Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Perfect Cup of Cocoa

My current obsession, for the day, is drinking hot cocoa and I have perfected it! I mentioned the perfect cup of cocoa on facebook a while back and was asked what made it perfect and for a picture - so here we go!!!!!

Why cocoa? I'm not a coffee drinker. Not because I don't want to be or that I haven't tried my darnedest to create the perfect relationship with a cup of joe. "Joe" does not like me. I love the way it smells and tastes but my stomach revolts and we'll just leave it at that. I have also tried to love drinking tea - especially tea without adding sugar. I have failed at this relationship as well. Tea leaves a weird taste in my mouth and I can't drink it without adding sugar. I have discovered, however, that I love the Jasmine tea that is served at Daikon No Hana and I don't have to add sugar to it. Not sure how to get that same recipe so I can enjoy it at home though. And since I can't enjoy this wonderful secret at home I had to find an alternative.

That is what has brought me to my new obsession - hot cocoa. Though it does have sugar and my "secret" recipe adds sugar in several forms, at least I love drinking it. I look forward to the time, every morning, after I eat, that I create this wonderful cup o' joy and sit at my computer reading blogs, or returning e-mails or updating my status on facebook.

Here are the ingredients for the perfect cup of cocoa: Hot water, cup, cocoa packet, cinnamon, whip cream, General Goods International Suisse Mocha coffee drink mix, and flavored soy milk and a spoon. Side note: I'm not advertising or getting paid by General Foods, just trying to be specific here.


You must start with the right cup. My cup, the slightly pink, ceramic item just behind the cocoa packets actually holds 16 oz. of liquid. This is a must and I will cover the "why" later.

Obviously you need a way to create hot water and we do this via our Sunbeam water-heater-apparatus. You choose whatever method of warming water as you would like since I'm sure this process does not affect the perfection that you will enjoy later.

Choose your favorite brand of cocoa packet - I happen to have two choices in my house because "why do, when you can over do".

Cinnamon - my new favorite and I have no idea why.

General Foods International Suisse Mocha Coffee Drink Mix - Choose whatever flavor you like, this is just my personal choice. This little tin of 60 calories per 1 1/3 tbsp powder brings back great memories of my husband making me this hot concoction and bringing it to me in bed. No work involved on my part. Whatever happen to those days?

Whip cream that can be dispensed and not spooned - vital to the look.

Coffee flavored soy milk. Or almond flavored milk. I use soy or almond because I am lactose-intolerant.

Note from my friend, Matilda: The soy milk is from MaxValue but I have bought it from San A and Kanehide too - any grocery or convenience store will have them. Although, I have to say they don't all have the same flavors available all the time. There are 2 brown ones, the coffee (it has the "co- hi" katakana on it) the other is almond... I think. There are so many good flavors.
More destructions: While your water is coming to a boil add your cocoa packet, a tablespoon of the Suisse Mocha and a couple of shakes of cinnamon. Stir dry ingredients. Pour only half of your water into the cup, along with two tablespoons of flavored soy milk, stir, and pour in the rest of your hot water.

Here is the key: leave space for tons of whip cream, dispensed in a circle leading up to your mound at the top.
Sprinkle cinnamon on top and ENJOY!!!! Happy sipping!!!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Adventures in Journaling - Update

I am so excited that not only are several of you inspired but I have seen your journal in living color and you are staying motivated. And this has motivated me. As I have said in the past, I chose to make journaling a priority to strengthen my journaling skills in my scrapbooks. And, as I have also said, that mission has not necessarily been accomplished. That's okay though. I am moving forward and continuing to journal even though my goal in this exercise has changed. Change is good, right?? At least that's what "they" say!!!

Once my habit in journaling became natural I started thinking about making some changes. Changes like writing stuff a little more meaningful than what I had for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I dropped my breakfast notification but kept lunch and dinner since I usually ate out and discovered new places to eat, making my life sound more interesting. So then what? Then I moved on to writing "One Cool Thing" that I saw God do in that day or just "One Cool Thing" that happened. Unfortunately I have not done that a lot lately.

My point: Once you get knee-deep into this "exercise" start making some little changes. Change can create growth if we allow it. It also keeps things interesting. I'm not talking about change just to change but change for the sake of trying something knew, spicing things up and keeping you coming back for me.

My other point is that I am creating a new "category" in my journal thus making an addition to my daily writings - creating a change to challenge myself and for something new to look forward to next year when I get to go back and read what I wrote. Remember, this is my favorite part.

My new "category" is called "I learned today................." and I started yesterday, Friday, January 8th, 2010.

Here is the excerpt from yesterday:

"I learned today............."

that I love to laugh and I should do it more often.

to know your pots and pans. Some "warm up" faster than others.

Ellen DeGenere's friend, Gladys Hardy, is the funniest person in the world!

First, I decided that I may have more than one thing "I learned today............" and so I decided to add a large sticky note to the left side of my journal. I cannot bring myself to write on the back side of lined paper. Just not going to happen in my lifetime. That's just me - do whatever works best for you. I still wanted to keep writing about the normal, everyday stuff that I write about so I "created" more space by utilizing the usually wasted space of the left-side of my journal - a.k.a. the backside of yesterday's notes.

Second, without reading Friday's journal, the above info may not make sense. Here is my explanation:

I had a movie day with the girls yesterday and we watched "Julie and Julia" with Amy Adams and Meryl Streep. Awesome movie - I highly recommend it. If for no other reason than to laugh. However, you have to watch it with girlfriends because it just isn't as fun without them. And, if I can enjoy a movie about cooking than anyone can. The movie even inspired me before we watched it and I had made a huge pot of "Jana's Potato and Bacon Soup".

Hence, my next "lesson in life" aka "I learned today.........." - potato soup will burn, while reheating, if your pot is thin (have no idea what this pot is made out of) and you don't keep stirring. Advice: know your pots and pans. At least pay attention to the thickness of each different pot or don't assume that since your crock pot "pot" didn't warm up soup several weeks ago in 3 hours that your stainless steel (assuming this) pot will take as long. Bottom line: I burned the soup and now my pan must be sent to the graveyard for cooking mistakes. Sorry sweet new pot of mine!!! Your sibling will miss you!

The last thing I learned goes along with the first - I love to laugh and the discussions between Ellen DeGeneres and Gladys Hardy, no matter the topic, makes me laugh the most and I don't have to commit to a two hour movie. I don't agree with Ellen's lifestyle but you cannot argue the fact that she is funny and she brings out the funny in others. Not that Gladys needs help - she is funny on her own and she is a real person, with her own blog, and she is a grandmother who is loved and adored by her family. The love and adore her so much that they created the blog for her and to share her with the public who has come to love and adore her as well. Enough said, watch this and all the Gladys videos on YouTube:

and this one

Gladys is the women who coined the phrase "I love Jesus but I drink a little". She is so worth "watching" though you don't get to see her, you just watch Ellen and listen in on their two-way conversations. Ellen hears from fans more about Gladys than any other guest, show or topic.

I've gone on way past my point so I'll stop!!!!! Happy Journaling!!!!