Monday, December 7, 2009

How Cold Can It Go?

I am not complaining.  I would rather have colder temperatures and sun shine during the day than warmer temperatures and endless fog, but this cold spell is a challenge for fair weather, heat seeking souls such as myself.  I took two hot water bottles to bed with me last night.  The heat from the gas heater in the living room just doesn't make its way 15 feet down the hall to the bedroom even if the ceiling fan is working at top speed.  The outside temperature this morning was 18 degrees.  The temperature in my bedroom this morning was 46 degrees.  What can I say, San and I have never left the heat on at night but tonight I think I will.  The forecast is for 9 degrees by morning.  I am so glad I don't have to worry about goats any longer, just four chickens who are huddled together in a snug little chicken house, but I wonder if they drank any water all day.  The fresh water I left out this morning was froze when I got home after work and it didn't look any lower than it did in the morning.  And what about the dog and the cat?  No worries, they are sprawled out in front of the gas flames of the heater, never yielding their pampered position.

Frosty Sunday Morn

Saturday was a miserably cold, foggy day.  San and I sat around the stove most of the day, not wanting to venture outside.  We finally forced ourselves out to put up Christmas lights at 2:00 in the afternoon.  We went to bed with forecasts of colder temperatures.  Sure enough, it got colder but, oh, the beautiful day that dawned Sunday.  San's theory is that all the fog froze in the night so no fog remained in the morning, only crystal clear air and white frosted beauty on every fallen leaf.  As we walked down to the Community Center for a Lion's Breakfast, I captured the frozen beauty and drank up the sparkling air.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hot Chocolate

If you want a wholesome but indulging cup of warm winter comfort, then tuck the pre-packaged hot cocoa mix away and stir up the real thing.  You can make it as wholesome and organic as you want.  The recipe calls for sugar but I have used agave, honey, and brown sugar instead.

1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup water

Mix these ingredients together in 2 quart saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Boil for 1 minute, reduce heat to medium and add,

3 cups whole milk

Heat milk and chocolate, stirring occasionally until very warm but not boiling.  Remove from heat and add

1/4 cup of half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla

Serve immediately topped with whipped cream or marshmallow or peppermint sticks or enjoy it undressed in all its goodness and wholesomeness.

The secret to making this an enjoyable indulgence it to not over heat the milk.  When you add the half and half the chocolate milk becomes the perfect temperature to guzzle down for a gentle warming from the inside out.  A perfect way to start the day on these freezing foggy mornings.