot I’ve always considered is my left wrist. I don’t know that I’ll have the courage to get one, but if I did, it would be one of those three
  8. I played the oboe growing up and would love to find a private teacher to start playing again.
  9. My favorite Pixar movies are Toy Story and Monsters Inc.
  10. I hate falling asleep again after waking up in the middle of the night. It makes me groggy and throws me off. I’d rather just stay up.

    What are ten facts about you?

    Weekend in Toronto

    What better way to start a new year than with a trip to a new to us city and an excuse to use our passports?

    Friday we headed up to Toronto for the weekend and had the best time! Yes it was bitterly cold, but that just added to the fun.

    When we got to town Friday we checked into the Intercontinental downtown and then headed across the street and into the PATH – an underground tunnel with food court and shops that allows you to move around downtown inside instead of out in the cold. We grabbed a quick lunch at Hero burgers and then walked around a bit, stopping at a wine shop and grabbing a couple bottles of Mencia to enjoy in our hotel room over the weekend. 

    When we were ready to walk back to the hotel we exited the PATH and walked along the street so we could take in the view. In the hotel we enjoyed a bottle of our wine, I took a bath, and we relaxed until our reservation at Richmond Station. We walked quickly to dinner since it was so cold, but had the best meal and would definitely recommend visiting Richmond Station if you’re in Toronto.

    To drink I had a station sparkler and William had a brown ale. We split the polenta fries as an appetizer. William ordered the Muscovey Duck with parsnip puree, sweet potato pave, grilled baby leek, rosemary oil, grape jus for dinner and I had the grilled eurobass with red pepper bisque, new potatoes, wilted spinach, mussel sauce vierge. It was incredible! For dessert I ordered the slection of artisinal cheese with carrot cardamom chutney, quinoa crackers, ladybank honey and William had the London Fog a deconstructed white chocolate cheesecake, almond, orange blossom jelly, seabuckthorn, earl grey ice cream. When they brought our check they also brought some house made salted fudge that was the perfect finishing touch. This was such a delicious meal from start to finish and I would definitely go back to try other menu items! I also loved the aesthetic and vibe at Richmond Station – it was minimal but warm and and intimate. Overall just an amazing experience!

    Saturday we woke up and grabbed breakfast at the buffet at our hotel before heading over to the St. Lawrence Market to people watch and check out what was for sale. There were so many fun vendors set up and the people watching was fantastic! 

    After grabbing a quick coffee at the market, we walked toward the aquarium and CN tower and stumbled upon the most fun fountain featuring all these dogs! 

    Then we headed to Ripley’s Aquarium and loved the exhibit on the Great Lakes fish and the path under the tank so that sharks, rays and fish swam above and beside you. The aquarium was busy, but a fun way to spend a couple hours in the morning.

    After the aquarium, we walked across the street to the CN tower and headed up to enjoy the view. Most of it was under construction, so while the city view was spectacular, we didn’t really get to enjoy a view of Lake Ontario, which was disappointing. I would definitely recommend going up the CN tower though – such a pretty way to take in Toronto and so many of the surrounding communities!

    When we left the CN tower we were ready to grab lunch so we headed to Smoke’s Poutinerie for a quick bite. William ordered the traditional poutine and I had their version with pulled pork and it totally hit the spot! 

    After lunch we headed to the Hockey Hall of Fame and had such a fun afternoon exploring all of the exhibits and seeing the Stanley Cup! We had looked at tickets to the Maple Leafs and Canucks game Saturday night, but tickets were crazy expensive, so we opted to watch a bit on TV instead. 

    After the Hockey Hall of Fame we headed back to our hotel to rest before our dinner reservations at Momomfuku. William had Ginger Scallion Noodles with pickled shiitake, cucumber, cabbage & katsu and BBQ Pork Buns with Korean bbq sauce, coleslaw, dill pickle and katsu and I ordered the Ginger Scallion Noodles wirh pickled shiitake, cucumber, cabbage, but instead of noodles, mine was over rice and they substituted tamari sauce for soy sauce on mine. It was quite tatsty and I really liked the cucumbers and cabbage! The aesthetic in the restaurant was very urban; all communal seating, we sat on wooden boxes and the ceilings were super high. It was very cool. By time dinner was over, we were both feeling pretty tired and headed back to the hotel to watch the Maple Leafs and Canucks game.

    Sunday morning we grabbed breakfast from the hotel buffet again before hopping on the Toronto metro and heading to the Royal Ontario Museum. We started our day at the Dior exhibit, before viewing some of the more permant collections. The special Dior exhibit was beautifully curated and showcased what a true artist Christian Dior was. My favorite pieces were the Lily of the Valley inspired jewels, the perfume collection and the beaded evening gown. The embroidery and beadwork were all so stunning! Miss Dior is my signature scent and what I wore on my wedding day; it will always be my classic go-to!

    Though not applicable to our life stage, I loved how interactive the ROM was for children and families – what a great way to spend a day teaching and exploring with your child! I was also struck by the exhibit they had from the trial to prove that Auschwitz was a death camp. It was stark white and you had to get very close to see the pictures and architectural plans. It was haunting and truly made you reflect on the whitewashing that was attempted following World War II in regards to the Holocaust and the realities of what was occurring under the Third Reich. There was a museum curator in that exhibit talking with people, and hearing her teach people about the Holocaust and it’s horrors was interesting, since some people seemed to be newly introduced to this massive moment in history through this exhibit which was shocking to me. I also love that as soon as you exited this exhibit, you were in a Jewish art exhibit which featured many menorah and dishes. What a striking duality.

    After several hours at the museum we caught the metro to the Eaton Centre Mall. We grabbed lunch at this fun taco truck and then walked around exploring some of the stores and people watching. We ended up making some Team Canada purchases at the Hudson’s Bay flagship that we’ll be happy to wear in February, as long as they’re not playing the USA in hockey! I got a fun and cozy pair of buffalo plaid socks and a zip up sweater and William bought a zip up hoodie. 

    After the mall we walked back to the hotel and took some photos of the old and new city hall building and the Toronto sign by the outdoor ice rink. 

    When we got to the hotel we relaxed with some wine and the NFL wildcard football before we headed to dinner at The Keg. For supper William enjoyed ceasar salad, prime rib, veggies, twice baked potato and some new beers. I had ceasar salad, top sirloin, garlic mashed, veggies and a creme brulee for dessert. It was a delicious meal and our server was fantastic! We had a cozy corner booth near the fire and it was just such a relaxing evening together.

    Monday morning we woke up, packed and grabbed breakfast at our hotel buffet before hitting the road home. Toronto was such a clean and easily navigable city. We are so excited to live close enough to Toronto to guarantee we’ll be back again soon because Toronto was captivating! 

    TBB Asks

    1. Resolutions or No Resolutions? 

    No resolutions.

    2. Love snow or No Snow?

    Love snow. Don’t always love driving in it, but I do love snow!

    3. Name a New Place you want to go this year?

    Toronto! Which we checked off this weekend! I also am looking forward to a beach trip this summer!

    4. Would you rather have a new Hair cut or Hair color?

    Haircut.

    5. Name one special thing you want to do for yourself this year?

    I’d love to get a job. I don’t know if that counts, but it’s what I want.

    6. Least Favorite thing about January?

    The disappearance of twinkle lights on homes and businesses.

    7. Most Favorite thing about January?

    The feeling of freshness and coziness.

    8. When do you take down your Holiday decorations?

    After the Feast of the Ephiany, so this week.

    9. Do you diet in January?

    I don’t.

    10. What area of your home do you want to organize the most?

    The offices and basement.

    11. Favorite Winter Comfort Food?

    Soup! Or lasagna. Or stuffed shells. Or meatloaf.

    12. Favorite Guilty Pleasure?

    Hot bubble baths. Margaritas. Red wine. Creme brulee. Prosecco. Dark chocolate. Gin & tonic. Tuning out the world to get lost in a book for a day.