Saturday, December 17, 2011

Hot Chocolate Mix: A Quick Holiday Gift

It has been a whole month since my parents went back home to India and three weeks since I went back to work full time. I has steeled myself for a chaotic and stressful phase as we settled into life on our own- Lila and Dalu and V and me, but happily things have been going so much better than I expected. Weekday evenings are devoted to Lila's care, a routine of oil massage and bath and story time and cuddles. We put together quick dinners and take turns eating. By some miracle, I am able to be fairly coherent and productive in spite of sleep deprivation that would be called torture in any other context.

I find that three factors are very helpful in keeping things sane and relatively stress free around here. The first is that I am learning to live in the moment. I do what needs to be done without worrying about the to-do list. This way the most important things- keeping all 4 of us fed, for instance- get done, and if I never get around to mopping the kitchen floor- eh, I can live with that. I am notorious for being a control freak so this is HARD for me, but it really works. The second thing that helps is keeping life simple in many many ways- by reducing clutter, not cooking elaborate meals and not filling up my schedule too tightly. The third factor is that I try to be kind to myself and regularly give myself little treats- like going to knitting group, or going to the library to browse for a while or sitting down for 10 minutes with a mug of hot chocolate at the end of the day.

Which brings me to the recipe! I made this hot chocolate mix last weekend and we knew right away that we need to keep a stock of this mix all winter. With the mix on hand, you are only a couple of minutes away from the warm and sweet treat.

Happily, the hot chocolate mix, which is from the King Arthur Flour website, takes only a couple of minutes to make. You chop the chocolate and then whirr the mix together in a food processor. Other than the milk chocolate, all the ingredients are in the "baking basket" in my pantry. I added some espresso powder but it provided only a hint of coffee flavor. If you are seriously going after a caffeine jolt, you will want to add a lot more. I halved the recipe so it could comfortably be made in my 9 cup food processor.

Hot Chocolate Mix
(adapted from this recipe from King Arthur Flour)

In a food processor, pulse
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Add and process together:
6 to 7 oz. chopped semisweet chocolate
2 to 3 oz. chopped milk chocolate

Add and process some more:
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp. espresso powder
pinch of salt

The result is a coarse and muddy-looking but oh so tasty powder. Pour into a clean glass jar, tie with a cute ribbon and add a label with the directions, then present it to your best friends. Or your worst enemies; they might just become your new best friends. Be sure to save some of the mix for yourself- remember to be nice to yourself this holiday season!

Directions: Fill a quarter of the mug with hot chocolate mix. Top with warm milk and stir.

Any kind of milk- dairy or non-dairy- can be used to make hot chocolate. Almond milk is my personal favorite. I like my hot chocolate "neat" but some people like topping it with marshmallows or whipped cream. Do what makes you happy :)


Dale's Tales

Miss Baby has been the center of attention on the blog lately but I wanted to devote a paragraph or two to good old Dalu dada. And I do mean good and old. This September marked the 10th anniversary of Dale's adoption. I find it incredible that Dale has been part of our family for 10 whole years- that's quite a long time. He was almost 2 years old when V brought him home from the ASPCA, which means that Dale is now approximately 12 years old, a senior citizen.

It is hard to watch someone you love face the challenges of old age. The grey hair is just an outward sign and then there are the creaking joints and the slowing gait. My wish for Dale is the same wish I have for myself: that he lives out his natural life span happy and free of ailments. For my part, I never lose an opportunity to advocate for homeless mutts. If you can give them a home- a warm bed, food and fresh water, they will also give you a home- in their heart. What a sweet deal.

Enjoy your Sunday and I hope to see you soon!

23 comments:

  1. Aah hot chocolate on these dreary cold evenings, just the right thing! Your recipe sounds so yum!
    Enjoy this wonderful time with your little one, looks like you have planned it all good; yup dishes can sit in the sink and the floor can skip a mop.
    Loved the update on our dear Dale! Happy belated 10th 'birthday' :)

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  2. I recently attended the Ghirardelli warehouse sale (+ additional 15% off coupon) and bought lots of chocolate. This looks like a great use for some of my purchases. The place smelled heavenly, by the way.

    Enjoy your baby and peaceful moments when you find them.

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  3. That is a perfect wintery gift. Love a comforting cup of chocolate any time of the day!

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  4. That bottle of Hot chocolate mix would be a wonderful home made gift!

    I am glad u have things well under control, specially since u are on ur own now. lots of love to Lila <3 !

    Dalu dada is 12! Hard to believe it, I keep thinking of him as a pillu bhu-bhu! I am sure he gets all the love and care that satisfies his doggy heart! Big tight warm hugs to Dalu ajoba!

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  5. So glad to see your post. Lovely recipe for the quick mix..specially for people like me who are so pressed for time... With 2 kids and a full time job I too have learned to prioritize things..no point in being superwoman, it just burns you out!Glad to see dear Dale after a long time :)Happy Holidays to all of you..take care

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  6. This hot chocolate sounds so perfect for winter ! Its really nice how you give yourself a little time - thats so important at this phase, otherwise you feel so harried all the time...I made the dalimbay bhat from your blog last night !

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  7. That's a great idea for a holiday gift as I am not a fan of baked goods.

    As a new mom to be, I wonder if you can post a list of baby products that you find useful.

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  8. Sweet post! My old kitty, Orion, is almost 17 and slowing down, but still a sweetheart of a cat. I watch him getting more challenged by things, but hope he remains without pain as best as can be expected. Dale has had a great life with you, good care, and lots of love, and who can ask for more?

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  9. Suddenly jones-ing a cup of real hot chocolate, my mix doesn't use real chocolate, must try YOURS. Hugs all around and big pets for Dalu.

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  10. Nice post Nupur..would love to try that Hot Chocolate..what a treat for these cold wintery evenings !!!
    Wonderful post and a great update on Lila and Dale. Enjoy this phase and yes, give yourself sometime so you never feel overwhelmed..believe me, it is so easy to get burned out ...
    Happy Holidays to all,
    Meena

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  11. Glad to hear that you are easing into the going back to work smoothly.

    Nothing like a hot chocolate mix to make someone happy I agree.

    Happy Holidays!

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  12. Good to see your post Nupur. I had to keep my OCD's in control when my son was born -- uncleaned floors & carpets were definitely overlooked during that time.. Enjoy your time with little Lila in the meantime.
    What a great gift idea. Will definitely try it out this holiday season.
    Happy holidays and Enjoy!!

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  13. Definitely an excellent winter gift,Happy holidays and Enjoy..

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  14. Nupur, you are doing such a wonderful job of keeping it simple. And Lila is such a loved baby :) Please do post pictures when you get a chance. Have a lovely holiday season. best wishes.

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  15. your life offers so many lessons... for me today's post has been about prioritizing. loved Dale's pics! kisses for him....

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  16. such a lovely gift idea, especially if the person recieving it is a chocoholic. very festive :)

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  17. Hi Nupur,
    I am a Mom of a 4 month old baby girl and I can relate to your post.Life has changed so much and keeping it simple is the way to go. Enjoy your baby and motherhood.
    Happy Birthday to Dale.

    Mimi

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  18. Namita- Do try the recipe if you get a chance, it brightens up the dreary evenings!

    Angela- Wow, how fun to stock up on loads of chocolate- would love to know what you do with that loot :)

    Athisaya Divya- me too :) not a chocoholic but hot chocolate hits the spot.

    Manasi- Yes indeed it makes for a sweet and simple gift. Dalu is very innocent and puppy-like sometimes, he has retained his youth well :)

    Madhuli- I so agree, superwoman I am not. All I want is to make the best of each day and enjoy my life and my family.

    Arch- Hope the dalimbay bhat came out well! Yes, everyone needs time to unwind and relax only then can we give to others.

    Anonymous- Most of our baby gear is hand me downs from friends, we barely needed to buy anything. But if you have specific questions, feel free to e-mail me, thanks!

    Diane- 17 is a very respectable age! I wish your kitty many more days of good health. Yes, we hope we are providing a happy life for Dale- sometimes I wish he could speak and tell me if he needs anything.

    Alanna- Yes, please do try this mix!! Dalu says hello :)

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  19. Meena- I know, it is easy to burn out so I make a very focused effort to give myself some time and space. Happy holidays to you too!

    indosungod- Yes, so far so good :) Taking it one day at a time and congratulating myself when things go OK :)

    Pavani- I am overlooking lots of messy spaces but it is worth it to invest in those precious baby moments! Do try the hot choc mix, it is very tasty.

    Mandira- Oh yes Lila is loved more than she will ever know, that much is for sure! Best wishes to you too, and your baby A.

    arundati- Dale says thanks and sends his love :)

    Deeps- Thanks!

    Mimi- Aren't baby girls such a joy at this age? And at any age, I suppose :)

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  20. Have a lovely holiday season with Lila, V and Dale. I think you are doing really great with your priorities set right. The carpet we shall clean another day, eh ?
    Wishing you all a very happy year to come

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  21. Hi Nupur, I have been avid visitor to your blog for many years, but haven't commented before. Just had to today, because of the lovely sweet words on Dale. We have an adopted mutt, Pasha, and he is the center of our lives! I feel the same passion for rescued dogs and the love they can give! Happy holidays, Mekhala.

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  22. Have a beautiful festive season Nupur with V and Baby Lila! I have a baby Lab at home and he fills our life with love and sloppy kisses. This post struck a chord somewhere. Take good care of yourself, Mommy deserves treats too! Carpet cleaning can always wait...

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  23. Nupur, I must say , have always had a soft corner for you and yr blog - this is the first time I have written to you, a silent lurker always..congratulations on yr new additons, what rompted me to write were the sweetest words you had for Dale:) he looks great and much loved...heres hoping ton more years with dalu dada...:)

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