Thursday, November 21, 2013

25 Cent Memories - Priceless (Hot Cocoa Recipe)

The more my world expands, the more I become all about the little things. Today I stopped by Goodwill and besides snatching up 7 pairs of pants for Eli, I found two Christmas mugs for .25 a piece. When Eli got home from school, I made homemade hot cocoa for Eli and Elsie and served it up in their "new" very own mugs while Christmas tunes played in the background.

I know, I know, Thanksgiving isn't even here yet, but in our household we celebrate Christmas and Give Thanks all season long.

One would have thought it was Christmas morning by the delight in the children's voices as they helped make and then drink the hot cocoa. The afternoon's activities generated smiles and created memories that cannot be bought; not for .25, not for a million dollars... Its the small stuff.

Here's the hot cocoa recipe from my childhood memory. I think it is also on the side of the Hershey's Cocoa Powder box. (I use "Special Dark" cocoa powder so it is not on there, but regular is great too.)

Homemade Hot Cocoa

2 cups milk
1/8 cup Hershey's cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
Splash of vanilla flavoring
A very slight pinch of salt

Pour milk into heavy-bottom sauce pan. Add cocoa powder and stir until blended. Add sugar and heat slowly. Add vanilla and salt. (This recipe is easily doubled or tripled.)

To make it really special serve with mini marshmallows or place a peppermint stick or candy cane in the mug when serving.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Peanut Butter Snowballs/Protein Snacks

These are so easy and yummy and can be healthy in small doses :) And kids LOVE them!

Peanut Butter Snowballs/Protein Snacks

1 cup dry powdered milk
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter

Mix well. Shape into balls. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Homemade Soft Pretzels with Cheese and Honey Mustard Sauces

We usually have popcorn, fresh veggies and fruit, and sometimes leftovers for Sunday night supper, but occasionally we go all out and make the delicious pretzels. The kids think it is the best fun they could ever have to roll out the "snakes" and try to shape their own pretzels. If you try these, I'd love to hear your experiences. How did they turn out? Were kids involved? Don't let the steps intimidate you. Just relax and have fun and enjoy some family time doing "the pretzel twist."

You can easily half this recipe. Full recipe makes about 18 medium-sized pretzels. You can also half the sauce recipes for a smaller crowd.

Soft Pretzels

3 cups warm water (very warm)
2 Tablespoons dry yeast
2/3 cup brown sugar
10 cups flour
Mix these ingredients together in a bowl and let rise 5 minutes. Roll out pretzels. Not sure how to explain shaping them... Take small pieces of dough and roll out each piece like a snake and twist into the shape of a pretzel.

3 cups boiling water
3 Tablespoons baking soda
Boil the water in a heavy-bottom skillet on the stove top. Add baking soda. Quickly dip pretzels into soda water making sure the whole pretzel gets wet. Remove with a fork or metal spatula and place onto greased cookie sheets. Bake the pretzels at 425 degrees for about 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter. You can sprinkle with coarse salt or if you want a sweet pretzel coat with a cinnamon and sugar mixture.

Cheese Sauce

2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar or Colby cheese
1 teaspoon mustard
salt to taste

In a 2-quart sauce pan, melt butter. Add flour and stir until bubbly. Slowly add milk and stir until thick and bubbly. Add cheese, mustard, and salt and stir until smooth. Serve warm with fresh sift pretzels.

Honey Mustard Sauce

1 and 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup mustard
1/2 (or a tad more) honey

Mix thoroughly. Refrigerate. (This is great with chicken and on salads too.)

NOTE: All three of these recipes come from page #41 of the A+ Recipes from Hickory Hollow Christian School cookbook. This is the school I attended as a child. The cookbook is filled with so many great recipes, some that are more healthy and some that cater to the meat, potatoes, and gravy crowd. I highly recommend this cookbook for personal use or for Christmas gifts. If you are not sure where to find one, I can get you in touch with the right people. Eat up and ENJOY!