Boozy Hot Cocoa

Last year the weather reports for California promised the El Niño was coming which was supposed to mean many many opportunities to stay in, warm and dry, and sip on hot drinks.  The weather reports couldn’t have been more wrong!  Instead of rain filling up our reservoirs, lakes, and packing our mountains with snow, it was one of the hottest years on record!  I barely had to wear more than a sweatshirt and my Uggs stayed clean and dry, unworn, in my closet.  Hardly the kind of weather for enjoying hot drinks.

This year the weather reports predicted a La Niña, an unusually dry winter.  Thankfully, once again, the forecasters have been completely wrong.  We are just 3 weeks past the official start of winter and already we’ve had more cold days & nights, more rain than we’ve seen in years, and there’s more to come.  Instead of bone dry reservoirs, we are seeing them refilling to levels of 75-80% of capacity.  Thank you #PineappleExpress!

That also means that I can finally whip out the recipes I have been sitting on for boozy hot cocoa.  Yes!

Mint Cocoa Hot Toddy

  • 1 oz Kahlua
  • 1 oz Peppermint Schnappsmintchocolatetoddy
  • 1 envelope hot cocoa mix
  • 6 oz hot water (or milk, if that’s what pkg calls for)
  • Miniature Marshmallows
  • Chocolate Shavings
  • Cinnamon Stick
  1. Make 6 oz. of hot cocoa in a 10 oz mug.
  2. Add the Kahlua and the Schnapps.
  3. Place 8 or so miniature marshmallows on top.
  4. Grate some chocolate over the marshmallows, and stir with a cinnamon stick.

Toasted Bailey’s Hot Cocoa

  • 3 cups Milk
  • 1/3 cup Half and Halfbroiledbaileyshotchocolate
  • 1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • Marshmallows
  1. In a small saucepan, add milk and half and half. Turn on medium heat and let mixture warm up. Add chocolate chips.
  2. Let chocolate chips melt in milk mixture, whisking frequently. Once the chocolate has fully combined, add Bailey’s. Stir to combine and transfer to mugs.
  3. Place marshmallows on top of hot chocolate and toast the tops of your marshmallows with your mini-torch. Once your marshmallows are browned and melty it’s time to enjoy!

Chocolate-Orange Hot Chocolate

  • 2/3 cups Milk
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Creamchocolate-orange-hot-chocolate
  • Zest of 1/2 and Orange
  • 2 oz Dark Chocolate chopped
  • 1 oz +/- Warmed Grand Marnier
  1. Heat the milk, cream and orange zest together in a saucepan until simmering then remove from the heat and pour through a sieve into a jug to remove the orange zest. Pour the infused milk mixture back into the pan and add the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate has melted and is really smooth.
  2. Put the pan back on the heat to warm through then add the orange liqueur. Pour into a mug and serve.

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too:https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Cold Outside? Warm Up Your Insides!

its-freezing-pnts-brrr-9666002I’ll be honest, cold is relative to where you are in the world.  Today I’m thankful to not be in Central or Eastern Europe, which is seeing temperatures as low as -30°C (-22°F).  Brrr

Here, in Irvine, CA today it is 62°F and raining which means I am under a warm blanket with my two Labrador Retrievers snuggled up beside me and the fireplace on as I sip on some coffee laced liberally with some Bailey’s Irish Cream.  I use the words, “I’m freezing” in nearly every conversation I have today, but I am loving this weather.  At this time last year, we were heading into what was billed as the hottest February on record with day after day of temperatures in the upper 90’s that led to 2016 being called one of the hottest, if not THE hottest year on record, so excuse my exaggeration with the term “freezing” as, in order to be cold last year, I had to have my air conditioner running.

Today I saw a picture at one of my favorite websites, www.bonappetit.com, for Chili Colorado, that made my mouth water.

colorado-chili-1-of-1

I hadn’t yet decided what to make for dinner, but, after seeing this picture, no further searching was needed.  This will definitely be dinner, and a couple of workday lunches as well!  I am not a big pork fan, so I’ll be making the beef option.

***Note I always trim all of the visible fat away so that the meat is as lean as possible.

Rick Martinez’s Mom’s Chili Colorado

  • 5 Dried Ancho Chilis
  • 2 Dried Pasilla Chilis
  • 2 Dried Guajillo Chilis
  • 8 Cups Chicken Stock (3 Cups + 5 Cups Separated)
  • 2-3 Pounds Boneless Pork Shoulder (or 2-3 Pounds Boneless Beef Shoulder)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Oilve Oil (My substitution for Vegetable Oil)
  • 6 Cloves Garlic Chopped
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 TBLS Ground Cumin
  • 2 tsp Chopped Fresh Sage
  • 2 tsp Chopped Fresh Oregano

Now Let’s Cook!

  1. Remove the stems and seeds from all of your chilis.  Make sure you have chosen soft and pliable chilis.  If they are dry and brittle they are too old.  They will be tasteless and ruin your dish.
  2. Cover chiles with 3 cups of your chicken stock (it should already be boiling) and let them steam, covered with plastic wrap, for about 30 minutes until they are plump and tender. Put the chilis and all of the soaking liquid into a blender and purée until very smooth.
  3. Cut 2 to 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder (or boneless beef shoulder) into ½” pieces and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Brown the meat in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat with a couple of TBLS of olive oil so meat doesn’t stick. 
  5. Chop your 6 cloves of garlic and throw it in the pot along with 2 bay leaves, 1 TBLS ground cumin, 2 tsp each of chopped fresh sage and chopped fresh oregano.  Stir that around for about a minute, or until very fragrant.
  6. Add in your remaining 5 cups of chicken stock and simmer uncovered for about an hour.
  7. Stir in the chile purée and simmer for another 45 minutes until the meat is very tender and the sauce is a thick, mahogany-red color.
  8. Season with additional salt and pepper.
  9. Serve with flour tortillas – you can serve rice and beans for a full, authentic Mexican meal, if you desire, as well.

Just imagine the love and attention you’ll get from your family when they come into the house and are surrounded by the smell of chili Colorado simmering on the stove 😉 !

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too:https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood