"I want, I want, I want ... but that's crazy"

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Warm Autumn Cocoa

Even though I dread the coming of autumn - because it means the end of warm weather and the beginning of cold weather - there are a few things I must admit I like about it. I love the bright orange and red and yellow leaves, even though it doesn't last very long before it's all a rather unattractive brown. I love that week or so when it seems all the leaves are falling at once, and the air is always filled with leaves raining down. I love the rustling they make as the wind shifts them all around the ground. And I love that smell. It seems odd to love any smell associated with something decaying, but that scent of the fallen leaves, especially after a rain, is somehow wonderful. Wouldn't it be nice if all decaying things could smell pleasant?

So, it's no secret that I'm not a cold weather fan, by any stretch of the imagination, but it does suit my wardrobe better. I love sweaters, and they fill about 80% of my closet.

I also love the cold weather foods - those wonderful, rich, warm comfort foods. Autumn means I can start stirring up pots of soups and stews and chilis.

And pumpkin everything. I must say, I don't object to that at all.

It also means I can curl up with a nice hot cup of cocoa. That's what I did tonight.

I wanted a cup of cocoa with a distinctly autumnal twist to it. I also wanted something low in fat, but I'm not willing to compromise richness for that. No problem. Here's what I came up with!

Warm Autumn Cocoa (makes 2 "normal" servings or one big one!)

2 heaping tsp. Hershey's cocoa
4 heaping tsp. of sugar (or equivalent sugar substitute)
2-3 T. nondairy powdered creamer (I like the extra rich kind)
1/8 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. plus 3 tsp. lowfat milk (I use 1% fat, but skim also works - the nondairy creamer keeps it nice and rich)

Heat 2 c. milk in microwave or on stove until very hot but not to boiling. Meanwhile, in a very large mug or normal size teapot, add the cocoa, sugar, creamer and spice. Mix well (do not skip the mixing or the cocoa powder will be lumpy and bitter). Add the vanilla extract and 3 tsp. milk. Stir until it forms a smooth syrup. If it's too thick, add another teaspoon of milk. Stir in the hot milk. Either enjoy your giant mug of cocoa or pour into smaller mugs to share!

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