November 17, 2010

Hot Beverages & Holiday Giveaway Series #3 {Webisode 50}

What’s Going on Today: Actually preparing for the holiday season, ordering gifts, making shopping lists.

Tonight’s Menu: Leftover Beef Tenderloin, Green Beans, Peppermint Patty Brownies.

Naptime Goals: Relax with some delicious hot chocolate and tell you all about my favorite winter beverages.

Parenting Lesson of the Day: You’ll always be amazed at what they ask Santa for Christmas (a trampoline?!)

Today is kind of a fun one. I was brewing up my favorite Christmas tea the other morning – Celestial Seasoning’s Nutcracker Sweet, in case you are wondering – and was struck with inspiration. I use my electric tea kettle daily (thank you Linda & Ginger, it was a most excellent wedding gift) and I was wondering if you all ever use one too. It is definitely the fastest way to boil water. It also is great for filling water baths when baking souffles, dissolving sugar and espresso powder and a whole host of other things when cooking and baking. If you don’t have one, why don’t I give you one? This time there are no sponsors, just me giving you one of my favorite kitchen appliances (a new one though, not the actual kettle from my kitchen) and a box of tea. And, while we are at it, let’s talk hot beverages.

I’ve already confessed that I am not much of a coffee drinker. I use it to flavor baked goods like my Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies and my Mocha Brownie Tarts, but I don’t drink it much at all. When I do drink coffee it tends to be watered down with gallons of milk and many spoons of sugar so that it tastes more like coffee ice cream than actual coffee. I do, however, love tea. And mulled cider. And hot chocolate. And Chai. Two of the four of these beverages I turn to for my daily caffeine boost (tea and chai) and the other two are simply fun treats. I’ve also been known to indulge in the occasional hot toddy, but I am not figuring the alcohol in today’s post, that is a subject for another time.

So, what are your favorite hot beverages? Tea, as I said earlier, I love in the morning. Sometimes I drink it with a splash of milk and swirl of honey, but I usually drink it plain. Chai is my go-to hot beverage when I am out and about. I like the Chai at Starbucks because it is very peppery which I think is great. I also always make sure to request “no water” since something the barrista adds water which is unnecessary. Hot chocolate is something I could drink day in and day out, but I try to regulate myself in the interest of fitting into my holiday party dress. My current favorite mix is the Williams-Sonoma Peppermint Hot Chocolate. I love it when it appears in my stocking on Christmas morning (honey, are you reading this?), but I’ve also included a great homemade hot chocolate recipe below. What is your favorite winter beverage? You’ll see above how I go about my day with all my hot beverages, where they factor into my daily routine. After all fitting great food into family life is all about fitting in great drinks, too!

Hamilton Beach Tea Kettle

To Enter Win a Hamilton Beach Electric Tea Kettle and 1 Box of Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker Sweet Tea:

1. Sign up to receive my newsletter in the box on the upper left corner (I’ll be checking!)

2. Join my Facebook fanpage (I’ll be checking!)

3. Tell me your favorite hot beverage for cold weather!

4. Contest runs from Thursday November 18th through Monday November 29th at 11:59am.


Homemade Mexican Hot Chocolate


½ cup cocoa powder
¾ cup granulated sugar
3 cups powdered milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground chili powder


Kitchen Tool Used Today: Hamilton Beach Electric Kettle. Buy it here at my Amazon Store!

1. Whisk all the above ingredients together in a mixing bowl. To make the hot chocolate add 4 Tablespoons of the mix to a mug and pour in 8 ounces (1 cup) of boiling water. Stir well and enjoy!

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

Kids will probably prefer this without the spices, which is just fine. Always serve hot chocolate topped with marshmallows or whipped cream!

Naptime Stopwatch

10 minutes. That’s all!

Naptime Reviews

This decadent spicy hot chocolate is amazing, for something fun try adding a little Bailey’s, too!