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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Hey all you F2L fans. Hope you guys had a fun-filled Labor Day weekend. Did you go where there was water and relax? Did you have a cookout? How about a trip to a theme park?
Here at the Claiborne house we spent our last weekend of the summer enjoying the beautiful weather and artist from all over the country. Every Labor Day weekend there is a wonderful event called the Art in the Park that’s held in the historic Marietta Square. Last year we went and I bought my husband a colorful pencil and pen drawing of the Chicago skyline. He is from Chicago and fell in love with this amazing and original art piece. It is now rightfully display above his desk in the office so he may enjoy it at will. This year we saw a very talented man who cuts out silhouettes. No out line drawing, just straight free hand cutting. I almost bought one of the kids.
Now that Labor Day has come and gone, summer is just a memory, and school is in full effect we are all scrambling to get back on a routine. In my house this includes meal planning. Planning of dinners, lunches, and after school snacks. Yep, we plan those too. The minute my kids enter the doorway they are asking what’s for snack. It is always a good idea to plan ahead and to have quick healthy options for them to choose from. Eating habits are established at a young age and follow you into adulthood. Showing your kids how to eat right now is one of the biggest tools you could give them to ensure they live a full and healthy life.
Have you ever found yourself scratching your head trying to figure out what in the world you are going to feed your munchkins when they come home from school? You’ve had a long day at work and you need to cook dinner, the kids are antsy, and you are on the spot. You start pulling stuff out of the panty and behold, you find a couple bags of fruit snacks. You think to yourself, “this will have to do, I mean they have snack written on the bag!” You hand them to the kids and they are happy but you know that something that sweet before dinner is not the best idea.
Don’t beat yourself up about it. You are not alone! Just about ever parent has this struggle. To be honest it is not a horrible snack if they only have it every now and again. Things could be worst. They could be better too. With a little bit of planning you could have a snacks on hand for when the kids come home or any other time they have a snack attack. Here are 25 after school snacks that are popular with my munchkins.
(Remember that these are snack and portion sizes should be small. You still want them to eat their dinner after all. )
- A banana with peanut butter
- Carrots and hummus
- Air popped popcorn
- Turkey slices wrapped in lettuce
- Celery with yogurt veggies dip
- An apple with almond butter
- Tortilla chips with homemade black bean dip
- Roasted chickpeas
- A small green salad
- Trail mix
- Cherry tomatoes and
- Cucumbers and tuna salad
- A homemade lentil samosa
- Mini pita pockets with chicken salad
- Pretzels and cheese squares
- Greek yogurt and berries
- A fruit smoothie
- Mini quinoa and ham muffins
- Homemade apple chips and yogurt
- Zucchini muffin
- Steamed edamame
- Boiled egg and grapes
- Carrot stick and honey mustard
- Raw broccoli and veggie dip
- Homemade kale chips
If you have great snack recipes share below. I’m always looking for new snacks to try.