hot cocoa season is here again

I have been working like crazy to get through the many works in progress I have going on here.  I’m hoping to finish up another quilt top this afternoon and then start basting.  I think I have at least 5 tops and bottoms waiting to be sandwiched right now.  One for us, one for someone special, the rest I’m hoping will find homes in the new shop I have been working on as well.

When Monday brought our first snowfall of the season, I knew I better take a break from stitching get a batch of cocoa mixed up, sooner rather than later.  Andy likes to drink it in the evenings when the weather turns and it has definitely turned.

hot cocoa mix

2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup dutch processed cocoa

2 1/2 cups powdered milk (I use organic valley because it gives the cocoa an extra creamy texture)

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 cup powdered creamer (flavor of your choice – I used hazelnut for this batch)

1 teaspoon vanilla powder

4 ounces chopped dark chocolate

Mix well in large bowl.  Store in airtight container.

To use, place 2-4 spoonfuls in cup.  The amount depends on how chocolaty you like your cocoa.  Add a small amount of almost boiling water and stir to dissolve the mix then fill cup the rest of the way.

Personally I like with some fresh whipped cream, but marshmallows are great too.

cocoa with fresh whipped cream


risotto rice pudding

Our weather seems to have fallen into a routine of blizzard one week and thunderstorms the next.  It has made for a strange February that has left me with a touch of cabin fever.  The past couple of days have been grey and windy and I thought a bit of comfort food might be in order.

arborio rice

This is an adaptation of my maternal grandmother’s recipe.  She made it with standard rice, but it is cooked like a risotto so I usually use arborio rice for mine.

simmering rice in milk for rice pudding

risotto rice pudding

1 cup uncooked arborio rice


1/2 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon vanilla

Place rice in large heavy bottomed saucepan and cover with 2″ of milk (2% works best)

Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring regularly to keep it from scorching on the bottom.  Keep adding milk as necessary to keep the mixture loose and easy to stir.  After simmering for 30 minutes, taste to be sure the rice is cooked.  Once the rice is cooked, add the sugar and vanilla.

I sometimes serve it with gingersnap cookies for dessert.  You can add 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon when you add the vanilla, if you like a little spice.  If you are a raisin fan, you can also add 1/4 cup of raisins.

risotto rice pudding in bowl

balls of cheesy goodness

That’s what lulu calls them. When I tell her I’m making them she jumps around shouting for joy. Fingers crossed she is always that easy to please.

fried bocconcini

1 container of bocconcini (mini mozzarella balls)

1/2 cup flour in shallow dish

3 eggs beaten in separate dish

2 cups panko crumbs in another shallow dish


1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon oregano

oil for frying (I use peanut or canola depending on what I find in my pantry)

Get your oil heating. I use my stock pot to fry these so there’s less splattering. Just pour a couple of inches of oil in the pan, along with a deep-fat thermometer and while the oil is heating you can prep the cheese.

Mix the salt, thyme, and oregano into the panko and set aside.

Drain the cheese and place on plate lined with paper towels and roll the bocconcini around to dry them off.

Dredge the cheese in the flour.

Then dip in the egg mixture to coat and roll in panko crumbs. I usually leave mine in the panko dish until I’m ready to fry.

When your oil is a 360 degrees you can start frying. I find cooking them in two batches works best. It takes about 45 seconds to 1 minute for each batch. The are best eaten right away, which really isn’t a problem. I like mine with a warm marinara, but lulu loves to eat them with ketchup. I’m considering enrolling her in a 12 step program for her ketchup addiction.