Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

The weather forecast for today is pretty grim. They’re predicting a high temperature of 37 degrees, with light freezing rain and sleet.

I suppose it’s payback from Mother Nature for having a warm December.

No matter though, it’s a perfect day to make a batch of homemade hot chocolate mix and impress the heck out of your posse.


And then head to the mall. Driving slowly, of course…….

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix – adapted from Food52

  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup malted milk powder (I used Chocolate Ovaltine)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch

Break the chocolate into large chunks and blend in a food processor until mealy. Add the cocoa, sugar, Ovaltine, and cornstarch to the food processor. Blend until combined. Scoop the mixture into a jar.

For one serving of hot chocolate:

  • cup milk 
  • 3 heaping tbs. hot cocoa mix

In a small pot combine the milk and hot cocoa mix. Whisk together gently over a medium heat until well mixed and steaming. Pour into a mug and serve.

Santorini Sunrise

Baby, it’s hot out there…. 100 degrees, 87% humidity, and a chance of thunderstorms later.

It’s marvelous….

However, (because you know I always look at the bright side of things) I am simply loving this weather. I’m sure there are many people that would beg to differ, but coming from the arid, dusty and dehydrating atmosphere of the desert, all this moisture is working wonders for my skin.



My hair? Not so much…

That’s what hats were invented for.

Santorini Sunrise – adapted from Saveur

4 mint leaves, plus more for garnish
2 tsp. honey
2 oz. pink grapefruit-infused vodka
3 oz. freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
1 oz. Campari

In a highball glass, muddle the mint and honey. Fill with ice; add vodka, juice, and Campari and stir. Garnish with additional mint leaves.



Pineapple Mint Mojito

Happy July 4th!


Pineapple Mint Mojito – adapted from Saveur

Simple Syrup:
1 cup water
2 cups sugar

12 mint leaves
2 oz. fresh pineapple chunks
1 oz. fresh lime juice
1 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. coconut rum
½ oz. Grand Marnier
3 oz. seltzer water

1. For the simple syrup: Heat sugar and water in a small saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, and then set to the side to cool. Reserve any unused portion in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

2. For the cocktail: In a Collins glass, muddle the pineapple and mint. Fill with ice. In an ice-filled cocktail shaker, shake together rum, lime juice, simple syrup, and Grand Marnier. Strain into glass and top with seltzer water.

Mango Peach Sangria

So here we are ……… day three of record breaking temperatures …….. and the bad news is that it isn’t supposed to lessen for another 4 days….


I’ve determined that I must be acclimated to the extreme summertime heat here in Vegas – because as hot as it is (and yes, 116 is HOT), every place you go has air conditioning. Which is good, of course – but the flip side is that it is usually turned so low, that being inside for any extended amount of time requires a jacket or long sleeve shirt.

Or, going outside to warm up.

Which then necessitates going back inside to cool down.

It’s a vicious cycle, I know…….


Mango Peach Sangria – adapted from food and wine

1/4 cup mint
1 cup Grand Marnier
2 peaches, cut into thin wedges
1 bottle Viognier
1/3 cup water
1 mango, chopped
1/3 cup sugar
In a saucepan, cook the sugar and water until the sugar dissolves; transfer to a pitcher and refrigerate until cold. Stir in the Grand Marnier, Viognier, mango, peaches and mint and serve over ice.

Ina’s Mango Daiquiri

I like to fancy myself as an above average linguist and speller.

Fun fact: I won the spelling bee in 5th grade..

But certain words throw me every time – particularly algorithm and …….. daiquiri.


photo credit: ccp

But truthfully, I don’t want to spell it, I want to drink it. So I did. And boy oh boy was it goooooooood. So good, in fact, the very next day I went to Costco and secured a case of mangoes. You know, for “just in case” purposes.

Like “just in case” I want to make one tonight.🙂

Mango Daiquiri – adapted from Ina Garten

Remember – the quality of your drink depends on the quality of your ingredients. So take the time to make the sugar syrup, use real lime juice, and purchase good rum. I actually used a combination of aged white rum and coconut rum.

1 ripe mango, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tbs. sugar syrup
3/4 cup white rum
crushed icePlace the mango, lime juice, sugar syrup and rum in a blender and process until smooth. Add a cup of crushed ice and blend again until smooth. Serve immediately.Note: To make sugar syrup, heat 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves.

The Perfect Margarita ~ and that feeling of accomplishment

Accomplishment…… it’s a wonderful feeling. Accomplishing something you formulate in your mind, set into action, and then sit back and see your hard work pay off…….

Allow me to elaborate…….I’ve had plans to re-paint a few rooms in the house for, oh, about 6 months or so. You know, a little bit of renovation, a little bit of redecorating, a little bit of making the house all mine mine mine mine MINE!!

** ahem **

I started the new year by repainting Alexander’s room, then the rest of my plans all sort of fell to the wayside. In another way of looking at it, life was going great and I was living/enjoying every moment. Not that I’m not doing that now, but certain things kept glaring at me every time I walked by……rooms were being neglected (yes Sabrina, this is directed at your room) and I really wanted to focus and get it all done.

So last week, inspiration and motivation gave me swift kick in the booo-tay and I sprung (sprang?) into action. Sabrina and I completed her room in two days, and this weekend I tackled my bathroom/hallway. I would post a picture but that would be a little odd, wouldn’t it? I mean, who cares what a bathroom looks like?


Instead, let’s talk about the celebratory drink I made to reward my accomplishment. I was in the mood for something different…… something cold and refreshing…. something besides a chilled glass of wine. So whilst perusing all my saved recipes, I came across this one for a classic margarita…. and let me tell you, it is perfect. It’s worth the tiny bit of time/effort to make the simple syrup, and for heaven’s sake use the good tequila and triple sec. Life is too short to drink the cheap stuff…….

I think that this margarita would be even more perfect with a bit of mango (you know me and my mangoes) puree added to it. That’s assuming I had any mangoes laying around to use………….


Classic Margarita – from Food and Wine / Vincenzo Marianella

1 1/2 ounces silver tequila
3/4 ounce triple sec
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 tablespoon Simple Syrup
Lime slices and salted rim, for garnish
Shake, strain, and serve over ice in an old-fashioned glass.