Easy Homemade Hot Chocolate!

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So, the boy wanted hot chocolate from that well-known coffee place this morning. Since we’d already been out in the cold for nearly two hours, the thought of idling behind 15 other vehicles in the drive thru was about as appealing to me as a snowball in the face.  Thankfully, he was agreeable to some homemade hot chocolate instead.

As part of my massive decluttering in my kitchen, I had given away two of the four containers of cocoa powder I owned. Of course, the recipe I usually follow was on said containers.

The recipe on the can pictured was definitely not going to cut it with my sweet tooth, nor would the boy be overjoyed.

After a bit of doctoring, this was the result.

Easy Homemade Hot Chocolate!

2 cups milk
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 tablespoons sugar
Go-big-or-go-home marshmallows

In a medium saucepan, combine cocoa and sugar. Whisk in the touchiest touch of milk, and continue whisking over medium heat until blended. Add the remaining milk. Heat until the chocolate has reached your desired temperature.

Pour in mugs and top with marshmallows.

Serves 2.

Tip: Drink this with a straw. It’s easier to stab the marshmallows once the chocolate is gone.

A word about the photo background: This is a portion of Daddy-O’s sign costume. He was 56-lbs of butter and I was Paula Deen.

me: Try this. If you like it, I may post the recipe.
the boy: Ooh, like a tasting show! [sips a bit] I love it!

We hope you do, too.

Oddly Yours,

Jennifer

Ooey Gooey Caramel Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce – Johnny Appleseed

Johnny Appleseed’s birthday is this week!  Here’s one of my favorite concoctions, which I previously posted.

Yuuuummmm.  Nothing says autumn like caramel apples.  I would have been more than happy to experiment with different recipes for this staple of harvest, but I came across this southern recipe for Gooey Caramel Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce.  Caramel, arguably the most divine of candies, and apples are a fantastic combination in this perfectly spiced cake.  This cake was very easy to put together.  The original calls for a 9-inch pan, but the whole time I was reading the recipe, I pictured a Bundt cake.  Here’s my version with a slight name change as a shout out to my MIL:

Ooey Gooey Caramel Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium tart apples, cored and coarsely chopped
  • Caramel Topping, heated
In a mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat together sugar, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add the milk and flour mixture alternately to the sugar mixture.  Stir in apples.Pour apple cake batter into a greased Bundt pan. Bake at 350° until cake springs back when touched lightly in the center, about 30 to 40 minutes. With a fork, pierce cake all over. Pour hot caramel topping over cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Caramel Topping

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup sweet cream butter
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk or heavy cream (I used buttermilk, which added a wonderful tanginess.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine brown sugar, butter, and buttermilk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour caramel topping over hot apple cake.

Such a beautiful cake and delicious!  The cake is very nice on its own, but the simple sauce just makes it more special.

Oddly yours,

Jennifer

Thanks to about.com for the original recipe.

Onion Asparagus Frittata

How did I not know how easy it is to throw together a frittata?  I was given some asparagus so thought quiche, but didn’t want to deal with a crust or the added calories.  I’ve only tasted a frittata once when a woman brought one to Bible study like 10 years ago.  Eggs are some very cheap protein so it seemed like the perfect solution.

I based my recipe on this one.  I didn’t have a whole pound of asparagus, but I’ll definitely use more next time.  I’ve always got Cheddar on hand, hence the substitution.  I was also given like 5 lbs of onions, so I increased the amount of onion and gave it top billing.

Here’s my revised recipe.

Onion Asparagus Frittata

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound asparagus, tough ends snapped off, spears cut diagonally into 1-inch lengths
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
Heat oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium high heat.  Add onions and salt and cook about 3 minutes until onions are softened.  Add asparagus, reduce heat.  I cooked it uncovered, but the original recipe says to cover and cook for 6-8 minutes.  Add the eggs and cook about 2 minutes.  In the meantime, preheat the broiler.
Sprinkle cheese on top and broil 3-4 minutes until cheese is melted and browned.

Add a glass of orange juice and a dollop of Greek yogurt and I’ve got myself a tasty treat for tomorrow’s tea party.  Until then, don’t bother me.  I’m eating.

 

Jennifer

Crockpot Cheeseburger Sandwiches

I came across this recipe years ago on www.copykat.com.  This is my modified version.

1½ lbs ground beef or ground turkey

½ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp pepper

1 8 oz pkg of Velvetta, cubed

2 Tsp milk

1 small onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

8 sandwich buns

In a large skillet, brown meat, garlic powder, and pepper until well cooked. Drain. In a 3½- to 4-quart crockpot, combine cooked meat and remaining ingredients (except buns); mix well. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours.Spoon onto buns. Serve with your favorite burger toppings.

 

Jennifer

June Dinner Menu Plan

I’m getting a little late start on this, but well, this is quite a bit of planning for me.  June is National Country Cooking Month, so several of my menu items are inspired by suggestions given here.  Because Daddy-O and I ❤ BBQ, we’re combining Father’s Day and Juneteenth and eating some homemade soul food.  Now let’s see how much the reality matches the plan!

12- Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Green Salad, Sour Cream Peach Pie

13- Eat Out (Nana’s)

14- Flag Day Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Green Salad, Strawberries with Creamy Fruit Dip

15- Eat Out

16- Fudge Day This ‘n That Thursday (leftovers), Homemade Fudge

17- Crockpot Coq au Vin, Rice, Green Beans, Pluots and other fresh fruit

18- International Sushi Day Taco Soup, Corn Chips, “Sushi” candy

19- Juneteenth/Father’s Day BBQ ribs, Homemade Mac and Cheese, Greens with Bacon, German Chocolate Cake

20- Eat Out or Leftovers, Heavenly Hash Candy

21- Sloppy Joe’s, Corn on the Cob, leftover Mac and Cheese

22- Cheese Enchiladas, Beans and Rice

23- This ‘n That Thursday (leftovers) Watermelon

24- Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta, Baby Carrots with dressing

25- Parmesan Tilapia, Potato salad, Corn on the Cob

26- Deep Dish Pizza Bake, Salad

27- Eat Out or Leftovers, Potato Candy

28- Toni’s Cream Cheese Chicken, Green Salad

29- Rachel Sandwiches, Potato Salad, Jello

30- Crockpot Cheeseburger Sandwiches, Fries, Fresh Fruit

Thanks to Vicky at Love From the Oven for asking me to link up to her plan.

Here’s wishing you a full belly and and happy heart,

Jennifer

Auntie Judy’s Peanut Butter Cookies

My Aunt Judy loved to bake.  And sew and quilt.  And laugh.  I am missing her today.

I hadn’t set out to write about her.  It just happens to be National Peanut Butter day, and I love her flourless peanut butter cookies.

Aunt Judy was that aunt.  You know the one.  A bit rebellious.  The baby of the family.  (The favorite maybe.)  She was only 18 years older than I.

Even with her rebellious streak, family was extremely important to her.  She kept us together, organized the holidays, cooked, and was truly present not like so many of us who get distracted by making everything just so.

My parents divorced when I was in preschool, so I only saw her a few times a year when my dad would take me to family stuff.  Once I was in school, Aunt Judy would take me for a weekend here and there.  I saw her more than my dad even though she lived in another city.  I loved her long straight hair.  She was natural.  Earthy, you might say.

She loved antiques.  Her style was simple, yet eclectic.  I loved going to her apartment, which was a converted attic in an old house.  In her small living room was a wrought iron crib, filled with dolls new and old, and a teddy bear similar to the one she had brought me back from England.  She considered using this crib for her first baby, Brandon, who arrived 12 years and 1 week after I was born.  Brandon became my own live doll and visits became more frequent.

By the time I graduated high school, Aunt Judy was married to Eric and had Jonathan.  We would frequently get together on our own or at family gatherings.  I always knew how important I was to her.

In August 1998, she and her family were in a terrible car accident.  The boys, 13 and 8 at the time, survived.  Eric and Judy did not.

I think of her often.  I see her in her boys, now grown men.  I like to think that I’ve inherited her love of family and gift for bringing people together.  I know we shared a love for baking.

Here is one of the few recipes I have of hers.

Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar (I used brown sugar today; delish!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups peanut butter

Mix well and make into balls about the size of a walnut.  Crisscross with a fork (plastic works well) or press a chocolate kiss in the center.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Jennifer

No Bake Pumpkin Pie

OK, I said no pumpkin pie, but this is more like a pudding in a shell.  🙂

  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon spice blend
  • 1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 graham cracker pie crust
  • In a large bowl, mix the milk and pumpkin until smooth.  Add the pudding mix and spices, and mix until well combined. Fold in the whipped topping and pour into pie shell. Refrigerate until serving.

    My notes: 

    This took less than 5 minutes to put together.  It’s got a great flavor especially if you let it chill for a day.

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    Special thanks to AB70 for the recipe upon which this was based.

    Jennifer