Cocoa Mill’s Hot Chocolate

Every time it snows my children have come to expect that they will be served hot chocolate after they return indoors from their winter excursions. Not just any hot chocolate mind you, but homemade concoction using their Father’s chocolate; Cocoa Mill’s milk and dark chocolate.  I can guarantee when I place the warm cups of cocoa in front of them they will ask: “Did you make this with Daddy’s chocolate?” the answer is always “Yes.” and there are smiles all around.

Being that it is 3 degrees outside today (but no snow) I thought it would be fitting to share this homemade hot chocolate recipe.

 

What you will need:

4 cups of whole milk

3 oz Cocoa Mill Dark Chocolate

3 oz Cocoa Mill Milk Chocolate

3 Tbsp granulated sugar*

3 tsp. vanilla

6 Tbsp powdered sugar*

1 pint heavy whipping cream

Chocolate shavings

You will also need a mixer capable of whipping cream.

Process:

1. Warm milk in a sauce pan over low heat, (be careful not to boil the milk). When steam begins rising from the milk add your 2 types of chocolate, 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla and 3 Tbsp of granulated sugar. Continue cooking over low heat until chocolate is melted and well blended with the milk.

 

2. Place whip cream in a bowl and add 1 1/2 tsp vanilla and 3 Tbsp of powdered sugar whip with a beater until the cream forms stiff peaks when the beater is removed. Cover and place in refrigerator.

whipcream

There are so many ways you could adjust this recipe, add Bailey’s Irish Creme for an adult beverage, add 3 Tbsp of coffee (or more) for a mocha-chino, add some caramel syrup on top of the whip cream just for an added yum. Let us know what variations you come up with!

*You can also substitute  truvia for sugars or another sweetener to decrease caloric/carbohydrate in take.

You can save the additional hot chocolate mixture for up to a week in the refrigerator and reheat as needed.

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Thoughts for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks and Romans who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele.

The ancient Greeks held an annual spring festival dedicated to honor the maternal goddesses Rhea. The wife of Cronus, Rhea was the mother of many deities of Greek mythology.

Ancient Romans also celebrated a spring festival, called Hilaria dedicated to the mother goddess Cybele. Ceremonies in honor of Cybele began some 250 years before Christ was born. The celebration was held on the Ides of March by making offerings in the temple of Cybele,  this festival lasted for about three days.

Mothering Sunday, from the UK is the most recent celebration, dating back to the 1600’s. This Christian festival was once a major tradition in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, it fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent, it was a time when people would return to their “mother church”. (Much like homecoming that is celebrated in churches today when people return to their home church for a special service and a meal afterwards).

Mothering Sunday eventually took a more secular route when children would present their mothers with gifts and flowers to show their appreciation. Mothering Sunday eventually faded out but regained new life when it merged into the American born Mother’s Day in the 30’s and 40’s. In World War II servicemen would purchase trinkets to send back home to their Mother’s or wives.

In 1872 Julia Ward Howe (writer of the Battle Hymn of the Republic) suggested in her “Mother’s Peace Day Proclamation” that Mother’s Peace Day be celebrated on the second Sunday in June. This was to be a day that Mother’s would stand united against war and be dedicated to peace.

Around the same time  Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia began holding meetings taught local women how to properly care for their children. These meetings became a unifying force in a region of the country still divided over the Civil War. In 1868 Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” where mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation.

The efforts of Ann Reeves Jarvis’ daughter Anna Jarvis gave birth to the official Mother’s Day holiday in the 1900s. After her mother’s 1905 death, Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother’s good faith efforts as well as all good Mother’s sacrifices. She used financial backing from a Philadelphia store owner named John Wanamaker and proceeded to organize the first Mother’s Day celebration at a church in Grafton, West Virginia. Seeing the success of the first Mother’s Day celebration she set out on a long journey to make the celebration a National Holiday.

By 1912 many States and churches celebrated Mother’s Day. Jarvis finally succeeded in her quest when President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day  in 1914.

Anna Jarvis had envisioned Mother’s Day as a personal day for families where they could gather together and spend time making precious memories. It wasn’t long after Mother’s Day became a national holiday before florists, card companies and other merchants capitalized on its popularity. This infuriated Anna Jarvis, she spent all her personal assets fighting to have Mother’s Day removed as a National Holiday because it had turned into something entirely different from her vision. By the time of her death in 1948, Anna Jarvis was penniless and confined to a sanitarium.


From Goddesses to penniless, motherless widows, Mother’s day has seen great extremes. Mother’s have fought and struggled throughout the years to make this world a better place for their children to grow up in; they are ever persevering the face of adversity, sacrificing in times of want and above all loving in all circumstances.

Celebrate the Mother you love and those who have loved you this Mother’s Day.

Beautiful Mother's Day Box of Assorted Chocolates

Information for this article gathered from History.com and mothersdaycelebration.com and cocoamill.com

Summer Sweets: Julia’s Chocolate Strawberry Cream Cupcakes

After weeks of careful observation my nine-year old daughter approached me. Her eyes were full of questions as I turned to see what was on her curious little mind. She asked me why had I been cooking so many things and why did they all have chocolate? I explained that this is part of my work. I was trying out new ideas and then sharing them with others in hopes that they might enjoy them too. 

“Oh…” she said looking a little puzzled.  “Mommy?… If I come up with a recipe will you make it and write about it?” 

“Sure,” I said a little skeptical, not knowing how this experiment might turn out. ” You need to remember the recipe has to have chocolate in it somewhere.”

“OK!” she squealed as she scurried off to her room. A few moments later she emerged with her face a little downcast this time. “I don’t know how to make a recipe.”

We talked about recipes and the proper way write one. She and I then proceeded to make our way to the bookshelf that houses our cookbooks. With her arms full of cookbooks her eyes danced magically about and a beautiful smile filled her face. That sweet smile could have lit up a dark night sky. She again scurried off to her room. It was an enchanting moment to watch as this sweet young girl embark on her journey of creating something new and exciting.  As I heard the door to her bedroom close I remembered the years of magic that I had so routinely felt as a young child, it left me longing for a little more magic in my oh so grown up life.

Later she came and handed me a beautifully handwritten recipe with detailed instructions on how to make her Strawberry Cream Cupcakes. With a few minor changes we were ready to bake. I hope you enjoy these cupcakes from the creative mind of a nine-year old girl.

Strawberry Cream Cupcakes:

1/2 cup of butter (softened)

1 cup of low-fat milk

1  cup of sugar

1/3 cup of powdered sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. of vanilla

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp of salt

4 oz. Cocoa Mill’s Bittersweet Chocolate (melted with a 1 Tbsp of butter)

1 qt. fresh strawberries

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream the sugar and the butter, add the eggs and vanilla, mix well. Add the milk and mix again. Scrape the edges of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Scrape sides of bowl again.

Melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, add to the cake batter and mix thoroughly.

Line two muffin tins with cupcake holders. Fill liners about 3/4 of the way full. Place in the oven and bake for about 14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Cream frosting:

1 stick of butter

1 box of confectioners sugar

heavy whipping cream

2 tsp. of vanilla

Cream the butter and sugar together, add the vanilla and mix well. While mixing slowly pour in small amounts of heavy whipping cream until frosting is a light fluffy consistency. ( you can add more powdered sugar if you need to thicken it or more cream if you need to thin your frosting.)

Chill in fridge while the cupcakes cool. Frost and enjoy!

 

Picture above was painted by Torrie Smiley. You can find this painting as well as other paintings at: http://torriesmiley.blogspot.com/2012/07/cupcake-002.html