Homemade Hot chocolate

The older I get, the colder I get. When I was younger, I could run the to the garbage dumpster in my bare feet, in the middle of January, in a snow storm and my feet would barely be cold. Now, I wake up and my feet are cold before they hit the floor. It is so bad I was forced to do something I swore I would never do! I bought and wear fuzzy socks when I am home from work and on my days off.

Its not just my feet that are cold. My hands are cold all the time too. It is just much easier to warm up my hands with out have to resort to torturing them with fuzzy socks. I simply keep hot drink on a mug warmer on my desk. The mug is often hot tea but sometimes I am looking for a little something different, like hot chocolate. Don’t run out and buy those little packets of hot chocolate from the grocery store. You can make an awesome hot chocolate using things you probably already have in the house. With just 3 ingredients, you can skip the vanilla, if you don’t have it and 3 or 4 minutes you can have a hot drink to warm up your cold hands.

Homemade Hot Chocolate

From the back of a can of Hershey’s Cocoa Powder

1 1/3 cup milk or milk alternative

1 TBS cocoa powder

1 TBS sugar or sugar alternative

1/8 tsp vanilla

In a small saucepan, add milk, cocoa powder, sugar and vanilla. Heat the milk mixture over low heat until hot. Don’t try to rush heating the milk by turning the heat up. If you do you will curdle the milk and that isn’t good. Pour the cocoa into a mug, top with whipped cream and serve.

Tea Week #1 — Arnold Palmers

A few months ago,  I absolutely fell in love with drinking loose leaf tea from a company called Plum Deluxe.  I have tried many different types of tea and many different flavors of tea. I have become kind of obsessed about tea in general and learning to incorporate tea into my cooking and baking.  I am also learning how to make as many different tea drinks as I can.  So I have decided to make this week’s theme non alcoholic tea drinks.

Arnold Palmers in the can  have been one of my favorite things long before I ever started drinking tea on a regular basis. As much as I love Arnold Palmers in a can I love homemade Arnold Palmers more.

The best way to make them, in my opinion, is to make a pitcher of homemade lemonade and a pitcher of cold brewed iced tea and mix them whenever you want a drink.  But if you don’t have any lemonade or tea made you can simply brew a  cup of tea, add  lemon juice and sugar to taste and serve over ice. You could also use frozen lemonade concentrate or powdered lemonade drink mix, if you prefer. Any tea you like with a squeeze of lemon can be used to make Arnold Palmers. I use Plum Deluxe’s plain Royale Darjeeling black loose leaf tea or Red Rose Black Tea bags to make iced tea.

In my opinion, there is no actual recipe for an Arnold Palmer. This  is how I make my Arnold Palmers.  It is very, very adaptable to your taste.  I don’t think I make them the same way twice.

3/4  cup cold iced tea

1/4 cup cold lemonade

Pour the iced tea and lemonade into a glass filled with ice and stir gently.  Serve.

Pressure Cooker Teas


Over the year and a half I have been pressure cooking I have come to believe you can make any thing in a pressure cooker but never once did it occur to me to make drinks, like tea.  Is there anything a pressure cooker can’t do?  These recipes make an incredibly smooth and tasty tea.  Yes, these are recipes could probably be made on the stove in about the same amount of time as the pressure cooker but I like the idea of dumping everything in the pressure cooker, going to do whatever I need to do and coming back whenever and having my tea ready when I want it.

Pressure Cooker Masala Chai

From Two Sleevers

2-3 tea bags

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup coconut or almond milk, use cow’s milk if not Whole 30

2 whole cloves

3-4 cinnamon sticks

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

4 green caramom

4 thin slices ginger

Place all ingredients into the liner.  Bring to high pressure and cook for 4 minutes.  You can quick or natural release.  Strain the spices out and serve.

Pressure Cooker Iced Tea

From Two Sleevers

4 regular tea bags

6 cups water

1/2 cup sugar (omit if  Whole 30)

Place the tea bags and water into the liner.  Bring to high pressure and cook for 4 minutes.  you can quick or natural release.  Add sugar to taste.  Stir to dissolve.  Serve over ice. 

Iced Tea

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The 90 degree temperatures and lack of air conditioning have not inspired me to cook or bake this week. Which is good because with those temperatures, I don’t feel like eating. What I do feel like doing is drinking lots and lots of liquid, especially liquid in the form of iced tea.

Iced Tea
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
10 regular tea bags
4 quarts water, divided
Sweetener of choice to taste
In a 2 1/2 quart sauce pan over medium heat, combine two quarts of water and the tea bags. Let tea cook and steep for 30 minutes. Remove tea bags and pour into a gallon sized pitcher. Add 2 more quarts of water and sweetener of choice. Stir well and chill. 1 gallon iced tea