Posts tagged ‘gifts’

January 4, 2013

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate for Christmas

This year, Christmas was hard. I already told you that part. I wasn’t in the spirit at all and we were short funds because of the house. But we still managed to give everyone something…something I thought was pretty dern awesome. And we made it ourselves.

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We made salted caramel hot chocolate! Jim made the caramel sauce and I made the hot chocolate mix and we wrapped them up together. I even stamped the little cards myself. It was a lot of fun, working with Jim and creating something special to give to all of our friends and family. And honestly, so much less stress than your usual shopping forever, wrapping late into the night and then stressing some more than people won’t like their gifts…or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, I thought this hot chocolate was to die for. The caramel sauce was smooth and rich and the hot chocolate was creamy and with the addition of a little something extra, it was more than your average packet of Swiss Miss.

Hot Chocolate Mix

1 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

3 cups powdered milk

1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Before dividing the mix up into whatever containers you’re using (if you’re giving this as a gift), make some up and taste it. Before I got mine right, I tasted it a few times and added more cocoa powder because I like my stuff less sweet than most people, I think. Also, you can add more or even omit the cinnamon. Try other things, too. Pumpkin pie spice would make this a more spicy cocoa. I think it might be delicious to grind up some orange zest to add in. Or maybe some ground up chocolate chips to make it more chocolatey. You can also add more things as garnish.

For the salted caramel sauce, I used Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe. I’m going to just send you right over to her page because she does such an amazing job of instructing you on the process, complete with photos. I chose her recipe because she doesn’t use corn syrup. Since I had that issue with corn last year, I’ve tried to stay away from the stuff as best I can. We’ve made this recipe twice now and it has come out magnificently both times. And it’s delicious to boot! I also consulted her recipe (among others) for the hot cocoa mix when I was researching how to make it. Check that out too. That girl is amazing in the kitchen! You can always trust her recipes to come out (which cannot always be said, by the way) and be as delicious as they look in her photos.

Anyway, back to our gifts. We added cinnamon sticks and mini marshmallows as toppers, but as I said before, you can add pretty much anything that strikes your fancy. The hot chocolate powder (minus the cinnamon) would go with tons of different options: peppermint, orange, I might even try pumpkin because I love pumpkin that much.

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A little late posting, but that was our gift to people this Christmas. I think we’ll do something similar next year…making something, I mean. It was fun and I think people enjoyed it.

Does anyone else do this for Christmas? Make something for each family and/or friend?

February 15, 2012

Lovey Lovey Day

Well yesterday was the day of love, and while it had it’s lovey moments, it was actually quite a difficult day. My dad is in town, which automatically multiplies my stress level. My body was feeling beat up between fighting a bladder infection, being super exhausted and the tension building in my neck and shoulders.  By the time I got home from work, I was ready to just fall into bed and forget the day ever happened.

But we had a date planned, and I couldn’t just bail on my husband, plus, it kind of brought me out of my funk.

Since Jim isn’t working, we decided to try something new this year. With $20 each, we went to the mall and split up for about an hour to pick out as many little gifts as we could within our allotted budget. It was so much fun! I think Jim was a little overwhelmed because he doesn’t spend much time at the mall and he didn’t know where to go, but he did good!

He got me this tea infuser mug, along with a tea bag strainer and a cute little glass fish named Joy the Koi. But my favorite part was the mug. This is what it said on the side of the box:

The flowers in bloom on this lovely infuser mug represent the beginning of beautiful things. Fragrant white flowers and two happy birds, leaning on each other, symbolize the harmony between newly-married couples and wishes for happiness in life in the future.

Isn’t that amazing? He said he didn’t even read the side of the box, but how perfect for our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple?

After we’d made our purchases, we went home and he cooked dinner…nothing special, just some sausages (veggie for me) on the BBQ and a salad and some pasta-roni (I can’t help it! I love that stuff!). Then we opened our gifts. I got him a couple of pieces of Godiva chocolate, a sushi mat, a tiny puzzle, a parachute penguin (you know, the kind with the plastic parachute and you throw it in the air and it glides down?), and a Slushy cup from the As Seen on TV store.

And then we went to bed.

Like I said, nothing major or exciting, but we spent it together and that was what counted.

How did you spend your Valentine’s Day?