Healthy Hot Cocoa

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Today it snowed, and it is supposed to snow tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. As resident of South Carolina, it is not often that we see snow. And if we see, it is usually here for a day and then it vanishes. But today it seems that it is here to stay. I love snow, so I am happy. Moreover here in the South, the world shuts down when it snows so school is cancelled as well. Yeah;-) More me time.

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Anyway, with the cold temperature out there, there is nothing better than a hot cocoa to warm you up from the inside out. I love hot cocoa… but hot cocoa is one of those treats that is so so good, it is not really good for it.

So here is a substitute that tastes nearly as wonderful and is very good for you.

Ingredients for 1 cup:

  • 1 cup of expresso, or brewed coffee
  • 1 cup of light almond milk ( only 30 calories a cup)
  • 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder ( i used Muscle Milk)
  • 1/2 tbsp of dark cocoa from Hershey’s

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend it for a few minutes. It can be drank cold or warm. I like it both ways. YUM!!!

I love this treat because I do not feel guilty drinking this. the dark cocoa from Hershey really help masking the taste of the protein powder.

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Snowman Pretzels Sticks


This morning as I awoke, I saw heavy snow falling. I love snow.

In a normal day I would have not minded having snow falling but since I was to do a cooking class at noon, I was hoping that the snow would not stayed… luckily it did not, and the cooking class took place.  But this snow and this nasty weather just made me want to stay in the comfort of my home this afternoon to play in my kitchen.

Since I was not going to be able to make snowman in real life, I decided I would make them inside my home;-) and made those yummy snowman pretzels.

I found this recipe on Disney…


  • 1/2 of a vanilla flavored chocolate covered
  • gun drops
  • fruit roll up
  • a few mini chocolate chips for the eyes
  • orange sprinkles
  • a bag of pretzel sticks.
  1. Place the chocolate in a microwave safe container and cook the chocolate for 90 seconds. Stir.
  2. Cook for another 30 seconds, stir and repeat this process until the chocolate is perfectly melted and liquid.
  3. Dunk each pretzel stick into the chocolate and place the chocolate covered pretzels on a silpat.
  4. Quickly place 2 mini chocolate chips for the eyes, 1 orange sprinkle for the nose, and 2 for the buttons of the coat.
  5. Let the chocolate cure.
  6. When the chocolate is completely cold. Cut with scissors a small string to make the scarf.
  7. Take a gum drop of your choice. Cut one hand and with your thumb, push the small slice down to make it flat and larger.
  8. Place it on the end of the pretzel stick and glue it with a bit of chocolate.
  9. Attach the other part of the gum drop with a bit of chocolate. Et voila!!!
  10. Make as many as you want….

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Melted Snowman


Snow… I wish we had snow here in Spartanburg. It would be fun;-). I am not asking for a lot, just a day or two to see the snow fall, and to be able to make a snowman… it is so magical and it makes such good memories.

Well, today, in spite of snow, I made a snowman in my kitchen. I found the idea of Better Homes and Garden Websites.

Ingredients for 14 Melted Snowmen cookies:

Ingredients for the chocolate cookies:

  • 3/4lb of bittersweet chocolate chips,
  • 1/2 stick of butter,
  • 3 large eggs,
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar,
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract,
  • 1/3 cup of all purpose flour,
  • 1/4 tsp of baking powder,
  • 1/4 tsp of salt,
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans ( optional- I substituted with mixed chocolate chips instead.)
  1. Turn your oven to 350.
  2. In a microwave-proof bowl, place the chocolate and the butter and cook for 2 minutes on high. Let it cool.
  3. In a mixer, place the eggs and the sugar and beat on high until the eggs turn pale yellow, and become fluffy.
  4. Add vanilla to the chocolate mixture and pour into the egg mixture. Stir.
  5. Add the flour, the baking powder, the salt and the nuts ( if you are using any) and mix well. Let it rest for 5 minutes in the fridge.
  6. Scoop the batter into 2 inches rounds onto a large silpat that you would have placed on a large perforated sheet. Space them out every inches.
  7. Cook for 6 minutes. The cookies should have cracked, but make sure that the crack is not wet when touching with your fingers for doneness. Let cool on rack. When the cookies are cold, follow the steps below to make the melted snowmen.

If you are running out of time, you may use the Dark Chocolate Chip refrigerated Cookie from Pillsbury. If you do, cook them according to directions. 

If you are using the demarle cookware and a silpat, cook for 15 minutes. 

Ingredients for 14 Melted Snowmen Cookies:

  • 1 recipe of the brownie chocolate chip cookies ( above)
  • 1/2 of a vanilla almond bark.
  • 14 mini reeese cups
  • 14 regular sized reese cups
  • 14 orange sprinkle
  • 28 mini chocolate chips
  1. Bake the cookies according to directions
  2. Melt the vanilla flavored almond bark in the microwave for 60-90 seconds. But stop at half time and stir to prevent the chocolate to scorch.
  3. Cut the end of the regular Reese to make the trim of the hat. Set aside.
  4. Pour the vanilla chocolate coating over each cookie.
  5. Place the “trim” of the hat, and a small Reese to make the hat.
  6. Place two mini chocolate chips to create the eyes.
  7. Place the orange sprinkle to make it look like the nose.


Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Snowglobe Cupcake


Yesterday I hosted a birthday party for a sweet girl named Mckenzie. Her mom wanted to host a tea party/ cooking class as her birthday party. Because it is much more fun to actually eat things you made yourself, i planned a small finger food menu for them to make. We made savory things as well as desserts… We had to have sweets, right??? it was a tea party after all. The theme of yesterday Cooking Class was Winter wonderland so I tried to come up with recipes and desserts that would reflect that theme.

Cupcakes are always a favorite. Children as well as adults love cupcakes so I really wanted to make cupcakes with them as well. The problem, however, is that sometimes what the simplest cucpake decoration can become tedious and frustrating. Believe me…’

I also wanted the cupcakes to follow the winter theme of the cooking class. With this in mind, I searched my coobook, and the internet for a decoration that would be fun and yet not to difficult. The idea that i am using today comes from the book ” Hello, Cupcakes” from Karen Tack.

Ingredients for 12 cupcakes:

  • 1 recipe of vanilla cupcake
  • 1 recipe of vanilla frosting
  • 6 chocolate graham crackers cut in half
  • 4 square of almond bark chocolate flavored coating
  • 12 white gum drops
  • 12 black gum drops
  • 1 fruit roll up
  • clear sprinkles
  • blue sprinkles
  • small tubes of frostings of various colors from Cake Mate

1 Bake the cupakes according to directions mentioned below. If you do not have time, it is fine to use the box cake mix. I use that sometimes. I prefer the vanilla mix from Betty Croker. Follow directions, but bake the cupcake for 15 minutes if using a Demarle cupcake pan.

2. Prepare the frosting.If you do not have time, you may use the Whipped cream   Frosting from Betty Croker. 

3. Melt the chocolate coating in the microwave for 60 sec. or until completely melted and free of lumps.

4. Place half of a graham cracker on a plate, and with a pastry brush, brush the graham crackers to coat it and to glue the cupcake on it.

5. Lay the cupcake on its side on the graham cracker, with the bottom of the cupcake facing you.


6. Spoon the vanilla frosting on the flat part of the cupcake and with a knife, make it smooth and flat.

7. Cut the white gumdrop in half, and press the gumdrop completely flat to make the head and the body of the snowman.

8. Cut the gumdrop to make the hat.

9. Place the cupcake flat and sprinkle clear and blue sprinkles to make it look like snow.

10. With scissors, cut a very small strip of the red fruit roll up and use it to make the scarf.

11. With various colorful cake mate frosting, draw the eyes, and buttons of the snowman.

C’est tout!!!


Ingredients for 12 cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour,
  • 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder,
  • 1/4 tsp of salt,
  • 6 Tbsp of butter,
  • 2 large eggs,
  • 1/2 cup of whole milk,
  • 2 Tbsp of vanilla extracts,
  • 1/2 cup of milk.
  1. Turn the oven to 350.
  2. In a bowl, mix the flour, the salt and the baking powder and set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the sugar and the butter until it becomes light and fluffy.
  4. Add one egg at a time beating well.
  5. Add the flour mixture in 3 times, alternating with the milk ( 2 times).
  6. Beat well until well combined, but do not overbeat.
  7. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake holes. I used a straight cupcake tray and cook for 15-18 for normal size cupcakes or until they are cooked ( when inserting a toothpick, it should come out clean)
  8. Let the cupcakes cool before decorating with the frosting.


Ingredients for the frosting:

  • 6 oz of cream cheese at room temperature,
  • 1 tbsp of unsalted butter at room temperature,
  • 1/4 tsp of vanilla,
  • 1/2 cup of powder sugar.
  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese.
  2. Then add the sugar and finally the butter at little at a time.
  3. If the frosting is too soft, refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!