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Category: Recipes (page 1 of 3)

Homemade Hot Cocoa & Whipped Topping

Homemade Hot Cocoa

Hey all! Sorry I have been MIA for a few weeks. I had on tough quarter at school and was approaching my finals and really need time to study and knock them out. After the quarter was over we went down to Florida to visit some family for the holidays. But I am back and here to give you the hot chocolate recipe I promised on Instagram awhile back.


So it’s that time of the year again, cold weather beware! The other night it got down to single digits in Atlanta. It was a “cover your plants, bring your pets inside, and drip your faucets” freeze warning. To those of you that are northerners that might make you giggle a little because you have already received snowfall and have been bundled up for a few months now. No matter where you live or whether winter has already kissed your city or not I declare it is a good time for homemade hot cocoa. As a bonus I’m including a recipe for homemade whipped topping too!


Homemade Hot Cocoa 2

As soon as the weather drops a few degrees and we decide to turn the heat on, my kids’ first request is for hot cocoa. They absolutely love homemade hot cocoa over store bought and this new recipe I made had them head over heels. I think it might have been the whipped topping! Either way it was a hit in the Claiborne house and one that will be repeated many times this winter.

Homemade Hot Cocoa 3

Hot Cocoa


4 C milk (or any milk substitute of your choice)

1 C cocoa powder

1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 coconut sugar

1 Tsp vanilla extract

1/2 Tsp cinnamon


1. Heat a medium size saucepan on medium-low heat. Place milk, cocoa powder, chocolate chips and coconut sugar into the pan. With a whisk slowly stir the pot continuously making sure the milk does not burn on the bottom. Note: you could use a double boiler if you have one but it is not necessary.

2. When all the chocolate chips have melted into the milk place the vanilla and cinnamon in. Continue to stir for a minute or so. Serve immediately.

Whipped Topping


1 C heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract


1. Add ingredients to a bowl and with a hand mixer, mixed until you see the mixture thicken and have stiff peeks. Note: Many people use a standing mixer, so if you have one you can use that. For those of you out there who have yet to drop a few hundred on a standing mixed, using a hand mixer works just fine.

This is a basic hot cocoa and whipped topping recipe but I am experimenting with different flavors to add so make sure to stay tune. Let me know how you and your family like this one or if you have any flavor ideas you would like to see.

Homemade Hot Cocoa 4

Muesli Stuffed Squash


Have you ever heard of muesli? If not, don’t feel bad. I only just found out what muesli was a few years ago. I was at Starbuck’s and ordered the Protein Box for the first time. As I opened the box I noticed that there was this small, round bread that was packed with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. It was soft and chewy with a little bit of crunch and just the right amount of sweetness. My taste buds where delighted and I quickly grabbed the box and read the list of items so I could put a name to this wonderful bread. I later saw that my local Publix sold muesli bread as well. This peaked my interest and I decided to look into this bread some more.

Through my digging I found that muesli is actually served as a breakfast cereal in Germany and Switzerland. Muesli contains a mix of raw rolled oats and other cereal grains, a mix of seeds and nuts, fresh or dried fruits and is served with milk or yogurt. It is very similar to oatmeal and can be eaten the same way, soaked overnight and served cold or heated with milk or water and served hot. The ingredients can also be added to dough and made into the tasty bread that turn me on to muesli in the first place.

I found a packaged brand of muesli that I absolutely love and it is gluten free. The brand Bob’s Red Mill makes it and you can fine it here.  Check your local grocery store to see if they sell it there too.

So last week I posted about the beautiful carnival squash that I found at that farmer’s market and a roasted squash recipe.  I ended up buying two of them and really want to make one in a savory way and the other in a sweeter way. I decided that the carnival squash made a great edible bowl for muesli and together they would make a hearty vegetarian and gluten free breakfast.



1 carnival squash, cut in half and seeds removed

1 C of muesli, I use Bob’s Red Mill brand

1 C of milk or water

1/2 tsp coconut oil

1 apple, core removed and diced

1 Tbsp of honey

1 tsp of cinnamon, and a little extra to sprinkle of the squash


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. While oven is warming up place a medium sauce pan on the stove and set heat to high. Add muesli and milk to pan and boil. Once it starts to boil lower the heat to low, cover and cook for 5-7 minutes or until it is al dente.

2. As the muesli is cooking rub coconut oil over the flesh of each of the squash halves and place them on a foil lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle a little cinnamon over each half.

3. When muesli is done add apples, honey, and cinnamon.  Mix well. Spoon even amounts of mixture into each half of the squash.

4. Place squash in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until you can easily stick a knife through the squash,



Now doesn’t that look yummy? I was thinking that this dish might be perfect for a Thanksgiving breakfast. It screams Fall!

Easy Roasted Carnival Squash

This past weekend I had some free time, which is very rare, and I was able to take my kids to the local farmer’s market. It kinda chilly out so there wasn’t a mob of people out like most Saturdays. We were able to move around easily and didn’t have to wait at each vendors’ booth for very long. It was nice. I’m thinking cold mornings are the way to go!

While we were there I was at one of my favorite vendor’s booth picking out some red potatoes to add to my crockpot stew I will be making later this week, when all of a sudden out of the corner of my eye I spotted the most beautiful winter squash I seen all season. I decided that I would get a carnival squash roast them for one of my lunches this week. Then I saw that they were selling them 2 for $3 and of course I had to get two. They go for almost $2 a pound at the grocery store so this was a great deal.

Carnival squash is an excellent source of vitamin A and is a cross between an acorn squash and a sweet dumpling squash. The outside of it resembles the mix being shaped like  the sweet dumpling and having a mix of green, orange, and cream colors in stripes and spots like both. The inner flesh is sweet, creamy and mellow. It kind of tastes like a mix of sweet potato and butternut squash.

Since I had two of them I decided to make each of them in different ways. Since the last is similar to that of a sweet potato and butternut squash and both play well with sweet and savory seasonings I make one each way. This recipe is the savory one. It gives that creamy squash a bit of spice with fresh grated ginger and a little cumin. I didn’t include measurements for each of the spices because the amounts will differ depending on personal preference. I will, however, warn against adding two much of each spice. Carnival squash taste wonderful as it is and doesn’t need too much seasoning, just enough to enhance!

Easy Roasted Carnival Squash

Easy Roasted Carnival Squash


1 carnival squash

coconut butter

fresh ginger, grated


salt and pepper

a dash of cayenne


1. Heat over at 350 degrees. Cut squash in half and remove seeds.

2. Place halves on a baking sheet and rub some coconut butter on the inside flesh. Add seasoning and bake for 30-40 minutes or until you can easily poke a fork all the way through the flesh.

That’s it. Only two steps. Easy, right? Well that’s why EASY is in the name. Feel free to experiment with different spices and update me on your findings.

Quinoa Pumpkin Soup


Happy Halloween everyone! Can’t wait to see all the creative costumes tonight. How many Princess Elisa’s do you think you’ll see? I’m betting on at least 20.  I, myself, will be going green and dressing up as a witch. I’ll post a picture of myself on my Instagram later tonight for all to see.

So I know it is the last day in October and I am sure that I am the very last person with a food blog to finally post a pumpkin recipe. This month has been insanely busy for my family and me. My daughter, husband, and my birthdays all fall in the month of October. I also had the honor of attending the four day Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) that was hosted in Atlanta this year. It was such an amazing experience. To be around so many people of like minds and not to mention all the free swag from over 250 vendors! I will be going through some of products that I got and will write a post sharing all of my favorites soon.

So, back to the pumpkin recipe. Fall is the time of the year where pumpkins take center stage. They are the most popular squash in my book and a stepping-stone to other varieties of squash. That includes kids. Most children will run for the hills if you try to feed them a dish that includes summer or acorn squash, but tell them there is pumpkin in it and you got their attention.  These bright orange fall staples are familiar to children. They see them craved as Jack-O-Lanterns, in pies and breads, and even eat the seed. Getting them to try pumpkin in another form shouldn’t be so hard. Just don’t tell them that the are part of the squash family just yet!

I picked up a pie pumpkin the other day and since the weather was getting cooler and the sky was a bit gloomy I decided that making a pumpkin soup would be fitting. This soup is not your typical smooth and creamy pumpkin soup. This soup is hearty, it is thick, and it has chunk! It also is very colorful, which makes it even more appealing to children. And did I mention that this soup is freezer friendly, gluten free, and packed with vitamins? Pumpkins, purple sweet potatoes, and kale are all packed with vitamin A, kale also contain vitamin K and C, and quinoa is a whole grain that is a good source of protein, fiber, and magnesium. This soup plays more on the side of savory with a little cinnamon spice. One of the reasons I love pumpkin so much is that you can go savory or sweet and still make a great dish.



2 tablespoon coconut oil

1 onion, diced

3-4 garlic cloves, crushed

2 carrots, roughly chopped

5 cups of vegetable stock

1 Small pie pumpkin, skinned, seeds and guts removed, and cut into cubes *

1 medium purple potato, skinned peeled and cut into cubes

2 handfuls of kale

1/2 cup of quinoa

1  teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

2 bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Salt to taste

* Notes: To make it easier to skin and cut the pumpkin you could cut it in half and roast it, cut sides down, at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. You could also place halves, cut side down, in the microwave for 15-20 minutes.


1. In a heavy bottom pot, heat oil on medium heat. Sautee onions, garlic, and carrots for about 3 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Be careful not to burn the onions or garlic.

2. Place all remaining ingredients in the pot and bring to a boil.

3. Once pot has started to boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook until the carrots, pumpkin, and potatoes are done. You’ll be able to easily stick a fork through them.


Cinnamon and Ginger Apple Chips


Recently I posted about my family’s trip to Ellijay, GA for apple picking. We had a ton  of fun and came home with a bushel of apples.  Having all those apples sparked an array ideas for recipes, but as usual in my house, it was my kids’ ideas that won out. One of their ideas was for me to make chips. We are a family of snackers so making my own chips seemed like a great idea. I have made other types of chips at home, like kale chips, which is my munchkins’ favorite. You won’t believe how easy it is.


Some think you must have a dehydrator in order for you to make homemade chips. Though it might make it easier it is not a must  have. What I do recommend is having a mandoline. A mandoline will save a lot of time and maybe a few fingers. Have you ever tried to thinly slice an apple by hand with merely a knife? It is not an easy task. I purchased my mandoline from Home Goods for about $15 and it is wonderful for slicing apples, potatoes, zucchini, and most other fruits and veggies. Make sure you purchase a mandoline that allows you adjust the thickness of your slices and includes a food holder to help you guide the food and protect your fingers. So, are you ready to make you homemade apple chips now?



2-3 apples, washed (I used Granny Smith for this recipe, but any variety will do)

1 tsp of cinnamon

1/2 tsp of ground ginger

Depending on the size of apples you have, you may need to use more seasoning.


1. Heat oven at 200 degrees. You the mandoline to thinly slice apples. The thinner the slice the shorter the baking time will be and the crispier the chip. Don’t worry about coring the apples, the seeds will naturally fall out when you slice the apples.

2. Mix cinnamon and ginger together and thoroughly cover each slice with seasoning mix. I put the slices i a big bowl, sprinkled the seasoning in and rub the seasoning into the chips. This gave each chip and even coverage.

3. Place chips on a foil lined cooking sheet and bake for about 2 hours or till the chips are crispy. I check on the chips often to make sure they are not burning and I flip them about every half an hour. This process is just a tad bit easier if you have a dehydrator but it absolutely can be done in your oven.

These little crispy chips are addictive, but healthy so eat them guilt free!


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